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Vernon, NY - The 47th Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial, an open event for harness racing 3-year-old trotting fillies and colts, will be raced on Saturday, August 28.   A release from January 4 contained an incorrect date.   Long a test of the top of the crop, last year's Zweig featured Hambletonian winner Ramona Hill winning the Zweig Filly and Hambo runner-up Ready For Moni winning the Open division.   Payment information may be found on the HHBNYS website.            

Nichols, NY - The $1 million(e) Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) stakes for harness racing 3-year-old New York sired trotters and pacers will be raced without eliminations in 2021. This format was implemented for the 2020 EBC trotting races and the 2020 EBC colt pace went straight to the final with ten declarations.   In 2021, should ten or fewer declare for any of the EBCs, the stake will go as a single division for the total purse. If eleven or more declare the stake shall be raced in divisions with the purse split equally and the entry fee reduced accordingly.   The EBC colt and filly trots are scheduled for Vernon Downs on Friday, June 18 and the pacers will race at Tioga Downs on Sunday, August 29.   The 2021 $650,000(e) Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial will be raced at Vernon on Sunday, August 28 using the "Main events/consolation" format as it has been for the past several years.   The W.N. Reynolds stakes for 2-year-olds will return to Tioga for 2021 and all divisions are scheduled for Friday, September 3.   Vernon and Tioga Downs are set to begin the 2021 live racing season at the customary starting dates for the pair of Upstate New York venues.   Vernon starts first on Saturday, April 17 while Tioga gets underway on Saturday, May 1.   Contact Racing Operations Manager Brett Risi at BRisi@TiogaDowns.com or (607) 699-7688 for answers.          

