Monday, August 6, 2012

Drivers set for Vernon Downs-Meadowlands Championship

Vernon Downs is gearing up to host its first Drivers' Championship during State Fair weekend on Sunday (August 26).

This year's competition begins on closing night at the Meadowlands, Friday, August 17. The participants will be available for a fan meet & greet as well as an autograph session on the apron beginning at 6 p.m.

The Drivers' Championship final moves to Vernon Downs on August 26th where the entire weekend of racing is designed to be a recreation of the New York State Fair experience of years gone by, complete with all the trimmings.

Below is the field of drivers:
  • Tim Tetrick – $9,593,348
    The "Bionic Man" has a remarkable lead of nearly $3 million in earnings this year for the Drivers' Championship. Tetrick added more than $1.2 million to his total on Saturday's Meadowlands card including his first victory in the Hambletonian with Market Share. This marks six consecutive years that Tetrick will participate in the Drivers' Championship.
  • Yannick Gingras – $6,598,005
    The "Green Hornet" is a comfortable second in North American earnings and is enjoying a sensational year with top mount A Rocknroll Dance who captured the Meadowlands Pace. Gingras has captured the Drivers' Championship on two previous occasions as he endeavors to add a third trophy to his case.
  • George Brennan – $5,974,965
    The "Minister of Speed" has once again kept himself near the top of the money standings in North America with a solid year. Stakes highlights thus far in 2012 have come with top free for all pacer Betterthancheddar who captured the Ben Franklin and Des Smith.
  • Ron Pierce – $5,965,542
  • "Rockin Ronnie" Pierce has competed in every Drivers' Championship held at Tioga Downs, and will be headed to Vernon Downs to regain his title from 2011. He avenged past struggles in Drivers' Championship events by taking home the $25,000 grand prize in 2011.
  • David Miller – $5,825,512
    Back on the roster after missing the cut for the Drivers' Championship in 2009 and 2010, The "Buckeye" will make his second straight appearance in 2012. Miller orchestrated a huge upset in the Hambletonian Oaks with Personal Style at 55-1 to secure a spot in the field of nine.
  • Brian Sears – $5,625,577
    The "White Knight" has competed in all of the Drivers' Championships held at Tioga Downs in years past and will once again compete for the $25,000 grand prize. Perhaps Vernon's favorite son will annex his second Drivers' Championship in front of the hometown fans.
  • Dave Palone – $4,965,497
    Long reigning "Dash King" at The Meadows, Palone made headlines early this year in his quest to surpass Herve Filion as North America's all-time dash winning driver with more than 15,000 trips to the charmed circle. He has been the Meadows' leading driver for an astounding 23 consecutive years. This season's big horse for Dave is Sweet Lou, a top 3-year-old pacing colt trained by Ron Burke.
  • Jim Morrill, Jr. – $4,166,806
    Despite only competing at Vernon Downs on the stakes circuit, Morrill has had so much success that he is the leading money winning driver at Vernon in 2012. He will be in the 2012 Drivers' Championship as Vernon Downs' leading driver and competing in his first ever Drivers' Championship.
  • Jody Jamieson – $4,891,464
    Canada's superstar Jody Jamieson has been selected as the 2012 Sponsor's exemption by American Racing and Entertainment. Jamieson has had great success in 2012 with mounts such as Mister Herbie, Knows Nothing and Big McDeal. Vernon Downs will also be honoring Jamieson on Drivers' Championship day with a Jody Jamieson bobblehead giveaway.
All divisions of the New York State Fair 2-year-old events will be raced on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, in addition to the drivers competition, the new and improved $700,000 Zweig Memorial Trot for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters will be raced at Vernon Downs for the very first time.

The Jody Jamieson bobbleheads will be given away before the races and the drivers participating in the Championship will be on hand for an autograph session and driver meet and greet beginning at 11:45 a.m. on the trackside apron.

On Saturday (August 25), Vernon Downs will be hosting a free golf outing for all horsemen and owners in the morning (planned tee time: 9 a.m.). The tournament will be held at Rome Country Club and will be a four person captain and crew format tournament.

Hotel rooms are available at Vernon Downs for the State Fair celebration (August 24–26), and all reservations and golf sign ups can be directed to Jason M. Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast, at 607.699.7588 or jsettlemoir@tiogadowns.com.

For more information on Vernon Downs visit www.vernondowns.com.