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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cane Pace and Shady Daisy Review

If it is Labor Day, it is Cane Pace Day in the Southern Tier.  In addition to the Cane Pace and Shady Daisy,  there is the final legs of the 7th Annual Drivers Championship which has local driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr. leading the others in the competition.  The second, third, sixth, seventh, and ninth races are being used for the championship.

As for the Cane Pace, it looks to be a two horse race with Captaintreacherous and Vegas Vacation being the two horses to watch with the others racing for scraps.  Once again due to New York regulations, there are two coupled entries due to common ownership so instead of eight wagering interests, there are only six though quite honestly, I am not sure anything would make this a good wagering event.  Bridge jumpers take note, there is no show wagering on the Cane.  To me, it is more of a race to watch than it is to bet.

The Shady Daisy looks to be the better wagering event with six horses you can make a case for in winning this race as well as a couple of long shots with watching to see if their odds stay high enough to pull the trigger.  There is just enough uncertainty about a couple here which should keep the odds from plummeting too low.

Since it is Ladies first, let's take a look at the Shady Daisy which is the fifth race on the card:

  1. Shebestingin (Sears, 8-5) - Unfortunate break in the Valley Forge at the start.  Won the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs in 1:49.3. A legitimate threat to take it all.
  2. Scandalous Hanover (Miller, 3-1) - Beat older at Harrah's in last, always a good sign. Figure she will try to wire the field with Shebestingin right behind her.  Question if she can hold the top choice off.
  3. Ms Caila J Fra (Allard, 6-1) - One I have followed all year long but has been away from the races for a month.  Will she be tight enough?  We'll see.
  4. The Last Laugh (Buter, 20-1) - Has been racing in the top ranks against aged mares at the Spa with mixed results drawing the outside posts.  Wouldn't leave out of exotics.  If looking for a long shot shocker, this one could be the one.
  5. Nikki Beach (Pierce, 9-2) - Winner of first consolation of Valley Forge and Adioo Volo.  Been close in the top races thus far.  Legitimate chance if runs into no traffic.
  6. UF Dragon's Queen (Callahan, 15-1) - Been racing primarily with lower company though has never been better.  Would look at her as a long shot play if the odds were right.
  7. Parlee Beach (Tetrick, 20-1) - Finally, one to easily toss. 
  8. Live Entertainment (Gingras, 10-1) - Seems to be in a little deep and with this post, it should be a long day for her.  I'll pass.
The Play: A wide open affair, but in this competitive field I would look for Shebestingin to race in the pocket and make a move in the stretch.  Scandalous Hanover will try to hold on for second with Ms Cailar J Fra rushing at the end along with UF Dragon's Queen.  For a long shot play, I will take UF Dragon's Queen at 10-1 or better and even look at the Last Laugh at 20-1 or higher, especially if UF Dragon's Queen falls below double digits.

 Now let's take a look at the Cane Pace (Race 10) in post position order:
  1. (3) Someplace Special (Callahan, 12-1) - Silva trainee is stepping up here.  Unlikely to land a share.
  2. (1) Captaintreacherous (Tetrick, 8-5) -  Nailed in last off of a layoff.  Should be 100% today and figures likely to start a new streak today.  Doubt you will get 8-5.
  3. (1A) Wake Up Peter (Pierce, 8-5) - Winless thus far this year.  A nice second stringer but wouldn't touch if he raced uncoupled.
  4. (2) Vegas Vacation (Sears, 5-2) - Could be the value play.  Winner here in EBC and was second in Adios which was won by the conqueror of the Captain.  Definite threat.
  5. (4) Word Power (Jamieson, 10-1) - A nice horse but doesn't figure here. 
  6. (5) Twihlight Bonfire (Campbell, 3-1) -  Odds puzzle me.  Nice horse but dependent on getting nice trip.  May be to far back to get involved at the end.  If higher than 5-1 may take another look.
  7. (6) Varadero Hanover (Gingras, 5-1) - Picks up a positive driver change but don't see from post seven.  Pass.
  8. (2A) Lucan Hanover (Miller, 5-2) - Took a break after NJ Classic and been away a month after running a four race win streak.  Wouldn't play alone from post eight but is a nice addition to Vegas Vacation as an entry.
The Play: The race really figures to come out to a Capataintreacherous-Vegas Vacation Exacta barring someone going Kamakazie, yet I will try to break those two apart.  I would play a 1,2/5,6/1,2  Trifecta hoping to get a little value.  As for a long shot play, I don't see anyone worth taking a stab at.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Intimidate and the Credit Winner

