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East Rutherford, NJ - Be advised that any horse that was being trained by a harness racing trainer named in the recent Federal indictments at the time those indictments were handed down will not be accepted to race at The Meadowlands, Tioga or Vernon Downs in overnights or stakes for 60 days from the date that the tracks reopen for live racing.    

Nichols, NY - Tioga and Vernon Downs are announcing that the stable areas at both harness racing tracks will not be accepting horses on April 1 as previously scheduled. It is suggested that had you planned to ship to either track, continue to stable your horses where the are currently housed.   "We are uncertain when our properties will be able to reopen as a whole," said Vice President of Racing for both properties, Jason Settlemoir. "We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates of when live racing will begin at each property. We are living in unprecedented times and the safety of our guests, employees, and horsemen remain our top priorities."   Updates will be provided as they become available.

Nichols, NY - Tioga Downs will kick off the 2020 live harness racing season on Saturday, May 2, igniting a 58 day meet that ends with the New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) Excelsior division finals on Saturday, September 19.   In between the season will be filled with stakes and promotions to enhance the Tioga live experience. Top Grand Circuit stakes for older horses are on the schedule with the Roll With Joe FFA pace and the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters and pacers set for Sunday, June 14 while the Crawford Farms and Joie De Vie for trotters and Artiscape for mare pacers come a month later along with the Empire Breeders Classic for sophomore NY breds.   The nomination forms for the above stakes are available on the Tioga website and will close on March 15.   Race Secretary Rich Mattei will accept racing applications, due by March 15, and open the stable area on April 1 in anticipation of the summer racing.   Questions should be directed to Racing Operations Manager Brett Risi at (607) 699-7688.   It is recommended that horsemen sign up for the text information service used at Tioga Downs by texting the word "MEADOWLANDS" to 84700.   From Tioga Downs

Nichols, NY - The 15th season of live harness racing at Tioga Downs begins on Kentucky Derby Day, May 2 as has become the custom at the Jewel of the Southern Tier. The racing season will cover 58 days, racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday each week until the NY Excelsior finals will bring the curtain down on September 19.   Along the way the racing will continue to provide a solid option in the northeast with competitive overnight purses, a dependably safe and consistent racing surface and a comfortable environment for horsemen including the beautiful Tioga Downs casino & hotel.   The headlining stakes for the 2020 season are the $500,000 Empire Breeders Classic 3-year-old pacing stakes, a leg of the Graduate Series and the annual editions of FFA stakes for the older set.   While the Artiscape for pacing mares and the Crawford Farms and Joie De Vie trotting stakes remain in mid-August, the Roll With Joe FFA pace has been moved to June 14. While that date puts the Roll With Joe in direct conflict with the Graduate, it also falls into a spot to serve as a useful prep for the Ben Franklin elims a fortnight hence.   The 2020 Racing Application is available for download on the web and must be submitted by March 15. Nomination forms for the above mentioned stakes, all with a closing date of March 15, are also up on the site.      

As live racing comes to a close for the 2019 season at Vernon Downs on Saturday (November 2), Samantha Winiavski will have completed her first year as Regional Marketing Manager of Racing for both Vernon and Tioga Downs. The 24 year-old graduate of Mansfield University first started as a promotions attendant at Tioga Downs in the spring of 2018. "When I started out as a promotions attendant I knew nothing about harness racing but I was willing to take on this learning curve," said Winiavski. "When this opportunity came up last November I just couldn't pass it up." Winiavski reports directly to Jason Settlemoir, who sits on the American Racing and Entertainment (Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs) Board of Directors and has overseen racing at the New York properties since January of 2006 as the Regional Vice President of Racing and COO and General Manager of the New Meadowlands Racetrack. " I am so proud of Sam, she has handled everything I have thrown at her and ran with it," Settlemoir said. "She continues to impress with her professionalism and her ability to learn quickly." Winiavski is in charge of marketing and live race promotions. She would like to thank Settlemoir, Jeff Gural, chairman of American Racing and Entertainment and former Director of Racing, Jason Bluhm. "I was fresh out of college when I first started working for this company," she said. "For them to have faith in me at such a young age really means the world to me." Winiavski is originally from Lindenhurst, Long Island but now resides in Troy, PA. She spends most of her days at Tioga Downs but does frequent Vernon Downs as well by John Horne, for Tioga and Vernon Downs              

