Racing returns tonight to historic Vernon Downs

VERNON – Vernon Downs will open for the season on Saturday, and it will be the first season since 2019 when the track opened on time and with fans in attendance. The opening night of the 69th Year of Racing will include a T-shirt giveaway and schedule magnet.

Due to COVID-19, in 2020 the track opening date was pushed back to June 2 and the season was put on hiatus on September 26. Last year, the track’s first weekend was held without fans in attendance.

This year, the track will open on time, the fans will be there, and there will be promotions and giveaways to add to what track officials hope will be a great season.

“After the last few years, we are excited to welcome racing fans back to the stands and look forward to a great season,” said Stephen Gibson, director of marketing for Vernon Downs. “We have new promotions lined up, as well as our popular Horseplay car giveaway. We will also have fireworks once again this year on July 2 after the live races. We invite fans of all ages to come see the action each night to help make this our best season yet.”

“Everyone is excited to kick off the 2022 season at Vernon Downs,” Gibson said. “We’ve also seen a lot of engagement in social media posts and the opening day announcement on April 16 from fans, so we’re also thrilled to welcome them back in a setting closer to 2019 than the previous ones.” last two seasons. has been. We have always been a family place with generations of families coming to watch the races live. We always love seeing grandparents and their grandchildren and hearing the stories of when grandparents were just kids when they saw their first race here at Vernon.”

Last season, he said, there was still a lot of uncertainty “and even once we were able to get fans back in the stands, there was still that cloud going around not knowing if the skins were in or out, if there was a new variant on the horizon, and if we would be able to complete the season or not. We are hopeful that this season our fans will come back strong and can enjoy exciting live racing, create new memories with their loved ones, participate in our promotions and giveaways, and get lucky betting on the races (for those 18 year olds). or more, that is)”.

Gibson said: “We’re hoping to have a great season, it’s virtually impossible to determine now what would be a success because this is the first ‘normal’ season since 2019.” Overall this season, he said, “We just want everyone to get out there, have fun, and for all the drivers, trainers, owners and horses to have a safe and fun 69 season here at Vernon Downs.”

Entry to the track is free on all race days.

New promotions and giveaways will be planned throughout the season. For a race schedule and a list of promotions for each race day, visit

Among the notable dates and events scheduled for this season at Vernon Downs:

Saturday, April 16 — Opening Day. Racing season kicks off with a post at 6:05 p.m. The first 250 fans to arrive at the promotions counter following the conclusion of Race 3 will have a chance to win a free t-shirt and 2022 calendar magnet. be 18 years or older to participate in promotions and giveaways.

Saturday, May 7 — Kentucky Derby Day Specials. The race at Churchill Downs will be broadcast live from the track. Food trucks will also be on the property. There will also be a hat contest, as well as other promotions and giveaways.

Saturday, July 2 — Independence Day weekend fireworks. Vernon Downs will have a fireworks display after the completion of the final race. Food trucks will also be available throughout the day. Admission to the track for the fireworks and racing is free for fans of all ages.

There are also several key dates on the racing calendar.

For the Empire Breeders Classic on Friday, June 17, there will be separate races for both 3-year-old fillies and 3-year-old colts. Posting time is 12:15 p.m.

Vernon Downs will once again host the Zweig Memorial races on Saturday, July 9, with Open Trot 3-year-olds and Fillies Trot 3-year-olds. Post time is 12:15.

In 2021, Leon Bailey captured his second consecutive driving title. Jeff Sorenson won his first training title. Justin Huckabone was the runner-up as driver and trainer.

The Miracle Mile will have five awards again in 2022. There’s Winning Wheels Driver of the Week, Black Stallion Trainer of the Week, Bourbon Express Groom of the Week, Golden Gro of the Month for the horse with the highest $2 a month pay and the Rambling Willie Award, an award for small farms that have an extra special performance.