Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Vernon Downs conducts its annual Media Night program

An eager gathering turned out on Tuesday evening (April 9), Media Night at Vernon Downs, as the Central New York harness track took another step toward the start of its 60th anniversary live racing season at 6:45 this Friday night.

Following welcoming remarks by track officials, Vernon presented six qualifying races, the fastest of which was won by the veteran pacing mare Another Judy in 1:57.4.  Roman Lopez drove the brown daughter of Almahurst Frontier-Follow Me Home for owner and trainer Joseph Duh of Sauquoit.

"This is going to be an exciting season to celebrate 60 years of harness racing tradition at Vernon Downs,” said Director of Racing Scott Warren, who put together a 10-race card for Friday night.  The opening weekend will also include a live program at 6:45 on Saturday night. 

The Downs will operate on Friday and Saturday nights only through May 4.  Thursday programs will be added starting on May 9.

On the track, a stakes schedule worth more than $2.3 million will ensure that many of the sport's leading horses, drivers, trainers and owners will compete over Vernon's noted 7/8ths-mile oval that is currently the home of 22,685 miles in two-minutes or faster.

"There aren't too many tracks in North America that will offer a better stakes schedule than we will,” said Regional Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting Jason Settlemoir.

Vernon's 90-card campaign will continue through November 2.

DOWNS DOINGS—Friday's program, which will be followed by a fireworks spectacular, will begin 10 minutes earlier than in recent years…There will be an additional qualifying session here this Friday at 11 a.m…Fans will notice many upgrades to the track this season, including a renovated tote-board in the infield…A complete racing and stakes calendar can be obtained on the Vernon Downs website ( are also encouraged to visit the track’s Facebook page for additional promotional information.