Brett Risi has been named the Regional Operations Manager at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. The announcement was made on Wednesday by Jason Settlemoir, the Regional Vice President for Racing at Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, and The Meadowlands. Risi, 26, is originally from Ilion, NY, and has been the track handicapper at Tioga and Vernon since 2017. "You could see his enthusiasm since day one," said Settlemoir. "He has flourished in that position and is ready to step up and tackle his new endeavor." Risi, who will report directly to Settlemoir, will have new duties that include the overseeing of racing and simulcasts. Risi began attending races at Vernon Downs at the age of eight. By the age of 15, he was attending races weekly with his father, Vincent, and his brother, Ryan. He became a devoted fan of harness racing and wanted to learn more about the sport. At the announcement, Risi thanked Jeff Gural, chairman of American Racing and Entertainment, and Settlemoir for the opportunity. "I want to thank Jason Settlemoir for being my mentor and being somebody I look up to in the industry, [someone] who has led me in growing into a role like this," said Risi. "He is not only my friend but a teacher and coach who I could never thank enough for the opportunity of a lifetime." Risi also made mention of his family. "My brother and father would pick me up when I was down. They told me to keep my head up and my time would come." Additionally, Risi thanked his girlfriend, Jaci, and his stepson, Lucas. "Jaci always told me to never give up my dream." Risi will begin his new job immediately and will spend time at both Tioga Dows and Vernon Downs. by John Horne, for Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs                

Miss Flora (Corey Braden) takes the featured $11,000 open trot on closing night (September 21) at Tioga Downs. Beguin Dugoutier F (FernPaquet Jr.) was first to the first quarter in :27.2. Prarie Fortune (Jim Meittinis) took over and led to the half in :55.4. Campbellini (Wally Hennessey) was next to the front leading to three-quarters in 1:25.0. BJ Lorado (Michael Merton) had the lead at the top of the stretch. Miss Flora ($17.20), who is owned and trained by Mario Dessureault, blew right by to win in 1:54.4. Beguin Dugoutier F finished second. BJ Lorado was third best. Miss Flora is a 7-year-old mare by SJ's Caviar. It was her seventh win this season. She now has 28 career victories. Aaron Byron drove four winners on closing night. He combined for three of those wins with trainer Jeff Byron. They got wins with Big Bad Bill (17.40), Neat ($6.60), and Andreios Kardia ($17.40). His other win came with Jett Star ($3.10). Wally Hennessey is top driver of 2019 with 136 wins. Mike Merton was second best with 77 trips to the winner's circle. Mike Simons (54), Jim Taggart Jr. (44), and Fern Paquet Jr. (43), round out the top five.                                                                                                     --Fred Brown photo Mike Deters wins the training title with 42 victories. Joe Skowyra was second with 37 tallies. Patti Harmon used 34 wins to be third. Rick Dane Jr. (28) was fourth with Gary Messenger (27) was fifth best. Prairie Fortune is top trotter with six wins in 13 starts at Tioga. The 7-year-old gelding by Arapa Victory is owned by trainer Mike Deters and Laurie Poulin. Top pacer honors went to Americanprimetime with five wins in 12 starts at Tioga. The 7-year-old horse by American Ideal is owned by Rock And Roll Stable Inc, and trained by Rick Dane Jr. Truth And Liberty is the top mare pacer with nine wins in 15 starts at Tioga. The 7-year-old mare by Total Truth is owned by Fairy Horsemother Stables and trained by Mike Simons Kim Wahila wins the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback in the horseplay car giveaway. Tioga Downs wants to thank all horsemen and fans on a very successful season. Fireworks followed the last night of racing. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Truth And Liberty (Mike Simons) captured the $11,000 featured fillies & mares harness racing open pace at Tioga Downs on Friday (September 20). It was also another great night for driver Wally Hennessey, who led all drivers with five winners on the night. Truth And Liberty ($3.80) went to the front and led to the first quarter in :26.4. She put up a :28.4 second quarter to hit the half in :55.3. She continued to control the pace as they hit three quarters in 1:23.4. Truth And Liberty, who is owned by Fairy Horsemother and trained by Mike Simons, led by three lengths as they made the turn for home. Gigi From Figi (Wally Hennessey) tried to come late but Truth And Liberty was too strong and won in 1:52.3. Gigi From Figi had to settle for second with K J's Caroline (Jim Taggert Jr.) getting third money. Truth And Liberty is a 7-year-old mare by Total Truth. It was her 10th win this season. She now owns 45 career victories. Leading driver Wally Hennessey continued his dream season with five wins on the evening. He got his wins with Unimpeachable ($12.80), Cinnabar Hall ($6.40), The Big Muscle ($4.00), Rollingndiamonds ($4.10), and Here We Go Again ($4.50). Mike Simons drove three winners on the evening. He got his other victories with Meadowbranch Vicki ($2.60), and Soho Hanover ($2.70). It will be closing night at Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 21) with an 11 race card starting at 6:15 p.m. Fireworks follows live racing. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

