There will be $40,000 in prizes--including a $25,000 first prize--on the line for this year's Tioga Downs Drivers' Championship, which is set for Sunday, Aug. 1.
The draw for the 2010 Tioga Downs Drivers’ Championship takes place on Thursday, July 29, with the box closing at 9 a.m. Purses for the Drivers’ Championship races are increased by 20 percent and horses finishing sixth through ninth will each receive $100.
Drivers participating in the Drivers’ Championship will be distributing their five percent earnings on the Drivers’ Championship races to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation with the exception of George Brennan, who will be donating his five percent to the Wounded Warrior Project, which helps wounded soldiers when they return from battle. Tioga Downs will match all the money raised for charity, along with track owner Jeff Gural, who will personally match it as well.
The first post on Sunday, Aug. 1, is scheduled for 1:30 pm, but the day will kick off at 12 pm with a driver meet and greet and autograph session, along with the Jason Bartlett Bobblehead Giveaway beginning at 12 pm on the trackside apron, while supplies last.
This year's driving competition features a field with over $916 million in earnings, more than 65,000 career victories, and two Hall of Famers. The top prize of the event is $25,000, along with a 14kt gold commemorative ring from Bow River Jewelry, and bragging rights until 2011.
The field for the 2010 Drivers’ Championship is as follows:
Tim Tetrick: The “Bionic Man” has caught fire in the past two weeks winning the $1 million dollar Meadowlands Pace with One More Laugh, the $500,000 Ben Franklin Open Pace with Vintage Master, and the $340,000 Amrbro Flight with Buck I St Pat. It will be the fourth straight Drivers’ Championship for Tetrick, who finished fourth in last years edition.
George Brennan: The “Minister of Speed” will embark on his first Drivers’ Championship on Sunday afternoon. Brennan has been on a roll at The Meadowlands in 2010 and currently leads in earnings and wins at The Big M. Earlier in 2010 Brennan set the all age Tioga Downs’ track record with Shark Gesture in 1:48.3 in the Bettor’s Delight Open Pace.
Brian Sears: The “White Knight” was co-champion of the first Drivers’ Championship with Yannick Gingras in 2007 and has banked over $5 million in earnings thus far in 2010. Sears will look to get back to his winning ways in Sunday’s competition after a seventh place finish in 2009.
Jason Bartlett: The 2009 Drivers’ Champion ranked his win last year at the top of his career driving victories after taking home the $25,000 grand prize. This year will mark the debut of the Jason Bartlett Bobblehead in honor of his 2009 Drivers’ Championship victory, and will be given out on Sunday, August 1st.
Ron Pierce: He was in position to win the 2009 Drivers’ Championship last year entering the fie-eighths mile “dash for the cash”, but got parked and had to settle for second place behind Bartlett. Pierce seeks revenge in 2010 and will be participating in his fourth straight Drivers’ Championship event.
Dave Palone: Palone was recently given the highest honor in harness racing on July 4th weekend in Goshen, New York where he was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Palone currently ranks second for most wins in the history of harness racing behind Herve Filion, and has won HTA Driver of the year six times. Dave was scheduled to participate in the 2009 Drivers’ Championship, but got stuck in the Philadelphia Airport due to weather delays.
Yannick Gingras: Two time champion of the Drivers’ Championship edged into the event in the final day and gets another chance to capture his crown. Gingras was co-champion of the event in 2007 and won the outright title in 2008. In 2009 Yannick was honored for his victory with the Yannick Gingras Bobblehead Giveaway on Drivers’ Championship Day, but had to settle for fifth place.
John Campbell: The 2010 Sponsor’s Exemption is the most accomplished driver of all time in the sport of harness racing. Campbell is the all time leading catch driver in earnings with more than $269 million, has more than 10,000 wins on his resume, six Hambletonian Titles, and was also the youngest driver ever to be inducted in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame at the age of 35 in 1990.
Bruce Ranger: The 2010 Tioga Downs’ leading money-winning driver has earned more than 7,800 wins and banked more than $30 million during his career. Ranger has been a staple at Pompano Park and has been at the top of the driver standings for years. This was his first summer spent at Tioga Downs, and will make his first appearance in the 2010 Drivers’ Championship as the hometown favorite.