by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media
Nichols, N.Y. -- While reigning Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit's appearance in the Graduate has become the centerpiece of Sunday (June 12) afternoon's stakes-laden program at Tioga Downs, the primary focus will be different for a quintet of 2016 high-school graduates from throughout the Southern Tier.
For Alexis Eaton (Owego Free Academy), Faith Jones (Johnson City HS), Marlie Lakach (Union Endicott HS), Hannah Luszczek (Newark Valley HS), and Adam Zwierlein (Tioga HS), the annual Tioga Downs Scholarship Race will be the main event, as they will team up with Tioga horsemen in two-seat jog carts for a 5/8-mile non-wagering race.
The Harness Horse Breeders of New York State and the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association are instrumental in their support of the Scholarship Race, as have been local horsemen Corey Braden, Scott Coulter, Mike Deters, Tyler Freese, Jason MacDougall, and Mike Sinclair, with whom the the students have worked side-by-side over the last few weekends to learn basic horsemanship, race strategy, and safety in preparation for the race.
The Scholarship Race will take place after the second race on the 15-race card, with first post at 1:30 p.m.