Nichols, NY — The New York Sire Stakes annual year-end championships will not require lights this season, as Tioga Downs will host the event with a special 1 p.m. post time (pending regulatory approval) on Saturday (Sept. 10), turning the “Night of Champions” into the “Day of Champions.”
The matinee card will feature eight races for the best state-bred 2- and 3-year-olds, competing for purses of $200,000 each. A second card of overnight events will take place starting at 6:15 p.m.
“We are proud to showcase our facility to horsemen and fans alike for this prestigious event,” said vice president of racing Jason Settlemoir. “Our entire staff, from those in racing, to the casino, the hotel, the restaurants — everyone — is working hard to ensure the Tioga Downs experience is as memorable as it is rewarding.”
Tioga Downs is a premiere vacation and entertainment destination in New York’s Southern Tier, and has seen substantial growth in recent years. In 2017, Tioga Downs added a 161-room hotel, complete with over 8,500 square feet of banquet space. There are several restaurants, a spa, golf course, and in 2019, the FanDuel Sportsbook opened as the company’s first retail sportsbook in New York State.
Jeff Gural, Tioga Downs’ owner, believes, “Hosting the Day of Champions is about bringing together the harness racing community. Horsemen work incredibly hard to get here, and we hope we can reward them with an unforgettable trip to Tioga Downs.”
With racing taking place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Tioga Downs will host a cocktail party for the horsemen on Friday evening preceding the races and a delightful brunch affair in the tiered track-view dining room will accompany the matinee card on Saturday. The goal is to make it a fun weekend for all of the participants, and more details will become available in the near future.
With a five-eighths-mile track, the finals will be able to add an extra horse, so post position will not be as much of a factor as it is on the half-mile ovals.
Horsemen, owners and fans are welcome to visit the casino, sportsbook, bars and restaurants that adorn the property.
The New York Sire Stakes program promotes the breeding, owning and racing of Standardbred horses in New York State. For more information about the program, visit nysirestakes.com.