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NICHOLS, N.Y. - What started as gaming machines and harness racing and then a full-fledge casino, Tioga Downs has completed its journey to become a resort destination. A ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony was held Friday for the new hotel at Tioga Downs, making it the Tioga Downs Casino and Resort. The six-story 161-room hotel includes a full-service AgeLess Spa, fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, two rooftop decks, an events center with banquet and reception that can accommodate 400 people. In addition, the hotel has a PJ Clarke's Restaurant serving burgers in a speakeasy-style atmosphere. Owner Jeff Gural says he wants people near and far to enjoy all the amenities the new hotel has to offer. "It's beautiful.  Hopefully we'll be able to accomplish our goal to make it a resort for people from outside the are who are visiting Corning Glass, Watkins Glen or the wineries.  Now, they have a beautiful resort to stay at," said Gural. Gural thanked the community along with the many legislators and lawmakers in attendance for supporting his endeavor, especially when Del Lago was chosen as the Southern Tier casino location. The conference center will hold its first event tomorrow with a fundraiser for the United Way. Reprinted with permission of The Binghamton News  

Closing night for the 2017 harness racing season was highlighted by the New York Sire Stakes for sophomore pacing colts and geldings at Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 16). In the first division ($61,300) Henry Hill (Marcus Miller) would rundown the favorite Outkast Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) in the stretch for the victory. Ideal Wheel (Jim Taggart Jr.) would charge out to the lead and bring them to a first quarter in :26.1. Outkast Blue Chip (Rock N Roll Heaven) would then make his move taking over just before the half and control the half at :54.2 and three-quarters in 1:22.0. Henry Hill (Roll With Joe) would go first over and take over at the top of the stretch. Owned by Tom Hill and trained by Tony Alagna, the 3 year-old would battle Outkast Blue Chip (second) all the way down the stretch to win by a head in a lifetime best of 1:50.1. Outrajus Blue Chip (Jim Meittinis) would finish third. Henry Hill ($6.80), who didn't race as a 2 year-old, won for the third time in four starts. In the second division ($62,400), Cultural Paradise (Jim Morrill Jr.) would pop out of the pocket to get the victory in the stretch. Pointomygranson (Jim Marohn Jr.) laid down all the early fractions :27.1, :56.0, 1:23.1. Cultural Paradise (Americal Ideal) was content to ride in the pocket all the way to the stretch. Owned by Bradley Grant and trained by Larry Remmen, the 3 year-old surged to the front and just got by Pointomygranson (second) to win in a lifetime best of 1:51.3. Third place went to Serious Major (Jim Taggart Jr.) Cutural Paradise ($5.60), got win number six on the season and notched career victory number nine. Mike Deters was the top trainer for 2017. Mike Simons was the top driver this season. Pacer of the year was Andreios Kardia. Top trotter was Prairie Fortune. Fireworks followed the live racing. Tioga Downs wants to thank all the horsemen and fans for a great 2017 season. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne      

Dynamic Edge (Mike Simons) captured the harness racing featured Open Handicap Trot ($12,000) at Tioga Downs on Friday night (September 15). Dragin The Wagon (Aaron Byron) would lay down all the early fractions, :27.3, :57.0, 1:25.1. Dynamic Edge (Muscle Mass) who is owned and trained by Mark Ford, would go first-over and take the lead at the top of the stretch and hold off the late rush of Picture This (Tom Jackson) to win in a lifetime best of 1:54.2. Picture This would have to settle for second with Theraputic (Mike Merton) finishing third. Dynamic Edge ($18.60) would notch his sixth win of the season and 11th career victory. Little Santamonica (Aaron Byron) would win the fillies and mares feature ($10,000). Little Santamonica (Little Steven) would go gate-to-wire hitting all the fractions :26.4, :56.1, 1:24.1, 1:52.1. Owned by Courtney Crawford and trained by Jordan Hope the 9 year-old mare would win for the 13th time this season and the 58th time in her career. Truth And Liberty (Austin Siegelman) would come on late to finish second. K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart) would settle for third. Tioga Downs returns to live action with closing night on Saturday (September 16). The 11 race card which features NYSS sophomore pacing colts and geldings with a post time of 6:50 p.m. Firework follows the live racing For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs

