Friday, March 12, 2010

Tioga to lower takeout rates

Thursday, March 11, 2010 - by Dustin Ross, regional racing operations manager, Tioga/Vernon Downs

Nichols, NY --- Tioga Downs, in its relatively short history, has consistently been on the cutting edge of adapting the racing model toward a more positive result. In a direct response to the vocal concerns of horseplayers, Tioga Downs will reduce its takeout rate across the board to the state minimum allowed by New York law for the 2010 racing season, pending regulatory approval of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

By taking such an action, Tioga management is hopeful that a positive response, over due course, will result in increased handle on its live races and foster an industry trend toward more competitive pricing.

Payments for Tioga & Vernon Stakes Due March 15

Published: March 11, 2010 10:25 am ET

Tioga and Vernon Downs will offer over $4 million in stakes over the course of the 2010 racing season, and the time has come to secure eligibility for those lucrative races.

The $1 million Empire Breeders Classic for New York-sired three-year-olds will kick off the season for statebreds on Memorial Day weekend, offering $250,000 (est.) finals for all divisions. Due by March 15 are the three-year-old sustaining, two-year-old nomination, and stallion nomination payments.

The Kindergarten Classic has been restructured to race freshmen trotters only in 2010, and the added money has been increased, raising the final for both colts and fillies to $120,000 (est.). The series will offer five legs, beginning at the Meadowlands Racetrack in late July and continuing at Vernon through the September 24 finals. A $500 nominating payment is due on March 15 with another $500 due April 15 to sustain.

The Bettors Delight 'Bred in New York to take on the World,' an open pace, has been added to the existing set of races for the older stars of the sport. In fact, all of the stakes offered for older open types -- the Credit Winner, Conway Hall and Artiscape -- have been enriched with more added dollars to raise the purses for each to $200,000 (est.) in 2010. These races require a $2,000 March 15 nomination and a $2,000 April 15 sustaining payment.

The popular Miss Versatility mare trot will return on July 30 with the first leg at the Meadowlands, and will travel to Tioga and Vernon before the $120,000 (est.) final at the Delaware Ohio County Fairgrounds. Payments are $1,500, due in both March and April.

The Rags to Riches series for claiming horses has been discontinued.

Complete information on the aforementioned races is available at the Tioga website.

Vernon Downs will also host the 2010 edition of the two-year-old John Simpson Memorial Stakes. Those races have been scheduled in early October as a prelude for freshman trotters and pacers on their way to Kentucky. Eligibility requires a March 15 payment and the conditions do provide for supplemental nominations. The Tompkins-Geers stakes will race at Tioga Downs in mid July, two-year-old payments for those races are also due in March.

The Hambletonian Society handles the payments for the Simpson and Tompkins-Geers.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Settlemoir named USHWA President

Wednesday, March 03, 2010 - by Jerry Connors, secretary, USHWA

Harrisburg, PA -- Jason Settlemoir, adding another office of authority to his burgeoning collection of important harness racing positions, was named President of the United States Harness Writers Association during this past weekend's annual meeting of USHWA in Yonkers, N.Y.

Jason SettlemoirSettlemoir, vice president of racing and simulcasting for New York State tracks Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs and already a Vice President of Harness Tracks of America and a director of the U.S. Trotting Association, succeeds former president Debbie Little of the New York Post, who will now assume the position of Chair of the Board of the writers organization. Settlemoir was quick to praise his predecessor.

"Debbie Little devoted incredible amounts of time and energy to USHWA in order to make sure that it operated as best as it can, and accomplished many good things," Settlemoir noted. "Debbie and I have talked about the 'top spot' in our organization, and I'm sure her counsel will remain valuable as I step up to face the challenges of the USHWA presidency."

Veteran racing scribe and publicist Steve Wolf of Florida moves up a chair to first vice-president, while Chris Tully of Goshen Historic Track joins the Board as second vice-president. As mentioned, Little will become the Chair of the USHWA Board. Returning in familiar roles will be Alan Prince as Treasurer; Bill Brown as Executive Secretary; and Jerry Connors as Secretary.

The U.S. Harness Writers Association is a 200-plus member association devoted to the communication of the major developments of the sulky game. It elects members of the Hall of Fame and the various year-end awards, both human and equine; it is involved in charitable and educational enterprises; and it annually organizes the annual banquet which honors the best and brightest of the sport, with the dinner last Sunday at Yonkers honoring 2009's champions.