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October 1, 2016 - 1:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Justgottogetthere with driver Jim Morrill Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Justgottogetthere was one of the best resident trotters in western New York last year, however 2016 has been a bit of a different story. But it was like old times for the gelding on Friday night (Sept. 30) as he won the $10,500 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs.

Justgottogetthere (Jim Morrill Jr.) went right to the front at the start of the race and remained there until the end. While setting early panels of :28.2 and :58.4, the only challenge the leader got came from Snapshot Springs (Drew Monti) who pulled near the half and tried to engage the front. But the closest he could get was a half-length from second seated Noble Legend (Shawn Gray) who was tracking there the whole mile. After they hit three-quarters in 1:27.2, Justgottogetthere got busy and extended his lead around the far turn and just trotted away in the lane to win by three in 1:57.1.

Noble Legend was second and Snapshot Springs finished third.

It was the fourth win of the year and a seasonal mark for Justgottogetthere ($11.20), and the first trip to the winner’s circle with him for new owner Mike Torcello, who privately purchased the son of Valley Victor on Sept. 3rd. Gerry Sarama trains Justgottogetthere.

In the co-featured $8,500 Open II trot, Serious George ($5.50) came early to press the front running Socialdelight (Ray Fisher Jr.) before running her down to win in 1:57.4. Serious George is owned by James Palladino and is trained by Richard Mays.

John Cummings Jr. won four races Friday night. He had pictures taken with Gun Show ($4, 1:56.2), Hez a Buckeye ($5.60, 1:59), V I P ($9.20, 2:02) and Northern Matador ($13.20, 1:59).

Shawn Gray and Jim Morrill Jr. both chimed in with two wins apiece.

The Batavia Downs early Pick-5 which on Friday was part of the USTA Strategic Wager with a guaranteed $4,000 pool, recorded the track’s largest handle ever by 50%. The 3-2-1-2-6 combination returned $202.00.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs tonight (Oct. 1) with a guaranteed early Pick-5 pool of $1,500. Post time is 6:15.

September 30, 2016 - 4:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia Downs Racetrack joins the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering program Friday night (Sept.30) with the early Pick-5 pool guaranteed at $4,000.

The early Pick-5 which kicks off in race one, has an actual carryover of $2,422 and post time for that race is set at 6:15 p.m.

The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager that includes races one through five during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff; meaning if no one selects all five winners, the entire pool moves to the late Pick-5, which begins with race 7.

Program pages for the early Pick-5 races made available courtesy of Trackmaster can be found at http://handicapping.ustrotting.com

September 29, 2016 - 3:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Wednesday night (Sept. 28) was a return to form for My Tallia Ideal when she came from off the pace to take the lead and fend off a late challenge to capture the featured $9,500 mares Open pace at Batavia Downs.

Kaitlyn Akeeper (Jim Morrill Jr.) left for the lead around Memumsnotnice (Kevin Cummings) while My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) went from fifth to third and tucked. Positions remained unchanged through fractions of :27.2 and :56.2 when My Tallia Ideal pulled first over past the clubhouse with Who Says That (Shawn Gray) on her back. 

My Tallia Ideal eventually pulled alongside Kaitlyn Akeeper at the three-quarters before going right on by in the far turn. But just as it looked like she was going to pull away, Who Says That tipped around and came hard at her in the stretch. The two dueled head to head all the way down the lane and hit the wire near simultaneously, but the photo showed My Tallia Ideal was the victor by a nose in 1:54.1.

The win was the seventh of the year for My Tallia Ideal ($2.80) and it pushed her earnings to $51,375 for owners Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney McNeight. The 8-year-old Western Ideal mare is trained by Dave McNeight Jr.

Ray Fisher Jr. had a driving grand slam Wednesday, winning with Wicked Elphaba ($6.40), Purple N Gold ($17.40), Prince Jubilee ($10.80) and Val’s Jett ($2.60). Wade Tomaszewski and Jim Morrill Jr. both scored driving doubles.

Trainers Richard Tomaszewski and Richard Lareau both sent two students to the winner’s enclosure.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 30) with the first post set for 6:15. On Friday, the early Pick-5 (Races 1 to 5) starts with a guaranteed pool of $4,000.