Tioga Downs will end its 2017 campaign on Saturday night (September 16) featuring two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for harness racing sophomore pacing colts and geldings . The first division ($61,300) will feature morning-line favorite, Outkast Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.), who is at 5-2. Owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock and trained by G Buzzy Sholty, Outkast Blue Chip (Rock N Roll Heaven) has won two legs of the NYSS. He first won at Buffalo and then he captured a leg his last time out at Yonkers. The second morning-line choice at 7-2 is Music Is Art (Jim Marohn Jr.). The 3 year-old colt by Art Major is owned by Peter Blood with Rick Perks and trained by Mike Deters. He has three wins in 13 starts this season. The most impressive race was his third place finish in The Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs on August 20th. In the second division ($62,400), the morning-line favorite is Cultural Paradise (Jim Morrill Jr.) at 5-2. Owned by Bradley Grant and trained by Larry Remmen. Cultural Paradise (American Ideal) has hit the board in all 12 starts this season. He has finished first five times (all at Yonkers), with five seconds and two thirds. Pointomygranson (Jim Marohn Jr.) is the top rival at 3-1. The 3 year-old American Ideal gelding has won legs of the NYSS in his last two starts. Owned by Gold Standard Equine LLC and trained by Chris Ryder. he won the legs at Monticello and Yonkers. The post time for the 11 race card at Tioga Downs is 6:50. Fireworks follows the live racing. For more information please go to www.tiogadowns.com. John Horne for Tioga Downs

Paprike Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr) and Hitman Hill (Brett Miller) would each get impressive New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) victories for harness racing freshman colts and gelding pacers at Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 9). Paprike Blue Chip (Roll With Joe - Bliss N Vinegar) would set a track record for 2 year-old geldings in the first division of NYSS ($56,500). Rock Lights (Jim Devaux) would carve out all the early fractions :26.4, :54.4, 1:22.4. Paprike Blue Chip ($3.40) would go from fourth at three-quarters to first by two lengths at the top of the stretch. Owned by Harmony Oaks Racing Stable, Crawford Farms Racing, and VIP Internet Racing Stable, the John Buetenshoen trained 2 year-old gelding would fly in the stretch to set the Tioga Downs track record in 1:50.0. Silver Arrow would charge up late to finish second. Keystone Tenacious (Mickey McNichol) finished third. For Paprike Blue Chip it was his fourth win in nine starts including three legs of the NYSS. Undefeated Hitman Hill (American Ideal - Fox Valley Shaker) would take the second division of the NYSS ($55,500). Casual Cool (Mike Simons) would lead them all to the first quarter in :26.2. Hitman Hill would grab the lead as the went by the stands for the first time. Jersey Jim (Jim Devaux) would challenge and go by just before hitting the half in :54.3 and would lead going to three-quarters in 1:23.1. Hitman Hill ($2.20) who is owned by Tom Hill with Northfork Racing Stable and trained by Chris Oakes, then jumped out of the pocket and took the lead at the top of the stretch but he wasn't home free yet. Casual Cool, Topville Olympian (Jim Morrill Jr.), and My Delight (Fern Paquet Jr.) all came charging at him. Hit Man Hill dug down deep and hung on for his fifth straight including four straight legs of the NYSS. He covered the mile in 1:52.1. Topville Olympian finished second with Casual cool taking third. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 15) for their last weekend of the season. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs

