Water recedes, but Tioga still affected by flood
September 10, 2011
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While the Cane Pace is set to be contested at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Saturday night, the water is beginning to recede in New York's Southern Tier area, where flooding forced the race to be moved from Tioga Downs.
"For what's happened here in this area, what we've had to go through is minor comparatively," said Tioga's Jason Settlemoir on Saturday afternoon. "There's a lot of hardship. We have been getting information from supervisors that some of our employees were evacuated and might be in shelters."
Settlemoir said that in addition to shutting down the track and casino and moving the Cane, Shady Daisy and New York Sire Stakes, a plan was also in place to evacuate the approximately 100 horses stabled there if necessary.
"We had record flooding back in 2006. This is worse than then, but in 2006 Jeff (Gural) and I talked about having a plan in place if we had to deal with flooding again," said Settlemoir. "About five or six horsemen stayed in the barn area throughout the situation to feed and attend to the horses and alert us if the horses needed to be moved to higher ground."
Settlemoir said that a section of road outside of the barn area has buckled. At about noon on Saturday, water along W. River Rd. at the front entrance to the track and casino was at about 4 feet, but was receding.
"There are still roads closed and bridges have been destroyed," he added.
Settlemoir said that moving the Cane, Shady Daisy and New York Sire Stakes turned out to be a piece of cake thanks to the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, and the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission.
"I first called Rick Kane (race secretary at Pocono) and I think he called me back in five minutes and said they would hellp," said Settlemoir. "Rick, Ron Battoni (executive director of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association) and Pocono's Dale Rapson made things happen quickly, and the Racing Board and Pennsylvania commission did their part and were wonderful to work with to make the change so quickly."
As of Saturday, Settlemoir said he still didn't know whether Tioga's racing days will be made up or permanently cancelled, or when the casino will reopen.--By Kathy Parker