Vernon Downs Casino Hotel is the ultimate central location for all your casino gaming and harness racing and horse racing needs. And this place comes with quite a history, as it’s the track where Adios Harry ran the “Miracle Mile.” You may have heard of it, and if you have, you will know that this racino is located near Syracuse, New York. Over the next five decades, the track faced its difficulties via increased competition from opposing racetracks and even bingo halls. And by 2001, the track nearly closed. However, the track received a VLT license, and it also hosted live entertainment besides horse racing, likely saving it from closure. And today, Vernon Downs is a thriving casino in New York State and one of the hotter destinations in the Syracuse area. Today’s post will provide you a tour of the casino and what to expect if you venture upstate while gambling in New York. Vernon Downs Casino Hotel Overview At Vernon Downs, you will find some exciting harness racing along with 209 real money slots, a hotel, eight dining options, entertainment, and promotions. You will also find venues here to host your next group conference, wedding reception, meeting, and similar events. This isn’t a big casino unlike many others in the State of New York, and you will still know it more for its original purpose as a racetrack. However, it has grown over the past two decades, and you can make a surefire bet that it will continue to grow via increased demand and competition in the area. Let’s discover what this casino holds. Gaming and Racing at the Vernon Downs Casino Hotel As mentioned in the above section, gaming at Vernon Downs includes 209 slot machines that include your favorite themes along with video poker options and in-house progressions. Denominations range between 1 cent and $5. You will also find safe bet Terminals for betting on horse racing, plus the latest games in the casino’s lottery scratch-off machines. From April to November, you can treat yourself to the most action-packed events in Central New York’s rolling hills. Vernon Downs has hosted events like: The Empire’s Breeders Classic Dr. Harry Zweig Memorial Trot Several New York Sire Stakes races And if you can’t make it to the races, don’t sweat. Tune into the daily simulcasting and fill yourself in all the high-stakes action going on at the track. Vernon Downs Casino Hotel Dining Dining at Vernon Downs Casino Hotel comes in seven shapes and forms. From upscale to casual to trackside concessions, you will indulge in rich and affordable cuisine that you won’t find anywhere else in Oneida County. It starts with Mr. G’s Food and Spirits, where you’re in luck if overstuffed sandwiches and comfort food are your thing. Yeah, they serve salads too, so they have healthy options. But hey, you’re on vacation, so why not enjoy yourself? Located just off the hotel lobby, it’s a solid bet that you will find the best the casino offers. The Triple 777 Corner Cafe features a potluck including sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads, breakfast options, and more. Like Mr. G’s, you’re looking at one of the ultimate comfort food joints in the venue that also serves wings, chicken tenders, quesadillas, chili, and even a limited breakfast. Looking to combine the ultimate dining experience with simulcast wagering at your table? Look no further than Miracle Mile Restaurant. Get a close-up view at the trackside picture windows in the Grandstand Clubhouse and gnaw on your favorite appetizers, entrees, and desserts. If you’re in the mood for specialty crafts, Ring Eyed Pete’s Bar is where you will find the best in Central New York. Couple the variety of specialty beer with an unforgettable atmosphere inside the bar and enjoy a taste of the good life. Conveniently located on the casino floor for easy access. Trackside Concessions features your traditional comfort foods right at the track. From hot dogs to popcorn to hamburgers, get something quick before you head into the grandstand to experience a night of live harness racing. Vernon Downs Casino Hotel Promotions and Entertainment Take full advantage of the promotions at Vernon Downs Casino Hotel with the Rewards Club. Joining the Rewards Club at Vernon Downs Casino Hotel is free, and you will experience the perks and benefits the minute you sign up. That’s right, sign up and the first $100 in free play is on the casino. It pays to play, doesn’t it? But the promotions don’t stop there. When you join the Rewards Club, the more you play your favorite casino games, the more points you will earn in exchange for perks and benefits you won’t discover anywhere else. Just use your new card every time you play, and you will earn 1 point for every dollar you wager. Accumulate as many points as you can and you will receive discounts for food, at the hotel, or the venue’s gift shop. Start off as a Plus member and once you accumulate 2,500 points, move up the rung to the Preferred level. Earn 25,000 base points and you will find yourself at the Premier rung. Hit the 125,000 points range and earn the highest level of perks and benefits at the Elite level. The more you play, the more you earn, the more you will be rewarded for your gaming efforts. Just remember the number of points earned must remain within a 12-month basis from October 1st to September 30th of each year. Watching horse racing is great, but do you need more entertainment in your life? Check out the events calendar at Vernon Downs and see who’s coming to the area when you book your stay at the casino. Past acts have included Gretchen Wilson, Love and Theft, Joan Jett, Jerrod Niemann, Clint Black, and The Boss Bruce Springsteen. Discover which major, world-class act will heat up the Events Center when you book your stay at Vernon Downs Casino Hotel and rock out to the greatest live music and entertainment in Oneida County. Vernon Downs Casino Hotel Accommodations and Nearby Attractions The hotel at Vernon Downs Casino Hotel is the perfect place to crash if you need a place to stay in the area when you have finished watching the races and gaming for the day. This 100% smoke-free venue is just a short walk away from the track and adjoins the casino, giving you quick access to the gaming floor. And if you came to Vernon Downs with the family, you will find a variety of family-friendly activities at the venue. They include an indoor heated pool and whirlpool, an arcade, and a game area. They will also find activities on the track that include Kid Zone plus the bounce houses during the racing season. Looking to explore the area? You will find nearby attractions at every turn. If you love history, then you’re all set to explore Oneida County. One of the points of interest include the Fort Stanwix Monument. This reconstructed fort is a replica of the original, which guarded a portage called the Oneida Carry during the French and Indian War. American forces also took control of the fort during the American Revolutionary War before the British launched a siege at the fort. Having abandoned the siege, their actions in doing so contributed to the latter’s defeat at Saratoga. i You will also find two more historic sites in the area: the Steuben Memorial Historic Site and the Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site. The Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site marks the Battle of Oriskany, one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolutionary War. Here, you will find a visitor’s center, a museum, hiking trails, tours, and re-enactments. You may also meet a few ghosts, too. So, if you’re into the paranormal, you got a hot spot. And the Steuben Memorial State Historic Site commemorates Baron von Steuben. The land itself was part of the 16,000-acre land grant to von Steuben for his services to the Continental Army. He often stayed at the site during the summer. Here, you will find a memorial tomb, a reconstructed cabin, historical markers, and a memorial plaque. Conclusion Vernon Downs won’t give you all the thrills of your traditional casino with its limited slots and lack of casino table games. However, guests come to this racino for its horse racing and immense dining options. So, if you’re into harness racing, Vernon Downs is the casino for you. The area is also rich with history from the American Revolutionary War. And if you’re into American history or just into the history of one of America’s finest chapters, it gives you even more of a reason to come to Vernon Downs. Have you been to this racino in Oneida County? If so, share your experience. We’re always looking for casino feedback. By Jeremiah Booker Reprinted with permission of bestuscasinos

