Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jezzy Stays Undefeated After Sires Stakes Win

The highly regarded 2-year-old trotting filly Jezzy remained undefeated after five lifetime starts after her 1:58.2 performance in Friday night’s $134,150 New York Sires Stakes feature at Vernon Downs.

With part owner and trainer Ray Schnittker in the sulky, Jezzy charged to the lead from third in the clubhouse curve and never looked back en route to a 6-3/4 length score that raised her lifetime winnings to $95,072.

The brown daughter of Credit Winner-Ladylind is also shared in ownership by breeder Jeff Gural (Little E, LLC CNY), Jerry Silva and Theodore Gewertz.

She earned her 1:57.3 record in the Acorn Stake at The Meadowlands (NJ) on June 30.

Friday’s other NYSS divisional winners were Eight Bells, in 1:57.4 for the SGS Partners; Miss Sue V, in 1:58.1 for the Kelley Racing Stable and William Weaver, III; Epona Blue Chip, in 1:59.2 for the Epona Stable and Carme Blue Chip, in 2:00.2 for the Carme Stable.

Eight Bells (Conway Hall-Ella Minnow Pea) remains unbeaten after two NYSS starts.

Her time was just one-fifth-of-a-second off the all-time Vernon record for this age, sex and gait.

Carme Blue Chip (Credit Winner-Sir Dream) also sports a pair of NYSS scores among her three career tallies.

Miss Sue V (Credit Winner-Sunday Yankee), who eked out a head triumph over Tap Tap Dance, is still perfect in two NYSS outings, while Epona Blue Chip (Conway Hall-Hustle N Muscle) has also collected a pair of NYSS victories after four official trips to the track.

Schnittker, who also guided Epona Blue Chip and Carme Blue Chip into Vernon’s winner’s circle, was credited with a driving and training triple during Friday’s nine-race program.

DOWNS DOINGS—Munis Blue Chip owns the 1:57.3 Vernon standard for this class, which was set last September…Greg Powell drove Eight Bells for trainer Chuck Sylvester, while Brian Mattison teamed Miss Sue V for trainer Paul Kelley…The 2-year-old filly pacer All About Kisses (Pro Bono Best-Cheerful Outlook) made her career debut a winning one after a 1:57.1 effort in Friday’s fifth event…Saturday’s nine-race card, which includes an $11,000 Miracle Mile trot in event seven, will get started at 6:55 p.m…The Downs will present a special 12-race make up matinee program starting at 1:15 p.m. this Monday (Aug. 2.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Daley Deposit Only Paces to 10th Victory of 2010

The winning continued for driver Dan Daley and Daley Deposit Only in Saturday night’s $10,000 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs.

Daley, who delivered a pair of first-place finishes here last night (July 16), piloted Daley Deposit Only to a repeat victory in the week’s Miracle Mile-1 pacing feature.

After spurting to the early lead, Daley Deposit Only allowed Stonebridge Wish to take command and lead the select field to a third split in 1:25. The quick-striding 5-year-old gelding powered out of the pocket in the final furlong and rallied to post a two-length victory in 1:52.4.

Saturday’s score was the fourth at the Downs and the 10th this season for the homebred bay son of Artiscape-Sassy Cessiann, who is shared in ownership by breeder Ann-Mari Daley (Dan’s wife), Jared Daley, Robert Pergament and Richard Lombardo. It was the 22nd career tally for the lifetime winner of $220.854, who earned his 1:50.4 record here on July 5.

Cowboy Hanover (Luke Plano driving for trainer Rick Plano, plus owners Dave Haness and Maryann Plano), and Mata Harry (Chris Lems steering for trainer Kevin Gould and owner Elliot Misshula) shared honors for Saturday’s fastest mile, each stopping the timer in 1:51.3.

Lems also won with Patty’s Courage to log his eighth double of the meet, while Rick Plano was credited with a pair of training tallies.

DOWNS DOINGS—Leon Bailey, Vernon’s top provisional driver again this year, secured his 16th season’s score after a 1:56.1 trip behind Ehi Guaglione in Saturday’s 12 race…The Downs will offer live racing Thursday-Saturday next week, with first post at 6:55 p.m.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Armbro Doyle Matches Season Record With 1:54.4 Win

Armbro Doyle remained king-of-the-trotting-hill at Vernon Downs following a 1:56.2 victory in Friday night’s $11,000 featured ninth race.

Fresh off a 1:57.2 triumph in last Saturday’s Miracle Mile-1 class here, Armbro Doyle raced as if he was the best and proved it with a front striding, 1-1/2 score over Skad’s Winner in this week’s top trotting test. As second choice in the wagering, he paid $7.20 to win.