It is no surprise to find Wally Hennessey winning a high rate of races in upstate New York during the summer. The Hall of Fame driver, who spends the non-summer months at Florida's Pompano Park, has enjoyed countless years of success at Saratoga's harness racing track going back to the late 1980s. This year, though, Hennessey has spent the summer competing at Tioga Downs. He decided the change would benefit the handful of trotters in his stable, the majority of which he thought would perform better on Tioga's five-eighths-mile oval compared to Saratoga's half-mile circuit. As it turned out, Hennessey's horses did not thrive at Tioga. But Hennessey did. With two nights of racing remaining in the 58-day Tioga Downs meet, Hennessey sits comfortably atop the driver standings with 131 wins. The total is a record for the track, which opened in 2006, shattering the previous high of 91 shared by Jim Marohn Jr. (2014) and Howard Parker (2007). Hennessey's win rate at Tioga is nearly 28 percent. "My main reason for going wasn't that I was thinking I was going to be the leading driver," Hennessey said. "My reason was because of my stable. As it turned out, I didn't do as well as I expected to do with my own stable and I did way better than I expected to do driving. So, you never know." Over the past 10 years, Hennessey won nearly 900 races during his summer sojourns in Saratoga, so it was not an easy decision to change his routine. "I love Saratoga, I love the town, I love the people there," said Hennessey, who turns 63 on Oct. 4. "I've seen kids raised and families and I've known people a long time. But this is a business, and this was a business decision. It wasn't something I was doing with my heart. I was doing it with my head. "When you're making a change, especially at my age, the older you get, the harder it is to do. There is always that unknown. But it couldn't have worked any better. I met so many nice people, and I think in life that's quite a thing too, that you're able to meet new people. "The people were so friendly and respectful. That's kind of the way I was raised on Prince Edward Island. They remind me of the same type people. I enjoyed it. I don't know where I'm going next year, but if that's my choice, I wouldn't be second-guessing it." Hennessey, whose decision to race at Tioga was made easier knowing that a number of horsemen from Pompano spent the summer there, graded his experience an "A-plus." He will drive the final two nights at Tioga Downs and then return to Florida and get ready for the Pompano Park meet, which begins Nov. 3. He will use October to get his stable ready for action after turning out his trotters three weeks ago. "My horses were just fair," said Hennessey, who has won the past four driving titles at Pompano. "Good isn't good enough for me, I have high expectations. My horses didn't race that great. I'm not sugar-coating nothing. They were not near as good as I thought they should be. I shut them down to refresh them for Pompano. "I won't be doing any driving (until Pompano resumes), and I need that as well, mentally and physically," he added. "But I'm very happy." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

Tioga Downs will end live racing for the 2109 season on Saturday (September 21), On that night they will be giving away the 2019 Toyota Corolla as part of Horseplay Car Giveaway. Each night of live racing patrons have purchased a rubber horse for $1. All the money raised goes to a local charity each month. They attempt to throw the rubber horse into the moving Toyota Corolla. Each night three names were picked out of all the ones that landed in the car. They all received an entry to win the car. On Saturday all those entries go into a bin. We will pick the names out in reverse order until one name is left. That person will win the 2019 Toyota Corolla. To win the car you must be present. Tioga will also be giving away two Snapper XD82 volt electric push mowers (sponsored by Clinton Tractor). Fireworks will follow the 11 race card that starts at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs        

