Sunday, August 29, 2010

Multiple World Records Fall on Sunday Afternoon at Tioga Downs

It was a gorgeous afternoon in Nichols, New York on Sunday (August 29) as some of the best sophomore trotters in the world collected for the 36th edition of The Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot.

Lucky Chucky was the horse collecting the headlines heading into the race, but in the first $134,965 division of the Zweig Memorial, Temple Of Doom and David Miller stole the show with a world record performance of 1:52.4 for 3-year old colt trotters on a five eighth’s mile track.

The duo left from post position number five and trotted through fractions of 27.1, 57.2, and 1:25.1 before sprinting away from the field with long powerful strides with a final panel notched in 27.3.

The mile eclipsed the world record set exactly one week ago by Lucky Chucky and John Campbell at Harrah’s Chester of 1:53, which was shared with Explosive Matter (Ron Pierce) from 2009.

It was only the second win of the career for the 3-year old son of Yankee Glide-Armbro Temple, who is trained by Jonas Czernyson for Robert Rosenheim Stable.

“He had a bad post in the final of the Hambletonian and still raced good, and last week he raced really good at Chester," said winning driver David Miller. "We have never put him on the front end but I decided to today and he raced as good as he ever has. I was a little surprised with the World Record because we didn’t go that much in the second quarter, but he was sharp today and trotted right through the wire.

In the second division of The Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot, Lucky Chucky did not disappoint and cruised to victory in 1:53.3.

Campbell settled Lucky Chucky in third at the rail as the field reached the quarter mile mark in 27.3, Campbell then shuffled Lucky Chucky to the front past the three eighth’s reaching the half mile pole in 57.1.

As the field trotted towards three quarters Campbell still hadn’t even asked the 3-year old for any go and clipped by three quarters in 1:25.4.

Heading around the final turn Hall of Famer John Campbell let the Hambletonian runner-up trot home a final panel of 27.4 to win by open lengths ahead of Baximum and Waldorf Hall.

The victory tallied up the third win in six seasonal starts for the 3-year old son of Windsong’s Legacy-Aerobics, who is trained by Chuck Sylvester for the ownership group of SGS Partners, Perretti Racing Stable, and Lindy Racing Stable.

Trainer Chuck Sylvester spoke with Bob “Hollywood” Heyden in the Winner’s Circle following the victory and said the next stop for Lucky Chucky would be the Canadian Trotting Classic followed by the Breeder’s Crown and Kentucky Futurity.

Temple Of Doom’s world record performance came two races after Jeff Gregory and Manningly established a new world record for 4-year old trotting stallions on a five eighth’s mile track in 1:52.3.

Gregory turned Manningly to go to the gate and the trotter put in a few steps before getting back on the trot and then scorched through fractions of 27.3, 56.1, and 1:23.4 before trotting home an open length winner in a career best of 1:52.3.

The mile eclipsed the previous World Record held by Majestic Son and Trevor Ritchie at Rideau Carleton of 1:53 back in 2008.

The mile of 1:52.3 also established a new all age track record at Tioga Downs that was set by Buck I St Pat and Tim Tetrick in 1:53.1 earlier this year.

“He put in a few steps on me there when I turned him to go to the gate so when I left with him I didn’t take hold and let him do things his way," said Gregory in the winner's circle. "I was surprised with the mile because I didn’t even pull the plugs on him and he felt like he could have gone more if we needed to."

Two divisions of the Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot for 3-year old trotting fillies were also held on Sunday afternoon.

In the first division Impressive Kemp and Jim Morrill Jr. wore down heavy favorite Spicy Wings with a first over grind and won by a nose in a new lifetime best of 1:55.1.

In the second division John Campbell fronted Up Front Juansteen for trainer Kelly O’Donnell and the duo drew off to win in 1:56.2.

Tioga Downs continues racing on Friday, September 3rd with a post time of 6:50 pm.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"King of the Sire Stakes" Lives Up to Nickname at Tioga Downs

It was the Jim Morrill Jr. show on Saturday night at Tioga Downs as the "King of the Sire Stakes" swept all three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year old colt pacers, each for $51,209.