September 26, 2016 - 2:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

In the featured $10,000 Open pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 24), the only race was for second as the heavily favored invader, Scott Rocks led at all stations en route to registering the fastest pacing mile of the year at the Genesee County oval.

John Cummings Jr. left with Scott Rocks and after easing him through a brutally sunlit first turn, got his horse in gear on the back straight and took the lead by the quarter in :27.4. As soon as he crossed over to the pylons, Cummings popped the plugs and took a reclined posture in the bike as he became a passenger for the rest of his ride.

Scott Rocks was up by one and one-half lengths at the half in :56.2 and by two at three-quarters in 1:23.4. With the rest of the field scrambling to keep up at that point, the leader opened up three lengths under mild urging from Cummings and won wrapped-up in 1:52.

China Dream (Shawn Gray) closed strong to catch second and Heaven Rocks (Kevin Cummings), who followed the winner the entire mile, hung on for third.

It was the ninth win of the year, including three straight most recently for Scott Rocks ($2.50) and the purse increased his 2016 bank to $133,374 for owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey. The 6-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover is trained by Chris Oakes.

John Cummings Jr. had a driving grand slam on Saturday winning with Scott Rocks ($2.50, 1:52), Keystone Dalton ($3.10, 1:55), Foreign Officer ($4.30, 1:54.1) and Untouchable One ($3.40, 1:56).

Drew Monti had a driving triple while Ray Fisher Jr. doubled up. 

Trainer JD Perrin conditioned three winning horses on the night.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 28) with the first post at 6:15.

September 25, 2016 - 10:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, Batavia Downs, news.

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Several hundred people were at Batavia Downs on Saturday night for the Batavia Rotary Club's annual Octoberfest.

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September 24, 2016 - 2:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Snapshot Springs with driver Drew Monti.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Fresh off a solid win in Open II company last week, Snapshot Springs moved to the top class for resident trotters and took a new lifetime mark in winning the $10,500 Open at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 23).

With three horses leaving off the gate, it took until the quarter for the favored Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) to clear in :28.1. He then proceeded to lead the pack in single-file order to the half in :57.4. At that station, Snapshot Springs (Drew Monti) pulled first-over from fourth and motored up on the outside.

Up the backside, Snapshot Springs pulled even with Kahoku and at that point, Monti popped the plugs before they hit the three-quarters in 1:27.1. From there he cleared and opened up a two-length lead around the last turn. Then with mild urging from Monti down the lane, Snapshot Springs coasted home to a fairly easy two-length win in 1:57.

It was the seventh win of the year for Snapshot Springs ($8.40) and it enriched his 2016 earnings to $41,085 for owner/trainer Allan McCarty.

Bob Davis won both $5,000 divisions of the C.K.G. Billings races. In the trotting leg he scored a wire to wire win with V I P ($15.80) and in the pacing division he went from worst to first with Helena’s Hope ($7).

John Cummings Jr. had a driving triple while Drew Monti and Shawn Gray scored doubles. Trainers Edgar Clarke and Jeff Amann both sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 24) with a 6:15 post time.

September 23, 2016 - 1:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

When racing resumes at Batavia Downs tonight (Sept. 23), the early Pick-5 pool will be guaranteed at $2,500. The early Pick-5 wager runs from race one through race five and is a 50-cent base wager.

America’s oldest lighted harness racetrack currently races every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night with post time for the first race set at 6:15. The 2016 season continues through Dec. 10.

 
September 22, 2016 - 3:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.
(Photo of Susie's Delight with driver Ray Fisher Jr.)
 
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
 
Susie's Delight proved patience is a virtue as she laid in wait before pouncing on her foes in the $9,500 mares Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 21).
 
Kaitlyn Akeeper (Jim Morrill Jr.) set the pace as the heavy post time favorite All Charged Up (John Macdonald) couldn't get the front and didn't find a hole. That was the start of a long journey for her as she was parked the rest of the way. So with Memumsnotnice (Kevin Cummings) sitting second and All Charged Up hung out like laundry, Kaitlyn Akeeper cut fractions of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:25.2.
 
