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July 29, 2010 - 3:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Race fans turned out to enjoy the first Wednesday of the meet at America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track, despite the inclement weather that began the night. The evening’s feature event was the seventh race on the card, an open pace for fillies and mares with a purse of $9,000.

Hitting the wire first in that seventh race, was Southwind Prairie with Jim McNeight at the lines, pacing to the mile in 1:58 for her third win of the 2010 season.

In for the place was Newberry Winner with Jamie Dunlap in the sulky to complete the $26.20 exacta. Ray Fisher Jr. and Overseas Tour came in for the show.

The fractions for the 6-horse field were 28.2, 58.4, and 1:28.3, respectively.

The mile began with Jennifers Major getting the trip, but switched the lead with Newberry Winner and fought to regain it just after the ¼ pole. Tom Agosti and Jennifers Major coasted in the lead through the clubhouse turn of the pay-off half, but began to fade after the ¾ pole as Southwind Prairie and Jim Mc Neight took over on the final turn and through the final stretch to pose in the photo of this evening’s feature contest.

Southwind Prairie is a 6-year-old mare by Bettor’s Delight. Karl T. Schoeffel of Evans City, Pa., owns her. Lisa Lederhouse is the trainer. The winning $2 mutuel price was $7.

The 2010 meet at America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track will continue this Friday and Saturday evenings.

This Saturday, July 31, is the Batavia Downs Casino and New York Sire Stakes Glass Giveaway! The first 750 patrons to swipe their Player’s Club Cards beginning at 5 p.m. will receive a ticket that is redeemable for a free glass after the 7th race!

July 29, 2010 - 9:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, recreation, Batavia Turf, Batavia Sports Park.


When loyal Batavian Bea McManis visited Hornell for a horseshoe tournament she was impressed with what she found -- a city-sponsored, championship-caliber facility that brought in people from all over the state to stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants.

In a comment on The Batavian, she also noted Hornell annually closes down Main Street for a basketball tournament.

"In my opinion, Batavia is shortsighted when it comes to utilizing its best asset," Bea wrote. "We are located in a perfect spot to make the city a mecca for recreational events such as Hornell had over the weekend."

Ted Hawley shares the vision.

A couple of years ago he approached Craig Yunker, owner of Batavia Turf, about letting him organize soccer tournaments on the grass he grows.

After ironing out some details with the Town of Batavia, Hawley and Yunker opened the Batavia Sports Park off Bank Street Road.

The Town of Batavia chipped in $41,000 to lease the land from Yunker and provide an entrance and gravel parking lot.

"We already know just on that first tournament, the pay back," said Town of Batavia Board Member John Gerace. "We don't know dollars yet but we'll be looking at some numbers on what the pay back is to the town and Genesee County and the city."

This spring, Hawley attracted two significant soccer events to the new sports park -- an Olympic team camp and an Empire United Soccer Academy event.

But Hawley's vision doesn't stop with soccer -- he sees no reason that the facility can't become a major stopping off point for tournaments, camps and clinics for lacrosse, baseball and softball and any other sport.

He would like to see expanded facilities and more fields.

"In my wildest dreams, this could really be a great product between Rochester and Buffalo," Hawley said.

And Yunker is certainly open to expansion. He pointed to a cornfield and said, "we could put another three soccer fields there and another three in the next field over."

"There's 74 acres here," Yunker added.

Nobody's yet talking about the dollars and cents to make it happen, but the town board visited the facility Wednesday to see what some of the immediate issues are, which include some sort of shelter for players and parents (protection during storms), expanded parking and a second access point to Bank Street Road, so there would be only one way in, and one way out for drivers.

Even as board members Hawley and Yunker expressed pleasure and awe at all of the families making use of the facility on Wednesday, Yunkers noted that the future of the Sports Park isn't a done deal.

"The town hasn’t committed past this year. I haven’t committed past this year," Yunker said. "This is sort of a see-how-it-develops and see-if-the-community-supports-it and see-if-it-makes-sense."

