Saturday, May 31, 2014

Antigua Hanover a gutsy winner in Tioga distaff feature

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Faced with a host of challengers in the final 300 yards, Oldford Farms and Tyler Buter's Antigua Hanover ($8.20) had just enough left in reserve, digging in to stave off three late-charging rivals en route to a 1:53.3 score in Friday (May 31) evening's $11,000 Miracle Mile 2 pace for fillies and mares at Tioga Downs.

Antigua Hanover digs in to prevail (Fred Brown photo)
The four-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was beaten to the first turn by Canaco Star (Mike Merton), but brushed to the fore immediately upon Canaco Star's clearing at the apex of the first turn.  After setting sensible early splits of :28.2 and :56.3, Antigua Hanover turned aside a first-over challenge from If I Didnt Care (Rick Dane), edging clear to the top of the stretch.

After dismissing If I Didnt Care's challenge on the approach to the far turn, Antigua Hanover withstood late charges from eventual runner-up Bazooka Terror (Aaron Byron) and third-place finisher Dirty Girty (Greg Merton), digging in late to prevail by a diminishing three-quarters-length margin.

Brandon Simpson handled the driving duties aboard Antigua Hanover for trainer Amber Buter.

Live racing resumes at Tioga Downs on Sunday (June 1) afternoon, with the Roll With Joe Pace headlining the card.  Non-wagering events begin at 12:45 p.m. EDT, with the first of 13 pari-mutuel races scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Eastend Eddie triumphs in Tioga return

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

The Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi's Eastend Eddie ($9.10) made his return to Tioga Downs a winning one, pulling clear after making a three-wide push off the final turn en route to a 1:52.2 victory in Monday (May 26) afternoon's $14,000 Open I Pace.

Eastend Eddie prevails in going-away fashion
(Fred Brown photo)
The six-year-old Million Dollar Cam gelding floated into midfield, stalking a pressured pace disputed by Prairie Jaguar, Fireyourguns, and Electrofire.  With Prairie Jaguar (Jim Marohn, Jr.) pushing clear to a :27 first quarter and Electrofire (John Cummings, Jr.) moving first-over to maintain a pressured pace after a :55.2 half mile, Dan Rawlings moved Eastend Eddie second-over to track live cover to the far turn, subsequently swinging three-wide on the far turn.  Eastend Eddie responded instantly to Rawlings's move, pushing to the lead in the final 150 yards and drawing clear for a handy victory.  Fireyourguns (Aaron Byron) split rivals late after being boxed in to save second, while Electrofire was an out-kicked third.

Live racing resumes at Tioga Downs on Saturday, May 31, with first post at 6:15 p.m. EDT.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tioga Downs to Host Networking Event for Minority & Women Owned Businesses

Tioga Downs today announced that they will be hosting a networking event for Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (MWBEs) who are interested in working on its upcoming casino expansion project.

“This is an important and exciting project, responsibly undertaken, that will provide a major economic boost to the Southern Tier,” said Tom Osiecki, President and COO of American Racing and Entertainment, LLC.  “We want to make sure the entire community, especially MWBE firms, benefit from Tioga Downs’ growing commitment to our region.”

The Tioga Downs proposed construction project includes a new 60,000 sq. ft. amenities building with conference space, an indoor and outdoor banquet facility, a new restaurant, outdoor pool and a six-story 140-bed hotel room.  Also included is a 20,000 sq. ft. casino and restaurant expansion, and improvements throughout the facility.

What:              M/WBE Networking Event
When:            Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 11:00 am
Lunch will be served
Where:           Tioga Downs
2384 W River Road
Nichols, NY 13812

RSVP:  By Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 to Stephanie Pennington, Compliance Manager MWBE/EEO, LPCiminelli,
P: 716.855.1200

“This is a great opportunity for MWBEs to meet and partner with prospective prime bidders to get work on the project,” said Stephanie Pennington, Compliance Manager for LPCiminelli, the Construction Manager at Tioga Downs.  “MWBEs should bring businesses cards, references and other materials to help market themselves.”

Tioga Downs' up-down past looks to soar in the future

In 2003, Long Islander Jeff Gural -- a self-proclaimed "racing guy" -- decided to buy a race track.
"Somebody mentioned Tioga Downs, I had no idea where it was," Gural recalled. "But they mentioned it was near Binghamton. I said, 'Oh I'll take a ride up,' because my mother was from Binghamton. She passed away quite a while ago. And I thought boy, my mother would really get a kick out of it.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Electrofire upsets in Tioga feature

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Stalking a late battle on the far turn, Electrofire sustained a three-wide push off the corner en route to a 16-1 upset win in Sunday (May 18) afternoon's $14,000 Open Handicap pace at Tioga Downs.

