Friday, April 25, 2014

Tioga readies for 2014 season

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Final preparations are under way for the ninth season of harness racing at Tioga Downs, with the first of 61 programs set for Saturday, May 3.

Fans taking in Opening Night at Tioga Downs will receive a 2014 race date T-shirt and schedule magnet (while supplies last) and will be treated to a fireworks display following the last race.  New for this year, one lucky fan will win a $1000 wager on the Kentucky Derby, with the winnings theirs to keep.

While opening night post time will be 5:00 p.m. and Sunday afternoon cards will typically maintain their 1:30 p.m. start times, evening cards have a new earlier post time for 2014.  Friday and Saturday night programs will begin at 6:15 p.m., as will the handful of non-holiday Monday and Thursday cards scheduled for the upcoming meet.

"We are looking forward to our ninth season at Tioga Downs, kicking off with the biggest Kentucky Derby party in the Southern Tier and continuing with quality harness racing all summer with full, competitive fields," said Jason Settlemoir, Regional Vice President of Racing at Tioga.  "To continue our commitment to fans and horseplayers, we've lowered our trifecta, Pick 3, and Pick 4 wagers to a 50¢ minimum, and our takeout, the lowest by statute in the State of New York for harness racing, remains among the lowest in harness racing across North America."

Live and simulcast players alike will benefit from the new Handicapping Resources section of the Tioga Downs website, with detailed race analysis and trip notes available for all Tioga race programs.  In addition to being available in the Tioga Downs on-track program, simulcast fans can access the resources at  Players can cover more combinations without exhausting their bankroll, as trifectas, Pick 3s, and Pick 4s are all now 50¢ base wagers.

Once again, the Cane Pace and Roll With Joe Pace headline the racing season, with top three-year-olds vying for the first leg of pacing's Triple Crown on Monday, September 1 and older pacers contesting a $200,000 (est.) purse on Sunday, June 1.

Horsemen are advised that the Opening Weekend condition sheet is available at  Additionally, pre-meet qualifiers are scheduled for the morning of Friday, April 25 and the evening of Tuesday, April 29 in conjunction with the annual pre-meet Press Night.