Golden Gun (Jeff Sorenson) captures the $4,400 featured harness racing pace on closing night at Vernon Downs on Friday (September 26). Golden Gun ($22.00) went straight to the front and led to the first quarter in :26.3. Chip Walther (Leon Bailey) followed second with Chatelroll (Truman Gale) in third. Golden Gun controlled the pace with a :29.0 second quarter hitting the half in :55.3. As they headed for three-quarters Golden Gun hung on to a slight lead getting there first in1:23.1. As the made the turn for home they were three across the track as Golden Gun was joined by Chip Walther and Chatelroll. Golden Gun dug in as Chaptelroll backed off. It was down to two Golden Gun and Chip Walther battling in deep stretch. In the end Golden Gun was too tough winning in 1:51.1. Chip Walther was second but placed fifth for interference with Chatelroll as they headed to three-quarters. Late-charging Clouseau Hanover (Jennifer Lappe) was awarded second. Johnnysfirecracker (Chris Long) finished third.   Golden Gun is a 10-year-old gelding by Headmaster. He is owned by the Wiz Kids Stables and trained by Sorenson. It was his third win this season and 38th career victory. Chris Long drove three winners on the card. Jennifer Lappe had a driving-training double on the night. Gary Levine trained two winners on his birthday. Leon Bailey is top driver of 2020 Leon Bailey wins the Vernon Downs dash title with 47 victories at the Miracle Mile. He is now on a prestigious list that includes his grandfather Vernon Downs legend, Jack (The Ripper) Bailey. Jack won multiple titles during his reign at Vernon. Long time defending champion John MacDonald finished second in 2020 with 43 tallies. Howard Parker (30), Jimmy Whittemore (24), and Jennifer Lappe (16) round out the top five. Kerin Warner takes training title Kerin Warner led all trainers in 2020 with 19 wins. George Ducharme finished second with 17 tallies. Claude Huckabone III, Jennifer Lappe, and David Dewhurst tied for third with 16 wins each. Jenny Lake earns 2020 horse of the year Jenny Lake used eight wins in 12 starts at Vernon Downs this season to capture horse of the year honors. The trotter is a 4-year-old mare by RC Royalty. Her regular driver was Leon Bailey. She is trained by Paul Minckler for owners Ed Namiotka Jr. and Carol Namiotka. Vernon Downs would like to thank all fans and horse people for a successful 2020 season even with all the obstacles thrown our way. We can't wait for the 2021 season. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

Jenny Lake (Leon Bailey) rolls to an easy win in the $5,200 featured harness racing  trot at Vernon Downs on Friday (September 25). The 2020 Vernon Downs Horse of the Year, Jenny Lake ($2.40) jumped right to the front and led to a first quarter of :27.2. She was followed in the pocket by American JJ (Michael Miller) and she used a :29.1 second quarter to hit the half in :56.3. She trotted to three-quarters in 1:25.4. As they made the turn for home Amercican JJ gave everything he had but Jenny Lake found another gear and was much the best as she equaled her lifetime best of 1:54.1. Amercan JJ put in a valiant effort but had to settle for second best. Haveitalltogether (Chris Long) finished third.   Jenny Lake is a 4-year-old mare by RC Royalty. She is trained by Paul Minckler for owners Ed Namiotka Jr. and Carol Namiotka. It was her eighth win this season all at Vernon Downs. She now has 15 career victories. Leading driver Leon Bailey had a driving double on the card. He got his other win with the Kerin Warner trained Bet Big On Blue ($5.90). With Just one night of racing left, Kerin Warner leads all trainer with 19 wins. George Ducharme is second best with 17 tallies. Claude Huckabone III is just three back with 16 victories. David Dewhurst is fourth with 15 wins. Jennifer Lappe, and Brandy Wine are tied for fifth with 14 wins each. Vernon Downs returns to live racing with closing night for the 2020 season on Saturday (September 26) starting at 3:00 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs  

