The very finest trotters in the land will converge on Vernon Downs Friday night for Grand Circuit racing. The Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot drew full fields for both colt and filly divisions and the Crawford Farms Free-For-All looks to be the race of the season thus far for the veteran trotting set.
The Crawford Farms offers a powerful field of 10 to compete for a purse of $236,000. Current Top Ten Poll leader and multiple world record setting trotter Sebastian K will bring his impressive arsenal to Central New York for owners Knutsson Trotting and trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. He will find plenty of competition here including 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, last year's winner of this race and the only horse to vanquish Sebastian K in North American thus far Intimidate and the always formidable Market Share to name but a few.
The $340,000 Zweig Memorial main event has landed both Father Patrick and Nuncio from the Jimmy Takter stable. Father Patrick will seek to reestablish his position at the top of the sophomore crop and Nuncio will be coming in on short rest, being entered in a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) event on Tuesday afternoon. There is also a $60,000 Zweig colt consolation on the Friday card.
Takter will also bring the likely favorite for the $150,000 Zweig companion filly race in Shake It Cerry. Last year's divisional champion has won seven of nine this season and is over $1.1 million lifetime for owner Solveig's Racing Partners. Local debutante Avalicious, PASS invader Broadway Socks and New Jersey Sires Stakes champ Heaven's Door will provide ample resistance to the top choice.
The first leg of the eighth annual Tioga & Vernon Downs Drivers' Championship will be on the Friday program as well with four overnight races dedicated to that competition. The Vernon Racing Under Saddle series draws to a close with a $5,700 final and local driving legend, the late Jack Bailey, will be memorialized with the feature preferred trot.
The hotly anticipated Jimmy Marohn Jr. bobble-head giveaway and free T shirts will only add to the festivities on this important occasion. Post time for the Friday evening extravaganza will be 6:45 p.m. Visit the Vernon Downs website for complete entry information and further details on racing and promotions. (Vernon Downs)