VFTRG contributor Joe F. is wondering if 2012 Breeders Crown Champion Intimidate will be eligible for the Credit Winner.  Here are his reasons why he may be on the outside looking in.

Folks are trying to figure out whether or not Intimidate, the Justice Hall gelding who won the BC last year, but has only earned 34K in five starts this year, will make the earnings cut for the upcoming Credit Winner at Vernon Downs. The top ten nominees in earnings qualify for the race which takes place a week from Friday. Last year only four started but there figures to be more interest this time around. There are 33 nominees and, aside from those that haven’t raced at all this year, just about all of them have larger bankrolls than Intimidate. 

Some like Winning Mister, Broad Bahn, Banker Volo and Prestidigitator can be eliminated because, for one reason or another, they haven’t raced……San Pail just qualified, but he’s unlikely to be ready for the CW, and he has no 2013 earnings, anyway…..Goo is on the road back, but he has only made a couple of unsuccessful 2013 starts….Big Chocolate is staying in Indiana…..Nancy Johannson’s Classic Conway last started in June……The same goes for Coraggioso and Flyhawk Jester….. Frost Bites K is racing, but against nw 8K, so he’s not likely to go…..So that would reduce the list to 22.

Takter has a pair nominated, Guccio and LBF. If he’s sending one, he might as well also send the other....Burke has Wishing Stone and Tall Cotton eligible. The former is pretty much a sure bet, but again, Tall Cotton has been very good this year; might as well send him, too…..Jeff Gillis has Herbie and Knows Nothing staked to the Credit Winner. Herbie is a sure thing, but Knows Nothing is sharp right now. Why not both?…..Sevruga is a solid bet…..The same goes for Market Share…..I imagine Arch will be in. He was last year….Hot Shot Blue Chip is the defending champ. Why wouldn’t he go?....And off his win over Sevruga & Market Share at Harrah’s Alagna will no doubt enter My MVP.

That’s eleven with solid potential.

Then there’s the borderline group. Trotters like Quick Deal, Lindy’s Jersey Boy and Undercover Strike, cheaper trotters that are sharp right now….. What about ice Machine.

New York loves convoluted entry configurations, the kind where you’re scratching your head trying to figure out how these horses are linked—Jerry Silva can’t own a piece of every horse in training, after all. In the 2012 Zweig Filly there were two four-horse entries and lonesome and alone, Win Missy B. Despite a nine-horse field, there was win betting only with Check Me Out paying $2.20 as the winner. This year the Zweig Filly winner, Mistery Woman, was part of a three-horse entry.

All the top mares are staked to the Muscle Hill, so that has the potential to be a very good race.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Racing Once Again Put On Notice

It has been reported that NYRA may close Aqueduct because it loses money on its racing operations.  While NYRA says thre are no 'imminent' plans to close the track, the NYRA Reorganization Committee is looking at all options and closing Aqueduct is one option.  One quote which came up in this discussion made mention that Aqueduct's racing product must at least break even on its own, not with the help of slots.

Why should racing take note of this possibility?  The NYRA franchise is currently run by the state.  With the state operating the track and getting the slot profits, they are not keen to subsidize racing with casino revenue.  Racing at Belmont and Saratoga show profits. 