Golden Gun takes the $3,600 pace at Vernon Downs on Saturday (September 29).  Golden Gun ($19.80) squeezed in between horses and took the lead with a lap remaining and led to the first quarter in :26.3.  He used a :28.4 second quarter to hit the half first in :55.2.  Rise Up Now (Leon Bailey) followed in the pocket as Juxlivin My Dream (Chris Long) was the first to make a move going first-over but could not gain much.  Golden Gun led to three-quarters in 1:23.3.  As they made the turn for home Rise Up Now popped out of the pocket but was just spinning his wheels.  Chatelroll (Truman Gale) found an opening in deep stretch and came charging late but Golden Gun held firm and won in 1:52.4.  Chatelroll had to settle for second.  Clouseau Hanover (Jennifer Lappe) came up to finish third.  Golden Gun is a 10-year-old gelding by Headmaster.  He is owned by the Wiz Kids Stables and trained by Sorenson.  It was win number two of 2020.  He now owns 37 career victories.  Truman Gale, Chris Long, and Josh Kinney each had driving the doubles on the night.  Gale won with Ladyyouaregorgeous ($17.60) and Mama’s Gift ($5.10).  Long got wins with Wishyou’dtellme ($10.20) and Johnnysfirecracker ($16.40).  Kinney reach the winner’s circle with Rocknroll Captain ($11.40) and Star Track Hanover ($32.20).  As we head to the last weekend of racing Leon Bailey pulled ahead with 44 wins to lead all drivers in victories.  He leads Vernon Downs legend John MacDonald by just one race.  Kerin Warner got a victory and leads all trainers with 18 victories just one ahead of George Ducharme.  Just two live racing dates left at Vernon Downs this season.  They will race on Friday (September 25) and Saturday (Saturday 26) starting at 3:00 p.m.  For more information go to www.vernondowns.com     John Horne for Vernon Downs

American JJ (Michael Miller) captures the $4,400 featured harness racing trot at Vernon Downs on Friday (September 18). Spoiler Alert (McGwire Sowers) went right to the front and led to the first quarter in :28.3. Warrawee Preferred (Leon Bailey) came first-up from third and took control as they reached the top of the backstretch. Spoiler Alert made a break and American JJ ($11.80) inherited the pocket as Warrawee Preferred led to the half in :58.0. He would continue to lead as they hit three-quarters in 1:26.3. As they made the turn for home American JJ popped out of the pocket and battled for the lead. American JJ took the lead as they reached mid-stretch and rolled to victory holding off a late charge by second place finisher Volare (Dylan-Huckabone Miller) in 1:56.4. Pound Sterling (Brett Crawford) finished third.   American JJ is a 7-year-old gelding by Jailhouse Jesse. Owned by Lewis and Lisa Miller and also trained by Michael Miller. It was his sixth win of the season and 23rd career victory. Leon Bailey had a driving double while Dan Daley had a training-driving double. Bailey got his wins with Umberto ($2.20) and Some Royalty ($9.00). Daley won with Torre Pines ($2.40) and Lady Jeter ($3.20). With his two wins Leon Bailey is tied with John MacDonald as top driver with 43 trips to the winner's circle. Howard Parker (30), Jimmy Whittemore (24), Brett Crawford (13), and Jennifer Lappe (13) round out the top five. The trainers title remains wide open with only three racing dates left in the season. Kerin Warner and George Ducharme are tied for first with 17 tallies each. Claude Huckabone III is third with 15 victories. David Dewhurst and Brandy Wine are tied for fourth with 14 wins each. Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (September 19) starting at 3:00 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

