by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media
Five local high school students began their preparations this morning (Saturday, May 17) to participate in the 2014 Tioga Downs Scholarship Race, which is scheduled as a non-wagering event for the afternoon of Sunday, June 1, during the Roll With Joe undercard.
Megan Vanvorce (Binghamton), Shania Shaver (Candor), Jason Hill (Maine Endwell), Kayla Martin (Newark Valley), and Rachael Oltmer (Union-Endicott) are each working with a veteran Tioga Downs horseman to learn the basics of horsemanship in preparation for the scholarship race. In addition to this morning, the quintet of students will work with their respective trainers on the next two Saturday mornings (May 24 and May 31) leading up to the race to ensure safety and an understanding of harness racing tactics. After their three weekends of preparation, students and their partner horsemen will race in a double-seated jog cart on the afternoon of Sunday, June 1.
Thanks to the efforts of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State and the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, $8,700 in scholarship money will be awarded, with the winner earning a $3,000 scholarship, and $2,000, $1,500, $1,200, and $1,000 scholarships awarded to the second-place through fifth-place finishers respectively.