It is a harness racing track opened on July 15, 1965, located on the hillside of Plains near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and within easy access of New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware. A Harness racing track that is a member of the U.S. Trotting Association, a well-known recognized one of the best smaller-sized tracks and one of the country’s safest racing surfaces.
At first, the track was developed for harness racing, however starting in 1969, the track started to run thoroughbred racing on the venue when Pennsylvania authorized wagering on that breed. In 1971, a near-riot started when some fans were disappointed by the exacta payoff, less than the winners’ price. Several drivers were suspended for the incident while the leading Jockette Mary Bacon was kidnapped at knifepoint on her way to the track. Fortunately, she escaped safe and sound. Then in mid-1972, the track stopped operating for some time when hurricane Agnes brought a great flood and destroyed the residents’ houses. Hence the track sheltered the evacuees in the meantime.
On October 28, 1980, the track ran its last thoroughbred race. The track ceased from running thoroughbred racing and returned running harness racing full time.
In November 1996, the track’s parent company, Penn National Gaming, Inc., purchased the track from the estate of the late Joseph B. Banks. Then in January 2005, the track was sold again to the Mohegan tribal gaming authority (MTGA) (current owner) for $280 million. In 2006, after receiving the license from the state, they commenced rebuilding the track to have a race track and the Mohegan Sun. They added a casino area that consists of 2,300 slot machines, food courts, and offices. Table games were added in 2010, while a 238-room hotel tower was built in 2013. However, this leads to converting the property into a full-fledged resort casino. Although the track remained as an attraction, the updated name shifted the highlight towards casino gambling. They initially renamed the property to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs but then revised the facility name entirely to Mohegan Sun Pocono. The racing oval just became a part of the Mohegan Sun Pocono officially, named The Downs.
The oval is a 5/8-mile harness racing track with a short 490-feet stretch, with a surface composed of stone aggregate base mostly from stone dust and red rock screenings over the top. The grandstand can accommodate up to 3,000 people, while the clubhouse’s capacity is 500 spectators. In the simulcast facility, they can fit up to 200 spectators. The stables can accommodate 900 horses while the parking capacity is 5,000 cars.