The Harness Horse Association of Central New York (HHACNY), the Gaming Commission-recognized representative horsemen’s association at Vernon Downs Racetrack, together will the Management of Vernon Downs, announced today that the last live race card for 2020 will be conducted on Saturday, September 26.   HHACNY President Rick Papa stated, “While the viral pandemic that afflicted the nation was raging, we were quite fortunate to have been able to commence the 2020 race season, albeit later than we desired. Still, from the very moment the Governor announced the lifting of the moratorium on live racing, both the horsemen and management worked extremely hard to start the meet. Then, without the benefit of any revenue from the still shuttered video lottery terminal parlor (racino), we were able to offer competitive, full card harness racing without interruption.” President Papa continued, “Though the 2020 meet was scheduled to continue through November 7, it is only in just the last few days that the racino was given permission to reopen. Rather than subject the horsemen to a debilitated purse structure through the fall portion of the meet, it was jointly decided to cease racing at the end of September. This timed closure will ensure that by the anticipated opening of the 2021 season, the horsemen’s account will be fully replenished, such that owners, trainers and drivers will race for competitive purses. On behalf of the horsemen, I thank everyone involved including track management for its input into this important decision.” Vernon Downs President, Jeff Gural stated,“I want to thank the HHACNY for working with us this season as obviously the pandemic has been devastating to the industry.  I think we succeeded in providing an opportunity for our horsemen to get their horses raced the last few months including the all important NY Sire Stakes Program.  Despite the pandemic, horses need to be fed and cared for and with no income coming in it was a major hardship.  Let’s hope we can reopen on time in the spring and the pandemic will be a distant unpleasant memory.” Subject to New York State Gaming Commission approval, the 2021 race meet is scheduled to start in mid-April.   Management of Vernon Downs Racetrack

Haveitalltogether (Chris Long) and Notwithoutafight (John MacDonald) each capture $3,600 harness racing features at Vernon Downs on Saturday (September 12). In the featured trot, Haveitalltogether ($7.30) charged right out to the lead and led to the first quarter in :27.4. Stache (Alessandro Spano) came first-up and took over as they headed to the backstretch and led to the half in :57.2. Haveitalltogether made a move first-over from third as Stache continued to lead and hit three-quarters first in 1:27.1. As they made the turn for home Stache and Haveitalltogether were shoulder to shoulder. The two of them dueled down the stretch with Haveitalltogether taking full control in deep stretch to win in a seasonal best in 1:56.1. Stache held on for second. Nanuet (John MacDonald) came up to finish third. Haveitalltogether is a 5-year-old gelding by Cantab Hall. Owned by Mark Taylor, Toby Russ, Jennifer Russ, and trainer Robyn Mangiardi. It was his second win of the season and his 12th career victory. Notwithoutafight ($2.90) flies late to take the featured pace. Golden Gun (Jeff Sorenson) went to the front and laid down the early fractions. He hit the first quarter in :27.1. He used a :29.3 second quarter to hit the half first in :56.4. Rise Up Now (Leon Bailey) came first-over and came after Golden Gun. Golden Gun hit three-quarters first in 1:25.2. As they made the turn for home Notwithoutafight was fourth and took off down the stretch. He went three-wide to blow right on by to win in a lifetime best of 1:52.4. Golden Gun held on for second. Clouseau Hanover (Jennifer Lappe) came up late to finish third. Notwithoutafight is a 4-year-old gelding by Art Major. He is owned by Ross Bonafield and trained by Brandy Wine. It was his third win of 2020. He now has five career wins. Notwithoutafight                                             --Fotowon photo MacDonald drove three winners on the day. Truman Gale and Brett Crawford each drove two winners on the card. Brandy Wine had a training double. Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 18) starting at 3:00 p.m. by John Horne for Vernon Downs