The fastest mile of the night came in the third division when Morrill steered Joey The Czar to an easy victory at 1-9 in 1:51.3.

However, the most impressive victory on the 12-race card was put up by reigning divisions New York Champion He’s Gorgeous.

Morrill left with He’s Gorgeous from post position number eight, but found himself in heavy parked out traffic through an opening quarter of 26.3.

Bruce Ranger and Triple Major fought their way to the front striking the half in a sparkling 54.3 as Morrill and He’s Gorgeous pressed the leader down the backstretch head to head reaching three quarters in a hotly contested 1:22.3.

Morrill continued to work away on He’s Gorgeous and struck the front to draw clear of the field in the final strides in a new lifetime best of 1:51.4.

It was the fifth win of the year for the 3-year old son of Art Major-So Ravishing who is trained by Linda Toscano for owner Ken Jacobs of Baldwinsville, New York.

With the lions share of the $51,209 purse, He’s Gorgeous increased his seasonal bankroll to more than $214,000.

“I didn’t think we would have to go that much the first half, but we did and he raced great tonight. He is a good horse, but we will see whether he is as good as Kenneth J or not when we put him in the Breeder’s Crown later this year,” said owner Ken Jacobs in the winner’s circle when asked to compare to Kenneth J.

In the other $51,209 division Jimmie Hanover and Jim Morrill Jr. coasted to victory in 1:54.

The fractions were unusually slow to due a wreck in the first turn in which driver Bruce Ranger was unseated and Art Two D Two was loose on the track.

Both horse and driver escaped from the mishap unscathed and Ranger went on to compete in all other races on the card.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Sunday, August 29th at 1:30 pm featuring the Zweig Memorial, which included superstar trotter Lucky Chucky and Hall of Famer John Campbell.

Also on Sunday will be the SiriusXM Day at the Races with Bill Finley, Bob “Hollywood” Heyden and Dave Johnson hosting a live radio show from 3:00 – 4:00 pm, and also a handicapping seminar on the Tioga Stage beginning at 12:00 noon.

12 New York Late Closer Divisions on Friday Night at Tioga Downs

12 divisions of New York Late Closers covered the 13-race card on Friday night at Tioga Downs, that included two non-betting divisions held before racing started at 6:50 pm.

Five divisions for freshman trotting fillies included winners: Rejoycing (Sam Schillaci), Forza Azzuri (Bruce Ranger), Cashaholic (John Stark Jr.), Brooklyn (Domenico Cecere), and Dreamy Dawn (Ed Lohmeyer).

Seven divisions for 2-year old filly pacers saw trophies handed to: Cinder Angelina (Jim Marohn Jr.), Haze’s Zure Bet (Bruce Ranger), All About Kisses (Bruce Ranger), Ms Graywalls (Mike Simons), Park Lane Heather (Brandon Simpson), Throwdown (Howard Parker), and Mystical Gypsy (Lewayne Miller).

Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Saturday, August 28th with a post time of 6:50 pm.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lucky Chucky headed to Tioga Downs on Sunday Afternoon for the 2010 Zweig Memorial

The 2010 Hambletonian Runner-up, and Colonial Champion, Lucky Chucky, leads 12 3-year-old trotting colts that will head to Tioga Downs on Sunday afternoon for two divisions of the Zweig Memorial Trot.

Coming off of a blowout performance in the $500,000 Colonial at Chester Downs last Sunday, where he won by more than eight lengths in a lifetime best of 1:53, Lucky Chucky and John Campbell have been listed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in Sunday’s $134,965 Zweig Memorial Trot (2nd division).

In the first division Temple Of Doom and David Miller are listed as the 8-5 morning line after finishing second to Lucky Chucky last week in the $500,000 Colonial.

The 3-year-old son of Yankee Glide-Armbro Temple is trained by Jonas Czernyson and has banked over $520,000 in his young career but only has one win on his resume.

In the filly divisions of the Zweig Memorial Trot, Hudson trotting champ Spicy Wings (John Campbell) leads six ladies in the $59,388 first division listed as race number two.

