Monday, November 18, 2013

VERNON DOWNS POSTS DOUBLE DIGIT EXPORT HANDLE INCREASE

2013 season is third straight seasonal increase

For the third consecutive season, Vernon Downs experienced a double-digit increase in export handle, the amount of money wagered at off-track locations on races at Vernon Downs. For the 2013 season, which concluded November 9, export handle was up 17 percent. In the past three seasons, the export handle has increased a total of 63 percent.

"Posting a third straight handle increase reaffirms that the horseplayers across North America are in favor of full competitive fields and a strong stakes program," said Scott Warren, Director of Racing.  "We worked very hard this year to expand the reach of our simulcast signal into new markets like California, and this season showed that the effort of our entire staff continues to pay off."

Export handle increased 175 percent on Empire Breeders Classic day in June, 110 percent on Credit Winner/Muscle Hill night in September and 26 percent on Drivers' Championship/Zweig Memorial night in August.

"A tremendous amount of credit needs to go to Scott Warren who continues to put together full, competitive fields that drive our handle in the positive direction," said Jason Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing. "A big thank you also goes to the horsemen and fans that supported Vernon Downs racing in 2013."

On the track, more history was made during the track's 60th anniversary of racing.

Vernon Downs based Royalty For Life captured the $1.5 million Hambletonian in August; harness racing's most prestigious race held at the Meadowlands. Royalty For Life then came back to his home track and won Vernon's Zweig Memorial over a field of star-studded 3-year-old trotters.

Canadian trotter Intimidate broke the all-time Vernon Downs track record with his thrilling win in the Credit Winner Open Trot in September in a final time of 1:51.

In June, the largest on-track crowd of the season, nearly 6,000, witnessed the first ever camel and ostrich races in Vernon Downs history.

Rick Plano finished the season as the track's runaway leading driver and trainer. The 62-year-old Central New York native achieved the feat for the second straight year.