At three-quarters, All Charged Up was making her way to the rear and that freed Susie's Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) from her encumbered position in fourth and she began a run up to the leader. Coming out of the turn, Susie's Delight drew even with Kaitlyn Akeeper and the mares battled into the stretch. Fisher began bouncing in the bike like he was sitting on a trampoline, urging his mare ahead. And ahead she forged to a half-length victory in 1:54.2. 
 
It was the fourth win of the year for the 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight ($13) and the time of 1:54.2 was a new seasonal mark for the winner. Susie's Delight is owned by the Swift Racing Stable and trained by Ryan Swift. 
 
Drew Monti, Dave McNeight III and Ray Fisher Jr. all scored driving triples on the night while John Mungillo, Bradley Jackson and Dave McNeight Jr. conditioned two winners apiece. 
 
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 23) with post time for the first race set at 6:15.
September 22, 2016 - 6:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Made in America store, Batavia Downs, business, batavia.

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A big crowd on was on hand, including Nashville recording artist Ricky Lee, for the ribbon cutting of the Made in America Store at Batavia Downs on Wednesday.

Founder of the Made in America Store, Mark Andol, said that the idea began to develop quickly after the key players converged in July of this year.

"I'll tell you Ricky Lee, a sponsor of us, ambassador of Made in America Store for six years actually, you know, me and Mike Nolan (Batavia Downs executive) and Rick had been talking about different things, and Thurman Thomas is kind of an ambassador. Tie in Rick with the music and one thing led to another. I mentioned to Mike 'why don't you put a store in here?' he said 'I would if I had a store' and one thing led to another and here we are today.”

For more coverage of the opening, visit WBTAi.com.

Photo and information from our news partner, WBTA.

September 19, 2016 - 1:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, news, business, Made in America store.

Press release:

Officials from Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation (WROTB) and the Made in America Store today announced their partnership to bring a Made in America Store to Batavia Downs. The grand opening of the new store and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in the lobby of Batavia Downs on Park Road. A performance by Nashville Recording Artist Ricky Lee will follow the ceremony at the facility.

The Made in America Store, which started with just 50 products, today carries 7,000 products from more than 500 U.S. manufacturers, all 100-percent American made. The Store is headquartered in Elma, New York.

“We are proud to partner with Batavia Downs to bring our line of American-made products to the great people of Genesee County and the many tourists and visitors who’ve made this venue a world-class destination,” said Mark Andol, founder of the Made in America Store. “The people of this community are as patriotic as any you will find across the country. We are confident that this store will be one of our busiest and most successful locations.”

For Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation, the Made in America Store will be its first retail venture on the grounds of Batavia Downs.

“Over the years, we’ve had a multitude of opportunities to partner with entities from the retail sector at Batavia Downs,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president of WROTB. “In deciding to partner with MIA, the decision was not a difficult one; we both support American workers, jobs in this community, and American jobs across the country.”

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Regional OTB is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 29 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western OTB has generated over $215 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.

“As a public benefit corporation, it is imperative that every decision we make is in the best interests of the 17 municipalities that encompass the corporation and share the revenue generated by the corporation,” Nolan said. “I can’t think of a retail collaboration that fits better into our mission than partnering with MIA.”

September 18, 2016 - 2:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of China Dream.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Track conditions were sloppy at best after torrential downpours swept through Genesee County, but China Dream didn’t seem to mind the mud as he came first-over and put in a gutsy effort while winning the $10,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 17).

From the pylons, Heaven Rocks (Kevin Cummings) took the lead by default as no one else in the field left. From there Cummings proceeded to cut pedestrian fractions for the class of :29.1 to the quarter and :59.1 to the half with his competitors following in post position order. 

Shortly past that station, China Dream (Shawn Gray) pulled first-up and drew alongside Heaven Rocks. The two matched strides up the backside and around the last turn. At the head of the lane, China Dream wore down Heaven Rocks, but met another challenge from Foreign Officer (John Cummings Jr.) who had tipped three wide and was driving. But China Dream was the better horse this night and held all comers at bay to win by length in 1:56.2.

It was the ninth win of the year for China Dream ($10.80) and it raised his annual income to $65,055 for owners Jack and Maria Rice. China Dream is trained by Maria Rice.