Right now, the state has no problem with the casino end of the business supporting racing,  for private entities.  How long do you think it will be if Aqueduct is closed due to racing not being profitable while the state owns it before the privately owned racinos finally get the state to understand if the state is not willing to subsidize racing with their slot profits, why should private racinos be expected to do so?  Sooner or later, the private tracks may get their wishes to show racing out the door or require horsemen to lease the tracks and operate their own meets there.

Just something to ponder.


Thursday Musings

Regis The Horse, partially owned by Regis Philbin (5%, so he is not listed in the program as he is a minority owner) is once again racing live on Fox Sports 1's The Crowd Goes Wild in the first race from Harrington Raceway with the race scheduled to go off at 5:35pm.  Regis is 3-1 in the morning line.  Will he win once again?  Check out Fox Sports 1 and find out.

To no one's surprise, the trainer charged by Stillwater, NY police for allegedly abusing a horse has been suspended immediately and indefinitely by the NYGC.  If convictd of the charge, he is subject to a fine and/or up to one year in jail.   

On September 23, Chantal Sutherland Kruse, the renowned and now un-retired jockey will be time-trialing at the Meadows DW's NY Yank in an effort to break the North American RUS record of 1:59 1/5 on a 5/8ths mile oval.  Clearly a publicity move as was having Julie Krone ride Moni Maker at The Red Mile back in 1998.  Clearly, with Chantal riding the horse, the race will get more publicity, but in some ways I think it is a slap in the face to the women who have been trying to introduce RUS to North America.   My opinion is they should have asked the RUS rider with the most wins or best URR to take the mount.  If the fear was they didn't have enough experience, get one of the leading RUS riders from Europe who speaks English to come over for the ride.  Alas, it is th owner and trainer's perrogative to decide to ride.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Miscellaneous Thoughts for the end of August

Thanks to VFTRG contributor Joe F. for coming up with a great article while I will be away for the day taking care of family issues.  You may not agree with everything Joe writes but it is pretty much insightful.

Remember all the grief Peter Foley took last year when he made it known that Bolt The Duer would not return for the second heat of the Jug, regardless of how he fared in the first. Many said the colt shouldn’t be allowed to start at all. Others swore up and down that they’d never vote for Duer for anything, no matter how worthy he was. Unlike Jug winner, Michaels Power and ARNRD, Duer was staked to the Tattersalls Pace and the Bluegrass, and Foley wanted to have something left for later. Now, Michaels Power isn’t up to tangling with the big boys and HBC is a curiosity. Duer, on the other hand, is hands down the best aged pacer in training, and on the verge of being historically great.


Apparently Needy was scratched out of his CPD elimination because he was late for Lasix. That puts Jamieson in something of a bind; the horse had three weeks off prior to Saturday’s scratch and it will be tough to find a race this Saturday when the final is held. WEG is famous for allowing the homeys to feast on inferior stock in situations like this—see San Pail—but it would be more likely that a race is carded for the CPD rejects and scratches: Needy, TOL, Michaels Power, Kingcole and Fred And Ginger. 

The next FFA race will be the Quillen at Harrington, the eliminations for which are two weeks from today, on Monday September 9. All of the participants in this past Saturday’s CPD eliminations are staked to the Quillen, with the exception of Aracache and Fred And Ginger. Typically that race is a Burke barn feast. Burke’s charges have won four of the six Quillens and vacuumed up much of the place and show money paid out to boot. Last year the Cleveland Classic drew higher end stock than expected and this year it may be the Quillen that has the planets lined up in its favor. 

Last year there were only five starters in the Quillen. Cheddar wired the field, equaling Stand Forever’s :49.2 WR for a four-year-old pacing horse on a half. This year should bring more than five entries and Flipper J, WWS and Feel Like A Fool won’t be three of them.

If there’s no Quillen elimination, as was the case last year, Needy would be off six weeks going into the final. I don’t think they want that to happen. 


