Located in the beautiful rolling hills of Central New York, Vernon Downs has a long and rich history of top-class harness racing dating back to the 1950s. The 7/8 mile track is widely regarded as the best surface in New York. The live racing season runs from April through November. Major highlights of the schedule include the $350,000 Zweig Memorial Trot for 3-year-olds and the $200,000 Credit Winner and Muscle Hill Trots for aged horses. Follow us on Twitter @GoVernonDowns
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
There are a number of schedule changes for racing at Vernon Downs as a result of the recent quarantine, which is to be lifted on Saturday, June 1.
Horses that are not stabled at Vernon may enter to race for the June 1 card and from there forward.
Qualifiers for that week will be held on Saturday, June 1 as well to accommodate trainers with horses that need to be qualified that are stabled off the grounds.
The Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) trotting eliminations have been moved from Friday, May 31 and will be raced on Sunday, June 2 with a post time of 1:15pm.
The live racing program originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 5 has been canceled. Sunday, June 9 (post time 6:45) will be added in its place.
The EBC trotting finals and Excelsior series events for three year old colt and filly trotters will be raced on that card.
Race Secretary Scott Warren will conduct a double draw on Wednesday, May 29 for the June 1 & 2 cards and again on Wednesday, June 5 for the June 8 & 9 race cards.
Further, live racing is canceled for Saturday, June 15 due to a concert. That card will be raced on Sunday, June 16 at 1:15pm.
Please be advised that all details herein are contingent upon no further complications with the quarantine.
Further information is available on the Vernon website or by calling the Race Office at (315) 829-6825.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Here are the updated driver and trainer standings through the end of racing on May 18.
1. Rick Plano 25
2. Roman Lopez 23
3. Chris Lems 12
T4. John MacDonald 10
T4. Howard Okusko, Jr. 10
1. Roman Lopez 13
2. Rick Plano 12
3. Tracy Brainard 9
4. Jocelyn Lavigne 8
5. Jessica Okusko 8
The swift-striding pacer A Fool For Mark turned a pocket-sitting trip into a breezy 1:51.4 victory that proved to be the fastest score on Saturday night at Vernon Downs.
Facing seven speedy foes in Saturday's $6,000 sixth event, A Fool For Mark settled in behind rotating leaders Checkinthebox (at the quarter) and The Bruiser (at the half) before taking charge of the "Winners Over" contest approaching the three-quarter mile mark and upsetting the favorite, Special Strides, by 1-1/2 lengths.
|A Fool For Mark wins Saturday's feature|
Although it was the initial Vernon victory in 2013, it marked the eighth score in 16 current starts for the 7-year-old son of Western Ideal-I'm No Fool, who gained his 25th lifetime tally and raised his career earnings to $86,186. John MacDonald did the teaming for owner and trainer Dustin Ingraham.
The first-place finish was one of two during Saturday's 12-race card for MacDonald, a newcomer to the Downs this season. Two-win performances were also turned in by drivers Chris Lems, Roman Lopez and Howard Okusko, Jr., as well as trainer Jessica Okusko.
Friday, May 17, 2013
|Coraggioso captures Friday's $10,000 Open Trot|
With trainer Gates Brunet doing the teaming in Friday's ninth race, the favorite Coraggioso raced like he was superior and proved it with a front-striding, score over five top-trot rivals. It was the second tally, coupled with a second-place finish, in three current appearances and the 13th lifetime triumph for the quick-striding New York Sires Stakes champion, who now sports career winnings of nearly $519,000. Joseph Spadaro and noted Throughbred announcer Tom Durkin own the 4-year-old son of Conway Hall-Electra Hanover, who established a 1:53.4 standard for 4-year-old trotting horses here on May 3.
Two races later, Hold On Tightly remained undefeated after five season's starts when trainer Roman Lopez piloted the 4-year-old trotter to a solid 1:57.4 score. This is the initial racing season for the bay son of Cash Hall-Keystone Fitting, who is owned by Richard B. Thurlow.
|Hold On Tightly wins for the 5th time this season|
Hold On Tightly's tally was one of three on the program for Lopez, who became the meet's leading trainer with 12 victories. With a one-win lead over defending champ Rick Plano on the current conditioning chart, the 53-year-old reinsman trails only Plano in the track's driving derby, 24-21.
Multiple Vernon driving titleist Jimmy Whittemore picked up a pair of first-place finishes during Friday's 12-race program.
DOWNS DOINGS—Lopez leads all drivers in triples at the meet with five…The vastly improved Artic Byrd became the first three-time winning pacer of the track's 60th campaign after a 1:53.2 tally for driver Truman Gale, trainer Jocelyn Lavigne and owners Don Lewandrowski and Gail Farrell in Friday's second race…The Joe Meylan-owned pacer Stony Brook earned his initial career victory after a 1:58.3 victory for driver Chris Lems and trainer Eric Felter in Friday's 12th event…Vernon will simulcast the entire card from Maryland's Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, including the famed Preakness Stake, which is slated for approximately 6:19 p.m. Vernon's live 12-race harness program will follow at 6:45 p.m…Downs officials have announced that due to the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) outbreak at the track, Vernon will continue with just Friday and Saturday night live competition (first post 6:45 p.m.), at least through May 25. A 1:15 Memorial Day matinee card is planned for Monday, May 27…A complete racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com.