Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs readies for Sun Stakes Saturday


There are 11 stakes race eliminations on the Saturday card at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, with horses earning their way into competition next Saturday, Sun Stakes Saturday, that will be worth almost $2,000,000 in purses. 
15 three-year-old pacing fillies in the two eliminations for the $300,000 James Lynch Final have bankrolled a combined $3.6M in a little more than one season, and two have beaten 1:50 already this year: I Luv The Nitelife, who won the Fan Hanover Final last week, and Ms Caila J Fra, who defeated “Luv” and another top Lynch contender, Jerseylicious, in a recent NJ Sire Stakes Final. Oh, and there’s Somwherovrarainbow, who is merely defending division champ.
 24 three-year-old trotting colts, less than two months away from the Hambletonian, start their quest for the $1,000,000 PA bonus for winning the Earl Beal Trot, the Colonial, and the Breeders Crown (which will all be at Pocono) by racing three elims for next week’s $500,000 Beal Final. The “hot shooter” in this group, which has collectively earned $3.8M and has 13 entrants who have bettered 1:55 already this season, is Smilin Eli, perfect in three career races, but starting “behind the 8-ball” in his Saturday elim.
 22 of the sport’s “glamour division,” the three-year-old pacing colts, will go at it in three elims before the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial next week. And right now, in a collective group with $5.1M banked and eight under 1:50 already in 2013, the big focus will be on “The Captain,” Captaintreacherous, last season’s Pacer of the Year who kicked off his 2013 campaign right at Pocono and now returns to town off a triumph in the year’s first seven-figure race, last Saturday $1,000,000 North America Cup Final at Mohawk.
 And that’s just the three-year-olds. There are 20 older horses brought together for elims towards the $500,000 Ben Franklin Final on the Sun Saturday Stakes card, and they just may be the best overall field of horses ever assembled. Their collective accomplishments are mind-boggling:
 $23.9M in career earnings – that’s right, the AVERAGE career bankroll of this field approaches $1.2 million, headed by the sport’s richest-ever pacer, Foiled Again ($4,895,444); an AVERAGE career mark of 1:48.2, with 13 of the 20 already hanging up a sub-1:50 triumph in 2013;
 the defending Franklin champ, Betterthancheddar; the defending 3YO (Heston Blue Chip) and older (Foiled Again) champions; the horse who beat this group most recently, in the Roll With Joe at Tioga, Pet Rock; and the fastest horse ever on a 5/8-mile track, Bolt The Duer (1:47.4f). 
Wow! What a card! 
The first of Saturday’s 14 races at Pocono is set to go at 6:30 p.m. The Lynch fillies are in races 1 and 5; the Beal trotters are in races 2, 6, and 9; Hempt colts are slated for action in the 3rd, 7th, and 10th; and the free-for-all monsters will go in races 8, 11, and 12.
 You just don’t like harness racing if you’re not anxious to see this card’s action unfold, and to see who earns spots for the $2,000,000 Sun Stakes Saturday card a week later.
Gerry Connors for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs