Nichols, NY - Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have announced their 2014 stakes schedule, with an estimated $4.3 million in purses to attract the top horses in New York and across North America throughout the season. Tioga Downs opens their stakes season on Sunday, June 1 with the $200,000e Roll With Joe Open Pace. New York Sire Stakes races mark the calendar through June and July, leading up to the $350,000e Tompkins-Geers Stakes for two- and three-year-olds of both gaits. Unlike years past, where the Tompkins-Geers Stakes have been contested throughout an entire week of racing, two-year-old pacers will have their events on Sunday, August 3, while two-year-old trotters and three-year-olds of both gaits will race on Sunday, August 17. Between the Tompkins-Geers events, New York-sired sophomore pacers will take the spotlight on Sunday, August 10 in the $500,000e Empire Breeders Classic, with separate events for each sex. If needed, eliminations are scheduled for the week prior. Labor Day (Monday, September 1) proves to be a banner day in the Southern Tier, with a trio of stakes events headlining the afternoon. The $110,000e Shady Daisy for three-year-old pacing fillies and a $40,000e preliminary leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares comprise the undercard features for the day, while three-year-old pacers take center stage in the $350,000e Cane Pace-the first leg of the Triple Crown for pacers. The $125,000 Reynolds Stakes for two-year-olds closes out the stakes schedule at Tioga, with trotting divisions on Thursday, September 4, and pacing divisions on Friday, September 12. Vernon Downs kicks off their stakes season on Sunday, June 8, with New York-sired three-year-old trotters contesting the $500,000e Empire Breeders Classic (like the pacers, separate events are held for each sex). If eliminations are necessary, they will take place on Friday, May 30. New York Sire Stakes events cover the early summer months, leading up to the first of two big nights at Vernon on Friday, August 29. The $700,000e Harry Zweig Memorial Trot for three-year-olds once again serves as the centerpiece of the Vernon Downs stakes schedule, with top open trotters sharing the spotlight that night in the $200,000e Crawford Farms Trot (formerly known as the Credit Winner). Two-year-olds of both gaits and sexes contest the $100,000e Simpson Stakes on Friday, October 24, leading up to a blockbuster Closing Night program, featuring a trio of rich events on Saturday, November 1. Two-year-old trotters wrap up the Kindergarten Classic series with a $200,000e final, and top distaffers compete in a pair of $200,000e events as well-trotters in the Muscle Hill, and pacers in the Artiscape, which moved to Vernon after being raced at Tioga in past seasons. Nomination forms and more information can be found at www.tiogadowns.com and www.vernondowns.com. by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs
NICHOLS, NY - Tioga Downs is proud to announce that James Witherite, one of the top young announcers in harness racing, will become the track's full-time race caller beginning with the 2014 racing season. The 27-year-old Pennsylvania native has spent the past seven years as the track announcer at Harrah's Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack. Witherite has also called races at more than 60 harness and thoroughbred tracks throughout North America. "I have always been impressed with every aspect of the racing product at Tioga," said Witherite, who has had the opportunity over the past few years to call a couple of race cards each season at Tioga Downs. "While I've enjoyed a great seven years at Philadelphia and called some remarkable miles there, I'm looking forward to this new endeavor." In addition to announcing the races, Witherite will provide his race analysis and commentary in the racing program and on the Tioga Downs website. He will also conduct fan education seminars, meet-and-greets with on-track visitors and even play live music. Witherite is an accomplished multi-instrumental musician and composer. "We've always had a rotating cast of announcers during our race meet, but when it became apparent that James was available, we jumped at the opportunity to get not only one of the premier race callers in our sport, but also a talented and passionate promoter of all aspects of the industry," said Jason Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing. "We have great racing here at Tioga and James will only enhance that product," said Jason Bluhm, Senior Director of Racing. "We plan on creating a pre-race show among other enhancements to our live product and James will be an important part of that. I feel privileged to have him join the team." Witherite will begin his new role this winter working as a fan education ambassador at Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Tioga's sister property located in East Rutherford, New Jersey. He will then relocate to Tioga Downs when its racing season begins. The ninth season of live racing at Tioga Downs is scheduled to begin on Kentucky Derby Day, May 3, 2014 (pending regulatory approval). by Justin Horowitz for Tioga Downs
An effortless :25.4 third quarter propelled Francis Azur's Lonewolf Currier ($2.80) to a dominant victory in his $79,182 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday (June 14) afternoon.
Could Gallie Bythe Beach be a champion in the making? By the looks of her dominant 1:52.2 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes win at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday (July 12) afternoon, the two-year-old filly packs a lot of punch, possesses a lot of potential, and shows promise for a prosperous career.
James Witherite is comfortable with improvising, whether it is behind a microphone calling harness racing at Harrah's Philadelphia or in front of a crowd playing jazz.
After Wednesday (March 27) afternoon's harness racing Pick 4 was not hit at Harrah's Philadelphia, leaving a carryover of over $3500, Thursday (March 27) afternoon's Pick 4 will carry a $10,000 guaranteed pool.
A ferocious open-stretch rally propelled Transcending ($3.40) to a harness racing victory in the featured $23,000 conditioned pace on Friday (March 8) evening's Opening Night card at Harrah's Philadelphia.
Harrah's Philadelphia harness racing caller James Witherite continues to make waves in the American music industry.
Was the Super Bowl XLVII the greatest sporting event on earth as the Americans claim? Surely not! Most of the world doesn't even play the game. In fact there are more countries that partake in harness racing.
Officials at Harrah's Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack have released the 2013 live harness racing racing schedule (pending PHRC approval), with the 150-day season slated to begin on the evening of Friday, March 8.
Prior to the Super Stakes Sunday card on August 19 at Harrah's Philadelphia, harness racing fans are welcome to meet and greet the Harrah's Philadelphia driver colony on the grandstand patio from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
A star-studded harness racing cast, including Fan Hanover winner American Jewel, Hambletonian winner Market Share, and Meadowlands Pace winner A Rocknroll Dance, headlines the fifth annual Super Stakes Sunday at Harrah's Philadelphia, slated for Sunday (August 19) afternoon.
Horsemen are reminded that entries for the fifth annual Super Stakes Sunday harness racing card at Harrah's Philadelphia will be taken until Wednesday, August 15. The box closes at 9:00 a.m for the blockbuster card, which will take to the track on Sunday, August 19 at 1:30 p.m.
Sitting second-over behind odds-on favourite We Will See, harness racing trainer Peter Tritton's Malak Uswaad N ($19.60) showed a strong three-wide stretch kick to just beat Meirs Hanover in the featured $50,000 Open Pace on Sunday (July 22) afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia.
After a remarkable debut victory which raised the attention of many, two-year-old pacing colt Sir Richard Z Tam ($2.40) proved he was no harness racing fluke during his $70,795 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division on Thursday (July 12) afternoon's 14-race program at Harrah's Philadelphia.
Fueled by a carryover in excess of $4500, Harrah's Philadelphia offers a $15,000 guaranteed pool in its Pick 4 on Wednesday (June 20) afternoon's card.