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Batavia Downs

August 22, 2010 - 8:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press Release:

Batavia, NY --- There have been many popular racehorses that have graced the Downs throughout the years, horses like Baron Too and Patrick Will quickly come to mind, but no sentence can be compete when referring to Batavia Downs racing without including the iron horse, Michael Scores.

Like he has done so many times throughout his 207 race career, Michael Scores was victorious in Saturday nights Downs featured Open pace.

With a purse of $8,500 and a field of six behind the starting gate for the 7th race, Michael Scores exploded down the lane to win by 3-1/2 lengths in 1:55 to notch his 6th win of the season and his 76th lifetime. His career earnings are over $593,000.

Michael, with Tom Agosti at the controls, was perfectly spotted following second-over cover, but there were a few anxious moments when Arm and a Leg with Kevin Cummings tipped three-wide putting Michael Scores in a blindswitch heading to three-quarters.

Around the final turn, the underrated Agosti, was able to maneuver Michael out of their jackpot and angle him out 4-deep at the top of the lane. Once clear Michael kicked it into another gear and drew off as a much the best winner.

Cry for Cash with Ken Holliday, 5-wide at the top of the stretch, stormed down the center to narrowly get second over the front running Compass Connection and Ron Beback Jr.

Jim Compton trains and co-owns Michael Scores along with wife Sandra.

The Pick-6 was not hit on Saturday night which means the carryover pool when racing resumes on Monday night, the final Monday night of the 2010 season is over $4,400. Post time is 6:40 p.m.

August 18, 2010 - 8:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

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Press Release:

Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs hosted its second New York Sire Stakes events of the season and for the second time a new track record was set in the process. In town were the 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters, vying for $128,940 in purse money, split up in four divisions.

The new record came in the second division, race four, when Dejarmbro, with Jeff Gregory at the lines, trotted to a 3-1/2 length victory in 1:58.4, easily lowering Donttellmywife’s (also with Gregory) 1:59.3 mark set in 2008.

Starting from post two Gregory sent Dejarmbro out of the gate but quickly realized that Jim Morrill, Jr., leaving from the rail behind the front running New Identity, wanted to cut the mile so he took back to sit in the pocket.

New Identity got down to the half in a speedy :57.3 but was unable to shake Dejarmbro who was right there in second. It was obvious it was going to be a match race as the two talented freshmen opened up daylight on the rest of the field.

Midway on the final turn Gregory decided it was time to go and pulled Dejarmbro to the outside. Down the lane it was all Dejarmbro, under a very confident Gregory, as they trotted to command and wrote their names in the Downs' record books.

A modest Jeff Gregory made the record breaking mile sound easy: “I just let him do his own thing. He’s a very nice 2-year-old,” said Gregory.

Dejarmbro, a colt by Credit Winner-Armbro Déjà Vu, is trained by Jessica Okusko for the Purple Haze Stables.

The final stakes race of the evening went to Typical Newyorker with Jim Morrill, Jr. in the sulky, winning by 4-1/2 lengths in 2:02.3.

Typical Newyorker, a Conway Hall-Striking Sybil colt, moved to the front just before the quarter pole and showed the way throughout for his fifth win in a row. The only serious challenge came around the last turn when Proud Accolade and Jeff Gregory made a mild bid but Typical NewYorker, benefiting from soft early fractions, was up to it and went on to the much the best score. Proud Accolade held the second spot while Surface Tension, who sat in the pocket throughout but made a miscue in the stretch, had to settle for third. The modest fractions were :30.1, 1:02.1 and 1:33.2.

Typical Newyorker is trained by part owner John Hallett. He is also owned by Michelle Oglesby and Roger Doire.

“I really didn’t want to cut the mile but we were going so slow I had to come back out or I was afraid I was going to lose him,” Morrill commented. “As you can see we were going a very slow half and if I would have stayed in I think we would have been in trouble. He’s a nice little horse, Johnny’s done a nice job with him. He always gives 150 percent and is a pleasure to drive.”

Wednesday night’s other NYSS contests, worth $31,935 and $32,535, respectively, were won by:

2- Petruchio (Plesac-Portia); owner: Richard Balog; trainer: Linda Toscano; driver: Morrill Jr.; 2:00.2.

9- Whitewater Rapids (Credit Winner-Rapid Rail); owner/driver/trainer Ray Schnittker; Also owned by Hero Stables and Charles Iannazzo; 2:02.1. Batavia Downs Casino is currently racing Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Post time is 6:40 p.m.

August 17, 2010 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press Release:

Batavia, NY --- Twenty-six New York bred square-gaiters will go at it in four New York Sire Stakes for purse money in excess of $31,000, each, when racing resumes on Wednesday night at Batavia Downs Casino.