July 28, 2010 - 3:17pm
posted by Gretel Kauffman in batavia, baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

July 28, 2010 - 12:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

The Western New York harness racing circuit returned to Batavia Downs Casino on Monday, marking the beginning of the 64th season of live racing.

Race fans lined the apron, filled the grandstand and dined in the historic Clubhouse and Rail Bar to catch all of the action from America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track.

The 3-year-old New York Bred Late Closing colt and gelding trotters enhanced the first program of the meet with two contests, the second and the fourth races, each with a purse of $13,100.

Racing to victory in the first Late Closer was Cider With Ice with driver-trainer Dan Daley in the sulky, trotting the mile in a swift 1.59.1. The quarter times for the field were :27.4, :57.4, and 1:28.1, respectively.

Finishing 2-1/2 lengths behind for the place was Womanizer with Gareth Dowse at the lines. Azad Boko with red hot Jack Flanigen in the driver’s seat came in for the show.

The mile began with Womanizer getting the top, but quickly lost the lead to Cider With Ice after the quarter pole and the 3-year-old colt by Credit Winner was never in any real jeopardy from that point.

Ann-Mari Daley, Richard Lombardo, and Albert Crawford own Cider With Ice, now unbeaten with the addition of trotting hobbles. He returned $4.30 to win.

Taking honors for the second stakes race of the evening was Black Licorice with Brian Mattison at the lines, trotting the mile in 2:02.2. Jack Flanigen and Headingforaruckus were close behind for the place, while MC Thunderstruck with Dan Daley showed up third. The quarter times were :30.1, 1:00.4, and 1:31.4, respectively.

Black Licorice took the early lead but was passed by Headingforaruckus shortly after the quarter pole. Flanigen kept the lead until midstretch when Mattison and Black Licorice squeezed in along the passing lane and charged to the win by two lengths. Black Licorice is a 3-year-old gelding by Credit Winner. He is trained by Paul Kelley and owned by East Pond Stable. The winning mutuel price was $17.40.

Live racing will continue this Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track, with our new post time of 6:40 p.m.

The Clubhouse and Rail Bar is now open all race nights serving fine fare, most notably the all-you-can-eat buffet, complete with prime rib, shrimp and crab legs each Friday and Saturday night! To make a reservation, please call 343-3750.

Saturday, July 31 marks the first promotion of the season at Batavia Downs Casino: A Glass Giveaway, co-sponsored by Batavia Downs Casino and the New York Sire Stakes.  The first 750 patrons to swipe their Player’s Club cards beginning at 5 p.m. will receive a ticket that may be redeemed for a glass in the Paddock Room following the 7th race.

July 28, 2010 - 11:58am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, sports, golf, first presbyterian church.

Deacons of First Presbyterian Church Batavia are hosting a golf tournament on Aug. 7 at Batavia Country Club.

It is located at 7909 Batavia Byron Road. Registration for the scramble format begins at Noon. Tee time is 2 p.m. Cost is $65 per person and includes greens fee, cart, lunch and steak dinner.

Shot gun starts at 2 p.m. Indiviuals will be matched with incomplete teams. Hot dogs and drink will be served at the turn. There will be door prizes and a silent auction. Awards will be handed out at dinner.

Proceeds benefit Deacons' local outreach programs. For more information and to receive a registration form, contact the church office at 343-0505.

July 27, 2010 - 2:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in baseball, Announcements, muckdogs, sports.

The Batavia Muckdogs heartily welcome the 3rd Annual Drug-Free Marshals Night at the Ballpark, Friday, July 30. Gates open at 6 p.m. and just before the game starts at 7:05, the entire audience will be sworn in, by Senator Mike Razenhofer, as new "Drug-Free Marshals."

On the field along with Sen. Razenhofer will be Muckdogs players, little leaguers, local officials, local law enforcement and the event planner, Sue Hawley, prevention educator at GCASA Prevention.

“Everyone who participates in becoming a Drug-Free Marshal avows to remain drug-free and also encourages others to remain drug-free as well," Hawley said. "They personally sign a pledge that they bring home to their parents, grandparents or just someone they love, which states they have chosen to, and will, lead a drug-free life.”

When asked at a local park this week why taking drugs is a bad idea, some of the children in attendance replied, “because you can die,” “because they can cause cancer” and “because they can ruin your life."

“Even at such a young age, it shows that these children are well aware of the harmful effects of taking drugs,” said a camp counselor.

Hawley said she always thought that the Drug-Free Marshals program should be brought to this community.

"It is a wonderful program that targets our young children from ages 5 through 13," she said. "Traditionally teenagers are given drug education and a lot of money goes to these programs.

"The mission of Drug-Free Marshals is to talk about this subject to our younger children and have them make a promise to themselves to ‘live a drug-free life’ and ‘show my friends that a drug-free life is my choice and is more fun.'"

For more information about Drug-Free Marshals: Sue Hawley GCASA Prevention, 815-8172, or e-mail: [email protected].

July 27, 2010 - 12:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, photos, sports, harness racing.


Yesterday, Batavia Downs opened its 64th harness racing season. Officials were kind enough to let me hang out in the stables and take pictures.

Thirty-three more pictures after the jump:

July 27, 2010 - 12:05pm
posted by Gretel Kauffman in batavia, baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

This is the first in a series of videos we're posting to help you get to know your Batavia Muckdogs players better.

July 25, 2010 - 10:45pm
posted by JIM NIGRO in baseball, sports, championship game.

The First United Methodist Church Red Sox squared off against the Sertoma Braves Saturday in the Paul E. Sputore Batavia Minor League championship game. 


Teams stand on the sideline during National Anthem

July 25, 2010 - 12:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, sports, county fair, demolition derby.


Saturday night at the County Fair was demolition derby night.  I was there for two races and took some pictures. It was a big, muddy mess, but a lot of fun.



More pictures after the jump:

July 24, 2010 - 2:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

mug-jack_flannigan.jpgBatavia has been a welcome change for veteran catch driver Jack Flanigen, who has been in the sulky since 1984. After resigning in January from his day job of nine years at the New York State Thruway Authority, Flanigen decided to once again pursue his passion as a reinsman full-time.

The decision has indeed paid off, as Flanigen has tallied up 188 wins and $746,158 in purses at the Buffalo meet this year.

Todd Haight, track analyst at Batavia Downs Casino, is optimistic that Flanigen will continue his success when the 64th Season of Live Racing opens this Monday, July 26.

“Flanigen had an excellent meet at Buffalo," Haight said. "Not only has he clinched leading driver honors, but he's had some nice New York Sire Stakes wins. I believe Jack will have an excellent meet here as well."

Due to his success, Flanigen has attracted many drives from leading trainers at Buffalo Raceway, such as Lisa Lederhouse, Bobbi Martin and Larry Clabaugh.

As mentioned, he's also attracted attention from trainers in the New York Sire Stakes program who are already winning with It’s Only Roni, Tuesday’s With Mom and new Buffalo Raceway track record holder Roadside Delight.  
One of the highlights of the 2010 season for Flanigen has been the opportunity to be at the reins for veteran 14-year-old trotter Boomer Berman, who has finished first or second in his last 18 starts.

“He’s unreal," Flanigen said. "To be 14 and this good is amazing, he’s a pleasure to drive."
Jack Flanigen has had numerous successes at America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track, including leading driver honors multiple times in the mid 1990s.
During his 26-year driver career, Flanigen has won 3392 races and has amassed $8.2 million in purse earnings.

July 23, 2010 - 1:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing.

Another season-long line-up of exciting promotions, a new Clubhouse viewing area and an earlier weeknight post time highlight the return of harness racing at historic Batavia Downs Casino at 6:40 p.m. this coming Monday, July 26.

Once again, opening night customers will be treated to free programs while the first 750 race fans on Saturday, July 31, will receive a complimentary New York Sire Stakes/Batavia Downs Casino beverage glass.

The 64th season at The Downs highlights the 30-year anniversary of the great Niatross’ world record when he eclipsed legendary Bret Hanover’s record with a sparkling 1:55 performance.

