Brian Sears and Yannick Gingras are wanted men as they return to Tioga Downs on Sunday, July 27, to defend their title as the champions in the Second Annual Driver’s Championship at Tioga Downs. Post time is set for 1:15 pm.
In a letter dated April 28, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board approved Tioga Downs request to conduct the Second Annual Driver’s Championship on Sunday, July 27.
The top seven money-winning drivers in North America along with the leading money winning driver at Tioga Downs and one sponsors exemption will be invited to participate in this great event. The “Driver’s Challenge” will span six to eight races on the card. If a driver declines or is unable to participate in the event, Tioga Downs management will then invite the next driver on the earnings list as of July 13.
There will be nine horses in each “Driver’s Championship” race and drivers will earn points based upon the official order of finish. First place will receive 10 points, second place will receive 7 points, third place will receive 5 points, fourth place will receive 3 points, and fifth place will receive 1 point, six through ninth will receive zero points.
A regular draw will be done to give each horse in the field their post position then the driver’s names will be drawn to designate which horse they will drive in the given field. In the case there is a dead heat for example (dead heat for first place, both drivers will receive 10 points and then the points will go from third down). If a horse is scratched out or any driver has to sit out will automatically receive three points.
The driver with the most points at the end of the “Driver’s Championship” will receive one of the most lucrative prizes of $ 25,000, second place will receive $ 5,000, third place $4,000, and fourth through ninth $1,000 a piece. Drivers will still earn their five percent for the “Driver’s Championship” races, but Tioga Downs management will ask the drivers to donate their five percent for the said “Driver’s Championship” races to a charity of their choice, and Jeff Gural, chairman of American Racing and Entertainment, will match what they donate to the particular charity.
If the Driver’s Championship were set today, the top seven money-winning drivers to date would be Tim Tetrick, Brian Sears, Anthony Morgan, Yannick Gingras, Eric Goodell, Andy Miller and David Miller.
The money leading driver as of today (July 1) at Tioga Downs would be Jim Morrill Jr. by $2,692 over Howard Parker, along with one sponsor’s exemption to be announced at a later date.
Before the first leg of the “Driver’s Championship each driver will be introduced to the fans and will be available for autographs beginning at 12:00 p.m. After the last leg of the championship each driver will be invited to the winne\'rs circle to receive their check.
Tioga Downs would like to thank each of the following sponsors for their support of this event: Allerage Farms, All Events Engraving, Art Gray Consulting, Blue Chip Farm, Bow River Jewelry, Climans Green Lian Architects Inc., Delaware County Fair, The Horseman and Fair World magazine, LP Ciminelli, NTRA, Oneida Print Shop, Roberts Communications Network, Southern Tier Harness Horsemen’s Association, Tioga Downs, Towne Law Office, and United Tote.
“This event was a huge success for us at Tioga Downs last year and enabled us to claim our highest handle since opening in 2006,\" said Jason Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast at Tioga Downs. \"We will have the best drivers in the world competing on this day in one of the most, if not the most lucrative driver’s championship’s I have ever seen in the sport of harness racing. Dustin Ross (Racing Operations Manager) came up with the idea and put it together all I did was seek sponsorships for the event just like last year. We once again placed this event on a day where there were no real big competing stakes events so all the top drivers could make it. On this day we will have six to eight overnight races along with New York Sires Stake races for 3-year old filly pacers as well, so the day will be fun and produce a lot of enthusiasm at Tioga Downs, the overnight races will be the ones we use for the championship.\" (Tioga)