Tioga Downs wrapped up its 2010 racing season as the curtain fell on Saturday night, Sept. 11, in front of a house of fans and horsemen. Tioga made headlines earlier in the year when takeout rates were lowered to state minimums for the 2010 race meet, and as the final numbers came in the results were promising. In a time when growth in business is hard to come by, Tioga Downs was up in live handle 4.1 percent over 2009, and was also up in export by 8.7 percent over the previous year.
"To be up in handle in both categories during this time in the economy and show over an eight-percent jump in export is really promising. We have to thank HANA (Horseplayers Association of North America) for their support during our takeout rate initiative this year, and everyone who supported it by betting on the Tioga product,” said Jason M. Settlemoir, vice president of racing and simulcast.
Tioga Downs also saw 13 track records take new occupants during 2010, which also featured two world records on one day. Manningly and Jeff Gregory set a world record for 4-year-old trotting stallions on a five-eighths mile track in 1:52.3, with Temple Of Doom and David Miller only two races later setting another world record for 3-year-old trotting colts on a five-eighths mile track in 1:52.4. The two overall track records got taken down this year: Manning's 1:52.3 world record established a new overall track record on the trot, while Shark Gesture’s win in the inaugural Bettor’s Delight Open Pace in 1:48.3 destroyed the previous all-age track record on the pace.
As always, the 2010 Drivers’ Championship was the highlight of the 2010 race season with the fourth edition of the event being captured by Hall of Famer Ron Pierce. It was the fourth straight year that Pierce participed in the event, and after last year’s loss in the final race to finish second, Pierce captured victory and the $25,000 first prize in 2010.
New to the 2010 race season was a year-long handicapping contest that was updated on the Tioga Downs website each week dubbed the “Pens vs. Microchip” in which a handicapping software system “Chatsworth Consortium" designed by Trackmaster faced off against a few human handicappers and the morning line. When the contest came to a close the “Chatsworth Consortium” which was offered for free all year long at Tioga came out on top with an astonishing 16 percent ROI, followed by Bobby Z with four percent ROI, Mel with a minus-five percent ROI, and rounding out was Ray’s Robot with a minus-nine percent ROI.
As in past years, Tioga Downs once again pushed promotions and giveaways to fuel attendance during the 58-day race meet. Opening day was held on Kentucky Derby Day to create a full day event for the Southern Tier fans, while closing night was in co-ordination with the 2010 Horseplay Car Giveaway and $20,000 Mystery Voucher Giveaway.
“We push towards on-track attendance and handle here at Tioga and try to drive our customers on track with promotions every day, and giveaways a few times a month. Customers want to feel like they are ahead when they walk in the door, and when they can get into drawings and promotions everyday to win prizes it keeps them coming back and looking forward to their next visit,” said Settlemoir. (Tioga Downs)