Over $1 million in stakes money, including eight New York Sire Stakes races, six Late Closer events and the Robert J. Kane Memorial Invitational Pace on Oct. 16 are among the 72 racing dates at The Downs this season.

New York Sire Stakes races will be held on Aug. 2 and 18, and Sept. 4, 8, 10, 17 and 18.

Racing will be Monday (except Aug. 30), Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through Labor Day and then Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until closing day Dec. 5 with eight added Tuesday dates from Sept. 14 through Nov. 9 (except Oct. 12).

Post time is now 6:40 each evening and 1:15 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 29, Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 6) and Columbus Day (Monday, Oct. 11).

The wagering menu has been reformatted with an additional Daily Double, now available on races 1-2, 4-5, 8-9 and 10-11. Also new this season is a Pick Six wager that begins on race seven with a starting pool guaranteed at $1,000.
Western New York’s top drivers and trainers return this season. Kevin Cummings will defend his leading driver title with strong challenges expected from Jack Flanigen and Ray Fisher Jr. Trainer Sherry Holliday looks to repeat as the leading conditioner with Ron Beback Jr., Neal Russo and Jim Graham challenging.
Visitors to Batavia Downs Casino have made Grandstands Bar and Grille a 7-day-a-week destination. The sports restaurant on the second level has a distinct retro décor and features many historic photos of America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track.

Grandstands Bar and Grille is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. with a full menu and wide selection of beer, wine and mixed drinks. It also features self-vending terminals for wagering and 37 high-definition flat panel TVs.
Promotional Marketing Specialist Todd Haight has developed an aggressive schedule of compelling promotions, highlighted by Family Fun Day on Sunday, Aug. 29, featuring the always popular Wiener Dog Races.

A first for Batavia Downs Casino this season will be the $7,500 college scholarship race on Sept. 11 when five Batavia-area high school seniors compete at the Genesee County oval.

The complete promotion schedule can be viewed at <>  (click on the Batavia Downs icon).

July 22, 2010 - 4:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, sports, harness racing, gaming.

Saturday night, July 31, marks the first big giveaway at Batavia Downs Casino. (Harness racing returns to the Western New York standardbred track for the 64th season on July 26.)

Batavia Downs Casino and the New York Sire stakes are partnering in a Glass Giveaway. This unique beverage glass has all of the Downs 2010 Sire Stakes dates listed on it.

“We’re again pleased to work with Mr. Goold and the Sire Stakes folks on our first major giveaway of the season," said Michael D. Kane, vice president of Live Racing and OTB branch operations. “We’re confident our racing fans we be pleased with this promotion.”

Beginning at 5 p.m., the first 750 racing fans that swipe there Player's Club card will receive a ticket good for NYSS glass that can then be redeemed in the Paddock Room after the 7th race of the evening.

Racing fans are reminded that first race post time is now 6:40 p.m. For a complete list of the August racing promotions, please visit <>.

July 22, 2010 - 2:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, muckdogs, sports.

The Muckdogs return home this Sunday, July 25, for a two-game series with the Williamsport Crosscutters, an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Game time is 5:05 p.m., with gates opening at 4.

With every Sunday, we’ll once again have Bob Evans Restaurant’s Post Run the Bases with Homer. All kids have the opportunity to run the bases with Homer after the game! Every child who runs the bases will receive a free kid’s meal coupon courtesy of Bob Evans Restaurant.

Monday, July 26, the Muckdogs will once more face the opposing Crosscutters. Game time begins at 7:05 p.m., with gates opening at 6.

Monday offers a Bike Raffle courtesy of the Lion’s Club of Batavia. The Lions Club will be giving away a bike to one lucky boy and one lucky girl. It will also be Muckdog Monday presented by The Daily News, where fans receive a $1 off a general admission ticket with coupon in the Saturday edition of The Daily News.

Monday is also a Knot Hole Gang game courtesy of Turnbull Heating & Air. At every Knot Hole Gang game, members can get a general admission ticket for just $2 and their parents/guardians also receive a $1 off their ticket.

To find out more information on the Knot Hole Gang, check out

For tickets, call the Muckdogs Box Office at 343-5454, ext. 1005.

