Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 4:17:31 AM

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Second Annual Ostrich & Camel Race at Tioga Downs

Thousands of fans crowded into the stands Sunday to catch a glimpse of something unusual: Ostrich racing.

"They're pretty interesting, they don't know what they are doing so they kind of just run all over the place," said Julie Benninger of Endwell.

"Everyone is having a good time and it's interesting to watch the races, I've never seen them before," said Jason Pandich of Endwell.

It was the second annual ostrich and camel race at Tioga Downs Racino. the venue is well known for its gambling and horse races.  But Sunday the focus was all on the exotic animals.

"One of the main things we try to do at Tioga Downs at the races is expose new people to our sport and get people here, get families here, get kids here, really provide a fun and entertaining outlet for people in this area. especially on a Sunday afternoon, so camel and ostriches, where else are you going to see that happening, have them race right in front of you, it's free to get in here so we see this as a great way to draw a huge crowd and give people something really fun to do," said Justin Horowitz, the Racing Manager.

Despite the heat and humidity, the event was a hit-- even more than expected.

"Last year we had 3,400 people here I think today we'll blow that away and that's exciting.  There's not another event like this in the area so we are really excited to give people something fun and show off Tioga downs to the whole Southern Tier," said Horowitz

And it's an event he hopes will continue to grow.


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