"Lightening" Leon Bailey had a harness racing career day driving five horses to the winner's circle at Vernon Downs on Saturday (September 5). He got his wins with So Diva ($28.00) in race one. His second win came in race four with The Blazing Truth ($7.80). He would finish first in race seven, nine, and ten with Intuitive Writer ($5.90), Rise Up Now ($17.20), and Bet Big On Blue ($6.40). "I sure felt like I could do no wrong today!" Bailey said. Clouseau Hanover (Jennifer Lappe) captures the $3,600 featured pace. Daliocity (Chris Long) went to the front and led to the first quarter in :26.2. Golden Gun (Jeff Sorenson) was parked first-over and challenged Daliocity down the backstretch. Daliocity held a slight lead hitting the half first in :56.0. He still led to three-quarters in 1:25.2. As they made the turn for home the race was wide open. Rockaholic (Evan Hoagland) took a slight lead as they reached the stretch. Then Bringer Of Rain (John Macdonald) came four-deep and looked like he was going to emerge as the winner. However, Clouseau Hanover ($4.40), who was eighth after three-quarters, slipped through an opening as they were five across the track. He flew right on by second place finisher Bringer Of Rain to win in 1:54.2. Rockaholic held on for third.   Lappe and Truman Gale each had driving doubles on the night. Clouseau Hanover is a 6-year-old gelding by Western Ideal. Lappe trains and co-owns with Robert Santagata. He is a 6-year-old gelding by Western Ideal. It was his second win this season. He now has 19 career victories. John MacDonald is leading all drivers with 39 wins so far this season. With his five wins Leon Bailey is only two back in second with 37 victories. Howard Parker (30), Jimmy Whittemore (24), and Roman Lopez (12) round out the top five. The trainers title remains wide open. George Ducharme and Kerin Warner (who had two winners on the card) are tied with 15 wins each. David Dewhurst is third with 14 victories. Claude Huckabone III is just two back with 13 tallies. Paul Minckler, and Brandy Wine are close behind with 12 wins each. Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 11) starting at 3:00 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

Vernon Downs played host for two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for sophomore harness racing trotting colts & geldings on Friday (September 4). Barn Holden (Mark MacDonald) holds on to win the $55,000 first division. Hobbs (Jason Bartlett) jumped out to the early lead but Barn Holden ($6.10) went by and took over with a lap to go. He hit the first quarter first in :27.3. He used a :29.1 second quarter to hit the half in :56.4. He would cruise to three-quarters in 1:25.4. Hobbs would make his move popping out of the pocket as they made the turn for home. Barn Holden dug in as Hobbs tried to get closer. Sky Castles (Scott Zeron) came three-wide in deep stretch. Hobbs gave one last lunge and Sky Castle a late surge but in the end Barn Holden held on to win by a nose in 1:54.2. Hobbs got second with Sky Castles taking third.   Barn Holden is a 3-year-old colt by Conway Hall. He is Owned by Nancy Pratt, Out In The Country Stables, Purple Haze Stables, and trainer Steven Pratt. It was his fourth win this season and seventh career victory. Chaptiama (Trond Smedshammer) captures the $56,000 second division. Third Shift (Ake Svanstedt) went straight to the front with Berkery J (Scott Zeron) following in second. Third Shift led to the first quarter in :28.3. They remained in single file with no change in the order as Third Shift led to the half in :57.2. As they headed for three-quarters things would change drastically. Third Shift went on a break just as Berkey J was making his move first-over. Third Shift was first to three-quarters in 1:26.1 but he caused interference to Berkey J causing him to go on a break. As they reached the stretch Beerthirty K (Tyler Buter) inherited the lead but right away Chaptiama challenged him. The two sophomores began to slug in out all the way down the stretch with Chaptiama emerging as the winner in 1:55.2. Beerthirty K had to settle for second. Third Shift finished third but was placed fifth for interference. Altus Hanover (John MacDonald) was awarded third money.   Chaptiama is a 3-year-old gelding by Chapter Seven. He is owned by the Purple Haze Stables and trained by Smedshammer. It was his fourth win in 2020. He now has six career victories. Jason Bartlett and Leon Bailey each drove two winners on the card. Bartlett got his wins with Discus Hanover ($2.20) and Grosseto As ($152.00). Bailey went to the winner's circle with The Big Bankroll ($9.40) and Jenny Lake ($5.10). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (September 5) with a 13-race card starting at 3:00 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs  

