Day At The Track

Vernon Downs and HHACNY at Stalemate

02:00 PM 31 May 2020 NZST
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Vernon Downs
Vernon Downs
Columbus, OH –  Negotiations over a revision to the existing contract between Vernon Downs management and the Harness Horse Association of Central New York have reached an impasse as that track prepares for their announced June 10 opening.

Some of the issues involved in the discussions to amend their existing agreement have included the number of racing days and schedule as well as purses for overnight, sire stakes and stakes races.  A disagreement on the level of stakes’ purses remains.

Since the closing of New York State casinos in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual revenue stream to the horsemen’s purse accounts has been cut off.  And while New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has granted permission to resume horse racing on June 1, there is still a delay in the casino openings and an expectation of limited capacity restrictions when they do.

Despite that delay, Vernon Downs’ track and casino owner Jeff Gural has indicated that he is prepared to start the live meet in advance of opening the casino and will personally fund any shortfall to get them started racing to provide local horsemen, who have been struggling financially, with a place to race.

According to Joe Faraldo, counsel for the HHACNY, the horsemen have negotiated in good faith regarding the need to reduce racing days and purses with the understanding that everyone will have to take a hit economically.  He indicated that Rick Papa, president of the local horsemen’s association, had signed and submitted the amendment to the existing contract based upon the product of the negotiations on Thursday evening (May 28).

Aside from the NY Sire Stakes, only two stakes remain on the Vernon Downs schedule, The Empire Breeders Classic for state-bred 3-year-old trotters and the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial, which showcases some of the top 3-year-old trotters in the sport.

Gural indicated that failing to reach an acceptable compromise, Vernon Downs will not reopen for racing until the casino opens, which might be as late as mid-July.

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: