Nichols, NY --- Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have announced their 2014 stakes schedule, with an estimated $4.3 million in purses to attract the top horses in New York and across North America throughout the season.
Tioga Downs opens their stakes season on Sunday (June 1) with the $200,000 (est.) Roll With Joe Open Pace.
New York Sire Stakes races mark the calendar through June and July, leading up to the $350,000 (est.) Tompkins-Geers Stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both gaits. Unlike years past, where the Tompkins-Geers Stakes have been contested throughout an entire week of racing, 2-year-old pacers will have their events on Sunday (August 3), while 2-year-old trotters and 3-year-olds of both gaits will race on Sunday (August 17).
Between the Tompkins-Geers events, New York-sired sophomore pacers will take the spotlight on Sunday (August 10) in the $500,000 (est.) Empire Breeders Classic, with separate events for each sex. If needed, eliminations are scheduled for the week prior.
Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 1) proves to be a banner day in the Southern Tier, with a trio of stakes events headlining the afternoon. The $110,000 (est.) Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies and a $40,000 (est.) preliminary leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares comprise the undercard features for the day, while 3-year-old pacers take center stage in the $350,000 (est.) Cane Pace -- the first leg of the Triple Crown for pacers.
The $125,000 Reynolds Stakes for 2-year-olds close out the stakes schedule at Tioga, with trotting divisions on Thursday (Sept. 4) and pacing divisions on Friday (Sept. 12).
Vernon Downs kicks off their stakes season on Sunday (June 8), with New York-sired 3-year-old trotters contesting the $500,000 (est.) Empire Breeders Classic (like the pacers, separate events are held for each sex). If eliminations are necessary, they will take place on Friday (May 30).
New York Sire Stakes events cover the early summer months, leading up to the first of two big nights at Vernon on Friday (August 29). The $700,000 (est.) Harry Zweig Memorial Trot for 3-year-olds once again serves as the centerpiece of the Vernon Downs stakes schedule, with top open trotters sharing the spotlight that night in the $200,000 (est.) Crawford Farms Trot (formerly known as the Credit Winner).
The 2-year-olds of both gaits and sexes contest the $100,000 (est.) Simpson Stakes on Friday (Oct. 24), leading up to a blockbuster Closing Night program, featuring a trio of rich events on Saturday (Nov. 1). The 2-year-old trotters wrap up the Kindergarten Classic series with a $200,000 (est.) final and top distaffers compete in a pair of $200,000 (est.) events as well -- trotters in the Muscle Hill and pacers in the Artiscape, which moved to Vernon after being raced at Tioga in past seasons.