Vernon Downs welcomes two divisions of the New Yorks Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old harness racing trotting colts & geldings on Friday (September 4).   The Jim Campbell trained Hobbs (Jason Bartlett) is the horse to beat in the $55,000 first division. The gelding by Credit Winner has won four straight races including three legs of the NYSS and a division of the $97,750 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC). He has five lifetime wins and has over $260,000 in the bank.   His chief rival will be the Steven Pratt trained Barn Holden (Mark MacDonald). The colt by Conway Hall has three wins in eight starts this season. He has six career wins and has amassed nearly $200,000 lifetime.   Third Shift (Ake Svanstedt) is the favorite in the $56,000 second division. Svanstedt also trains the Chapter Seven colt. His two wins this season were in a leg of the NYSS and a division of the $97,750 EBC both at Vernon Downs. He has five lifetime wins and career earnings of over $320,000.   His main threats will be Berkery J (Scott Zeron) and Chaptiama (Trond Smedshammer).   Berkery J (Chapter Seven) is trained by George Ducharme. His only win this season was a NYSS win at Vernon Downs. He has four career wins and won over $220,000 lifetime.   The Smedshammer trained Chaptiama (Chapter Seven) has three NYSS wins this year. He boasts five lifetime wins and over $300,000 in winnings.   The 13-race card starts at 3 p.m.   For more information go to www.vernondowns.com   by John Horne, for Vernon Downs    

Leading harness racing driver John MacDonald continued to be red hot as he drove four winners including Brookdale Bruiser in the $4,400 featured pace at Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 29). In the feature, Wind Blast (Josh Kinney) charged to the front and led to the first quarter in :26.4. He continued to push the pace using a :28.1 second quarter to hit the half in :55.0. Brookdale Bruiser sat patiently in the pocket the whole trip as Wind Blast led to three-quarters in 1:22.4. As they made the turn for home Brookdale Bruiser popped out of the pocket and took control in the stretch. Sofer (Leon Bailey) came charging three-wide but Brookdale Bruiser dug in and won in 1:53.0. Sofer settled for second. Yamaka came charging late to finish third.   Brookdale Bruiser is a 6-year-old gelding by Roll With Joe. He is owned by the JP Stables and trained by Brandy Wine. It was his fifth win of 2020. He now has 25 career victories. John MacDonald leads all drivers with 37 wins. Howard Parker and Leon Bailey are tied for second with 30 trips to the winner's circle. Jimmy Whittemore (24) and Roman Lopez (12) round out the top five. The training title remains very tight. George Ducharme and Kerin Warner are tied for the top spot with 13 wins a piece. David Dewhurst, Claude Huckabone III, and Brandy Wine are all just one back with 12 victories each. Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 4) starting at 3:00 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com. by John Horne for Vernon Downs

Vernon Downs played host for two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for harness racing freshmen pacing colts & geldings on Friday (August 28). Trainer Mark Harder sweeps both divisions. Southwind Petyr (Dexter Dunn) charges late to win the $51,300 first division. With unbeaten American Courage out of the race scratched sick, it was a wide-open affair. What About Bob (Troy Beyer) took the lead as they went by the stands for the first time. Southwind Petyr ($5.10) took control just before hitting the first quarter in :27.1. Sauvignon Bluechip (Tyler Buter) came flying first-over from fourth and took command and hit the half first in :56.2. Major Makover (Mark MacDonald) made a move first-over going around the final turn. Sauvignon Bluechip still had a slight lead as he hit three-quarters first in 1:25.1. As they made the turn for home Major Makover came hard at Sauvignon Bluechip in the stretch. Southwind Petyr desperately needed racing room. He finally found an opening on the inside and squeezed right on by to win his first career race hitting the mile in 1:52.4. Major Makover finished second with Sauvignon Bluechip settling for third. Southwind Petyr is a colt by American Ideal-Southwind Paris. He is owned by Deena Frost, Wayne Carleton, Dean Lockhart, and trainer Harder. It was his first win in two career starts. Southwind Petyr King James Express (Jason Bartlett) captures the $50,400 second division. Make My Deo (Tyler Buter) went to the lead and led to the first quarter in :27.0. The big favorite I'll Drink To That (Dexter Dunn) came first-up from third and took the lead hitting the first half on top in :55.1. I'll Drink To That looked strong hitting three-quarter first in 1:23.3. King James Express ($10.60) made his move from third as they reached the stretch. He came flying down the stretch like he was fired out of a cannon. He blew right on by to win in a lifetime best of 1:52.0. I'll Drink To That held on to finish second. Stop Staring (Mark MacDonald) came up to finish third. King James Express is a gelding by Art Major-More Diamonds. Owners Carleton, Frost, and Harder once again teamed up as part of the NYSS sweep. He is now two for six in his career. King James Express Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (August 29) with a 13-race card starting at 3 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com John Horne for Vernon Downs