The most anticipated of the four is the final division, carded as race 11 on the 12-race program. This event will feature a pair of colts that appear to have a very bright future.

Starting from the rail will be Typical New Yorker, a Conway Hall--Striking Sibyl colt who will put his four-race winning streak on the line after a measured, 1:58.3 victory on a “good” racetrack at Vernon Downs with Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey in the sulky. Jim Morrill, Jr. picked up the catch-drive for trainer John Hallett.

Surface Tension, a Cash Hall--Hopeful Gigi colt, will head to Batavia off a very impressive Vernon Downs score. The quickly improving juvenile trotted his back half in :57.2 en route to a 5-1/4 length tally. He will start from post seven for trainer-driver Dan Daley.

The New York Sire Stakes action will get underway in race two, a very contentious affair in which a case can be made for several, including the Credit Winner colts Petraeus and I’m The Answer, the Plesac colt Petruchio and the Conway Hall colt Daleydaydream.

Division two, race four, will be headlined by New Identity and Dejarmbro.

New Identity (Cash Hall--Ladys Mirror), a winner at Tioga Downs in 1:58.2 two starts back in New York Sire Stakes competition, should be tough from the rail with Jim Morrill, Jr. hopping into the bike for trainer George Ducharme.

Dejarmbro (Credit Winner--Armbro Déjà Vu) will ship to Western New York off a very unlucky trip in which he was interfered with. He was a daylight winner in 2:00 on August 1 at Tioga Downs. Jeff Gregory, recently named to the Batavia Downs Hall of Fame, will be in town to drive for Jessica Okusko.

The third New York Sire Stakes of the evening, carded as race nine, will be another interesting affair. Top billing may go to the Credit Winner colt Whitewater Rapids with former Downs regular Ray Schnittker in town to do the teaming.

Post time will be at 6:40 p.m. Racing programs are free of charge at www.bataviadownscasino.com. Simply click on “Live and Simulcast Racing” and then on “Race Info” to download a program. Batavia Downs is currently racing Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evening. Racing fans wishing to make a clubhouse reservation can call 585-343-3750.

August 15, 2010 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press Release:

by Tim Bojarski
I probably would have been there anyhow, but I marked yesterday (8-14) on my calendar a long time ago to make sure I would be at my local oval to see the effects a concerted effort of promoting our sport could produce. I was impressed.

My local oval happens to be Batavia Downs, the oldest lighted harness track in America and an establishment I have been attending since my youth. I lived the highs and lows of the business there and was in attendance when 9,915 people saw Niatross set a world record in 1980. That was the largest crowd I have ever experienced first hand there. Saturday night did not eclipse that live count, but I’ll tell you what, they didn’t do too badly.

I figured there was a lot of people who haven’t attended in some time because it was a late arriving crowd. The Downs earlier post time is now 6:40, but the bulk of the crowd started showing up around 7:00. That would make sense because the old post was 7:30.

I got there a little bit late myself and found the parking lot to be just about full. I actually had to park in the back corner that backs up to an Office Max. That’s a pretty long walk.

So they came, and came, and came, and by the 3rd race they were holding up post times so people wouldn’t get shut out. I was walking around the property and there were people everywhere. The clubhouse was full. The downstairs grandstand was full. The apron along the fence was full. There were lines at all the concession stands. There were lines at all the mutual windows. It was a really heartening sight because it seemed like the good old days.

I spoke to Todd Haight, Batavia Downs Public Relations and Promotions Specialist and he told me: “We had our best handle since 2007 last Saturday and I knew it was going to be tough to follow that up for a second week in a row. But I think we have a heck of a shot to do it. Look at this place; we’re packed! We ran out of programs and had to print more on site to make sure everyone who wanted one, got one”

The USTA’s own Jennifer Daniels was on hand to facilitate the Little Brown Jug trip drawing and told me she was impressed with the turn out. Jennifer was originally from Batavia before relocating to Columbus and is quite familiar with the venue. And she made an instant friend when she pulled the winning entry as the gentleman who won showed up within seconds.

After the presentation was complete, I spoke with him and found out that he used to work for Paul Chambers and Clint Galbraith over 26 years ago when he was 18. He used to travel with their stake horses to various tracks. But since he always took care of trotters he never got to Delaware, Ohio to see the Jug. Now he had his chance. Although he had been out of the business for some time now, he told me he came back tonight to reminisce and possibly run into old acquaintances, because of this promotion.

The track was a sea of “Back to the Track” baseball caps--everyone had one on. They also all had their commemorative “Back to the Track” cups filled with their favorite refreshments.

And the product on the track was outstanding too. The crowd was treated to competitive racing, fantastic finishes at the wire, and decent payouts all night long.

I talked to folks at the rail throughout the night to get some feedback from them and found that there were many different reasons they all came. But the bottom line was, they all showed up and that was the goal. On my way out I saw track General Manager Mike Kane down by the fence mingling with his customers. He looked like a very happy man.