Shawn Gray posted four driving victories on the night while Ray Fisher Jr. won two. Trainers Maria Rice, Angelo Nappo and Richard Lareau all sent two winners postward.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday afternoon at 4:30 for the final twilight card of the year.

September 17, 2016 - 12:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The last time BZ Glide visited the winner’s circle was on May 27 of this year, but that absence was quelled when he got up late to win the $10,000 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 16).

As the race got underway, habitual leaver Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) took a stay-at-home approach and let Studio City (Dave McNeight III), Noble Legend (Jack Flanigen) and Serendipitious (Ray Fisher Jr.) all go for the top. Those three battled three-wide to the quarter in :27.4 before Noble Legend finally cleared and then Serendipitious overtook from him. But the action was far from over before they reached the half as Studio City pulled first over with Kahoku shadowing the move.

The field was in two rows at three-quarters in 1:27.3 when Cummings pulled Kahoku three-high around the far turn. Not to be outdone, Mike Caprio pulled BZ Glide from the back of the pack and swung four-wide at the head of the lane. With horses coming from everywhere, four had a shot in mid-stretch. But it was BZ Glide who brushed the best to win by a neck in 1:58.1.

It was the second win of the year for BZ Glide ($4.30) who is just rounding into form after being off two months over the summer. So far in 2016, he has earned $18,625 for owner Caprio Stable LLC. BZ Glide is trained by Alana Caprio.

The Downs leading driver, Kevin Cummings and Drew Monti both had triples on the card while Mike Caprio checked in with two winners.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 17) with the first post set at 6:15.

September 16, 2016 - 2:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs 

Batavia, NY---The draw for Wednesday (Sept. 21) which was originally scheduled for today (Sept. 16) has been postponed until Saturday morning (Sept. 17).

The box remains open for all classes until tomorrow at 9 a.m. and if you have already entered, you do not need to re-enter.

If you have any questions, please contact the race office at 585-344-6161.

September 15, 2016 - 12:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Zack’s Zoomer with driver Marcus Miller.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings who came to Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 14) to compete in the $107,000 New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) put on quite a show, but none more than Zack’s Zoomer, who set a new track record for age, gender and gait.

Zack’s Zoomer (Deweycheatumnhowe-Passageway) had finished second to division leaders Devious Man and Money Macintosh racing from off the pace his last two starts, but tonight driver Marcus Miller took no prisoners and sent Zack’s Zoomer right to the front along with Neon Lights (Chris Lems) and Money Macintosh (Andy Miller) in the first $53,500 division. As they headed into the first turn, favorite Money Macintosh made a break and left Zack’s Zoomer to dictate the fractions with Neon Lights parked out right next to him.

The two colts continued to battle; one in, one out, through fractions of :29, :58.2 and 1:28.4 before Neon Lights tired and Zack’s Zoomer found additional momentum. Rounding the final turn, Marcus Miller was just line driving his horse as they sped away and opened up a three length lead by mid-stretch. At the wire, Zack’s Zoomer was a wrapped-up winner in 1:58.1 by a comfortable two-lengths.  

The time of 1:58.1 was a new lifetime mark for Zack’s Zoomer ($5.40) as well as a new track record for 2-year-old trotting colts at Batavia Downs. The old record of 1:58.4 was set by Dejarmbro in 2010.

“He has been drawing poorly, but he’s just been getting better and better. So when he got the rail, this is pretty much what I had planned tonight” said Marcus Miller. “I think he’s a very nice horse.”

This was also the second track record Marcus Miller has set at Batavia Downs in just over a week. On Saturday (Sept. 3), Miller drove Pointomygranson to a five-length, 1:53.2 win to set a new standard for 2-year-old pacing geldings.

This win was the second in six starts for Zack’s Zoomer and it pushed his earnings for the year to $71,265. The 50 points earned for the win, moved him up to fifth in the NYSS standings (155) and solidified his spot in the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 24). 

Zack’s Zoomer is owned by Ervin Miller Stable Inc. and Harvey Elsman and is trained by Erv Miller.

In the first $53,500 split, Devious Man (Credit Winner-Miss Garland) displayed why he was sent off 2-5 as he overpowered the field from post six.

