Yonkers, NY --- Empire City at Yonkers Raceway will host one of the world’s single largest harness racing events on Saturday (Oct. 14) as the annual New York Sire Stakes Day of Champions and the world-renowned Yonkers International Trot will be held together for the first time.
The star-studded Yonkers card features a total of $3.3 million in purses buoyed by the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes finals or Day of Champions consisting of eight races, a pair of $250,000 Invitationals (the Dan Rooney Pace and the Harry Harvey Trot), and the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. Post time for the Yonkers International Trot is at 4 p.m. First post for the matinee card is at 1 p.m.
“This magnificent day of racing is unquestionably the finest in our long and storied history,” said Timothy J. Rooney, president and CEO of Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway. “Not only is it the richest purse total ever in the state, which is historic in itself, but in bringing together the premier trotters in the world and New York’s best on one program, it will make for an epic day of racing.”
The International -- inaugurated in 1959 at Roosevelt Raceway and continued at Yonkers Raceway through 1995 -- made a triumphant return after a 20-year absence in 2015, which was captured by Norway’s Papagayo E. Last year’s world record-setting winner Resolve, hailing from the U.S., will return this year to defend his title. The Yonkers International will be contested at 1-1/4 miles and has attracted the world’s elite trotters from the United States, Canada, Italy, France, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden.
“The Standardbred Owners Association of New York is proud and privileged to participate in this historic day,” said Joseph Faraldo, president of the SOA of NY. “The New York Sire Stakes program is flourishing, and the Yonkers International gathers world class trotters from Europe, the United States and Canada for what will be a most memorable card.”
The New York State Agriculture and Horse Breeding Development Fund administrates the New York Sire Stakes races across New York State each year, providing young horses with the opportunity to “earn as they learn.” The 2- and 3-year-old colt and filly Standardbred horses are eligible to compete in both pacing and trotting. The New York Sire Stakes was the first program of is kind and has become the model for state-bred racing programs in North America.
"New York's Standardbred racing plays a vital role in our gaming industry," said Barry Sample, Chairman of the New York State Gaming Commission and Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee. "We are thrilled that so many people worldwide will enjoy the very best that New York has to offer.”
"The quality of New York-bred horses and our Standardbred racing program are unmatched,” said Richard A. Ball, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets and Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee. “The Sire Stakes Day of Champions shines a spotlight on the excellence of our equine industry, which supports the agricultural economy across the State. With the addition of the International Trot, this exciting day of racing is the perfect opportunity to show the world what New York has to offer.”
“I think it’s going to be very interesting since it’s something so new for the New York Sire Stakes competitors,” said Peter Arrigenna, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee. “We’re thrilled that European viewers watching via simulcast will be able to see the quality of our Standardbred horses."
“We are excited that combining these two events has given us the opportunity to showcase our New York-bred product on a world stage,” said Michael Kimelman, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee.
Horses must be entered for the New York Sire Stakes Day of Champions at Yonkers Raceway by the draw date (Oct. 9 at 4 p.m.) for both the New York Sire Stakes and Consolation finals. Yonkers Raceway will be drawing the post positions on the same day. The official post position draw and press conference for the Yonkers International Trot will take place Tuesday (Oct. 10).