In the fifth race, second division another Chuck Sylvester trainee has been made the 5-2 morning line favorite with In The Mean Time (David Miller), who will start from post five in a field of seven.

The stakes record for the Zweig Memorial of 1:52.3 is shared by American Winner and Great George Two, but was taken when the race was contested over a mile racetrack.

Since relocating to Tioga Downs in 2006, the fastest mile posted in the Zweig was established by Flirtin Man (John Campbell) in 2007 with a 1:54.3 score which still stands as the track record for 3-year old colt trotters.

Also on Sunday afternoon (August 29) Dave Johnson, Bill Finley, and Bob “Hollywood” Heyden will be doing a handicapping seminar at 12 noon on the Tioga Downs stage and will be doing a live SiriusXM show from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm, during which the Zweig Memorial Trot will be taking place.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Yursa Hanover Captures Leg Two of the Miss Versatility

Yursa Hanover and Bruce Ranger captured the $25,000 second leg of the Miss Versatility on Sunday afternoon at Tioga Downs.

With only four trotting mares entered, Tioga Downs held the event as a non-betting race between races three and four on the 12-race card.

Ranger put Yursa Hanover on the engine through fractions of 28, 57, and 1:26.2 with Windsong Soprano (Randall Waples) sitting the pocket, Buck I St Pat (Matt Kakaley) first over in third and the early breaker Southwind Wasabi trailing the field after an early miscue.

Buck I St Pat set up for the first over grind but could not make up any ground over a track listed sloppy and had to settle for third with Windsong Soprano edging her out at the wire for second.

The mile of 1:56 was the second win of the year for Yursa Hanover in her 10th seasonal start for trainer Benoit Baillargeon.

In the week’s top test for pacers, Winbak Dimensions repeated his performance from last week with Matt Kakaley in the sulky once again and scored in 1:53.3.

Andover America and Bruce Ranger also repeated in the week’s $15,000 Open trot in 1:58.2.

Bruce Ranger posted a driving triple on the afternoon, while Matt Kakaley, Anthony Napolitano, and Jimmy Marohn Jr. each recorded doubles.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Friday, August 27th with a post time of 6:50 pm.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gural, Schnittker, Howard named to UNY Hall

The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has announced that Jeff Gural, Ray Schnittker and Guy Howard will be inducted into their Hall of Fame representing Tioga Downs.

These three gentlemen finalize the initial class of 2010.

The crystal keepsakes will be presented to them at Tioga on Sunday, August 29, during the Zweig Memorial Trot night of racing.

Jeff Gural’s love of harness racing has led him to become the driving force behind the resurgence of the Standardbred sport in New York.

Through his efforts and determination, legislation has been introduced and passed that has proven to be the catalyst that brought fair and equitable cuts from slots revenue to all the racetracks in the Empire State.

His actions have not only stabilized this industry in the state, they have helped to secure its future.

The Binghamton, N.Y. native is Chairman of American Racing and Entertainment, L.L.C., which owns both Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs racinos.

These facilities conduct full harness meets which provide racing opportunities and jobs for hundreds of people from April through November. They also offer business for many other farmers and retailers in and around each location which in turn drives their local economies.

Tioga was a long abandoned quarter horse track when Gural resurrected it, and now it’s the showplace of racing for the New York State Standardbred community.

Vernon Downs was in bankruptcy and as good as done when Gural took it over, brought it back and made it vital once more.

Gural’s support of harness racing is seemingly endless. He is extremely “hands on” at the tracks he owns. He is always in the crowd, talking to the patrons; finding out what they like and don’t like. Asking how they can improve the product.

Jeff Gural is a visionary in the true sense of the word. His ability to put things into perspective for others has put harness racing in New York on very solid ground.

And through that success, those in the industry and the communities where racing takes place have benefited greatly.

Ray Schnittker truly found success the hard way; he earned it. Starting out in 1977 when his father owned just two horses, Ray battled among the overnighters for years mostly at Buffalo and Batavia, improving his stock as he went along. His early success was found with horses like Dave Hanover and Keystone Tort.

