Monday, April 13, 2015

Vernon Downs readies for 2015 opener

Monday, April 13, 2015 - by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media

Vernon, NY --- Vernon Downs opens the curtain on their 2015 live harness racing season later this week, as Friday (April 17) marks the first of 90 programs over the critically acclaimed seven-eighths-mile stonedust track.

"We're excited to kick off another season of harness racing at the home of the Miracle Mile," said Jason M. Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing at Vernon Downs. "It's been a long winter, but we're ready for the upcoming meet, featuring world-class stakes races, the New York Sire Stakes, and a slew of fun promotions for our loyal fans."

Fans will be welcomed back to the home of the Miracle Mile with race date magnets and T-shirts given away at the main entrance beginning at 5:45 p.m. (while supplies last). Fans will also be able to meet their favorite Vernon Downs drivers before the races. During the races, six lucky fans will be selected to win a $50 wager on the house, and after the last race, all are invited to enjoy a spectacular fireworks display.

The first Horseplay Car Giveaway finalist will be chosen on opening night as well (weather permitting), as the popular season-long contest returns with a Volkswagen Jetta on the line. Fans can earn entries every live race night through Sept. 7, when one lucky winner will drive away with the new car.

Later in the season, Vernon Downs will again host the trotting divisions of the Empire Breeders Classic (June 21), along with a number of top trotting and distaff events.

Stakes action continues with the Zweig Memorial Trot (for 3-year-olds) slated for July 26, while the Aug. 21 card boasts a trio of top events -- the Crawford Farms Trot, the Muscle Hill Mares Trot, and the Artiscape Open Mare Pace.

As the weather cools down, Vernon Downs will once again host the New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series finals on Sept. 19, the Simpson Stakes for 2-year-olds on Oct. 16, and the Kindergarten Classic trotting finals on Oct. 31.

As last year’s major open stakes were won by Dan Patch champions Father Patrick, Shake It Cerry, Sebastian K, and Rocklamation, the Miracle Mile is sure to once again host a number of present and future world champions throughout the year.

Additionally, Vernon Downs will play host to a full complement of New York Sire Stakes preliminary events for 2- and 3-year-old pacers and trotters.


Post time for the opening night program is slated for 6:45 p.m. (EDT). Racing will take place on Friday and Saturday evenings through closing night, Nov. 21, with Sunday afternoon cards added from mid-May through the end of August and Wednesday evening cards added in September and October. For a complete schedule, visit www.vernondowns.com/racing.