Racing back on at Vernon Downs
Racing resumed Friday night at Vernon Downs after being halted because of an equine herpes outbreak, discovered on May 4. Three horses tested positive for the virus.
Some fans were uncertain if the track would be open tonight, while others who were shut out because of the outbreak were back to try their luck again.
"I heard about it the other day, and I didn't know if we would be able to come tonight," said Bob Picciott, who came to Vernon Downs from Camillus. "But we found out we could come."
"We were ready to do the [Kentucky] Derby, and we were ready for the cards, and there were no cards," said Kevin Meenan of Utica, who was shut out last Saturday because of the outbreak. "It disappointed us. We went home."
Twenty-five of the track's roughly 400 horses still remain under quarantine as veterinarians monitor their progress. The outbreak happened on the day of the Kentucky Derby, one of the track's biggest days of the year. "We did as best as we could," said Scott Warren, Vernon Down's Director of Racing. "And actually, our simulcast handle was up over last year. So, I mean, there was a positive at the end of the day."
Vernon Downs continues to monitor its horses as it prepares for the heart of racing season this summer.