Dragin The Wagon captured the harness racing featured trot ($10,000) at Tioga Downs on Friday (September 8). Wisenheimer (Mike SImons) called the shots early, :27.2, :55.4, 1:24.3. Dragin The Wagon (Angus Hall) followed in the pocket until mid stretch. Owned by James, Michael, and David Cantelon, while trained by Jeff Byron, the 7 year-old gelding found himself trapped on the inside. Aaron Byron was able to squeeze by an opening at the cones in mid-stretch. Dragon The Wagin ($4.90) surged to the front to win in 1;54.2 Caulfied (Mike Merton) would charge late and fall just short to settle for second. Picture This (Tom Jackson) finished third. Dragin The Wagon won for the fifth time this season and secured his 36th lifetime victory, Leading driver, Mike Simons won three on the night to get 70 on the season. He won with Ifya Start Me Up ($5.40), Ameliosi ($4.80), and Rockin Show ($14.60). Jim Taggart Jr. won three as well on the night. He won with K J's Caroline ($3.50), Gwally ($6.20), and Justsingalong ($26.20). Tioga Downs returns to live action on Saturday (September 9) with a 14 race card with New York Sire Stakes action, featuring Freshman Pacing Colts and Geldings. It is also Apple Fest at the track with free apple pie slices and apple cider. Post time is 6:50p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. John Horne for Tioga Downs

Hitman Hill (Brett Miller) puts his unbeaten record on the line while racing in one of two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for harness racing 2 year-old pacing colts & geldings on Saturday (September 9) at Tioga Downs. In the first division, the morning-line favorite is Paprike Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) at 5-2. Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Harmony Oaks Racing Stables, and VIP Internet Stable, while trained by John Butenschoen. The 2 year-old colt by Roll With Joe - Bliss N Vinegar, has captured two legs of the NYSS, with victories at Yonkers ($53,00) and Saratoga ($42,025). The second morning-line choice is Springsteen (Rock N Roll Heaven - American Charm) at 3-1. Owned, trained, and driven by Chris Ryder, the 2 year-old is looking for his first win. He had an impressive second place finish in the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace final at Yonkers Raceway in July. Hitman Hill (American Ideal - Fox Valley Shaker) is the morning line favorite for the second division at 5-2. After winning his first victory in an Excelsior A Series race, the 2 year-old gelding, who is owned by Tom Hill with Northfork Racing Stable and trained by Chris Oakes, has captured three legs of the NYSS. First at Vernon Downs ($37,266), then Yonkers Raceway ($53,500) and his last race at Batavia Downs ($52,500). The freshman is four for four in his young career. Jersey Jim (Jim Devaux) is the second choice at 7-2. Owned by Robert and Gail Sanders while trained by Perry Simser. The 2 year-old gelding by Artiscape - Jersey Pearl, has won two legs of the NYSS. He got his wins at Saratoga ($42,025) and Batavia Downs ($52,500). Casual Cool (Mike Simons) is the third choice at 4-1. The 2 year-old Colt by American Ideal - Sight To See is owned by Kenneth Jacobs and trained by Linda Toscano. He has won four legs of the NYSS so far. He has victories at Buffalo ($35,860), Monticello ($27,750), Vernon Downs ($37,266), and Yonkers ($53,500) Also on Saturday (September 9) is Apple Fest at Tioga Downs. Free apple pie and cider during racing. Post time for the 14 race card is 6:50 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne

Obvious Blue Chip (Scott Zeron) and Roaring To Go (Brett Miller) each captured a leg of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for harness racing sophomore pacing fillies at Tioga Downs Monday afternoon (September 4). Obvious Blue Chip (Roll With Joe) would win the first division of the NYSS ($60,200). Tequilla Monday (Brett Miller) would control all the early fractions :27.1, :55.0, 1:22.1. Obvious Blue Chip ($4.40), who won the Empire Breeders Classic two weeks ago, came out of the pocket at the top of the stretch and blew by to win in 1:50.2. Tequilla Monday (American Ideal) would hang on for second, Artrageous (Mark MacDonald) finished third. Obvious Blue Chip, who is owned by NFG Racing Stable with Stephen Klunowski and trained by Mark Steacy, would win for the fifth time this year. Roaring To Go (Art Major) would take the second division of the NYSS ($61,300). Clear Idea (Mark MacDonald) laid down all the early fractions :27.3, :56.3, 1:24.1. Roaring To Go ($6.80) would follow in the pocket the whole way. Planet Rock (Jason Bartlett) would come up first over to battle for the lead at the top of the stretch. Roaring To Go, who is owned by Frank Chick and trained by Kevin Lare, would come out of the pocket and go three wide charging to the front to win for the ninth time in her career, getting the mile in 1:51.4. Planet Rock (Rock N Roll Heaven) would finish second. Clear Idea (American Ideal) had to settle for third. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (September 8) at 6:50 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs

Tioga Downs has just two weeks remaining until the close of the 2017 season and with only Friday and Saturday night harness racing scheduled, Tioga will now double draw for each race weekend on Tuesday mornings. The first such double draw will take place this Tuesday, September 5th. The box will close at 9am. For more information visit our website at https://www.tiogadowns.com/racing/horsemen/ . Jason Bluhm Sr Regional Director of Racing Tioga Downs & Vernon Downs

Prairie Fortune (Jim Meittinis) charges late to win the Open II Trot Handicap ($10,000), at Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 2). Winemaster Hanover (Mike Simons), would grab the lead and control all the early fractions :27.3, :57.0, 1:25.1. Zoraze (Fern Paquet Jr.) would take the lead in mid stretch but Praire Fortune (Arapa Victory) would go three wide and fly by to get the victory in 1:54.2. Zoraze would hang on for second with BJ Anthony (Mickey McNichol) would get the third spot. Prairie Fortune ($3.80), who is owned by Laurie Puolin and trainer Mike Deters, would win for the seventh time this year and earned career win number 34. Jim Taggart Jr. would pick up three driving wins on the night. First win was with Cool Breeze De Vie $3.90. Second victory came with J Black ($19.80) and the third win was with One Tough Nut ($5.20). There is no racing on Sunday (September 3) because of the Golden Boys concert. Live action returns on Monday (September 4) for a special Labor Day matinee beginning at 1 p.m. The 12 race card will be highlighted by two division of the New York Sire Stakes for 3 year-old pacing fillies. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs  

Little Santamonica (Aaron Byron) would capture the Fillies and Mares Open II ($9,000). on Friday (September 1) at Tioga Downs. Little Santamonica ($6.20) would charge out of the gate to take the lead but All Charged Up (Tom Jackson) would take over before the first quarter. Little Santamonica (Little Steven) re-took the lead as they went by the stands for the first time and the 9 year-old mare, who is owned Courtney Crawford and trained by Jordon Hope, never looked back and won in 1:52.3. Finishing second was K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart Jr.) and Mcace Of Arts (Mike Merton) got third. Mike Merton would win twice on the night. First with Rockin Desire ($30.40) and then with Empty Gesture ($15.40). Tioga Downs returns to live action on Saturday (September 2) with a 10 race card starting at 6:50 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs

The Labor day harness racing matinee at Tioga Downs will feature two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for sophomore pacing fillies. Both races look to be very entertaining. The first division will feature Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) winner Obvious Blue Chip (Scott Zeron) and EBC elimination winner Tequilla Monday (Brett Miller). Obvious Blue Chip (Roll With Joe) who is owned by NLG Racing Stable with Stephen Klunowski and trained by Mark Steacy, is the morning line second choice at 3-1. The 3 year-old filly sat fourth for most of the race before charging late to win the EBC two weeks ago. She has four wins on the season so far, including a NYSS win at Buffalo in June. Tequilla Monday (American Ideal) was favored to win the EBC after her convincing win in the eliminations. She would control the pace and led all the way through three-quarters. Owned by Northfork Racing Stable with Chuck Pompey and trained by Chris Oakes, she would fade in the stretch and finished eighth. She is the morning line favorite at 5-2. She has six wins this season, including a leg of the NYSS at Yonkers in July. In the second Division the morning line favorite is Clear Idea (Mark McDonald), at 2-1. The 3 year-old filly by American Ideal, finished second in the EBC finals. She had won seven in a row including 6 NYSS races and the EBC eliminations. Owned by Hutt Racing Stable and trainer Blake Macintosh, she has won nine of her 16 starts this season. Roaring To Go (Brett Miller) will be the toughest challenger. She almost go to Clear Idea in the EBC eliminations, losing by a neck. She finished fourth in the EBC final. Owned by Frank Chick and trained by Kevin Lare, she won a leg of the NYSS at Yonkers in July. Roaring To Go (Art Major) is the morning line second choice at 5-2. The 12 race card is a special Labor day matinee, starting at 1 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs                

