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.