Harness racing's version of the All-Star Game returns to Upstate New York when North America's premier drivers compete in the 7th Annual Tioga/Vernon Drivers' Championship. The continent's top six money-winning drivers have been confirmed to participate led by Tim Tetrick, whose mounts have earned more than $9.2 million in 2013. Tetrick has led North America in earnings for an unprecedented six straight years; however, he's never finished first in the Drivers' Championship in six appearances.
This year's field will also include Hambletonian winning driver Brian Sears; two-time champion Yannick Gingras; defending champion Ron Pierce; David Miller; and first-time participant Corey Callahan, who will also be honored with a bobblehead doll giveaway during the event.
Those six drivers will compete against leading Tioga Downs driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr. and leading Vernon Downs driver Rick Plano.
The final competitor in the nine-man field, the sponsor's exemption, will be announced tomorrow.
The first round of the event takes place at Vernon Downs during a special Sunday night of racing on Aug. 25 with a 6:45 p.m. first race post time. The leader after the Vernon round will receive $10,000. The drivers and their accumulated points will then head to Tioga Downs on a special Labor Day card, September 2, with a 1:30 p.m. post time. The overall winner of the event receives $25,000.
The Vernon Downs leg of the challenge shares a card with the $700,000 Zweig Memorial Trot featuring Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life racing on his home track. The Tioga Downs leg of the challenge shares a card with the $400,000 Cane Pace, opening leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. The Cane is expected to feature a long-awaited showdown between top-rated 3-year-olds Captaintreacherous and Vegas Vacation.
In addition to the racing on the track, fans will be treated to a variety of giveaways and promotions including the annual bobblehead giveaway and t-shirt giveaway while supplies last and drawings to win iPads and laptop computers. There will also be pre-race autograph sessions with the drivers on both days of the event. (Vernon/Tioga)