Stick With Me Kid (Chris Lems), Volare (Mark Macdonald) and Devious Man (Andy Miller) all left the gate. Volare tucked in second behind the front running Stick With Me Kid while Devious Man floated in fourth. Just past the eighth pole, Stick With Me Kid made a break and simultaneously, Devious Man pulled and proceeded towards the front. That march was completed by the top of the far turn and from there, he took total control.

(Devious Man with driver Andy Miller.)

Devious Man led the field to the half in 1:01.1 and then proceeded to close out the race. He opened up and immediate three-length lead and with Miller sitting chilly, hit the three-quarters in 1:31 before trotting home in :28.4 to be a gapped winner in 1:59.4.

“I was a little worried about the six hole, but he just cruised around there; it didn’t really seem to matter,” Andy Miller said. “After that horse made a break and he cleared the front, he was pretty much on his own from there.”

It was the fifth win of the year for Devious Man ($2.90) and the fourth in a row during his current streak. The purse enhanced his coffers to $167,733, making him the richest 2-year-old trotting colt in the NYSS this year. The 50 points gained for the win also made him the highest point-earner (287) for his category.

Devious Man, who is a three-quarter brother to 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo, is owned by Story Inc. and is trained by Julie Miller.

There were also three divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior A series on the card.

The first $15,000 division was won by American Cheque (Conway Hall-Cheque Lavec) who was driven by John Campbell in 2:00.3. American Cheque ($3.30) is trained by Linda Toscano for owner Michael Keeling.

The second $15,000 leg went to Top Flight Angel (Archangel-Top Photo) who was driven by John Cummings Jr. in 1:58.4. Top Flight Angel ($8.60) is trained by Megan Wilson for Legendary Standardbred Farm.

The final $15,000 split was won by Barn Winner (Credit Winner-Hallmarker) who was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Barn Winner ($4.50) is trained by Steve Pratt who also owns him along with Nancy Pratt and the Out In The Country Stable.

Several horsemen had outstanding performances on Wednesday. John Cummings Jr. scored a driving triple while John Campbell, Marcus Miller and Jim Morrill Jr. all had doubles. Trainers Erv Miller and Jim Graham each sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure for portraits.

September 13, 2016 - 2:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Devious Man with unidentified driver.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

As the 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings mark the final New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) stop of the year at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 14), some of the entrants will be looking to solidify their spot in the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 24). But stablemates Devious Man and Money Macintosh from the Julie Miller stable have already advanced as the top two point-earners in the series and can concentrate solely on the $107,000 in purse money available this week.

Devious Man (Credit Winner-Miss Garland) has won three consecutive NYSS events after making a break in the $294,450 Peter Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands on August 6. He won in the mud at both Yonkers Raceway and Tioga Downs, the latter setting his lifetime mark of 1:55.3. And then the following week won again back at Yonkers in 1:58.3. He’s a very handy horse winning from both the front end and from behind.

In all, Devious Man has four wins this year, all in NYSS action and $140,983 in earnings. $125,397 of that total was made in the NYSS and makes him the highest money earner for his age, gait and gender. He is also the second highest point-earner (237) for his category.

Andy Miller will make an infrequent stop at the Genesee County oval to drive Devious Man for his wife Julie Miller from post 6 and has been made the prohibitive morning line favorite at 1-1 in the first $53,500 division.

Stick With Me Kid (Deweycheatumnhowe-Chelsea Hall) has only one win to his credit this year, but it was an impressive outing in the NYSS at Vernon Downs on July 21. He pulled from off the pace and trotted away to victory in 1:56.2, which was his career best. Chris Lems sat behind him for that start and trainer George Ducharme has him up again here.

Looking to add to his $64,051 in earnings and points to his total for the final, Stick With Me Kid has drawn post one, is the second choice at 7-2 and looks to be the stiffest competition for the favorite.

In the second $53,500 split, Julie Miller’s Money Macintosh (Credit Winner-Apple Plush) is almost a mirror image of Devious Man. He is coming in off two straight wins at Tioga and Yonkers and has four victories on the year, all in NYSS races. His lifetime mark of 1:56.2 was taken at Tioga Downs and he hasn’t missed the board all year.