Electrofire (#1) ends the win streak of Fireyourguns (#9)
(Fred Brown photo)
The seven-year-old Electric Stena entire was no part of the early pace, letting Firethorn (John MacDonald) handle the initial pacesetting duties.  While Fireyourguns (Aaron Byron) pressed the pace on the backstretch Electrofire followed from second-over before making the winning move.  On the far turn, Rick Plano angled three-wide, sustaining a late push to narrowly prevail in 1:51.3.  Fireyourguns, who saw a five-race win streak come to an end, was a game second, while Prairie Jaguar (Jim Marohn, Jr.) held third off a pocket trip.

Trainer Jennifer Lappe co-owns Electrofire with the Hero Stables.

Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday evening, May 23, with first post at 6:15 p.m. EDT.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Four in a row for Splitsville in top Tioga trot

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

After stalking moderate early fractions, Splitsville ($3.70) made his move to the fore on the backstretch, driven clear late to prevail in Saturday (May 17) evening's $14,000 Open Handicap trot at Tioga Downs.

Splitsville strikes again (Fred Brown photo)
It was the fourth consecutive win for the five-year-old Hard Rock N Roll gelding, who launched a first-over bid as pacesetter Brookroad Knight (Corey Braden) rated a :58 half-mile with Wisenheimer (Mike Merton) stalking from the pocket.  Driver Jim Marohn, Jr. forced a quickening tempo on the backstretch, striking the lead with Splitsville through three-quarters in 1:25.3, wearing down Brookroad Knight, and holding off a three-wide bid form Wisenheimer for a 1:54.2 victory.

Splitsville, who scored his 21st career win, is trained by Rob Harmon for the Harmon Racing Stable.

Marohn scored a driving hat trick on the night, also victorious with Jolly Lester (1:55.0) and Fox Valley Legend (1:57.0), but was kept at bay for the top spot in the seasonal driving standings by Aaron Byron, whose victory with Sundowner Bob (2:00.0) kept him with a scant 13-12 lead early in the meet.

Racing resumes at Tioga Downs on Sunday (May 18) afternoon, with the first of 11 races scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Little Santamonica anchors Byron hat trick at Tioga

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Little Santamonica stands tall in the Miracle Mile 1
distaff pace (Fred Brown photo)
Newcomer Little Santamonica's ($3.50) 1:52.0 victory in the featured $14,000 Miracle Mile 1 distaff pace was the highlight of a driving hat trick for Aaron Byron, who propelled himself to the top of the Tioga Downs leaderboard with a three-win night on Friday (May 16).

With Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.) calling the early shots, Byron brushed to the fore with Little Santamonica through a sensible :28.2 first quarter.  The six-year-old Little Steven mare never looked back from there, accelerating clear on the far turn and being driven to hold a 2-1/4 length margin over Southwind Trini at the winning post.  Sinspirational (Mike Simons) stayed on in traffic to finish an even third.

Jordan Hope trains Little Santamonica for owner Kelly Hope.

Byron also scored driving wins with Paystobea Meangirl (1:58.3) and Crazyboutdadrummer (1:56.0) on the evening's 10-race card.

Racing resumes at Tioga on Saturday, May 17, with the first of 11 races scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Fireyourguns extends streak to five

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Fresh off a front-end win in last week's featured event, Fireyourguns made the winning move on the far turn to prevail in going-away fashion in Sunday (May 11) afternoon's $14,000 Open I Pace at Tioga Downs.

Fireyourguns scores his fifth straight
win (Fred Brown photo)
The five-year-old American Ideal gelding was parked on the first turn before settling just behind the pace-setting pair of Prairie Jaguar (Jim Marohn, Jr.) and Steelhead Hanover (Joe Pavia, Jr.).  With Prairie Jaguar clicking off a :54.4 half-mile and a subsequent 1:22.3 three-quarters split, Aaron Byron angled Fireyourguns out, taking second on the far turn and continuing right on to take the lead off the corner, pulling clear through the stretch for a 1:51.4 score.  Prairie Jaguar held second, while Real Flight (Brandon Simpson) made a mild belated rally to take third.  Odds-on favorite Steelhead Hanover was devoid of late kick after tracking the fast initial pace, fading to fourth.

Trainer Terence McClory co-owns Fireyourguns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe.

The $11,000 Open II pace saw Western Trademark rally three-wide off the last turn for a 1:54.1 victory in rein to Sean Bier.

Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (May 16) evening, with first post scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Splitsville strikes again in Tioga feature; Marohn wins three

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

After making a strong push to the fore on the backstretch, the Harmon Racing Stable's Splitsville ($8.20) held clear in the final quarter mile, prevailing in the $14,000 Open I trot on Saturday (May 10) evening at Tioga Downs after last week's triumph.