July 22, 2010 - 1:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, Announcements, sports, pets, weiner dog races.

Batavia Downs Casino will hold its annual Weiner Dog Races and Family Fun Day on Sunday, Aug. 29.

The whole family is invited to visit with Mr. Scribbles, Pringles the Clown, and get free pony rides 2 to 4 p.m. for the kids. Sahlens hot dogs and sodas will be just $1 at the Paddock Room concession stand beginning at noon.

At approximately 4:30 p.m., the Weiner Dogs will take to the track! Petco of Batavia is the official sponsor of the event and will supply doggy bags to the owners of the participating dogs.

This year, six separate heats will be held with the fastest dachshund that dashes down the track in each heat declared the winner. The winners will be given an opportunity to race in the championship following the final heat and compete for prizes. Last year, Jean Smart’s 2-year-old dachshund, “Jake Arnold," was a narrow winner.

If you would like to enter your dachshund, please contact Arna Tygart at 343-3750, ext 437 beginning July 26.

July 21, 2010 - 10:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

Another strong pitching effort from starter Justin Edwards, but the Batavia bullpen was unable to protect a 2-1 lead and the Muckdogs (16-15) lost to Williamsport Tuesday, 8-3.

Edwards went six innings and allowed only one unearned run. Travis Lawler was charged with a blown save, giving up two hits and one run, but the Muckdogs were really buried when David Kington came on and gave up three hits, walked three and surrended six runs.

The only Muckdog to post a multi-hit game was Nick Longmire, who went 2-4, scored two runs and smacked his fourth triple of the season.

The Muckdogs return home Sunday to face Williamsport.

July 20, 2010 - 5:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, photos, sports, harness racing.


The horses are returning to Batavia Downs for another season of harness racing. The first dozen or so horses arrived today -- by Monday, officials expect the stables to be full and bustling once again.

Live harness racing makes its 2010 debut Monday. First post time is 6:40 p.m.

July 20, 2010 - 12:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports.


One run on an RBI single by hot-hitting catcher Audry Perez in the first inning was all the scoring the Batavia Muckdogs needed at Dwyer Stadium on Monday to notch the team's 16th win of the season.

The Muckdogs (16-14) rode nine innings of scoreless ball by four pitchers to move within two games of the visiting team, first-place Jamestown Jammers (18-12).

Venezuelan Jose Rada, four years in the Cardinals, but in his first season with the Muckdogs, walked one but didn't surrender a hit in the ninth to pick up his sixth save and lower his ERA to 0.98.

The biggest noise of the night came from a group of Jamestown Jammer fans sitting high up in the first-base-side bleachers, cheering on their team in the top and bottom half of every inning -- for eight-and-half innings (pictured below).


Folks, everyone of you reading this who hasn't been to a game yet this season needs to go to at least two. Or we're going to lose our team. Not only is it a lot of fun, and shows great community spirit, but it's also a chance to see future major leaguers up close. This past All-Star Game included 22 players who came through the NY-Penn League.

More pictures after the jump:

July 17, 2010 - 7:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, football, youth, sports, Kibbe Park.


This morning, Batavia Youth Football conducted a football clinic for area children at Kibbe Park. The boys were instructed in how to play the defensive line, how to be a running back, how to be a receiver and how to be a quarterback.

More pictures after the jump:

July 16, 2010 - 12:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

The Batavia Muckdogs showed up at Dwyer Stadium last night with their hitting shoes on, slapping around 15 hits and scoring 16 runs to drop the Lowell Red Sox 16-2.

The victory moved the Muckdogs to 13-13 for the year.

Nick Longmire hit his fifth home run of the season and he had, along with Joey Bergman and Colin Walsh, three RBIs.

Rainel Rosario had three hits and drove in a pair of runs.

Justin Edwards went seven innings and surrendered two runs to pick up his second win and lower his ERA to 2.93.

Tonight is fireworks night as the Muckdogs play one more home game against the Boston Red Sox farm team. On Saturday, longtime NY-Penn League rivals Jamestown open a three-game series at Dwyer.




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