Dragin The Wagon takes the $9,000 featured harness racing trot at Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 14). Dragin The Wagon ($7.90) went to the quarter in :26.4. He used a :29.2 second quarter to hit the half first in :56.1. He trotted to three-quarters in 1:24.4. Dragin The Wagon, who is owned by Cary Cantelon and trained by Jeffrey Byron, led they way as they made the turn for home. Campbellini (Wally Hennessey) came charging late but Dragin The Wagon dug in and won in 1:54.4. Campbellini was second best as Bequin Dugoutier F (Fern Paquet Jr) finished third. Dragin The Wagon is a 9-year-old gelding by Angus Hall. It was his fourth win this season. He now has won 49 times in his career. Lauxmont Capri (Jim Taggert Jr.) captures the first of two $9,000 featured pace races. Rockintouch (Mike SImons) led to the first quarter in :26.2. Fritzie Pic Up Man (Fern Paquet Jr.) took control before hitting the half in :54.2. Jay Jay (Wally Hennessey) took his turn and led to three-quarters in 1:22.2. Lauxmont Capri ($44.00), who is trained by Gary Messenger for owners Scott Woogen and Brenda Messenger, was sixth after three-quarters. He came flying down the stretch and blew right by to win in 1:52.1. Rockintouch came up late to finish second. Jay Jay held on for third. Lauxmont Capri is a 9-year-old gelding by Red River Hanover. It was his fourth win in 2019. He now has 35 career wins. Lauxmont Capri Pointsman (Fern Paquet Jr.) wins the second $9,000 featured pace. Sometimes Said (Jim Taggart Jr.) put up all the early numbers (:27.3, :56.2, 1:24.0). Poitsman ($5.80), who is owned and trained by Gaston Lareau, was third as they made the turn for wire. He battled second place finisher Believe This Bob (Mike Simons) in deep stretch to win in 1:53.2. Mac Andover (Corey Braden) was third best. Pointsman is a 9-year-old gelding by Royal Mattjesty. It was his fifth victory of the season. He now owns 26 career wins. Pointsman Jim Taggart Jr. and trainer Gary Messenger combined for three wins on the night. Their other wins came with Six Bax ($75.00), and KJ Erich ($7.20). Aaron Byron drove three winners on Saturday. His other victories came with Grey Ice ($26.20), and Jett Star ($6.70). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 20) starting at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs

Tioga Downs played host to the third leg of the Kindergarten Series Classic for 2-year-old harness racing pacers and trotters on Friday (September 13). All races were for a purse of $10,000. Captain Barbosa (Andrew McCarthy) cruises to victory in the Kindergarten race for pacing colts & geldings. Keystone Dash (Wally Hennessey) led to the first quarter in :27.0. Play The Ponies (David Miller) took control before hitting the half in :57.2. Captain Barbosa made his move on the backstretch and led to three-quarters in 1:24.1. Captain Barbosa, who is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Robert Leblanc, David Anderson, and Alagnafrankinthegym Stable, led by four lengths as they made the turn for home. He easily won in 1:52.2. Blank Stare (Jim Taggert Jr.) finished second with Ideal Perception (Matt Kakaley) getting third money. Captain Barbosa is a 2-year-old colt by Captaintreacherous-Swinging Beauty. It was his first career victory. All Rise (Fern Paquet Jr.) takes a victory in the Kindergarten series for trotting colts & geldings. Coventry Hall (Wally Hennessey) put up all the early fractions (:28.3, :59.0, 1:27.3). All Rise, who is trained by Homer Hochstetler for owners Connie Hochstetler, Robert Buddig and Allen Schwartz, took over as they made the turn for home. He would have to hold off the late charge of second place finisher Oversized (Matt Kakaley) to win in 1:57.3. Coventry Hall held on for third. All Rise is a 2-year-old colt by Conway Hall-Berdine Hanover. It was his second career win in eight starts. Winter Olympics (Wally Hennessy) is much the best in the Kindergarten series race for trotting fillies. Winter Olympics flew out of the gate and led to the first quarter in :28.2. She used a :30.2 second quarter to lead to the half in :58.4. She they hit three-quarters in 1:27.2. Winter Olympics , who is owned and trained by Ake Svanstedt, got slight pressure by second place finisher Allswell Hanover (Matt Kakaley) as they went around the final turn. Winter Olympics had plenty left in the tank as they reached the stretch. She won in a lifetime best of 1:56.2. Ready To Rock (David Miller) finished third. Winter Olympics is a 2-year-old filly Muscle Mass-Olympic Dreams. It was her second win in four lifetime starts. Anthem (David Miller) comes flying late to win the Kindergarten race for pacing fillies. JK Finendandy (Matt Kakaley) put up all the early numbers (:27.4, :57.2, 1:25.2). Love For Sail (Andrew McCarthy) took control as they reached the stretch. Anthem, who is owned by Cool Cat Racing and trained by R. Nifty Norman, was third in the three horse field. She went flying down the stretch and went by them both to win in a lifetime best of 1:54.4. Love For Sail was second best. Anthem is a 2-year-old filly by Sweet Low-Monkeys Can Sing. It was her second career win in seven lifetime starts. Truth And Liberty (Mike Simons) is a gate-to-wire winner in the $11,000 fillies & mares open 1. Truth And Liberty ($8.10) got the lead just before hitting the first quarter in :26.2. She was still the best hitting the half in :56.3 and three-quarters in 1:24.2. Truth And Liberty, who is trained by Simons and owned by Fairy Horsemother Stables, held off a late charge by second place finisher Gold Star Mysti to win in 1:53.0. Gigi From Fiji (Wally Hennessey) was third best. Truth And Liberty is a 7-year-old mare by Total Truth. It was her ninth win this season. She now has 44 career victories. Wally Hennessey drove four winners on the night. He picked up wins with Move Over Sis ($3.10), Starcasim ($8.70), Prairie Easter ($2.90), and Crius N Rock ($11.00). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (September 14) with a 13 race card starting at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs    

