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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  

Vernon Downs played host to the Harry M. Zweig Memorial races on Friday (August 21). The $160,140 Zweig for 3-year-old trotting fillies and the $330,000 Zweig for 3-year-old open class for trotters. Also, included on the 15-race harness racing card was two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for freshmen trotting colts & geldings. Ramona Hill (Andrew McCarthy) is supreme in the Harry M. Zweig Memorial for fillies. The Hambletonian Oaks winner, Sorella (Dexter Dunn) went on a break right at the start. Ramona Hill ($2.40) easily took the lead heading for the first quarter followed by Hypnotic AM (Brian Sears), Fortune Starlet (Walley Hennessey), and Tricky Sister (Jason Bartlett). Ramona Hill hit the first quarter in :28.0. She was firmly in control using a :28.3 second quarter to coast to the half in :56.3. The order was unchanged with a third panel of :28.0. Ramona Hill led easy as could be to three-quarters in 1:24.3. As they made the turn for home Hypnotic AM was all-out with the chase but McCarthy never moved a muscle and Ramona Hill glided to an easy win in 1:52.0. Hypnotic AM had to settle for second money. Tricky Sister moved up to finish third. Ramona Hill Ramona Hill is a 3-year-old filly by Muscle Hill. The Hambletonian winner is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Brad Grant, Robert LeBlanc, Crawford Farms Racing, and In The Gym Partners. She is four for five as a sophomore and 10 for 12 in her career. Ready For Moni (Matt Kakaley) sets track record in the Harry M. Zweig Memorial open class for 3-year-old trotters. King Alphonso (Dexter Dunn) left the gate first bu Big Oil (Andy Miller) gained control just before hitting the first quarter in :26.4. As they reached the backstretch Back Of The Neck (Scott Zeron) was the first to make a move going first-over to lead to the half in :56.0. Ready For Moni ($3.30) followed the move second over and swooped to the lead as they headed for the final turn. He was strong on the lead using a :27.1 third quarter to get to three-quarters in 1:23.1. As they reached the stretch second place finisher Back Of The Neck gave it everything he had in the chase. Ready For Moni had a lot in the tank and easily won setting a track record for 3-year-old trotting colts in 1:51.1. King Alphonso was a distant third. Ready For Moni Ready For Moni is a 3-year-old colt by Ready Cash. He is trained by Nancy Takter for owners John Fielding, Herb Liverman, Lindy Farm Of Conn, and Bud Hatfield. It was his third win this season with his only loss of the year to Ramona Hill in the Hambletonian. He now has seven career victories none faster than tonight's win. Ambassador Hanover (Ake Svanstedt) and Ahundreddollarbill (Jason Bartlett) each nab NYSS wins. Unbeaten Ambassador Hanover ($3.10) wins the $51,300 first division. Ambassador Hanover went straight to the front but Black Tie Bash (Brian Sears) took over the top spot and led to the first quarter in :28.0. He slowed things down using a :30.1 second quarter to hit the half in :58.1. He continued on the lead and hit three-quarters first in 1:26.1. As they made the turn for home Ambassador Hanover popped out of the pocket and came charging at Black Tie Bash in the stretch. The two were slugging it out it all the way down the stretch and were joined by a late bid from Dee's Red Delicious (Corey Callshan), who came flying three-wide in deep stretch forcing a three-way photo finish with Ambassador Hanover picking up the win in a lifetime best of 1:56.0. Dee's Red Delicious finished second. Black Tie Bash had to settle for third. Ambassador Hanover is a 2-year-old colt by Chapter Seven-Angel Eyes Hanover. He is owned by Howard Taylor, Judith Taylor, Order By Stable, and trainer Svanstedt. He is a perfect four for four life time. Ambassador Hanover Ahundreddollarbill ($2.80) takes the $52,200 second division. Incommunicado (Ake Svanstedt) charges to the front and put up the early fractions (:28.0, :57.0). Ahundreddollarbill made his move first-over from fourth going around the final turn. Incommunicado remained in front hitting three-quarters first in 1:26.2. Ahundreddollarbill flew to the front as they made the turn for home. The colt just cruised down the stretch to win easily in a lifetime best of 1:56.0. Special Prosecutor (Brian Sears) came up to finish second. Incommunicado held on for third. Ahundreddollarbill is a colt by Chapter Seven-Swinging Royalty. He is trained by Dan Daley for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Ann-Mari Daley, and James Crawford IV. He is now two for four in his young career. Ahundreddollarbill Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (August 22) with a 13-race card starting at 3 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com John Horne for Vernon Downs