Ray eventually took the leap and relocated to the Big Apple where he campaigned the likes of $1.2 million winner Covert Action. His aggressive driving style caught many of the regulars off guard as the new kid on the block made his presence known. But it was that same attitude that pushed Ray to the top.

Since then, Schnittker has been on a roll, making national headlines every year with champions like 2008 Hambletonian winner Deweycheatumnhowe, 2010 Meadowlands Pace winner One More Laugh, Jezzy, Cassis, Make It Happen, Chippewa Street, Last Call At Dem’s, Riggins, Twin B Senorita and Munis Blue Chip.

Although his name is no stranger to the Grand Circuit, he remains based in New York State, and in the process, supports the breeding that makes the Sire Stake program there so successful.

Ray has been a regular at Tioga Downs since they opened in overnights, sire stakes, and the many late closing series offered there.

Rather than pursuing catch drives, Schnittker has primarily concentrated his efforts on his own stable and developing young talent during his career. This strategy has paid off as his lifetime numbers will attest.

To date he has posted 2,431 driving wins and $34 million in purse money. In just the last four years, horses he has trained have won in excess of $16 million.

Guy Howard is a 26-year veteran of racing and has his roots firmly planted in south central New York.

While he has had success with the charges he trains, his biggest contribution to this sport at Tioga is his forward thinking and leadership as president of the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen’s Association.

In his capacity, Howard has guided the membership of the group into an amicable relationship with racetrack management and afforded the latter the opportunity to install programs and promotions that have made Tioga Downs what it is today.

With his leadership and the help of the members of the STHHA, the racing project in Nichols, New York has progressed farther and faster then anyone could have imagined.

This threesome will join the representatives from Buffalo Raceway, Batavia Downs and Vernon Downs for the Hall of Fame induction banquet which will be held on Sunday, September 12, at 4 p.m. at Tioga Downs, where the permanent Hall will be housed.

Details on the induction banquet will be released later this week.

Gotapikapoketortwo Captures Tioga Wednesday Co-Feature

Tyler Freese and Gotapikapoketortwo used an off the pace journey to capture the $5,200 condition pace on Wednesday afternoon at Tioga Downs.

The win was part of a driving double on the afternoon card for Freese as he guided the 11-year old son of In The Pocket-Belligerent to his forty eighth career win.

Toby Carver trains Gotapikapoketortwo for the partnership of Erick Earl Jaeck Jr and Timothy Mowery both of Ohio.

Phil Fluet posted a driving triple on the afternoon’s 13-race card, while Corey Braden had two wins on the card.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Saturday, August 21st with a post time of 6:50 pm.

Boyz II Men Set for Friday Night Performance

Legendary R&B vocal group Boyz II Men will play Tioga Downs Friday Night at 8:00. Tickets start at just $20 and are available through Ticketmaster or the Tioga Downs Players Club.

Here's a preview of the show courtesy of the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin:

In their 1990s heyday, Boyz II Men were everywhere.

Their hits — "End of the Road," "I'll Make Love to You," "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," "On Bended Knee" and others — dominated radio airwaves, and their 60 million record sales cemented their place as the most successful R&B group of all time.

Today, 20 years after their Motown debut, three of the Boyz — Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris and Shawn Stockman — are still out there, singing and making new music. (Bass vocalist Michael McCary left the group in 2003.)

Friday night, they'll appear in Nichols as part of Tioga Downs Casino's summer concert series.

Recent efforts from Boyz II Men have seen them re-imagining others' tunes: Michael Jackson, Hall & Oats and Teddy Pendergrass on 2004's "Throwback Vol. 1"; 1960s vocal groups on 2007's "Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA" (which earned two Grammy nominations); and various romantic ballads on 2009's "Love."

The group also released an album of originals — 2007's "The Remedy," which was a bestseller in Japan — and are reportedly working on a new disc for 2011.

Tickets to Friday's 8 p.m. concert are $20, $25 and $30, and are available at the Tioga Downs Players Club or at Tioga Downs is located at 2384 W. River Road, Nichols.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Corntastic Weekend Highlights New Episode of "Inside Harness Racing"

Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs are proud to present a brand-new episode of “Inside Harness Racing.” The weekly, 30-minute program airs Wednesdays at 6:00 PM on Time Warner Cable Sports throughout Upstate New York and is also available online at the Tioga Downs YouTube site (

This week’s episode highlights the wildly successful Corntastic Celebration at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs including video of the 2nd Annual Corn Eating Contest. On the racing side, check out highlights and interviews from the New York State Fair races featuring more than $800,000 in purses.

Jason Settlemoir spotlights Vernon’s rising driving star Jimmy Whittemore while Wendy Ross takes fans on an all-access tour of Allerage Farm. Also, see how Tioga Downs celebrated Back to the Track weekend.

“Inside Harness Racing” is hosted and produced by Justin Horowitz and features Jason Settlemoir and Wendy Ross as field reporters while Jim Rotundo handles videography and production.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New York State Fair Stakes continue at Tioga Downs

The New York State Fair Stakes continued on Sunday afternoon at Tioga Downs with divisions for 3-year old filly trotters and 3-year old filly pacers.

In the first division for 3-year old fill pacers, Galimony (Jim Morrill Jr.) continued her dominance in the Empire State by cutting through fractions of 27.3, 56.4, and 1:25 before easing away from the field to stop the timer in 1:53.4.

It was the fifth win in nine seasonal starts for the 3-year old daughter of Artiscape-Ideal Gal, trained by Linda Toscano for the Stake Your Claim Stable of New Jersey.

With the lion's share of the $54,710 purse, Galimony increased her seasonal bankroll to more than $273,000.

In the first division for 3-year old filly trotters, Frosty Flirt posted her third consecutive victory for trainer-owner Tracy Brainard.

Jeff Gregory did the piloting on Frosty Flirt and used off the pace tactics to capture victory in 1:57 on a track listed good, just two fifths of a second off the lifetime mark.

It was the seventh win in nine seasonal outings for Frosty Flirt, who with the win pushed her seasonal earnings over the $100,000 plateau.

The win was part of a driving double on the afternoon for Jeff Gregory.

Other division winners for 3-year old filly trotters included: Somersault – 1:59.3 (Phil Fluet), Little Spot – 2:00 (Jeff Gregory), and Wolf’s Jann – 1:59.2 (Mike Simons).

The winner of the other division for 3-year old filly pacers was Lindy’s Bandita – 1:54.3 (Howard Parker).

Tioga Downs continues racing action with a special Wednesday afternoon card on August 18th with a post time of 1:30 pm.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

All Spirit Gets Revenge in Tioga Feature

All Spirit set out to seek revenge on rival Lucy Lucy in Friday night’s $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap pace on Friday night at Tioga Downs, and her mission was accomplished.

After finishing runner-up two weeks in a row at the end of July to Lucy Lucy, the 4-year old daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Spirit Of Ivy was set for a rematch.

Piloted by Jimmy Marohn Jr. he sent All Spirit to control her own destiny and cut through fractions of 27.3, 56.4, and 1:24.2 rebuffing all challengers to win in 1:53.

It was the third win in seven starts for All Spirit campaigned from the Tim Lanpher stable for owner Larry Lanpher of Winter Park, Florida.

The co-track record holder for 4-year-old mares was having a glorious start to 2010 before having a month layoff and seems to be rounding back into her form that has earned her more than $230,000 in just 29 lifetime starts.

The win was part of a five win night for “The Mighty Mite” Jimmy Marohn Jr., who was the 2009 leading driver at Tioga Downs.

Racing resumes Saturday, August 14th at Tioga Downs with a post time of 6:50 pm, and will feature “Dueling Doubles” in coordination with Monticello Raceway on races 1, 3, 5, and 7 as part of the “Back To The Track” promotion going on industry wide.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Episode of "Inside Harness Racing"

Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs are proud to present a brand-new episode of “Inside Harness Racing.” The weekly, 30-minute program airs Wednesdays at 6:00 PM on Time Warner Cable Sports throughout Upstate New York and is also available online at the Tioga Downs YouTube site ( and at the bottom of this entry.

