from RUS New York
Vernon, NY — Vernon Downs typically features horses racing in harness with a sulky and driver behind them. However, if fans get to the track early on Saturday (Oct. 13), they will be treated to something unique.
Riders will be atop of the same horses that can be seen on a weekly basis racing in harness. Instead of being driven, the horses will be ridden at a full trot — the Standardbred’s natural gait.
Also known as monté racing, racing under saddle (RUS) is a hybrid between harness racing and Thoroughbred racing. The non-wagering event will feature a field of five and be held at 6 p.m., right before the track’s regularly scheduled 6:10 p.m. post.
All participants will receive $400 as long as the horse finishes the race. The winner will also be presented a cooler sponsored by Triple Crown.
The event is being brought to the track by RUS NY, an organization that helps coordinate and promote under saddle races across the state. The organization has put on a fair series for the past five years and was officially formed in early 2014. The main goal is to promote the unique sport, educate about the versatility of the Standardbred breed as both a racing and a riding horse and to help Standardbreds find great homes after they finish their days on the track.
Racing could not continue without the generosity of sponsors because RUS has yet to become a wagering or self-sufficient event. Those that have donated $200 or more include: Monticello Raceway, The Meadowlands, Vernon Downs, Tioga Downs, Batavia Downs, Saratoga Harness Horsemen’s Association, The Mark Ford Stable, Advantage Edge Equine, Morrisville State College, Triple Crown, Pure Country Campgrounds, T&K Harrington LLC, The Equine Tax Group, Preserving God’s Creation Taxidermy, Beckwith Racing, Early Owego Antique Center, ROC The Standardbred and Triple R Equestrian Center.
To see all all sponsors, view information on becoming a sponsor or to learn more about RUS, visit RUS New York’s website.