Chuck Connor, Jr. drove for owner and trainer Scott West as the 7-year-old son of King Conch-Accompaniment secured his third season’s score (all at the Downs) and 18th overall, while lifting his career earnings to nearly $260,000.

Drivers Dan Daley (Miss Conway in 1:58.1 and Cider With Ice in 1:56.3) and Rick Plano (Sweet Baby Jane in 1:58 and Mr. Friendly in 1:57.3) each posted doubles during Friday’s 10-race program.

DOWNS DOINGS—Armbro Doyle and Southwind Samurai remained tied at 1:54.4 for the meet’s fastest trotting miles after 37 programs. Stonebridge Wish’s 1:49.4 track record pacing clocking is still tops at the Downs in 2010…Saturday’s 12-race card, which includes the Miracle Mile-1 pace in race nine, will get underway at 6:55 p.m.

Video of George Steinbrenner's 1984 Visit to Vernon Downs

Earlier this week, legendary Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died. Besides changing the face of baseball in his four decades as an owner, Steinbrenner was also a major owner and breeder of race horses. Check out this 1984 video from WSYR-TV in Syracuse of Steinbrenner visiting his stable of standardbreds at Vernon Downs.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Favored Delightful Dancer Takes Thursday Night Feature

Delightful Dancer displayed the most foot in the homestretch while capturing Thursday night’s $8,000 featured sixth race in 1:53.1 at Vernon Downs.

Chuck Connor, Jr. did the driving for veteran conditioner Howard Okusko, Sr. as Delightful Dancer laid back in the early going, came overland from third at the half, and then closed from second in the final furlong to catch and defeat the pace-setting Chantal Hall by a little more than two lengths in the week’s top test for female pacers.

As the favorite, Delightful Dancer paid $4.80 for finishing first.

It was the third season’s score (all at Vernon) and 10th overall tally for the 4-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Dragon’s Georgette, who is owned by Rocco Manzi. Her career bankroll now stands at $87,418.

Chris Lems and Brian Connor (Chuck’s son) each recorded a pair of victories during Thursday’s nine-race card.

DOWNS DOINGS—Fox Valley Majesty tied Sharpshootennorris and Oven Ready at four for most trotting victories at the meet following his 1:59.3 tally in Thursday’s third contest. The pacer Up Front Rudy leads in total equine victories after 36 programs with seven scores…Lems drove Patricia Crawford’s homebred sophomore filly trotter Yessir Thatsmybaby to a 1:58.4 maiden-breaking victory in Thursday’s first event…Friday’s 10-race program, which features the week’s top trotting events, will get underway at 6:55 p.m.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Newest Episode of "Inside Harness Racing" Debuts

Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs are proud to present the newest episode of their new television show, “Inside Harness Racing.” This 30-minute weekly television show airs Wednesdays at 6:00 PM Eastern on Time Warner Cable Sports and can be seen by more than 250,000 people throughout Central New York and the Southern Tier on TWC Sports On Demand. It can also be seen online at the Tioga Downs YouTube site. (

This week’s episode features highlights and post-race interviews from the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing fillies at Tioga Downs including the track-record performance by Drop the Ball and Jim Morrill, Jr’s five-win night. Also in this week’s show, Yannick Gingras stops by to discuss family, the race he most wants to win and bobbleheads. Plus, Wendy Ross gives a first-person account of her day job as Tioga’s parade marshal and a group of youngsters go to camp at Vernon Downs as part of the Harness Racing Youth League.

“Inside Harness Racing” is hosted and produced by Justin Horowitz and features Jason Settlemoir and Wendy Ross as field reporters while Jim Rotundo handles videography and production.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Daley's Interest Steps Up in Monday's Feature

The still-improving Daley’s Interest continued his rise in the Miracle Mile pacing ranks with a career-best 1:53.1 victory in Monday afternoon’s special 11-race program at Vernon Downs.

Trainer Dan Daley was at the controls in Monday’s sixth race as Daley’s Interest powered three wide around the final turn, and then zipped home (final quarter :27.2) from fourth at the head of the lane to defeat the on-rushing Touch Of The Past by a neck in division two of the weekly MM class for top flight representatives of the lateral gait.

While trimming a full second off his previous win-mark, the 3-year-old homebred son of Modern Art-Sassy Cessiann earned his second straight score (he won the MM-3 contest here on July 5) and his fourth all-time for breeder Ann-Mari Daley and her partners Richard Lombardo and Jared Daley.

The career-winner of more than $27,000 paid $44.80 to win, $11.20 to place and $3.80 to show.