Emoticon Hanover (Daniel Dube) wins the Joie De Vie ($150,000) and sets the world record for harness racing 4 year-old mares for any size track in 1:50.2, at Tioga Downs on a magnificent matinee (August 27). Emotican Hanover (Kadabra), would lay down all the fractions :26.0, :55.1, 1:22.4, 1:50.2. Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras) would try to take the lead before the first quarter but she had to settle for the pocket trip. She would follow the whole way. The Favorite Pasithea Face S would make her bid first over on the back stretch heading for the turn but she just didn't have it today. Last week she set the track record (1:50.4) but ended up fourth best today. Emoticon Hanover ($14.40) was pressured a little bit by Hannelore Hanover (Swan For All), in the stretch but she found another gear to get the easy win. Hannelore Hanover barely hung on for second as Caprice Hill (Brian Sears) came charging late to finish third. Emoticon Hanover, who is owned by Determination and trained by Luc Blais, won for the second time this season. The 4 year-old mare has 13 life time wins but none faster than the world record of 1:50.2. Resolve (Ake Svanstedt) glides to easy win in the Crawford Farms Open Trot ($170,000). Crazy Wow (Yannick Gingras) would set all the early fractions, :27.0, :56.1, 1:23.2. Resolve (Muscle Hill) would make his move first over at the top of the back stretch. By the three-quarter mark the 6 year-old who is owned by Hans Enggren and trained by Svanstedt, would pull almost even before taking over at the top of stretch and firing home in 1:51.4. Cufflink Hanover (Corey Callahan) would ride the pocket for the whole trip coming up to finish second. Flanagan Memory (Brian Sears) would fire late to finish third. Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron) would coming flying late to finish fourth in the field of 10. Resolve ($4.00) won for the fourth time this season. The 6 year-old would win for the 18th time is his career and set the track record at Tioga Downs for an aged horse in 1:51.4. Pure Country (Mark MacDonald) wins the Artiscape Open Mares pace ($158,000). Pure Country (Somebeachsomewhere) would go gate-to wire to capture the Artiscape. She would put up all the fractions :26.4, :55.1, 1:22.1, 1:50.1. Owned by Diamond Creek Racing and trained by Jimmy Takter, Pure Country ($8.60) would get win number two on the season. The four year-old mare now has 22 career wins. Frost Damage Blues (Corey Callahan) would come up to get second and the favorite, Nike Franco N (Tim Tetrick) finished third. Here are the winners of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial races. In The Judge Moore (first division) race for freshman trotting colts and geldings It was Keystone Apache (David Miller) to get the win for a purse of $40,450. I'm Trigger Happy (Corey Callahan) won The Lorraine ($45,330) for 2 year-old filly pacers Farsetti Hanover (Marcus Miller) took the second division of The Judge Moore Closing Statement (David Miller), was victorious in the first division of The Tar Heel ($33,250) for freshman pacing colts & geldings Bill's Lady (Tim Tetrick) won the The Meda ($64,700) for freshman filly trotters. She would equal the track record for freshman filly trotters with a mile of 1:55.1. Karpathian Kid (David Miller)would take the second division of The Tar Heel ($33,250). John Horne for Tioga Downs