Money Macintosh has won $122,829 in 2016, all of which was made in NYSS races. That puts him second in that category behind Devious Man, although he tops the list for points earned (262) in his category.

Andy Miller will also team Money Macintosh from post six and has been made the early choice at 2-1.

Such An Angel (Credit Winner-Michelle’s Angel) sits third in points for the final and will no doubt use this start as a tune up. After winning three-straight NYSS events at Vernon Downs, Saratoga Raceway and Yonkers, Such An Angel encountered some road trouble in his last two and finished off the board. With an inside draw and his gate speed, this is a good spot for the colt to rebound.

Trainer Paul Kelley again has the services of Hall of Fame driver John Campbell and will see Such An Angel depart from post three at 5-2.

Zack’s Zoomer (Deweycheatumnhowe-Passageway) currently sits seventh in points and needs a good outing to seal the deal. Although he has only won one NYSS event this year, he has finished a solid second in his last two outings from post four and looks to be rounding into form at just the right time.

Marcus Miller will steer Zack’s Zoomer for trainer Erv Miller and leave from post one at 3-1.

There are also three $15,000 divisions of the Excel A series on the card that is slated to begin at 6:15 p.m.

September 12, 2016 - 12:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, batavia.

(Milky Way on the rail, pulling ahead, with driver Jim Morrill Jr.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Horses trained by Tracy Brainard and driven by Jim Morrill Jr. have been tough to beat over the years and Saturday night (Sept. 10) at Batavia Downs was no exception. That dynamic duo swept both 3-year-old pacing filly divisions of the New York Sires Stakes and claimed the winner’s share of $119,300 in purses.

In the first $60,200 division, Milky Way Rae (American Ideal-Aurora Borealus) was used early and late before grinding out a victory down the lane.

Milky Way Rae left for the lead but was pursued from the outside by American Ivy (Dan Daley) through a :27.3 quarter. By the three-eighths America Ivy had taken a seat third allowing the leader a breather and a :56 half. But before Milky Way Rae could get too comfortable, No Clouds Bluechip (Kevin Cummings) had pulled from fourth with Dime A Dance (Drew Monti) right behind her.

As the trio paced by three-quarters in 1:25, No Clouds Bluechip stalled and Dime A Dance went three-wide around her in the last turn. Starting with a two-length deficit at the top of the stretch, Dime A Dance put on a ferocious drive and took it to the leader, but Milky Way Rae fended off the challenge to win by a nose in 1:54.4.

“The race shaped up good for her because she likes to rock on the front” said Morrill. “I thought she could go in 1:52 tonight on this track but it didn’t come to that.”

It was the fifth win of the year for Milky Way Rae ($13.20) and it boosted her 2016 earnings to $86,674 for owner Fortunate One LLC.

 

(Wishy Washy Girl (#5) with driver Jim Morrill Jr.)

The second $59,100 leg saw Wishy Washy Girl (Roll With Joe-Wish All you Want) trip-out for the win and give the Morrill/Brainard team their second winner's circle presentation.

Wishy Washy Girl left and dropped in second behind Time On My Hands (Ray Fisher Jr.) who was rolling from the pylons. But despite the two being ahead of the field by a good ten lengths, Morrill pulled and tried to go to the front, cutting the quarter in :27. However Fisher would have none of that and he pushed his filly on and made Morrill see-saw his back into the hole.

Between the half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:24.4, Art Critic (Drew Monti) pulled and drew alongside Wishy Washy Girl. At the same time, Fisher was highly animated in urging on the front-running Time On My Hands who was clearly running out of gas. This locked in Wishy Washy Girl who was raging with pace until the top of the lane. When the passing lane finally opened up, Morrill popped Wishy Washy Girl through the opening and sped to an instant two-length lead and won in 1:54.4.

“She was good but she would have been a lot better if they went 1:22 to three-quarters” Morrill explained. “That’s why I came out of the two-hole at the quarter, because when they go too slow she’s tough to hold. She was crawling over that horse around the last turn; she was very good.”

