Thursday, April 19, 2018

Vernon Downs to start live racing on Friday

Vernon, NY --- Vernon Downs is set to begin its 65th year of racing on Friday (April 20) with a new post time of 6:10 p.m.

Opening night will feature a t-shirt and schedule magnet giveaway, plus the popular “That’s My Driver” promotion. Five entries will be randomly selected following race two. All will have a chance to win up to $140. At the conclusion of the evening’s racing will be a large fireworks display.

Highlights for the season include “Derby Day” featuring the live showing of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday (May 5) with a special post time of 4:30 p.m. Memorial Day (May 28) features the Empire Classic finals for both 3-year-old filly trotters and 3-year-old trotting colts. Each final is racing for a purse of $250,000 (est.) with a post time of 1:05 p.m. The Zweig Memorial races will take place on Friday (Aug. 17) featuring the 3-year-old colt trot ($370,000 est.) and 3-year-old filly trot ($150,000 est.).

The Million Dollar Ball Drop will take place on Saturday (Aug. 18). The Horseplay Car Giveaway featuring a 2017 Ford Fiesta will be on Saturday (Sept. 1). 

John MacDonald will attempt to defend the driving and training titles he won in 2017. MacDonald was top driver in 2017 with 185 wins on the season and top trainer with 57 wins on the year. He was also the owner and trainer of Oh My Joepa, who won Horse of the Year honors with nine wins.

The 11-race card for Friday will feature leg one of the Robert E. Keller Trotting Series. A live bugler will be on hand for the festivities as well.

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