Wasn’t it announced after the Yonkers Trot debacle that 825K lemon, Detour Hanover, was being turned over to someone who knows something about training trotters? He’s in to qualify at Harrah’s on Tuesday and Cancelliere’s name is still on the trainer’s line…..Their filly, Power Pack Hanover, takes on Ideal Ginny at Pocono on Tuesday. She’s fast enough but has only banked 37K this year….Bettor Sweet has only raced once in 2013. He won the BC off of relatively light campaigns the last two years, but not this light.

The Muscles Yankee colt, Corky, is a money machine. He’s got twelve board finishes to his credit in thirteen 2013 starts, good for 660K. Among them, a win in the 500K Beal, a third in the million dollar Hambletonion, a second in the 360K Zweig and a third in the 500K Colonial. And last year he was first or second in all seven starts. His dam, Clarice Marie, is a full sister to the dam of Tall Cotton and half to the dams of 2000 Colt Trotter of the Year, Banker Hall, Broadway Hall and Looking Hanover. He’ll get his chance to shine in Saturday’s Simcoe, if he’s entered. He’s the only colt from the Zweig staked to the Simcoe. RFL, Spider Blue Chip, Eli, Aperfectyankee, Pine Credit, Shared Past, Puxsutawney, All Laid Out….none of them were nominated to the Simcoe. Some that are eligible are consolation winner, Lindys Tru Grit, Crazed N Lindy, High Bridge, Dontyouforgetit and Team Six.

Corky’s paternal brother, Smilin Eli, who was raced very conservatively by Tetrick in the Zweig, Is also a check cashing machine. Eli didn’t race at two, but he has eight board finishes in ten 2013 starts, good for more than 500K. Eli was second in the Hambletonion and the Colonial.


Sevruga, the division leader in wins, earnings and speed, takes on Market Share, the division leader in reputation, Thursday in a winners over handicap at Harrah’s. Sevruga was assigned the seven post and a favorites ML 7/5 designation while Market Share was placed on the outside and assigned second choice status.  The aged trotting division is certainly much improved over the last few years but it lacks the panache of the pacing group. While Uncle Peter did set an age based WR at Pocono, the Takter trio—Guccio and LBF—have not lived up to expectations. Market Share has made five starts and Herbie six; Goo is on an endless road to recovery from minor surgery and San Pail is apparently on the verge of a return to action after sixteen months off. Arch Madness, who is also nine-years-old, is showing his age. Smedshammer had him beating up on four hapless foes at Vernon at 1/9 over the weekend.

Intimidate has emerged from the wilds of Quebec in style. He blew by Mister Herbie in a preferred trot at Mohawk Monday night and looks to be the top dog in the division. The problem is that he’s missed most of the FFA races and isn’t staked to much going forward, except the Credit Winner and the BC. If ten of those nominated to the former choose to enter, Intimidate won’t get in because his bankroll is so small.


Sweet Lou, a well beaten second to Duer in Saturday’s CPD elimination, won the BC and ISS at two, the Tattersalls Pace at three and the Meadowlands Maturity this year. His record as an open stakes winner, while more impressive than that of Needy, who only has one, is not exemplary, but like many of his Burke barn compatriots, money follows him wherever he goes. He’s currently about 12K from being a millionaire twice over, and will probably cross that threshold on Saturday. Also, he still leads the TVG standings.


The winter and spring champ, Golden Receiver, was staked to the CPD but wasn’t entered. Last year he ran out of gas in mid-August. He still stands in the number two spot in the TVG standings, though.  
With both The Captain and Vegas entered in the Cane on Labor Day, September 2, the pickings should be a little sweeter at the Simcoe which is five days later. Sunfire Blue Chip and Fool Me Once are both staked to the Simcoe and not entered in the Cane. Someone could bring a Cane starter back for the Simcoe but it’s unlikely Alagna or Coleman would do that. 