The win gave Wishy Washy Girl three for the year and the purse enriched her bank account to $82,328 for owners Michael Cimaglio and Stephen Demeter.

There were also two divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior A series on the card.

Ghost Runner (Art Major-Spirit Of The West) was an easy wire to wire winner in 1:54.1 for Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Erv Miller. Ghost runner ($2.30) is owned by Dr. Scott Leaf, Deborah Mackenzie, Gerald Fielding and Tom Jackson.

The Morrill/Miller combo also took the second division with Rolling Going Gone (Roll With Joe-Long Gone) in 1:58, and once again wire to wire. Rolling Going Gone ($2.30) is owned by Ross Bonafield.

Driver Jim Morrill Jr. ended the night winning five races.

September 10, 2016 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Kahoku with driver Kevin Cummings.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

In Hawaiian, Kahoku means “star” and Friday night (Sept. 9) at Batavia Downs, Kahoku ($4.30) lived up to his name as he shown bright on the front end in the $10,500 Open trotting feature.

Driver Kevin Cummings left from post four with Kahoku and out-tussled Noble Legend (Jack Flanigen) for the lead past the quarter timed in :28.3. That would be the last lead change of the race. Kahoku trotted with a gapped lead and went to the half in :59.2 and three-quarters in 1:28.3. With the field unable to catch him up to that point, Kahoku strode away to an easy two-length victory in 1:58. 

Noble Legend followed him to the wire for second and B Z Glide (Mike Caprio) closed the best for show.

It was the tenth win in 28 starts for Kahoku and it bumped his earnings up to $59,358 for the year. The 8-year-old altered son of SJ’s Caviar is owned by Colleen Girdlestone and Michael Gentner and is trained by Mark Laidlaw.

In the co-featured $8,500 Open II trot, The Bronx Bumper ($7.60) stepped up from the claiming ranks to dominate some top-flight condition horses when he came from off the pace to win in 1:58.3. Dave McNeight III drove the winner to his fourth win of the year for trainer Gerry Sarama and owner Mike Torcello.

Three drivers won 90 percent of the card on Friday as Kevin Cummings, John Cummings Jr. and Dave McNeight III all scored driving triples.

Racing resumes on Saturday night (Sept. 10) at Batavia Downs with the first post set for 6:15.

September 9, 2016 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of No Clouds Bluechip; driver unidentified.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The seventh of eight sessions of the New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) stops at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 10) and this week it will be the 3-year-old pacing fillies who will participate in two divisions, going for $119,300 in available purses.

This will be the last stop for the second-year distaff side-wheelers who are trying to position themselves for the NYSS Night of Champions finals at Yonkers Raceway on September 24.

The first $60,200 division features No Clouds Bluechip (Roll With Joe-B J’s Sunshine) who comes in fresh off a big win in the $239,225 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) at Tioga Downs. After winning her elimination in 1:53 wire to wire, No Clouds Bluechip came from off the pace in the final to annihilate her competition, winning in 1:50.1 by five lengths.

No Clouds Bluechip is a four-time winner this year and has amassed $233,208 in earnings for her efforts and currently sits sixth in points for the final.

Trainer John Berger has tabbed Batavia’s leading driver, Kevin Cummings to steer and has been named the 2-1 morning line favorite from post two.

The race’s second choice, Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance Hanover) raced at Batavia Downs on one other occasion. Just short of a year ago, the filly scorched the Genesee County oval in 1:52.4 and set a new track and world record for 2-year-old pacing fillies over a half-mile track.

This year, Dime A Dance has matched her wins from 2015 but not her mark or earnings. Most recently she won two straight NYSS events before qualifying for the EBC final at Tioga. Unfortunately in that race, she drew post nine and made an untimely break at the quarter and was never in contention after that.

Dime A Dance has four wins on the year and $166,210 in the bank. She is also the top point-earning filly in her division and is a lock for the NYSS final.

Dime A Dance drew post five and has been made 7-2 on the early line. Trainer Ron Burke has called upon Drew Monti to sit in the bike for this event.

In the second $59,100 split, Time On My Hands (American Ideal-Bewitching Jewell) looks like the one to beat on the strength of her body of work. She’s a three-time NYSS winner and took her lifetime mark of 1:53.2 in a leg at Saratoga Raceway.