Splitsville powered clear in the $14,000
Open I Trot (Fred Brown photo)
The five-year-old Hard Rock N Roll gelding sat well off pacesetter Lutetium (Greg Merton) through initial splits of :27.2 and :56.2 before being angled wide by Jim Marohn, Jr. on the backstretch.  Splitsville pushed to the front upon immediate asking, opening up a clear margin on the field as Lutetium gave way without any fight at all.  Sixteen Mikes (Mike Simons) tracked Splitsville's cover into second, a position he would hold albeit 2-1/2 lengths in arrears at the wining post, while Grey Ice (Jim Meittinis) made a late bid to take third behind Splitsville's 1:54.4 mile.

The sub-featured $11,000 Open II trot saw Brookroad Knight (Corey Braden) make a first-over push on the backstretch, battling with Dough Dough (Mike Simons) on the far turn en route to a half-length 1:54.2 win.

Marohn, the leading driver at Tioga in 2013, scored a trio of wins on the 11-race card, driving Consumer Rate and J R Jazz to victory in addition to his feature win.

Live racing returns to Tioga on Sunday (May 11), with the first of 11 races on Mother's Day scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Rock N Load too tough in Tioga feature; Byron wins four

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Under pressure from Mc Taylor on the far turn, Edward and James Hall's Rock N Load ($3.40) dug in at head-stretch, prevailing against five rivals in the $14,000 Miracle Mile 1 event for distaff pacers on Friday (May 9) evening at Tioga Downs.

Rock N Load prevails in the Miracle Mile 1 distaff pace
(Fred Brown photo)
Aaron Byron floated clear on the first turn with the six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare, yielding the lead to Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.) after a sensible :28.1 first quarter.  Just upon settling into the pocket, Rock N Load was back on the move, reclaiming the top position with a circuit to go before bracing for the first-over Mc Taylor on the backstretch.  The two dueled through the far turn with the pace quickening before the Daniel Gill trained Rock N Load kicked away off the corner, prevailing for a strong 1-1/4 length win over Mc Taylor in 1:53.1 over a fast track.  Southwind Trini was all-out from the pocket to hold third.

Byron's winning ways didn't stop after the opener; he also took the sub-featured $9,000 Miracle Mile 2 distaff pace with Sinspirational in 1:53.1, along with a sweep of the late double, driving Typical Newyorker (1:59.2) and Canaco Star (1:55.0) to seal a four-win night.

Live racing resumes at Tioga Downs on Saturday evening, with an 11-race card kicking off at 6:15 p.m. EDT.

Tioga Downs signs labor agreements with area unions and employers.


Contact:  Linn Redder
Tioga Downs Marketing VP

Continuing its careful, deliberate application for a full casino gaming license - based on genuine long-standing relationships - Tioga Downs today announced signed labor agreements with area unions and employers.

With the Rochester Regional Joint Board, Workers United Tioga Downs has committed to a Labor Peace Agreement for its employees. For those working on construction of facilities, Tioga Downs has secured commitments from LPCiminelli Construction to use only union labor.

“How Tioga Downs advances its application for a full casino gaming license matters a lot,”  said Tioga Downs CEO Jeff Gural. “Ensuring that our employees have protected labor rights and options is a critical aspect of our relationships, and is absolutely consistent with the type of neighbor and active civic partner Tioga Downs has always been and always will be.”

Kyle Tuttle, Senior Vice President of LPCiminelli said, “We are very pleased to be part of these labor agreements that are critical for realizing Mr. Gural’s vision for the future of Tioga Downs.  There is a very talented union workforce in this region which will be a huge benefit in delivering this exciting project.”

“A full range of employee protections and rights is the backbone of successful businesses and development projects,” added Gary J. Bonadonna Jr., Assistant Manager, Workers United, Rochester Regional Joint Board. “Jeff Gural and Tioga Downs have negotiated in good faith, continuing to show themselves as deeply valued members of our regional community.”

Labor agreements are a required component of applications for full casino gaming licenses, under rules promulgated by the New York State Gaming Commission and Casino Siting Board. Applications detailing all aspects of planned development, operations, and finances are due by all applicants, in regions throughout New York State, by the end of June. Full non-Indian casino gaming is now allowed in New York State under legislation passed twice in Albany and then approved by New York voters through a “yes or no” referendum question which was on the November 2013 ballot.

Labor leaders attending today’s announcement include:

    • Dan Richardson – President of the Binghamton-Oneonta Building Trades
    • Bob Holden – IBEW Local 139
    • Tom Spicer – IBEW Local 325
    • Richard Messina – Local 17
    • Dean Tamburri – Local 17
    • Bob Reap – Local 30
    • Daniel Jackson – Painters Local 178
    • Scott Colton – Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters
    • David Marsh – Laborer’s Local 785
    • Jim Rounds – Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 112
    • Steve Harvey
    • Scott Stringer
    • Tony Diperna
    • Chris Bushnell- Laborer’s Local
    • Bryan Allen – Plumbers Union
    • John Farewell - Teamsters

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fireyourguns 3-for-3 in 2014 with Tioga victory

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

After beating top company at Buffalo and Vernon, Fireyourguns ($3.00) scored his third victory in as many seasonal starts in Sunday (May 4) afternoon's $14,000 Open Pace at Tioga Downs.

