Vernon: Management, horsemen come to terms on two year contract extension

The Harness Horse Association of Central New York (HHACNY), the Gaming Commission-recognized representative horsemen’s association at Vernon Downs Racetrack, is pleased to announce that it has secured a two year extension of its horsemen’s agreement with Vernon Downs’ Management and agreed to a waiver of the 10-percent cap on the two important 2020 Vernon stakes in this difficult year. A formal agreement is to be executed.

As part of the negotiation to achieve this agreement favorable to both parties, which ensures that the horsemen will receive all of the beneficial terms and conditions guaranteed under the present contract through the two-year extension of the base agreement (now extended through December 31, 2023), the horsemen have agreed to a one-time waiver of the 10% cap on stakes allocation from the purse account, permitting the full funding of the 2020 renewals of The Zweig and Empire Breeders Classic.

HHACNY President Rick Papa stated, “As we both have worked towards the restoration of harness racing to central New York in the aftermath of the most destructive period of the viral pandemic, it was important to make sure that our owners, trainers and drivers could rely on long-term continued operations of the raceway. The financial devastation that has impacted our members cannot be recouped by us or Management without some give and take on each side. That’s why it was so important to obtain this extension from management. While the horsemen were concerned about the uncertainty of whether or when the current season would commence, the HHACNY membership has again reached a successful resolution of this issue working with Management to obtain a clear and concise deal removing any ambiguity.”

Vernon Downs President Jeff Gural stated, “I am glad we were able to resolve this and credit Rick for coming up with a compromise that makes sense for all concerned. As a horseman, I recognize how important it is to get racing up and running and come up with a plan for the sire stakes as well.”


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