With the Meadowlands carding the Valley Victory, Goldsmith Maid, Governor’s Cup, Three Diamonds, Moni Maker and Nadia, as well as the TVG finals, at the end of November the often ridiculous Matron, Progress, Galt, Cinderella, Windy City, American-National and the like will no longer serve as a springboard to division honors at the hands of the short-sighted and generally clueless.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Forget the Numbers, Let's Talk People

If you are in Canada, you no doubt have been reading how there are 9,000 less jobs in racing as a result of Ontario's dropping of Slots at Racetracks program.  Whether there are those many jobs lost already who knows?  People tend to count things like job losses to prove their points.

What can't be denied is with respect to harness racing, the big hit is taking place on the lower level tracks and the horsemen who race on those circuits.  How are they taking it?  Garnet Barnsdale has a column in the most current edition of Down The Stretch.  Clearly people are worried and they have every right to as the latest draft proposal for harness racing in the province eliminates racing at most (read that smaller) tracks and leaves Ontario with a five track harness circuit.  After reading Barnsdale's column, the story changes from number and dollars to impacts on people's way of life.

Then on the other hand, we have people, who if the charges are true, should be shown the door and never come back.  Stillwater, New York police have arrested and charged a Saratoga Raceway trainer for allegedly "overdriving, torturing, and abusing animals" after conducting a week long investigation.

Now, the trainer is entitled to his day in court.  If convicted of the allegations, let's see what the New York Gaming Commission, race tracks, and regulatory bodies on the state/provincial levels do.  Will they tell him to find a new career?  Will he be allowed back or will he leave the country as others have done.  These days where people are sensitive to the treatment of horses, anyone convicted of horse abuse should never be allowed back into the sport; the sport must send a clear message that abuse will no longer be tolerated.  We will be following this case.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Columnist Takes Aim at the Writers

A columnist in the Sullivan County Democrat blasts the USHWA for not selecting Billy Parker Jr. for the Hall of Fame.  At the start of the column, Ken Cohen comes out guns a blazing....

You want to know why writers should never have anything to do with polling or Hall of Fame voting? Because they don't know enough. They are writers, and in many cases fans and wannabes. They are certainly not experts. 

Well, while I agree with some of Cohen's sentiments, I wouldn't go as far as he did.  Yes, some writers became racing writers because their assignment editor decreed them to be racing writers when they needed someone, but some of the writers and broadcasters, such as Kathy Parker and Heather Moffett chose racing because their families were involved in racing business so clearly some of them have the pedigree to have valid credentials. 

The problem is these days success is measured solely by dollars.  For example, when was the last time you saw a list of leading drivers in Hoof Beats at the end of the year broken down by the number of drives?  Almost every table of leading whatever is based on money earned.

Could you imagine if Baseball didn't consider players that didn't get a world series ring?  If that was the standard, then players like Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Ralph Kiner, and Ryne Sandberg would never have made the world series.  It's what the individual player did, not what championships the player won (though admittedly it makes it easier).  So to not allow a driver like Zeke Parker into the Hall of Fame because he didn't win the big stakes races doesn't hold water.  Unfortunately, money controls the sport.  They will sooner let someone into the Hall of Fame because they had the luck of having a trainer to buy a certain horse (and having the money to do so).

When you exceed over 11,000 wins in your career, it doesn't matter if you raced your whole career at tracks like the late Louisville Downs; you are Hall of Fame material.  Maybe one day the harness writers will come down of their perch and realize it.

Friday Miscellanery

Most of us have read the reports where Jeff Gural has talked about the success of the Meadowlands this past year, but we haven't heard him say it directly.  Here is an interview with Jeff Gural when he appeared on NJ Today.  Here is your chance to hear him explain things himself.