Fastest mile-of-the-day honors went to Lewis Rosselli, Jr.’s pacer Miracle Freeluck, who recorded his third win at the meet after a 1:52.2 mile for driver Brian Connor and trainer Brandon Loomis in race 10, the day’s MM-3 contest.

Former Vernon provisional driving champ Chris Lems, who ranks third in the track’s current standing with 33 victories, collected his second hat-trick at the meet after finishing first with the pacers Quick Step (1:56.3), Dot’s Bigboy (1:54.3) and Onedayatatime (1:54).

DOWNS DOINGS—Monday’s 11-race matinee was a make-up program for last Thursday (July 8), the night of the Joan Jett concert here…This week, Vernon reverts to its regular Thursday-Saturday slate, with first post at 6:55 each evening.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

West is Best at Vernon on Saturday Night

Armbro Doyle unleashed a strong stretch kick that carried him to a one-length victory over the favorite, John Paul’s Legacy, in Saturday night’s $10,000 featured sixth race at Vernon Downs.

Remaining in fifth until the top of the stretch, Armbro Doyle responded eagerly to the urgings of catch-driver Chuck Connor, Jr. in a :29.1 final split to post a 1:57.2 triumph in the weekend’s Miracle Mile-1 trotting test.

He paid $20.40 to win.

The fast-closing tally was the second this season and 17th all-time for the 7-year-old son of King Conch-Accompaniment, who is owned and trained by Scott West.

West also harnessed the first-place finishing high-steppers Cool Touch (1:58.2) and Sundowner Bob (1:55.4) to complete an owner and trainer hat-trick during Saturday’s 11-race program.

Drivers Jack Rice and Rick Plano also chalked up a pair of wins during the 34th program of Vernon’s 57th season.

Prior to the pari-mutuel program Constance Finnerty (CD’s Miss M), Abbey D’Agostino (Jandi Tuff As Sky) and Brooke Metzel (Justaway) were divisional winners in non-betting exhibition races that concluded the Harness Racing Youth League’s five day summer camp at the Downs.

DOWNS DOINGS-The Downs will present a make-up, 11-race program at 1:15 p.m. this coming Monday (July 12). The track will also offer live racing at 6:55 Thursday-Saturday nights (July 15-17

My True Delight Upsets Vernon Feature

My True Delight saved her best for last to pull out a ¾-length victory in Friday night’s $10,000 featured ninth event at Vernon Downs.

While Biggest Big Bertha was cutting out fast early fractions (:27.2, :56.1 and 1:23.1), My True Delight was rallying from fifth to fourth around the final turn. When the pace-setter began to tire in a :28.4 final split, the Claude Huckabone, III-driven mare closed like a shot (:27.1 final quarter) from third in the payoff patch and stopped the timer in a career-best time of 1:51.4 to capture the week’s Miracle Mile-1 contest for female pacers.

Friday’s first-place finish was the second this season and the 23rd lifetime for the bay daughter of Bettor’s Delight-My True Art, who is trained by Tim Lanpher and owned by his wife, Judith.

As the fifth wagering choice in the field of six, the career-winner of $231,823 returned $21.80, $9.60 and $3.90 across the board.

Vernon defending driving champ Jimmy Whittemore won three of Friday’s 10 races, while veteran Chuck Connor, Jr. also teamed a trio of first-place finishers.

DOWNS DOINGS—Vernon will offer “Breakfast With The Pros in its clubhouse starting at 11 a.m. tomorrow. A breakfast buffet will be served... Three exhibition races by members of the Harness Horse Youth League (the first starting at 5:30 p.m.) will precede Saturday night’s 11-race live pari-mutuel program that is scheduled to begin at 6:55... The Downs will present a make-up program at 1:15 p.m. this coming Monday (July 12)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Episode of "Inside Harness Racing" Debuts

Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs are proud to present the third episode of their new television show, “Inside Harness Racing.” This 30-minute weekly television show airs Wednesdays at 6:00 PM Eastern on Time Warner Cable Sports and can be seen by more than 250,000 people throughout Central New York and the Southern Tier. It can also be seen online at the Tioga Downs YouTube site. (

This week’s episode includes highlights of the week’s biggest races at the two tracks including post-race interviews with the winning drivers and trainers. Jason Settlemoir talks with veteran Vernon Downs driver Howard Okusko, Jr. Wendy Ross explains the basics of betting and America’s Handicapper, Toby Callet, stops by to share some of his secrets of success from his three decades as a professional handicapper. Our cameras were also there when 35 youngsters from area 4-H programs took an all-access tour of the Vernon Downs backstretch.

“Inside Harness Racing” is hosted and produced by Justin Horowitz and features Jason Settlemoir and Wendy Ross as field reporters while Jim Rotundo handles videography and production.