Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vernon Downs to Host Deployment Dinner

Vernon Downs Casino is honored to host a special dinner on Thursday, January 26, for soldiers deploying to Kuwait.

Jeffrey Gural, Chairman of American Racing and Entertainment (which operates Vernon Downs Casino and Racetrack), will provide a Casino Classic Buffet dinner for 200 including members from the Company and their families.

Many of the guests will also be enjoying an overnight stay at the casino, with 92 hotel rooms compliments of Vernon Downs.

According to Mr. Gural, "I believe our soldiers have done an unbelievable job in keeping our country safe after 9/11 and we are happy to host this event in appreciation of the sacrifice these men and women are continuing to make for all of us."

During their time in Kuwait, the Company will be performing a security force mission, rather than a combat mission.

They will proudly be supporting a variety of security missions at various locations within Kuwait.

While deployed, the Company will have a unique opportunity to train in Kuwait, and will participate with other Active, Guard, and International units to perform demanding training at every available opportunity.

Prior to deployment, the soldiers will spend a short period of time in Mississippi training on additional tasks and equipment.

They expect to be away from home for approximately one year.

Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel is open year-round with video gaming machines, simulcast horse racing, a live harness racing season, restaurants, a sports bar and special entertainment events. The property employs 300 people, offers an all-suites hotel and a newly expanded Events Center, including state of the art Simulcast Room and new casually themed Mr. G’s Food and Spirits restaurant.

Changes made to New York Sire Stakes in 2012

Some significant changes have been made to the New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) racing program for 2012.

Replacing the NY Late Closer program is the brand new Excelsior series, which will include the historic New York State Fair events.

For the upcoming season, the NY State Fair will not require a separate payment.

To make your horse eligible for the NY State Fair races you must make the February 15 and April 15 payments for the Excelsior series to the Ag Fund of New York State.

The purse for the State Fair races will be $12,000 plus entry fees ($100) and also afford those racing in the events the opportunity to earn points toward the $45,000est. Excelsior series finals.

The NY State Fair for three-year-old trotters will be raced at Vernon Downs on Friday, May 25 serving as a prep for the 2012 Empire Breeders Classic trots to be raced the next two weeks.

The three-year-old pacers will race at Tioga Downs on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.

The two-year-olds will race at Vernon on August 24 & 25 as part of an exciting weekend featuring the new format $700,000E Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial events and the $50,000 Drivers' Championship on Sunday, August 26.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stakes and race schedule set for 2012 at Vernon & Tioga Downs

Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have finalized their 2012 race and stakes schedule for the upcoming race season (pending regulatory approval).

Tioga Downs will hold 61 live racing days in 2012, set to begin on Saturday, May 5th (Kentucky Derby Day) in Nichols, New York.

Highlighting the 2012 stakes calendar at Tioga Downs is the $200,000 estimated Artiscape Pace for open mare pacers and the $200,000 estimated Bettor's Delight Open Pace.

Both races are scheduled for Sunday, June 10.

Tioga Downs will once again host the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, with eliminations on Sunday, August 26th and the final on Monday, September 3rd.

The Empire Breeders' Classic for 3-year-old New York bred pacers will be held later in the year, as in years past, with eliminations on Sunday, August 5th, and the $250,000 estimated finals being held a week later on Sunday, August 12th.

Other marquee events held at Tioga Downs in 2012 will include: Tompkins-Geers, a leg of the Miss Versatility, The Shady Daisy, and the Historic Stakes.

Vernon Downs will kick off its 2012 race season on Friday, April 27th to open up its 90-day race meet from April 27th through November 3rd.

Vernon Downs will be the 2012 host of American Racing and Entertainment's marquee event, the $50,000 Drivers' Championship, which has been held at Tioga Downs since it inception in 2007.
The Drivers' Championship will share the spotlight at Vernon Downs with the $700,000 estimated Zweig Memorial Trot, on Sunday, August 26th.

The $200,000 estimated Muscle Hill Open Mare Trot and $200,000 estimated Credit Winner Open Trot will also return to Vernon Downs in 2012 on Friday, September 7th.

The $500,000 estimated Empire Breeders' Classic for New York bred trotters will headline the month of June at Vernon Downs, with the eliminations on Friday, June 1st and the $250,000 estimated finals a week later on Friday, June 8th.

Also scattered around the 2012 stakes schedule at Vernon Downs is the Historic Stakes along with legs and the final of the $175,000 Kindergarten Classic.

"We pride ourselves at Tioga & Vernon on the racing product and promotions we offer our fans during the summer months in upstate New York, and look forward to what we hope will be the best year yet for Tioga and Vernon Downs," said Jason M. Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast.