Out west, negotiations are continuing between Cal Expo and Los Alamitos regarding the share of simulcasting revenue each track gets.  Currently, every dollar bet on simulcasting at Cal Expo is split 29%-71% with 29% going to Cal Expo.  A more equitable deal could allow purses to raise 30% at Cal Expo.  Clearly the standardbred interests got hammered at the negotiation table when the original rule was developed..  Negotiations continue.

In the meanwhile, the CHHA already has an agreement with Watch and Wager regarding exchange wagering.  Hence all which is needed is approval of the CHRB and we are off to the races.

 Clearly Arch Madness has seen his best days.  This weekend he gets a break as he faces a field of local Open Trotters at Vernon Downs in the first race as he is assigned post position five in the five horse field.  If he doesn't win this week, it may be time to consider retiring the trotter.

The Zweig Filly stakes on Sunday at Vernon looks like a race between Mistery Woman and Frau Blucher.  In the Open Zweig MEmorial, Smiling Eli, Corky, and Royalty For Life look to make the race one humdinger.  Makes sure you catch the race on Sunday evening.

Earlier in the day on Sunday at Tioga is the 4th leg of the Ms Versatility Trot.  To me, I think I would go with Cedar Dove although she has only one victory this year.

Some good racing this Saturday at Mohawk with the eliminations for the Canadian Pacing Derby, featuring some of the best FFA horses in North America.  Other than the Pacing Derby, 2yos are the feature action on Saturday night in eliminations for the She's A Great Lady and the Metro stakes.

Did your kids go to camp this summer and go pony riding?  Well depending on where you live, that little horse which brought joy to your child all summer may be going for one last trip as D.R. Chambers and Sons, Inc. is having their Camp Horse sale on August 30.  You see many camps buy horses before camp begins and at the end of the camp season, they unload them at these sales where a good number of them will end up going to slaughter.  Few camps keep their horses and use them year after year or provide them a good home when they are no longer usable.  So if you send your kids to camp, and they have horseback riding, ask where the horses come and where they are kept after the season.  If they don't give you a satisfactory answer, it is time to look at the next camp.  If enough people were to do this, camps may learn to take responsibility of their horses all year or get rid of horseback riding all together..

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Goodbye Harnessphere, Hello Social Media

Goodbye old friend.  Harnessphere, the discussion board run by the USTA will see its last post sometime Friday afternoon as the USTA will be pulling the plug.

Why pull the plug now?  Quite frankly, Harnessphere represents old technology of about ten years ago and while the 'Sphere has served the USTA well, with the embracing of social media, the resources needed to operate the Sphere will be put to better use.

Let's face it, Harnessphere was for people already 'captured' by the harness racing bug.  With the social media initiative, not only will those already associated with harness racing be able to join in the conversation, the industry will be able to reach out and attract those who have never seen a horse race live.  Hopefully, by taking advantage of what social media can provide, harness racing will be able to grow its fan base and become stronger.

Some may wonder what exactly is this social media initiative the USTA is talking about?   If you go to last week's Eye on Harness Racing episode below, at the 2:15 mark there is an explanation of what they hope to accomplish.

Good bye Harnessphere, you had a good run but it is time to go.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, with Penn National being shot down by Tewksbury voters, it is reported that Penn National Gaming is eyeing taking over ownership of Plainridge Racecourse (disclosure: the writer owns shares in Penn National Gaming).  While at this time it is a rumor, it makes logical sense as Penn National wants in the Massachusetts market.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Great Publicity Event which went too Far?

As some of you may know, Fox Sports Channel 1 debuted on Monday and one of the shows is Crowd Goes Wild which is hosted by television host extraordinaire Regis Philbin.  On the show, since Regis is having a birthday this week, the crew decided to buy Regis a horse.  How much of a surprise it was I really don't know as the horse formerly known as Settlemoir Hanover became Regis The Horse prior to his first qualifier at Mohawk back in June. 