VERNON — Vernon Downs will end its harness racing season early, on Saturday, Sept. 26. With the casino closed and no purse money derived from slot machine revenue, that’s when the money will run out, according to owner Jeffrey Gural. “The racing has been OK but we’ve lost a fortune because of the fact that the Casino is closed, and we’re not allowed to have spectators come watch the races,” Gural said by phone Thursday. “It was important to race even though it’s costing me money. The people who take care of the horses are starving. They have the expenses of feeding the horses whether they race or not.” “It is not like some other business that can close their doors and save on some of the costs of business,” he noted. “For racing, horses need to be fed, trained and taken out to job whether there’s a season or not.” “I never thought we’d be closed this long,” Gural said of the casino. Meanwhile, he noted, nearby Turning Stone Casino and Resort is back open. “We don’t understand the logic” of allowing eight casinos in the state to be open while four remain closed. He praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of COVID-19 but questioned why Vernon Downs has not been allowed to reopen its casino. Vernon Downs’ racing purses are funded in large part by 10% of the revenue from slot machines, with a smaller portion coming from the money bet on the races, Gural explained. With the casino closed, there’s no slot machine money, so he’s been covering that cost this season. So Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs racetracks will close early in 2020. Unless, “by some miracle they allow us to open then we’d continue to race.” More likely, come Sept. 27, there will be no more racing this season. “It will be devastating to the industry,” he said.” I don’t know how people are going to survive,” he added of the livelihoods of those in the sport. Another impact is that the New York Sire Stakes will lack money for next season. Gural said the track will not be able to make up for lost racing when 2021 rolls around. When asked if next season could have more races to make up for the losses this year, he said: “That won’t happen. The horses can only race once a week.” By Steve Jones Reprinted with permission of the Rome Sentinel

Frank M. Antonacci is more than happy with Ready For Moni as the colt heads to Friday's (Aug. 21) $330,000 Harry M. Zweig Memorial for harness racing 3-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs, and only a length separated Antonacci from being ecstatic. Ready For Moni finished second in the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes on Aug. 8 at The Meadowlands, where filly Ramona Hill captured the sport's top event for 3-year-old trotters with a stakes-record-equaling 1:50.1 performance. Ready For Moni, making only his third start of the season, was a length back in 1:50.2, a time that would have won 93 of the previous 94 editions of the Hambletonian. The Antonacci family, which bred and is among the owners of Ready For Moni, has won the Hambletonian five times and now finished second on seven occasions. Ironically, the family bred Ramona Hill's dam, Lock Down Lindy. "I jokingly said after the race that we got beat by our own recipe," Antonacci said. "But we're pretty proud of that, too. To see them first and second like that is pretty remarkable. "Only one thing could have happened that would have made (Ready For Moni's year) better, if we got to the finish line first in the Hambo. But what I like to see in a horserace is everybody gets their nose on the gate and there's really no excuses for anybody in the race and whatever happens, happens. "You saw two really top horses battle it out from the top of the lane and she won. She was great, and I thought he raced great. I look forward to seeing more of that." Ready For Moni, who is 2-for-3 this season and has won six of 11 lifetime races, is a son of French star Ready Cash out of Nothing But Moni. His grandam is the legendary Hall of Fame mare Moni Maker, who dazzled in North America and Europe while racing for the Antonacci family, David Reid, and trainer Jimmy Takter. Nancy Takter trains Ready For Moni, who wintered in Florida with the Antonacci family's Lindy Racing team in preparation for the campaign. In addition to the Antonaccis, the colt is owned by John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and Bud Hatfield. "I'm really happy about this horse for a lot of reasons," Antonacci said. "To have John Fielding and the rest of the partners, we've had great relationships for a lot of years, so to have a horse like this is fantastic. "To be back working as a team with the Takters and us having the horse in Florida, it was such a collaborative effort. Everybody that's been involved has been true professionals. I give a ton of credit to Domenico (Cecere) and our team down in Florida and Nancy and her team. There are a lot of egos in this game, like any sport or business, but everybody here has checked their egos at the door and are doing their best for the horse. It's good to see it pay off. "And the icing on the cake, I think my dad's initiative with bringing the French pedigrees into the sport again here over the last 10 years, to see it kind of culminate in these horses, and it seems year after year that's becoming a more successful formula, it's really rewarding for me to see that for my dad," Antonacci concluded, referring to his father Frank, aka Frank The Elder. Ready For Moni is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the Zweig. He will start from post four with Matt Kakaley in the sulky (regular driver Yannick Gingras is in Canada). Hambletonian third-place-finisher Back Of The Neck is the 5-2 second choice from post one, with Scott Zeron driving for trainer Ake Svanstedt. "It will be exciting to see how he goes through the rest of the year," Antonacci said about Ready For Moni. "Obviously, he's fast. And when I spoke with Domenico over the winter, he always spoke about how efficient his gait is. He's very good gaited. "You talk about French pedigrees, and how they get better with time, to think he could mature even more is pretty exciting." Friday's card at Vernon also includes the $160,140 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters, where Ramona Hill is the 3-2 favorite over Hambletonian Oaks winner Sorella, who is 8-5. Racing begins at 3 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries for Friday's races at Vernon Downs, click this link. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager  