For more information on Tioga Downs or Vernon Downs, please visit us online at and

Monday, January 16, 2012

Zweig Memorial Improved for 2012

The Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for three-year-old trotters will undergo several important changes for this year's edition.

The conditions for the race have been revised from split divisions to a format that puts the top nine money winners for 2012 into the main event with a consolation for the next nine that enter.

The same formula will be used for the Zweig Filly trot.

This allows the purse for the main open event to be estimated at $400,000 and the main filly race at $170,000.

The consolation purses are $80,000 Estimated for the open and $40,000 Estimated for the fillies.

To facilitate the large purse increase, the payments have been raised and the added money has been doubled from previous years to a minimum of $150,000.

The 2012 races have been moved to Vernon Downs 7/8's mile oval, generally regarded as one of the very finest racing surfaces in the game.

The Zweig Memorial will be featured on a special Sunday, August 26 matinee card that will include the $50,000 annual Drivers' Challenge.

The scheduling of the race will allow the cream of the crop to come to Vernon for the Zweig one week after the Colonial and then have an important open week before the Canadian Trotting Classic elims.

The New York State Fair events for two-year-olds will be raced on Friday and Saturday of Zweig weekend, creating a showcase of the finest our sport has to offer.

"We are trying to recreate the fun weekend we all had when the Zweig was raced at the State Fairgrounds along with other New York sire stake races," said American Racing Chairman Jeff Gural. "Having our hotel on site with its many recent improvements along with the new format for the Zweig and the always exciting Drivers' Championship, we are hoping that we will have a big turnout."

The cooperation of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York and Mrs. Anne Zweig were integral to executing the improvements in the Zweig Memorial.

The first sustaining payment for the 2012 races comes due by February 15.

Hambletonian winner Broad Bahn won a division of the Zweig Memorial last year when the event was raced at Tioga Downs.

Nomination forms and conditions are available at the HHBNYS web site.

Revenue up at Vernon Downs in 2011

American Racing and Entertainment, which operates two Racetracks and Casinos in upstate New York, showed impressive gains in numbers in 2011 at both Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs.

Vernon Downs posted strong increases in business in 2011 with casino credits played at the upstate casino increasing 14.1% ($64 million) over 2010, with net revenue for the casino posting a 2.6% increase in business, good for $1.1 million dollars.

The Food and Beverage department also posted strong gains in 2011, increasing business 18.3% over 2010.

Vernon Downs also had traffic at the property increase sharply during 2011, with attendance being up 11.6% over 2010.

Vernon Downs' significant increases in casino play were helped with the addition of the tax-exempt free play program that began in April 2011.

Also driving business in 2011 for Vernon Downs was the opening of the $8.9 million dollar hotel expansion that included a multi-purpose convention space for concerts, weddings, catering, and receptions, along with a new state-of-the-art simulcasting facility, and the luxurious Mr. G's Food and Spirits restaurant.

Tioga Downs also posted a 9.8% increase in casino credits played ($66.5 million) for 2011 when compared to 2010, with net revenue for the casino up 7.5% or $4 million dollars.

The food and beverage numbers at Tioga Downs also saw a large increase, due in part to a $5 buffet promotion it held the last quarter of the year.

The Food and Beverage number closed out 2011 with a 7.7% increase.

The Tioga Downs gift shop showed the largest increase in business in 2011 with a 92.7% increase over 2010.

Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel is open year-round with video gaming machines, simulcast horse racing, a live harness racing season, restaurants, a sports bar and special entertainment events. The property employs almost 300 people, offers an all-suites hotel and a newly expanded Events Center. It is located near Routes 5 and 31 in Vernon, NY.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Vernon Downs Announces $5 Buffets

In these difficult economic times, everybody is looking for a good value, and Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel is ready to help.

Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Champions Buffet at Vernon Downs is offering its "Lincoln's Winkin' $5 Buffet" for Lunch and Dinner. This is a substantial discount over the regular price of $10.99 for lunch and $13.99 for dinner on these days.

According to Jeff Gural, owner of Vernon Downs, "We realize that times are tough, and we felt dropping our buffet prices in Champions (inside the casino,) as well as prices in Mr. G's Restaurant (just steps away from the gaming floor in the new event Center,) would be a helpful gesture to our patrons, as well as a way to thank them for their continued support."

The "Lincoln's Winkin' $5 Buffet" is currently scheduled to continue Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday through the month of March. Patrons must be a Your Club member to receive the discount.

Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel is open year-round with video gaming machines, simulcast horse racing, a live harness racing season, restaurants, a sports bar and special entertainment events.

The property employs almost 300 people, offers an all-suites hotel and a newly expanded Events Center.

It is located near Routes 5 and 31 in Vernon, NY.