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Tioga Readies For 2017 Meet

Published: April 25, 2017 1:33 pm ET

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Tioga Downs will commence its 12th season of live harness racing on Saturday, May 6 at 5 p.m. in front of thousands of fans combining opening day with the Kentucky Derby.

Opening day will feature giveaways, a $1,000 ‘Derby Dream’ bet, Derby hat contest, fireworks and much more. Tioga will race 59 days throughout the summer mixing in exciting overnight action with Grand Circuit stakes.

Tioga’s top trainer from 2016, Mike Deters, and driving champion Scott Coulter will return to defend their titles. Deters’ title was his third Tioga Downs training title, including two of the last three years. His 34 wins beat out Tony Dinges by just three wins. Coulter, who won the driving title in his first full season at Tioga, will once again tangle with 2015’s top pilot, Mike Simons, who was just five wins short of Coulter’s 68 wins last season.

The track from Nichols, NY will once again be home for some of the sport’s top stakes races. On Sunday, June 11, a leg of the Graduate series returns as four-year-old pacers and trotters will compete for a purse of $75,000 (est.). Sunday, July 2 will feature the $125,000 (est.) Tompkins-Geers three-year-old pace.

In August, things will really heat up with stakes-laden Sundays. Beginning on August 13, New York’s finest three-year-old pacers will do battle in the $50,000 (est.) Empire Breeders Classic eliminations. The following week (on the 20th) the $500,000 (est.) finals will be held alongside the popular $175,000 Roll With Joe Open Pace, the $40,000 (est.) Miss Versatility featuring Open mare trotters and the $200,000 (est.) Tompkins-Geers two-year-olds. Finally, the last Sunday of the month will bring two new events to Tioga, formally held at Vernon Downs, the $175,000 (est.) Crawford Farms Open Trot and the $175,000 (est.) Joie De Vie Open Mare Trot. Paired with the new Tioga events, the $175,000 (est.) Artiscape Open Mare Pace and the $200,000 (est.) Reynolds two-year-olds make for an exciting last day of Grand Circuit racing at Tioga.

The 12th season at Tioga Downs will also feature new post times. Friday and Saturday nights will begin at 6:50 p.m., while Sundays and holidays will begin at 1:00 p.m. with the exception of Sunday, May 28, which will start at 6:50 p.m.

(Tioga Downs)

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