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Pocono Downs Harness Racing Track

Pocono Downs Harness Racing Track is a harness racing track near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It's widely acknowledged as one of the best smaller-sized tracks in America. Live racing dates are usually held from April to October.

Pocono Downs Harness Racing Track hosts several important harness racing stakes events each year. Among these are the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes, the Max Hempt Memorial Pace, the James Lynch Memorial Pace and the Reynolds Stakes.

Pocono Downs Harness Racing Track has a 5/8-mile oval track. The length of the stretch is 490 feet and its surface has a stone aggregate base; the body is largely composed of stone dust; and has red rock screenings in the top layer.

The Grandstand can accommodate up to 3,000 while the clubhouse can hold up to 500. The stable, meanwhile, can accommodate up to 900 horses.

History of Pocono Downs Harness Racing Track

A crowd estimated at 12,000 showed up for Pocono Downs' opening on July 15, 1965. The race track costs an estimated $7 million to build and among its founders were James and Anna Jean Durkin.

The track record during that inaugural season was 2:00.4, established by a horse named Heineken. The record for a trotter was 2:02.2 by Singing Arrow. From 1965 through 1981, there were only 100 horses to break the two-minute barrier.

From 1970 to 1980, thoroughbred racing was held at Pocono Downs Harness Racing Track when the Shamrock Racing Association shared the track. Pocono Downs Harness Racing Track briefly ceased operations in mid-1972 and served as an evacuation center for residents displaced by the great flood brought about by hurricane Agnes.

Penn National Gaming, Inc., the track's parent company, purchased Pocono Downs Harness Racing Track for $47 million in November of 1996 from the estate of the late Joseph B. Banks.

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