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Thursday, 24 June 2021

Vernon Downs to Open Without Fans

Credit: WKTV
Duration: 2 shares 143 views
Vernon Downs to Open Without Fans
Vernon Downs to Open Without Fans

Vernon Downs will begin its 68th racing season Saturday without fans, as the racetrack awaits state reopening guidelines.

NewsChannel 2's James Corrigan reports.

Downs announced a full april to november racing schedule today, which opens up on saturday.

However, even as other sporting venues have opened up, the racetrack will remain closed to fans to start the season.

Newschannel 2's james corrigan tells us the toll the pandemic has taken on the beloved track in our top story tonight.

For 68 years central new yorkers have flocked to vernon downs for their fill of harness racing.

But since november of 2019, the sound of the starting gun has been met only with its own echo.

That won't change at first when the racing season at the down starts this saturday, as fans will remain barred from the track pending state guidelines.

(take cg brett risi) .

None .

None "we would be happy if we could have a couple hundred people but we're really not sure because there is an owner's rule where owners are allowed as of last year so we did have some owners on the property last year as the state allowed that if we could have a couple hundred people on top of that we'd be very happy here."

Brett risi is the regional operations manager at vernon downs.

And he says fans can still take some of the racetrack home on saturday, even as they can't be there in person.

"we press that you wager online via simulcast and adw outlets.

You can also go to otb's and bet vernon.

Any way you can get your hands on the racing program and be able to bet on vernon we encourage you to do so " (take cg james corrigan) it will remain a shock for fans to not be able to come to the racetrack on beautiful nights like tonight.

But what hurt vernon downs even more throughout the pandemic was not just the lack of fans, but the financial toll that came with it.

(take cg arthur wood) "it was it was difficult.

You know, everything through this covid has been a challenge and i don't think i've ever done so many food drives and so many things for the employees as we did this year."

It's been far from easy for vernon downs even before the pandemic.

The track was losing as much as $150,000 a month in recent years, and has threatened to close as it faced competition from other regional racetracks and casinos.

But as the region and the country slowly recovers from the pandemic.

Vernon downs assistant general manager arthur wood says that the race track will provide a much needed sense of normalcy..

"a lot of it this week has been the phone calls i've taken.

You know, they haven't missed a year in 66 years of racing and they want just one more chance to come out to the racetrack to see you know their favorite horse" officials say they expect state guidance for fans to return within the next few weeks.

And when that happens, the race won't just be between the horses.

It will be between the people looking to get back to the track.

James corrigan news channel two > the cdc and the fda are recommending a pause in the johnson

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