One of North America's richest nights of racing gets underway this weekend at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, as the track presents their first ever "Sun Stakes Saturday."All told, $1.5 million in combined purses have attracted the sport's best trotters and pacers to the 5/8-mile track in Northeast Pennsylvania.
The mega-card's main events consist of a trio of prestigious Grand Circuit stakes for pacers, the $500,000 Ben Franklin Free for All, the $300,000 Max Hempt Memorial, and the $250,000 James Lynch Memorial.
Eliminations for this weekend's finals were held Saturday, June 23rd during a 16-race card. The night's performances included one new world record and two matched.
The record-setting began at Pocono in the first elimination for the Ben Franklin. George Brennan drove Aracache Hanover, trained by Gregg McNair, to the Pocono all-time mark for aged pacing stallions with a victory in 1:48:1. The combined Franklin final features nine entrants sporting a total bankroll of over $12,961,000 lifetime, including five millionaires.
The Lynch Memorial will feature American Jewel, the new No. 1-ranked horse in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. The 3-year-old filly pacer is coming off a track-record 1:49.2 performance in her elimination. The time equaled the world record for 3-year-old fillies on a five-eighths-mile oval.
Heading a field of nine in the Hempt Memorial is one of the sport's top pacers, Hurrikane Kingcole. The son of Cam's Card Shark powered to a romping win in 1:48:1, a time that matches a world record for 3-year-old colts.
Fans can take home a souvenir from the thrilling night of live harness racing. While supplies last, patrons can pick up a special Sun Stakes Saturday beach towel with the purchase of a live racing program that includes an accompanying coupon (one per person). The towel giveaway will run from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. on the lower grandstand of the racing apron.
First post time has been set for 6:30 p.m.