The fact remains, it was a great publicity move, staged or not.  But then after the commercial break, there was more to the surprise, as Crowd Goes Wild cut away to Harrington Raceway for Regis The Horse's race where track announcer Jack Gallagher called the race, adding information about the horse belonging to Regis and his new show.  To make the whole gift more special, Regis The Horse won as an odds on favorite making the gift a success.

Everyone is happy, right?  Well, what if you were a fan at Harrington Raceway or watched the race from your computer and you bet against Regis only to learn about the gift Regis Philbin got?  A cynic may wonder if the race was a 'give me' to the horse.  Now, I am not suggesting it was, but rest assured there were those who wondered about it,. perhaps some people watching the television show.

Instead of having this coincidence, wouldn't it have been better if Regis got the horse for his birthday and then on a totally different day, the show covered the race, whether it won or lost?  Remember, perception is reality and while we got desperately needed publicity, I have to wonder if we went too far.

Pardon the Technical Difficulties, We'll be Right Back

You may have noticed my blogging schedule is off, this is due to a family issue which takes precedence.  I will continue to post but for the short term, not as often as usual.  I look forward to resuming my normal schedule shortly but in the meanwhile, kindly excuse the erratic schedule.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Must See Racing

For those of you who don't normally play Vernon Downs or Tioga, here are two must watch days coming up on the next two Sundays, starting with Vernon Downs on the evening of August 25.  The six highest earning drivers in the nation will be competing against local leading drivers Jimmy Marohn Jr. and Rick Plano plus a driver to be named tomorrow as a sponsor exemption tomorrow.  

It should be interesting to watch and wager on these race as you will have drivers picking up mounts on horses they typically don't race so while the horse must be ready, the reinsmen are going to do their best to get their horses across the line first.

The press release follows:


North America’s top drivers compete against leading local drivers for $25,000 first prize at Vernon Downs on Aug. 25 & Tioga Downs on Sept. 2

NICHOLS, NY – Harness racing’s version of the All-Star Game returns to Upstate New York when North America’s premier drivers compete in the 7th Annual Tioga/Vernon Drivers’ Championship.

The continent’s top six money-winning drivers have been confirmed to participate led by Tim Tetrick, whose mounts have earned more than $9.2 million in 2013. Tetrick has led North America in earnings for an unprecedented six straight years; however, he’s never finished first in the Drivers’ Championship in six appearances.

This year’s field will also include Hambletonian winning driver and Vernon native Brian Sears, two-time champion Yannick Gingras, defending champion Ron Pierce, David Miller and first-time participant Corey Callahan, who will also be honored with a bobblehead doll giveaway during the event.

Those six drivers will compete against leading Tioga Downs driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr. and leading Vernon Downs driver Rick Plano.

The final competitor in the nine-man field, the sponsor’s exemption, will be announced tomorrow.

The first round of the event takes place at Vernon Downs during a special Sunday night of racing on August 25 with a 6:45 p.m. first race post time. The leader after the Vernon round will receive $10,000. The drivers and their accumulated points will then head to Tioga Downs on a special Labor Day card, September 2, with a 1:30 p.m. post time. The overall winner of the event receives $25,000.

The Vernon Downs leg of the challenge shares a card with the $700,000 Zweig Memorial Trot featuring Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life racing on his home track. The Tioga Downs leg of the challenge shares a card with the $400,000 Cane Pace, opening leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. The Cane is expected to feature a long-awaited showdown between top-rated 3-year-olds Captaintreacherous and Vegas Vacation.

In addition to the racing on the track, fans will be treated to a variety of giveaways and promotions including the annual bobblehead giveaway and t-shirt giveaway while supplies last and drawings to win iPads and laptop computers. There will also be pre-race autograph sessions with the drivers on both days of the event

Beach Racing?  In the respected horse magazine EQUS, there is some concern raised regarding the plans for Palio-style horse racing.  If done right with proper training, it can be an entertaining sport, but if not, it could be a recipe for disaster.  Governor Christie has yet to sign the legislation.  You may read the article from EQUS here