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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

POCONO SET TO OPEN FEB 20

Jerry Connors on Harness Racing — Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania is set to start its 2024 harness racing season, as on Friday the fields for eleven qualifying races, the first action of the year at the mountain oval, were drawn. These qualifying races begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, that day also featuring the first draw for the resumption of pari-mutuel races, which will be held on Saturday, February 20 at 1 p.m.

Another set of qualifiers are scheduled to go on Tuesday, as will the draw for the second card of 2024, that of Monday, February 22, also starting at 1 p.m. The Saturday-Monday opening schedule will be joined by racing on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in March, with Sunday evening racing at 6 p.m. starting in May and bringing Pocono to its basic four-cards-a-week schedule.

Many of the horses qualifying Monday will be pointed for the various Game Of Claims Series featured during the first part of the year, with horses changing barns frequently as they try to earn a spot in their rich Series Championships. There are also some trotters and pacers going gateward Monday who will be pointing to early spring’s Bobby Weiss Series for developing horses.

Among the most intriguing horses slotted for Monday action are a trio of three-year-olds facing a starting gate under race conditions for the first time, all of them from the team of trainer Brett Pelling and driver/son Jack and all of them starting from the rail.

They are Beautiful Roz, a filly by Always B Miki out of Pleasant Beauty, a three-quarter sister to Precocious Beauty and a full sister to Sportswriter, who sold for $200,000 as a yearling and who is owned by Kentuckiana Racing Stable, Melvin Segal, and Bud Hatfield; Americagreatagain, a Captain Crunch-America Rocks colt owned by Stephanie Smith-Rothaug, the breeder of Somebeachsomewhere; and Charlie’s Memory, a Captaintreacherous-Darn Tootn Hanover colt owned by David Mc Duffee, poised to enter harness racing’s Hall Of Fame, along with Steven Wienick and (no typo) JFoderaTRitchieCanAmerica.

Pocono qualifiers will be available for viewing shortly after they are held, via www.phha.org.

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