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Lems, Whittemore, Gural On Vernon Contract

Published: April 12, 2011 3:40 pm ET

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Live racing is scheduled to resume this Friday at Vernon Downs even though there currently is no contract between the Harness Horse Association of Central New York and the track. Horsemen Chris Lems and Jimmy Whittemore have provided comments in regard to the situation, as has Vernon's Jeff Gural.

“We’re going to be here for a while,” 24-year-old Lems, one of the top drivers at the track last year, was quoted as saying in an article by The Observer-Dispatch. “They’re making improvements. I think everything is going good.”

Whittemore, who has not been part of the negotiations, was quoted as saying, “Both sides are trying. I’m not worried. The last couple years, Gural has done a good job.”

Gural's comments shine the light on the fact that the track and its horsemen have not always seen eye to eye.

“The biggest problem is that, I guess, the HHACNY sees us as having an adversarial relationship, and I see it as a partnership and working to build the business,” he said. “We’ve done that at Tioga Downs. Here (Vernon), I’ve had a terrible relationship with the association since Day One.”

(With files from The Observer-Dispatch)

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