Vernon Downs welcomes two divisions of the New York Sire stakes (NYSS) for harness racing freshmen pacing colts & geldings on Friday (August 28). In the $51,300 first division all eyes will be on the unbeaten American Courage (Matt Kakaley). The colt by American Ideal-Nota Fool Bluechip is trained by Travis Alexander. So far he has been phenomenal with seven wins in seven starts. He has won four legs of the NYSS plus a big win in the $104,250 MGM Springfield Stakes Final (Yonkers Raceway). The David Dziengiel trained Sauvignon Bluechip (Tyler Buter) should be his toughest rival. The colt by Art Major-Some Girls Do picked up a NYSS victory at Yonkers in his last start. He has finished second to American Courage on two occasions. I'll Drink To That (Dexter Dunn) is the top choice in the $50,400 second division. The colt by American Ideal-Margarita Monday lost by just a half-length to American Courage in his last start. Trained by Chris Ryder, he picked up a NYSS win at Tioga Downs for his only lifetime victory in four lifetime starts. King James Express (Jason Bartlett) and Carrythetorchman (Marcus Miller) should be major contenders. King James Express (Art Major-More Diamonds) is trained by Mark Harder. The gelding has a NYSS win at Saratoga for his lone career victory. The Erv Miller trained Carrythetorchman is a colt by American Ideal-Kattimon. He has two wins in six career starts. The 15-race card starts at 3 p.m. For more information got www.vernondowns.com. John Horne for Vernon Downs  

Noahs Mill (Mitchell Cushing) charges late to capture the $3,600 harness racing featured pace at Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 22). Noahs Mill ($6.40) got the first call but Seel The Deal N (Jennifer Lappe) came flying from his outside post and took control hitting the first quarter first in :26.4. He controlled the pace hitting the half first in :55.2. The first to make a move was The Dough Man (Joe Nassimos) going first-over in to second. Noahs Mill followed second over and took over third as Seel The Deal N still led to three-quarters in 1;23.1. As they made the turn for home Seel The Deal N continued to lead but started to tire. Noahs Mill came flying down the lane as Seel The Deal N dug in. Noahs Mill last lunge was enough to get the victory in 1:52.2. Seel The Deal N had to settle for second. Golden Gun (Claude Huckabone Jr.) was third best. Noahs Mill is a 5-year-old gelding by Camluck. He is owned by Terence Miller and trained by Ashley Eldred. It was his first win of 2020. He has 17 career victories. John MacDonald drove three winners and leads all drivers with 32 wins. Howard Parker had three wins and is two back with 30 tallies so far. Leon Bailey drove two winners and is third with 26 wins. Jimmy Whittemore (24) and Roman Lopez (12) round out the top five George Ducharme and Kerin Warner lead all trainers with 13 trips to the winner's circle each. David Dewhurst is third with 12 victories. Brandy Wine and Claude Huckabone III are tied for fourth with 11 wins a piece. Noahs Mill Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (August 28) starting at 3:00 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com. John Horne for Vernon Downs  

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