PA Agriculture Secretary Invites Public to 'Breeders Crown,' Premier Harness Racing Events on Oct. 9

Oct 01, 2010, 10:41 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Breeders Crown Offers Record $6 Million in Purses in One Day

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding today invited the public to enjoy the Breeders Crown, North American harness racing's most prestigious event, at 5 p.m. on Oct. 9, at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre.

The 106 pacers and trotters racing in the 27th edition of the Crown will compete for more than $6 million in purses – the most ever awarded at the harness races in a single day.

Redding said this is the first time the crown's 12 championship events will be held at one track.

"Pennsylvania is honored to host the 2010 Breeders Crown and welcome some of the best harness racing in North America," said Redding. "It is exciting to know that a number of Pennsylvania-sired horses will be racing for the crown, highlighting our state's strong harness-racing industry."

On Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1-2, at 6:30 p.m., horses from more than 20 states and Canada will compete in 19 elimination races at Pocono Downs, trying to win spots for the next week's championships. The races will include 82 Pennsylvania-sired horses.

Since the passage of the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act in 2004, purses in Pennsylvania have grown significantly, which attracts better harness and thoroughbred race horses and more accomplished horsemen.

Purses in Pennsylvania for harness racing in 2009 were $108 million and each of the state's three harness tracks rank among the top seven in North America for purse payments.  

Redding said two additional programs have helped make Pennsylvania more attractive for harness racing, including the Sire Stakes, for owners of fast racehorses fathered in Pennsylvania, and the Harness Breeders Fund, for the owners of mares that were bred to a Pennsylvania stallion to produce a competitive racehorse. Combined, the funds have paid more than $21 million in 2010.

In addition to purse values raising the profile of racing in Pennsylvania, the state has launched a multi-faceted marketing campaign at and through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The innovative outreach effort encourages new fans to experience the distinctive entertainment that racetracks have to offer.

For more information, visit, click on "Bureaus Commissions and Councils" and select "Pennsylvania Racing Commission."

Media contact: Nicole L. C. Bucher, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture