Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tioga Qualifiers on Friday

Tioga Downs will offer the first qualifying races of the season on Friday, April 29 at 11AM.

Entries will be taken by the Racing Office at (607) 699-7688 until the box is closed at 10AM on Thursday, April 28.

The next opportunity to get qualified will be Tioga’s annual “Press Night” on Tuesday, May 3 at 6:50PM, under the lights.

That evening serves as a dress rehearsal and offers the local press a chance to get reacquainted with the live racing.

Call in for next Tuesday’s qualifiers by 10AM on Monday, May 2.

Also, the April 15 stakes payments have been tabulated and those lists are available on the Tioga Downs website.

The 2011 Late Closing slate looks promising and begins on “Opening Day” at Tioga, Saturday, May 7.

Check the racing web page for the first condition sheet and make plans to come and race with us this spring.

Keep up-to-date with the latest racing news and information on our website, by becoming a fan on our Facebook page and following us on Twitter

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Jeffrey Gural Issues Statement on Meeting With Tellers Union

I met with Bob Ligouri, Head of the Tellers Union today.

However, for reasons known only to themselves; six of the seven members of his negotiating committee boycotted the meeting.

In addition to Mr. Ligouri, there was one member of the negotiating committee and three tellers who came on their own because they were concerned.

Personally, after all the work I have put into this I was highly insulted by the decision of six of the seven members of the negotiating committee to boycott the meeting.

I think the fact that they chose to do so indicates that they are not really serious about collective bargaining and simply want to see the place closed for reasons that make no sense.

I thought that Mr. Ligouri and the tellers that were there raised some valid questions and I think I was able to answer those questions and reassure them that it was not our intention to change the existing work rules.

I explained that I expected I would be able to retain most of the existing tellers between the new Meadowlands grandstand and the Bayonne facility and I made it clear that as a private operator our interests were totally aligned.

I showed them the new plans for the building and some of the marketing techniques that are successful at Tioga that we would apply to the Meadowlands.

The more business we do the more tellers we will need and it is in my economic interest to find a way to bring in new customers which can only work to the benefit of the tellers.

Since six of the seven members of the negotiating committee boycotted the meeting I have no idea what the next step will be; however, I still remain optimistic that common sense will prevail.

Tioga Raises Guaranteed Pick Six Pool for 2011

Tioga Downs is proud to announce that for the 2011 race season, its "Pick Six Sundays" will return with an even larger guaranteed pool.

In coordination with owner and trainer Peter Kleinhans and the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, Tioga Downs will now guarantee its Pick Six at $10,000.

The Pick Six at Tioga was guaranteed at $6,000 last year but was given a hike this year to draw more interest to the wager on Sundays.

The same takeout rate of 21% as in 2010 will apply to 2011.

If no one successfully hits the pick six, a consolation payout of 25% of the pool will be paid to ticket holders with the highest number of correct picks.

The first "Pick Six Sunday" is set to kickoff the 2011 race season on Sunday, May 8th with a post time of 1:30 PM.

"We are excited to raise the guaranteed pool up this year on the pick six and give something for our fans to look forward to," said Jason M. Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast. "We would like to thank Peter Kleinhans and the STHHA for their support in helping us think of the bettor first and foremost."

Tioga Downs kicks off its sixth season of live racing on Saturday, May 7th (Kentucky Derby Day).

For more information on the 61 day race meet at Tioga Downs, please visit us online at or visit our Facebook page at and follow us on Twitter at

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Renewed Hope for Meadowlands? Gural Issues Statement on Future

Thanks to the help of some of the Meadowlands major customers who have been talking to the tellers for the last few days, a meeting has been arranged with a representative group of tellers for tomorrow in my attorney's office.

I think that many of the tellers did not understand our offer and hopefully by listening to their issues and clarifying some of ours we can get this process back on track.

I personally met with many of the tellers prior to the vote and I found most of them very supportive and willing to work with us so I am cautiously optimistic.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Statement from Jeffrey Gural on the Future of the Meadowlands

"Obviously, I am very disappointed with the vote yesterday by the tellers not to ratify the proposal we gave them to extend their contract three years at the expiration of the existing contract next February.

This is extremely disappointing considering I have actually raised the money which I thought was the hard part.

I believe we are very close to an agreement with the state with only two or three open points remaining.

At this point, I think we have to assume that the Meadowlands will not reopen for racing on May 7th unless the tellers reconsider.

I am looking into the possibility of relocating the Graduate and The Cutler Memorial stakes races which were originally scheduled to be raced at the Meadowlands on May 7th with a final on May 14th to the other tracks that I own.

I would recommend making the payments for those two races that are due today and the money will be refunded if the race is canceled.

I am actually on my way to Vernon for opening night.

I will discuss this with the horsemen at both Tioga and Vernon to see if we can come up with something as I think it would be unfair at this late date to cancel those two races.

Hopefully the tellers will have a change of heart but in the meantime I think it would be prudent to assume that the facility will not reopen for racing on May 7th.

I would like to thank the many horsemen who contributed to this effort financially as we raised close to $1,000,000 to cover the costs associated with trying to keep the Meadowlands open.

I am very sorry that this effort did not end the way we had all hoped but it is not for lack of effort."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tioga Downs Late Closer Nominations Due April 15

Tioga Downs' 2011 live racing season will begin on Saturday, May 7th and brings with it the annual slate of Late Closing events.

The Tioga series' are the only events available in the region that are restricted to three year olds.

Pacing (the Kenneth J) and trotting (the Morrisville College Sale) colts kick things off on opening weekend.

They are to be followed by events for their distaff counterparts one week later.

All finals for the sophs are estimated at $25,000.

Another round begins in early June, addressing the more accomplished 3 to 5 year olds.

New this year are separate events for fillies and mares, offering the girls a welcome opportunity to battle it out among themselves.

The finals for these events are listed at $35,000E.

Overnight purses have been increased to a very competitive level this year at Tioga, and the racing surface has improved to be considered as one of the best around.

Come and see why Tioga Downs enjoys a reputation as the most horseman friendly track around.

The Late Closer nomination form may be found by following this link:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Applications for 2011 Dewey Degree Scholarship now available

The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association is looking for eligible high school seniors (or returning college students) from families of licensed owners, trainers, or drivers who participate full or part time in harness racing.

They can now log on to and print out an application form that could bring them $1,500 closer to completing their college education.

Through the generosity of Ray Schnittker and Jeff Gural, UNY-USHWA is offering the scholarship named for the world class trotter, Deweycheatumnhowe.

The “Dewey Degree” is an annual fellowship given to an eligible student who meets the criteria and is chosen by our Chapter officers and an impartial third party judge.

It is a $1,500 one time, non renewable assistance award.

The applicant must be entering college for the first time this fall or already in a college, university, or trade school and be enrolled as a full time student (12 credit hours minimum).

Applicants’ parent(s), grandparent(s), and/or legal guardian(s) must be a licensed horseman or horsewoman during the year prior to application (in this case, 2010).

Only one relative need be licensed to be eligible.

Applicants must be at least a high school senior at time of application.

Anyone living in the U.S. or Canada is eligible.

You are required to submit a typewritten essay discussing your background in harness racing, your work experience in harness racing, what you think could be done to better harness racing in the future, and how you see yourself as part of it.

The essay should be around 600 words.

You will also need to submit proof of your relatives licensing and a minimum of two letters of reference -- one from a horse person and one from a teacher in your current school.

All documents must be received no later than May 16, 2011.

The recipient will be announced shortly thereafter and the scholarship will be presented in the winner's circle at Tioga Downs this summer.

The winner must be present for that presentation.

Click to download an application or log onto for more information.