Dragin The Wagon (Aaron Byron) would take the harness racing featured Open II pace ($9,000) at Tioga Downs on Saturday night (August 26). Dragin The Wagon (Angus Hall) would fly out of the gate and never look back. Owned by James, Michael, and David Cantelon and trained by Jeff Byron, the 7 year-old would control all the fractions :28.0, :57.1, 1:25.3, 1:54.3 for the victory. Bjanthony (Mickey McNichol) and Zoraze (Fern Paquet Jr.) would both charge late to make it interesting. Both horses ended in a dead heat for second. Dragin The Wagon ($4,00) won for the fourth time this season and earned his 35th career victory. Byron would win two more on the night. His next win was with Warhorse ($12.00) and his final win was with Rose Run Rudi ($5.50) Dein Spriggs won the Billings Driver Club race with Perfect Road ($10.20). Live racing returns on Sunday (August 27), featuring The Crawford Farms Trot, The Joie De Vie Mares Trot and the Artiscape Open Mares Pace. Also on hand will be the Reynolds Stakes races, featuring freshman colts and fillies, trotters and pacers. Corntastic weekend comes to an end on Sunday featuring Western Family Fun Day (Free) and free long sleeve t-shirts. The 12 race card begins at 1 p.m. For more information please go to www.tiogadowns.com. John Horne for Tioga Downs    

Dein Spriggs, one of the most prolific amateur drivers ever to sit behind a Standardbred showed his competition why he was named harness racing's "National Amateur Driver of the year" twice, first in 2004 and then again in 2005. However, in recent seasons he hasn't driven much in the Billings Series, although he has been productive in the Florida Amateur Drivers Association's races as well as competing against European counterparts in various international amateur competitions Just back from an international driving competition in the United Kingdom and in Finland with his Florida Amateur Club, Spriggs' notched his 437th career victory tonight (Saturday evening, August 26) at Tioga Downs when he sat back off speedy early fractions and then came on to pick up all the marbles to win the Billings Trot with his own Perfect Road in a 1:57.3 clocking. "We had the five-hole tonight and since my horse doesn't have real gate speed I headed for the pylons and figured I'd let the race unfold," Spriggs said. "And they were battling up front so we went speedy early fractions and being close,(to the leaders) I waited until we headed down the stretch before I pulled the plugs and when I did Perfect Road was the strong horse and we caught Doc (Scott) Woogen (driving Six Bax) in the final strides to win it." Third place went to War Cry Hall, driven by Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff. The winner, a 5-year-old Holiday Road gelding , trained by Patti Harmon, returned a $10.20 win mutuel. Spriggs was the leading driver in the Florida Amateur Club's Series at Pompano Park earlier this year and he won a few races against European amateurs on their home turf. "This was only my second start in the Billings this year but I plan to race many more times in the series," Spriggs said. Thus far this season Spriggs has driven 13 winners in just 29 starts and is carrying a hefty .532UDR. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

The longest shot in the field Embassy Seelster (Fern Paquet Jr.), wins the harness racing featured fillies and mares pace at Tioga Downs on Friday night (August 25) for a purse of $9,000. Goldstar Rockette (Jim Meittinis) would surge to the front and control the pace with :26.4 to the first quarter and hitting the half in :56.4. Sudden Change N (Jim Taggart Jr.)would take over the lead at the three-quarter mark. Embassy Seelster (Modern Art), who is owned Jerry Clark Racing LLC and trained by Paquet, would somehow squeeze through an opening and get the win in 1:52.4. Sudden Change N (Changeover) would finish second best. Goldstar Rocketter (Rock On) hung on for third. Embassy Seelster ($35.20) would win for the sixth time this season and would earn her 30th career victory. The red hot Jim Meittinis would win three on the night. His first victory came with Prairie Cowgirl ($3.70).. His second win was with Rollingndiamonds ($8.60). His third time in the winner's circle was with Prairie Diamonds ($9.30). Live racing and "Corntastic" weekend continues on Saturday (August 26) with an eleven race card starting at 6:50 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs    

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