The racing season will open southern style with a full day of contests, promotions and entertainment to celebrate the Kentucky Derby on Saturday (May 7). Derbyfest 9 begins at 9 a.m. and ends after midnight.
Promotions include a chance to win horse and jockey beads as well as a $500 cash prize for the most lavish southern fashion in a Derby Hat Contest from 2–4:30 p.m. The popular Derby Dream Bet returns, giving two lucky winners a chance to wager $500 on a single horse in the Kentucky Derby which has a 6:34 p.m. post time. Had last year's winner bet on American Pharoah, they would have won $1,950.
Guests can stay for Tioga Downs' first live harness race of the season with a 5 p.m. post time. Later that evening, visitors can expect $500 cash hot seat drawings every hour from 8 p.m. to midnight on the gaming floor. Live music will entertain audiences beginning with Virgil Cain in the Trackside tent at 4 p.m. and spectacular fireworks are planned at approximately 9:30 p.m. after racing concludes.
Sunday afternoon racing returns this season. Though guests must be 18 to place a wager, families are invited to visit Tioga Downs to experience the excitement of live racing.
All season long, guests can participate in the Horseplay Car Giveaway. For a $1 donation, people will have the chance to toss a mini rubber horse onto a moving car on the track. One winner each night gets $100 and an entry in the grand prize drawing to win a 2015 Toyota Yaris courtesy of the Williams Auto Group. A drawing for the car will be held on closing night. All money raised throughout the season is matched by Tioga Downs and donated to local charities. A different charity receives the proceeds each month. About $10,000 total is donated to charity each racing season.