Tioga Downs will hold a double draw for this weekend on Tuesday, Sept 10 with a box close of 9:00am.   The third leg of the Kindergarten series will be raced on Friday and will be drawn tomorrow.   The condition sheet is available here   http://horsemen.ustrotting.com/conditionsheet.cfm?condition_sheet_id=73444   The Racing Office may be reached at 607-699-7688.   From Tioga Downs  

Pointsman (Fern Paquet Jr.) charges late to win the $9,000 featured harness racing pace at Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 7). Spirit Shadow (Mike Merton) went to the front and led to the first quarter in :26.3 and to the half in :56.2. Sporty Redhot (Wally Hennessey) took over on the backstretch and led to three-quarters in 1:24.3. Pointsman ($7.30), who is owned by trainer Gaston Lareau, went three-wide as they made the turn for home. He went flying by in the stretch but had to hold off second place finisher Mac Andover (Corey Braden) to win in 1:54.0. Rockintouch (Mike Simons) finished third. Pointsman is a 9-year-old gelding by Royal Mattjesty. It was his third win of the season and 25th victory of his career. Miss Flora (Corey Braden) captures the $9,000 featured trot. BJ Lorado (Mike Merton) put up all the early fractions (:27.2, :57.1, 1:26.0). Miss Flora ($7.00), who is owned and trained by Mario Dessureault, was third after three-quarters. When they made the turn for home she looked like she was shot out of a cannon. She easily won in 1:54.4. Rose Run Rudi (Aaron Byron) was second with Beguin Dugoutier (Fern Paquet Jr.) finishing third. Miss Flora is a 7-year-old mare by SJ's Caviar. It was her sixth win this season. She now owns 27 career victories. Miss Flora Wally Hennessey drove four winners on the night. He was first with Just Like Lloyd ($14.40), Campbellini ($3.70), Ascot Encounter A ($4.70), and Bazaar Bazaar ($4.40). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 13) with a post time of 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. John Horne for Tioga Downs

Custom Cantab (Aaron Merriman) captures the $40,000 fourth leg of the Miss Versatility at Tioga Downs on Friday (September 6). Emoticon Hanover (Aaron Byron) led the first quarter in :26.4. She continued to lead to the half in :56.3. Ice Attraction (Mike Merton) was the first to challenge as Emoticon Hanover led to three-quarters in 1:24.3. Custom Cantab ($4.00), who is owned by trainer Christopher Beaver, Donald Robinson, and RBH Ventures, was fourth after three-quarters. She would go four wide down the stretch to win in 1:53.0. Dream Together (Wally Hennessey) finished second with Emoticon Hanover settling for third. Custom Cantab is a 4-year-old mare by Mr Cantab. It was her third win this season. She now owns 18 career victories. Gigi From Fiji (Wally Hennessey) takes the $11,000 fillies & mares open 1. Gigi From Fiji ($8.30) went to the front and controlled all the fractions (:27.2, :55.3, 1:23.0, 1:52.0). She got challenged by second place finisher Truth And Liberty (Mike Simons). Gigi From Fiji, who is owned by trainer Mike Deters, L Barnett, and J Spindler, was not to be denied and held on for the win. Northern Dali (Fern Paquet Jr.) finished third best. Gigi From Fiji is a 5-year-old mare by Ponder. She won for the ninth time this year. She now has 18 career victories. Mike Merton drove five winners on the night. He won with Blurred Lines ($3.80), Choochoocharlie ($6.00), Roaring Rei ($6.50), Runhappy Ten ($9.00), and R M Blackhawk ($9.40) Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (September 7) with a 13 race card starting at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Tioga Downs is offering new harness racing conditions for 2,3 and 4-year-olds on both gaits for September 13 & 14. The classes available are "Two & Three year olds NW2 EXT PM Races or $10,000 Lifetime, AE: 4 Year Old Maidens (Minimum 10 starts) for both pacers and trotters." The DOUBLE DRAW for Friday (September 13) and Saturday (September 14) is Tuesday (September 10). Must declare by 9 a.m. http://horsemen.ustrotting.com/conditionsheet.cfm?condition_sheet_id=73444 For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. by John Horne, for Tioga Downs  

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