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Harness racing driver Jimmy Whittemore had the hot hands Open Night at Vernon Downs, winning four races including the $6,000 featured pace with Star Commander N. Star Commander N ($4.80) flew out of the gate and went to the front hitting the first quarter in :27.3 with Golden Gun (Jeff Sorenson) following in second. Star Commander used a 30.2 second quarter to hit the half in :58.0. Wind Blast (Justin Huckabone) came charging first-over from fourth and took over second as they went around the final turn. Wind Blast tried to close in as they hit three-quarters in 1:25.1 but Star Commander N was too strong in the stretch and he won in 1:52.4. Win Blast had to settle for second money. Badix Hanover (Leon Bailey) finished third. STAR COMMANDER N REPLAY   Star Commander is a 7-year-old horse by Art Major. Owned by Kristie Leigh Farm Inc., and trained by Marissa Chadbourne. He won for the first time this season and 13th time in his career. Whittemore combined with Chadbourne for two more wins with Bold Fresh ($6.10) and Only Passing Thru ($5.00). Whittemore's fourth win came with Bruce's Magic ($4.90). Lucky June Bug (John MacDonald) goes gate-to-wire to capture the $6000 featured trot. Lucky June Bug ($6.30) grabbed the lead and put up all the early fractions (:28.2, :59.3, 1;29.0) as American JJ (Michael Miller) followed the whole way in the pocket. Lucky June Bug put on the burners as they made the turn for home and held off a late charge by runner-up Haveitalltogether (Chris Long) to win in 1:57.1. American JJ had to settle for third. Lucky June Bug is a 5-year-old gelding by Lucky Chucky. He is trained by Stanley Zombick Jr. for owners Myron Eckstein, William and Michael Pozefsky. It was his first win of 2021. He now has 16 career victories. Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (April 23). For more information go to www.vernondowns.com. For full race results, click here. by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

Vernon Downs is set to begin their 68th year of harness racing on Saturday (April 17). Vernon Downs will feature The Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) with separate races for both 3-year-old filly trotters and 3-year-old trotting colts on Friday (June 18). Vernon Downs is also proud to once again play host to the Zweig Memorial races featuring the 3-year-old Open Trot and the 3-year-old Fillies Trot on Saturday (August 28). On Saturday (September 11) Vernon will present the New York State Excelsior Finals for 2 and 3-year-old filly and colt trotters and pacers. In 2020 Leon Bailey was the top driver. He will get to tangle with former driving champions John MacDonald and Jimmy Whittemore. These three and other great drivers should make it exciting as they all vie for the 2021 title. Kerin Warner took top trainer honors at the Miracle Mile in 2020. Former training champion Marissa Chadbourne returns along with other top contenders like Claude Huckabone III and new comer Brandi Wine. Live racing will be continuing through closing night (November 6). Post time will be 6:10 pm every night with the exception of Derby Day (May 1) which will start at 4:30 pm. The Miracle Mile will also offer four new awards for 2021. We will honor our top driver of the week with the Winning Wheels driver of the week. The best trainer of the week will also be recognized as the Black Stallion trainer of the week. We will also have an award for grooms. It is called the Bourbon Express groom of the week. We have also added a monthly award called the Golden Gro longshot of the month. This will go to the horse with the largest $2.00 payoff of the month. On opening day there will be no fans. However, starting on Friday (April 23) Vernon Downs fans will be permitted. More details next week. Post time for the 12-race card is 6:10 pm. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs 

There's good news for the fans of horse racing and auto racing as New York will open the events to spectators beginning April 23, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said. The move will first pave the way for the meet at Belmont Racetrack to begin later this month. Upstate, this will allow racing to take place at Saratoga as well as at Watkins Glen. Spectators will be limited to 20% of capacity at the outdoor venues in line with other sporting events in New York, Cuomo said. Horse and auto racing events barred fans from attending in person last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the 11 p.m. bar and restaurant curfew will be extended to midnight starting next Monday. by Nick Reisman for the City of Albany

Vernon Downs in New York opens its 2021 harness racing season this Saturday, but with no spectators in the stands. Click here for the television report that appeared Tuesday evening. From Harnesslink Media