Vernon, NY - The 2020 version of the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial, a Grand Circuit stake for 3-year-old trotting fillies and colts has drawn a single harness racing division of each (races 10 & 11) to be contested on Friday, August 21 at Vernon Downs.   In what is clearly a case of quality making up for what the 2020 Zweig does not possess in quantity the cream of this year's sophomore square-gaited crop are among the entrants. The first three across the finish line in this year's Hambletonian have been declared for the Zweig.   The $160,140 filly division features the extremely rare match-up of the Hambletonian winning Ramona Hill versus Oaks winner Sorella.   Both were nothing short of spectacular in their respective victories with Ramona Hill (PP 1 Andy McCarthy driving for trainer Tony Alagna) equalling her sire Muscle Hill's stakes record of 1:50.1 in her tour de force over male rivals.   Sorella (PP 3), to be driven for the first time on Friday by Dexter Dunn for trainer Nancy Takter, was a handy 1:51 winner in the ladies only division of the stake.   Just for good measure, the Queen of the New York Sires Stakes program and place finisher to Sorella in the Oaks, Hypnotic AM, is in the field as well. Fortune Starlet and Tricky Sister round out the quintet of trotting debutantes.   Ramona Hill races for the partnership of Brad Grant, local owners Crawford Farms Racing, Robert Leblanc and John Fodera and Steve Wienick as In The Gym Partners. Crawford Farms is also a partner in Sorella, sharing ownership with her breeder Elmer Fannin and his son Brent.   The $330,000 Zweig open main event counts the Hambo place and show finishers, a pair of colts by Ready Cash, among the nine entrants.   Trainer Nancy Takter sends out the talented Ready For Moni (PP 4 Matt Kakaley) who was a good Hambo second while Back Of The Neck (PP 1 Scott Zeron), one of four entered by trainer Ake Svanstedt, was a solid third.   John Fielding, Lindy Farms of Connecticut, Herb Liverman and Bud Hatfield own Ready For Moni while Howard & Judith Taylor share ownership on Back Of The Neck with Stefan Balazsi's Order By Stable.   Also on the card is a potential preview of the 2021 Zweig in the form of a pair of $51,300 New York Sires Stake for 2-year-old colt trotters and the usual accompaniment of Excelsior divisions.   Owners interested in details regarding attending the races may reach Racing Operations Manager Brett Risi at BRisi@tiogadowns.com.   Post time is 3:00PM on Friday at Vernon Downs and the entries my be viewed here.   by Nick Salvi, for Vernon Downs  

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