This week’s episode includes highlights and interviews from the New York Sire Stakes at both Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. Watch the undefeated 2-year-old trotting filly Jezzy win her sixth straight race while longshots rule the night at Vernon Downs in the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacer division.

Also, get an all-access look at the raceday routine of leading Tioga Downs driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr and watch an entertaining interview with Hall of Fame track announcer Roger Huston. Plus, see country music star Clint Black during his recent concert at Tioga Downs.

“Inside Harness Racing” is hosted and produced by Justin Horowitz and features Jason Settlemoir and Wendy Ross as field reporters while Jim Rotundo handles videography and production.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tioga Downs and Monticello Raceway Gearing Up for “Dueling Doubles”

As part of the “Back To The Track” promotion going on industry wide this weekend to push fans back to the grandstands for harness racing, Tioga Downs and Monticello Raceway are rolling out its new wager dubbed the “Dueling Doubles”.

The tracks are asking fans to select the winners of both tracks first, third, fifth, and seventh races on Saturday’s card (August 14th).

“Its exciting to see most of the racetracks come together to promote racing again and make a push to get fans in the seats," says Jason Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast. "We are happy to partner with Monticello Raceway to give our fans, and their fans a new and exciting wager which helps both of our racetracks out in the process."

Tioga Downs races on Friday and Saturday at 6:50 pm, with a Sunday afternoon post time of 1:30 pm.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jezzy stays unblemished in NYSS at Tioga Downs

Jezzy kept together her perfect record on Friday night at Tioga Downs scoring in convincing fashion in one of five NYSS divisions for 2-year old filly trotters.

Ray Schnittker who co-owns, trains, and drives Jezzy put her on the lead as the field past the grandstands the first time around through an opening quarter of 28.4.

From there, Schnittker eased the filly through fractions of 59.2 and 1:29.4 before keeping the freshman trotter mind on business and easily opening up to a three-and-a-half length victory in 1:58.4.

It was the sixth win in as many times behind the gate for the 2-year old daughter of Credit Winner-Ladylind for Schnittker, Silva, Gural, and Gewertz all of New York.

The fastest division winner of the evening came in the second division when Gates Brunet guided even money favorite Some Girls to victory in a new lifetime best of 1:58.1, which was just two-fifths of a second off the track record.

Other division winners included: Imageofasweetday, 2:00.2 (John Stark Jr.), Limerick Lady, 2:03 (David Mc Neight Jr.), and Miss Sue V, 1:59.2 (Brian Mattison).

Jimmy Marohn Jr. and Victor Kirby each posted driving doubles on the night’s 11-race card.

Tioga Downs continues racing on Saturday, August 7th at 6:50 pm.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dueling Doubles Debuts on August 14

On Back to The Track Night, Saturday, August 14, Monticello Raceway and Tioga Downs have joined forces to offer the betting public a series of wagers which is being dubbed “Dueling Doubles.”

“The bet will be a daily double with the only difference being one of the races will be from Monticello Raceway and the other from Tioga Downs,” noted Monticello assistant general manager, Shawn Wiles. “We thank the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for giving us a chance to institute this unique wager.”

In an effort to create extra excitement on Back to the Track night, four dueling doubles are being offered. They will encompass the first, third, fifth and seventh races from both racetracks.

According to Monticello's Director of Mutuels and Simulcasting, Maureen Flynn, Scientific Games, as tote vendor for Monticello Raceway, will handle the wagers which will be designated as a separate event code.

“Besides being offered at each of the participating tracks the dueling doubles will be also be available at all off-track wagering sites,” Flynn added.

"Inside Harness Racing" Features Wall-to-Wall Drivers Championship Coverage

The Fourth Annual $40,000 Tioga Downs Drivers Championship takes center stage on the newest episode of “Inside Harness Racing.”