Vernon, NY-- In conjunction with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and the Food Bank of Central New York, both Vernon Downs Casino Hotel and Tioga Downs Casino Resort recently hosted events to provide the community with free, nutritious meals during this difficult time when many are struggling. Vernon Downs hosted a Nourish New York Food Distribution event on March 27, supplying 825 households with various locally sourced fresh produce and dairy items via a drive-thru in addition to a $50,000 donation to the Food Bank of Central New York on February 26. Tioga Downs provided 5,000 Easter dinners in addition to a $100,000 gift to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and additional meals distributed to 62 various agencies. Jeff Gural, Chairman/CEO of American Racing and Entertainment has long been committed to addressing food insecurity by supporting the Food Bank of the Southern Tier through its annual holiday turkey drive. Since 2009, Vernon Downs Casino Hotel and Gural have contributed more than $630,000 to the Food Bank of Central New York resulting in more than 1.9 million meals for the community. Both Tioga and Vernon Downs are acclaimed for state-of-the-art harness racing facilities located in scenic Upstate New York locations. Open from April to November, Vernon Downs is home to some of harness racing's premier stakes events including the Empire Breeders Classic, Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot, and several New York Sire Stakes Races. Opening day for harness racing this year is April 17 and the highly anticipated Empire Breeders Classic will take place June 18. Tioga Downs, which originated as a quarter horse race track, was revived and refurbished as a harness racetrack in 2006. Now, Tioga Downs is home to the Roll With Joe Open Pace sponsored by Blue Chip Farm, Tompkins Geers Grand Circuit Stakes, the Empire Breeders Classic and the New York Sire Stakes. Opening day for harness racing at Tioga Downs is May 1 and the Empire Breeders Classic finals, a race fan favorite, takes place on August 29. ABOUT VERNON DOWNS: In addition to its video lottery terminals, Vernon Downs offers live harness racing, concerts and other entertainment. Jeff Gural owns Vernon Downs in Vernon, N.Y. and Tioga Downs in Nichols, N.Y. In the last decade, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 1,000 family-sustaining jobs. For more information on Vernon Downs, please visit www.vernondowns.com. ABOUT TIOGA DOWNS CASINO RESORT: Tioga Downs, which opened in 2006, and expanded to Tioga Downs Casino Resort in December 2016, offers live harness racing, casino gaming, sports betting, dining, golf, indoor and outdoor live entertainment, and more. Jeff Gural owns Tioga Downs as well as Vernon Downs in Vernon, New York. Since opening the new resort in December 2016, Tioga Downs has expanded its gaming offerings to include over 890 slot machines, 28 table games, a 6-table poker room, and a FanDuelSportsbook. The Tioga Downs Casino Resort Hotel spans six stories and boasts 160 rooms, an events center, a full-service AgeLess SPA, an indoor saltwater pool and Jacuzzi hot tub, an arcade, and a fitness room, as well as many other exciting amenities in season such as, an outdoor saltwater pool and Jacuzzi complete with Cabanas and a private Cabana bar (for hotel guests), an outdoor waterslide and plunge pool, and the 18-hole Tioga Golf Course located just minutes down the road. The resort also offers a wide variety of food outlets including their famous County Fair Buffet, Virgil's Real BBQ, and P.J. Clarke's, among others. Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 1,000 family-sustaining jobs and donated millions to nonprofit organizations. For more information on Tioga Downs Casino Resort, please visit www.tiogadowns.com by Nick Salvi, for Vernon & Tioga Downs

Nichols, NY - Tioga and Vernon Downs are requiring that all horses shipping onto the property for both stabling and ship in racing have documentation of a Coggins test and Rabies vaccination within one year and an EHV-1 certificate of vaccination within six months.   There will be no exceptions to this policy.   From Tioga and Vernon Downs

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs are announcing policy regarding the horses of which a majority interest of more than fifty percent is held by those harness racing owners affected by the press release of March 6. Any horse sold publicly or privately to disperse those ownership interests must be a legitimate sale to someone other than and not affiliated with the current owners. It is recommended that all prospective buyers/owners read through the "Rules" and "Disputes" section of conditions for stakes administered by The Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs which contain language that includes the right to exclude horses from stakes that do not meet the specifications within. It is also recommended that any prospective buyer request from the seller the current stakes schedule for which all required payments have been made toward 2021 stakes. To date, there have been no exclusions or refunds of payments from stakes at The Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs on the horses that fall into the above category, so those horses are currently eligible to the stakes in which the payments are current. Their eligibility will continue, providing the remaining payments are made by the new owner. The horses described above, if legitimately sold to the satisfaction of the stakes sponsors would become eligible to race in overnight or stakes races at The Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs sixty (60) days after the transfer is completed. Any horse that is or was trained in the Allard Florida stable will be excluded from overnight and/or stakes races at The Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs indefinitely, as written in the March 6 release. From the Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs  

Racing/stall applications for both Tioga and Vernon Downs are due by March 25.   They must be completely filled out, back and front, and signed to be valid.   Direct questions to Brett Risi at BRisi@TiogaDowns.com or (607) 699-7688   Tioga Downs application   Vernon Downs application   by Nick Salvi, for Tioga and Vernon Downs

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

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