Fireyourguns reels off his fourth consecutive
win; third in 2014. (Fred Brown photo)
The five-year-old American Ideal gelding floated to the front early on, setting even fractions of :28, :56, and 1:23.4 while Mystical Valentine (Jason Ryan) chased from the loose pocket throughout.  On the far turn, Aaron Byron called upon Fireyourguns to draw clear, and the response was instant, as the 1-2 favorite opened up to a 3-1/2 length advantage before reaching the top of the stretch.  Prairie Jaguar (Jim Marohn, Jr.) angled to the outside just off the turn to put in a late bid, rallying to be second, while Mystical Valentine was a tiring third.  Fireyourguns was measured in the last sixteenth of a mile en route to a 1:51.4 win with plenty in reserve.

Trainer Terence McClory co-owns Fireyourguns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe.

Earlier in the card, the Jeff Sorenson-trained Golden Gun prevailed in the $11,000 Open II Pace, holding off a late challenge from the pocket-sitting Bettorsluckystreak to win in 1:55.1 in rein to Jim Marohn, Jr.

Live racing resumes on Friday evening, with first post at 6:15 p.m.

Derby fest at Tioga Downs

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Marohn sweeps Tioga Opening Night features

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Saturday (May 3) saw last year's Tioga Downs driving champion Jim Marohn, Jr. pick up right where he left off, as he swept both $14,000 feature races on Opening Night 2014 in the Southern Tier.

Splitsville scores in the first race
of the 2014 season (Fred Brown photo)
"The Mighty Mite Part Two" wasted no time establishing himself at the top of the driver standings, taking the $14,000 Open Trot with Splitsville ($3.90) in race one.  After I Love New York (Bruce Clarke) and Grey Ice (Jim Meittinis) contested the early lead, Marohn brushed the five-year-old Hard Rock N Roll gelding to the fore with a circuit to go, pulling clear in deep stretch to a 2-3/4 length victory over Grey Ice in 1:56.2.  Jaipur (Fern Paquet, Jr.), who had won his last two races at Vernon, finished third.

Marohn prevailed in the $14,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace as well, digging in with pace-setting Southwind Trini ($17.00) to stave off a late bid from the pocket-sitting Whistys Paradise (Mike Merton) en route to a 1:53.3 victory.  Asset Management (Fern Paquet, Jr.) rallied from far back to take third, just missing the second spot by a neck.

While Jim Marohn, Jr. scored another driving win with New York Attitude in a first-level conditioned trot, the sweep of the features also constituted a training double for Rob Harmon on the evening.

Live racing resumes at Tioga on Sunday (May 4) afternoon, with the first of thirteen races to begin at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Open events, Kentucky Derby festivities headline Tioga opening weekend

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

A pair of $14,000 Open events headline the Saturday (May 3) program at Tioga Downs, which begin their ninth season of live harness racing this weekend.

A quintet of trotters contest the first race co-feature, with Jaipur (Fern Paquet, Jr., 7-5 morning line) shipping in after scoring consecutive wins at Vernon against top trotters there.  Splitsville (Jim Marohn, Jr., 5-2) and Grey Ice (Jim Meittinis, 3-1) are also in pursuit of repeat wins, returning from Saratoga after front-end victories last week.  Seven distaff pacers comprise the other headline field of the evening in race six, with Rocks N Bagels (Aaron Byron, 3-1) coming in off a dominant 1:50.4 score at Vernon.

First post for Saturday's 10-race card is 5:00 p.m. EDT, with a break after the third race for simulcasting of the Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs.  In line with Derby Day festivities, Tioga Downs will offer mint juleps, live music through the day, and will offer one lucky fan a $1,000 win wager on one horse in the Derby--with the winnings theirs to keep.

Sunday (May 4) afternoon's 13-race card kicks off at 1:30 p.m., with a $14,000 Open pace serving as the afternoon's top event.  Pompano standout Prairie Jaguar (Jim Marohn, Jr., 3-1) will likely attract much attention in the six-horse Open field, but won't be without competition.  Fireyourguns (Aaron Byron, 7-2) is 2-for-2 this year so far, most recently scoring a 1:50.2 win at Vernon, while Real Flight (Brandon Simpson, 6-1) and Modern Day Clyde (Mike Simons, 2-1) enter after competing in top conditioned events at Yonkers most recently.

For a complete racing schedule, handicapping resources including race analysis, race replays, and trip notes, visit