Watch all six races in the unique competition featuring North America’s top 7 money-winning drivers, plus sponsor’s exemption John Campbell and leading Tioga Downs driver Bruce Ranger, all competing for a first-place prize of $25,000.

The 30-minute program includes highlights and interviews from the sport’s biggest names.

“Inside Harness Racing” airs Wednesdays at 6:00 PM Eastern on Time Warner Cable Sports and can be seen by more than 250,000 people throughout Central New York and the Southern Tier on TWC Sports On Demand. It can also be seen online at the Tioga Downs YouTube site. (

This week’s episode also includes coverage of the New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs featuring the undefeated two-year-old trotting filly, Jezzy.

Also, see how you can join Tioga Downs in raising money for two area kids fighting serious diseases.

Plus, win a Back to the Track baseball hat by answering our Facebook Trivia Question of the Week.

“Inside Harness Racing” is hosted and produced by Justin Horowitz and features Jason Settlemoir and Wendy Ross as field reporters while Jim Rotundo handles videography and production.

Tioga Downs’ Handle Numbers on the Rise

Tioga Downs lowered its takeout rates to state minimums for the 2010 race season and the numbers have shown promise as they continue to rise.

In July, Tioga Downs was up in its live racing handle by 8%, and watched its export number grow for the second straight month by 21%.

For the year, Tioga Downs is down 1% on live handle, but is up in export by 13% compared to 2009.

The import number at Tioga in July picked up by 25%, and for the year is up by 4.5%.

“These are the types of numbers we were hoping for when we took on the lower takeout rate initiative this year," says Jason Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast. "It is encouraging to see numbers grow at this rate, and we hope to keep it up through our 2010 race meet. With all of the bad news in our industry as of late it is good to see that with hard work and just a few changes we can make a positive impact here at Tioga.”

Conversely, at Vernon Downs, the HHA of CNY refused an agreement with management for lower takeout rates, and the Vernon Downs export numbers for 2010 are down more than 13% in 2010.

Tioga Downs races on Friday and Saturdays at 6:50 pm, and Sundays at 1:30 pm.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ron Pierce takes home Fourth Annual $40,000 Drivers’ Championship

Ron Pierce was a bridesmaid no more on Sunday, August 1st as the Hall of Famer took home the $25,000 first place prize in the Fourth Annual Drivers’ Championship at Tioga Downs.

Pierce ended the six race Championship with 33 points on the day, and earned 10 points each for driving winners Handsome Prince and Blazing Winner in the second and third legs of the contest.

Pierce steered Blazing Winner to a track record time of 2:29.2 for a mile and a quarter trot from post position three for Guy Howard.

Coming into the final event on the afternoon Pierce was in the lead with 28 points, and the only two in striking distance were Jason Bartlett and Brian Sears.

Pierce finished third in the final leg and secured his first Driver’s Championship.

Brian Sears finished second in the Drivers’ Championship with 26 points on the afternoon and took home $5,000.

His lone win came in the fifth leg of the event with Gone Baby Gone for trainer Gary Messenger.

Dave Palone finished the day off with 23 points, and took home $4,000.

Palone finished third despite not capturing any of the legs, but only missed points in one event on the card.

Jason Bartlet and Yannick Gingras finished tied in fourth place with 19 points and each took home $1,500.

Bartlett got off to a hot start and it looked as though a repeat might be in order winning the first leg and finishing second in the second leg.

However he could only capture two more points in the final four races.

The rest of the field finished as follows: George Brennan (17), John Campbell (11), Bruce Ranger (10), and Tim Tetrick (7).

John Campbell captured the fourth leg of the Drivers’ Championship with Sheer Brilliance in the Open Handicap pace in a new track record time for aged gelding pacers of 1:49.3.

Campbell fronted the five-year-old gelding and never looked back through fractions of 26, 54.3, and 1:22.1 before sprinting away from the field in the final quarter for trainer Jeff Long.

Tioga Downs would like to thank all of its sponsors who support this event along with the drivers, trainers, owners, and horsemen who without their support the Drivers’ Championship would not be possible.