Her most recent outing was in the $109,050 Lady Maud at Yonkers where she got away last and was chasing a :56.2 closing half. She did finish fifth and paced home in a snappy :27.4 final quarter.

In 2016, Time On My Hands has four wins and $146,893 in assets. She is currently second in points and has qualified for the final as well.

Time On My Hands has drawn post one and will team with Ray Fisher Jr. for trainer Chris Ryder.

Wishy Washy Girl (Roll With Joe-Wish All You Want) cut blazing fractions in the EBC but paid the price in the end. She finished sixth, but it was not unexpected with a 1:21.3 three-quarters. Prior to that under more moderate rating, she has been a handy filly since entering the Brainard stable.

Although her lifetime mark is 1:54.1 at Pocono Downs, she just missed going wire to wire in 1:51.3 in the EBC elimination two starts back where she finished third by a half-length.

Wishy Washy Girl has won two races this year but neither were in Sire Stake action.

Jim Morrill Jr. picks up the lines for the fourth straight time behind Wishy Washy Girl as assigned by trainer Tracy Brainard and the pair will depart from post five listed at 7-2.

There are also two divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior Series A races on the card that will go postward at 6:15 p.m.

September 8, 2016 - 4:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, sports, RUS, racing under saddle, Batavia Downs, batavia.

(The race to the finish line in Batavia Down's first-ever "racing under saddle" contest Sept. 7.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Wednesday night (Sept. 7) was historic for Batavia Downs as the first ever racing under saddle (RUS) contest was held at the oldest lighted harness track in America. And the show put on by the competitors in the $4,000 RUS New York championship race had the fans on their feet and cheering.

Five horses went postward before My Friend Charlie (Andrea Pratt) went right for the lead as the race began. But shortly after getting away second, Funny Photo (Sophie Engerran) came early, pulled alongside the leader and immediately pushed the issue.

The two trotted side by side setting fractions of :30 and 1:00.3 to the half before Funny Photo made a break past the five-eighths pole. At that point My Friend Charlie was alone on top but Admirable Hanover (Vanessa Karlewicz), who inherited second after the break, was right on her tail. As the race moved off the last turn, Karlewicz pulled Admirable Hanover and drew alongside the leader. The pair trotted in step in a thrilling race to the wire before Admirable Hanover got a slight advantage and won by a neck in 2:03.4.

My Friend Charlie was second and Jeanie Marie closed sharply for third after an early race miscue in the non-betting event.

It was the third win in six starts under saddle for Admirable Hanover this year. This is the fourth year the 9-year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall has competed in RUS and the 2:03.4 clocking was a new lifetime mark under saddle for him. 

Admirable Hanover is owned by Peter Gerry and is trained by his rider, Vanessa Karlewicz.

“The crowd loved this race” said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing. “They were on their feet at the rail cheering as the two horses battled down the stretch. The girls put on a great show and we hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of RUS at Batavia Downs.”

Since this was the first-ever RUS event at Batavia Downs, the winning time of 2:03.4 is a new track record. 

September 8, 2016 - 4:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of All Charged Up and her trainer/driver John MacDonald.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Vernon Downs invaders All Charged Up and her trainer/driver John MacDonald have made Batavia Downs their second home now that they’ve won their second straight $10,000 fillies and mares Open pace on Wednesday night (Sept. 7).

MacDonald fired right to the front when the gate released the field and All Charged Up took complete control of the race. With the field in single file behind her and no one pulling the right line, MacDonald was on top grabbing both as he slowed the pace to 1:00.1 at the half. From there the race was over.

The Filly Princess (Kevin Cummings) eventually did come first over past the half and brought My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) with her in tow. They advanced towards the leader who had sped the third panel up to :28.1, but All Charged Up was steady and paced away in a :28 flat closing quarter to win by almost three lengths in 1:56.2.  

It was the tenth win of the year for All Charged Up ($4.30) and it padded her already stout bankroll to $79,144 for owner J P Stables.

Mark Whitcroft won three races on the card while Chris Lems and Truman Gale won two apiece. Trainer Sally Cartier also sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 9) with the first post set for 6:15.

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