If what I saw at this one track was replicated at all the participating outlets, I would have to say this was a rousing success. The best we can hope for moving forward is to pursue the interest that was kindled this weekend and do what it takes to make the fans we saw show up become regular customers all year.

August 15, 2010 - 1:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

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Press Release:

Batavia, NY --- The comeback Kid, Two Twentytwo made it look easy when he notched his second straight $9,000 Preferred Handicap victory, Saturday night (Aug-14), ‘Back to the Track night’, at Batavia Downs Casino.

The truth is it was anything but easy. Firing out of the starting gate from post three, Two Twentytwo, with Jamie Dunlap in the sulky, paid the price to be the boss taking command at the quarter in a sizzling 26.4. Racing to the half, Two Twentytwo had company, as a parked out Revolutionary Foe with Jack Rice was up to challenge for the lead in 55.1. Track announcer Joe Zambito commented “they have a shot at the track record.”

Past the five-eighths and heading to three-quarters Dunlap was able to seat favored Revolutionary Foe and go on to a powerful 4-1/2 length score in 1:53.2. Former Downs track record holder Michael Scores (Tom Agosti) came on to be second while Cry for Cash (Ken Holliday) got the show dough.

Two Twentytwo, off two years due to an injury, is a chestnut son of Blissful Hall. He is owned by Dominic Colarusso Jr. and trained by Richie Mays. Saturday nights win was the 11th of Two Twentytwo’s career and it raised his lifetime earnings to over $207,000.

Many thanks to everyone that participated in the ‘Back to the Track’ promotion especially Paul Wright and family who brought over a very well behaved Carolina Red to the paddock room for photos and so racing fans could learn more about the sport.

Other popular ‘Back to the Track’ promotions included a drawing for a trip to the 2010 Little Brown Jug won by John Milroy. A baseball Cap giveaway, driver autographs before the races and a special handicapping contest for prizes.

Racing resumes on Monday night. First post is scheduled for 6:40pm. The pick-6 carryover pool for Monday is $2,009.

August 14, 2010 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press Release:

BATAVIA, NY – Kash n Credit, with Troy Boring sitting in for Hall of Fame reinsman Clint Galbraith, made every pole a winning one en route to a popular score in the featured $9,000 Preferred trot, Friday night (Aug-13) at Batavia Downs Casino.

Leaving from post five, Kash n Credit, a 4-year-old by Credit Winner, took command from Hello Carlo (Jack Flanigen) at the opening quarter in :29. Once on top Boring was able to give Kash n Credit a :31 second quarter breather. A back half of :59 flat was good enough to hold off the pocket sitting Hello Carlo by a ¼ length in 1:59. St. Regis Hall and Jamie Dunlap were farther back in third.

“He wasn’t as sharp as he was when I won with him a couple weeks ago,” Boring said, “but he was good enough to hold on.”

Owned by Clint and Barbara Galbraith and Arnie Rothschild, Kash n Credit ($4.10) notched his sixth win of the 2010 campaign and raised his lifetime earnings to over $140,000. Galbraith, who continues to recover from injuries suffered in an accident, was in the winners circle.

The co-featured 17,500 claiming trot with a purse of $7,200, went to the front running Welding Spark D ($4.30) with Jack Flanigen. Sent right to the top from the pole, Welding Spark D put up all the numbers to score by a length over Australian Stock (Ray Fisher Jr.) in 1:59 for owner-trainer Ronald Stebbins.

Live Racing will continue tomorrow evening with a 6:40 post time. Be sure to join us when harness racing goes Back to the Track. There will be a chance to win a trip for two to the 2010 Little Brown Jug, a $50,000 must-win national Pick 4, Back to the Track Baseball caps to the first 500 racing fans that swipe there Players Club card beginning at 5:00 at Players Club, Food and Drink specials, a special handicapping contest for prizes other special incentives offered on track. So grab a friend and come Back to the Track. For more information, visit BackToTheTrack.com.

August 12, 2010 - 12:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

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Press release:

Batavia, NY --- The New York Sire Stakes 3-year-old Late Clos Batavia, NY --- The New York Sire Stakes 3-year-old Late Closing filly trotters invaded Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (August 11). The talented trotting fillies raced in three divisions and each had a purse in excess of $13,000.

The photo finish camera was needed for division one. Neverhitthebrakes and Jack Flanigen took a solid three length lead just after the quarter pole and held that margin until Final Time and Jimmy Whittemore began to close in.

Down the lane Neverhitthebrakes was grimly holding on but it was a relentless Final Time who trotted up for a head victory in 2:01.3. Study Hall and Josh Marks finished well back in third in a race marred by four early breakers. The fractions for the field were :30.2, 1:00.2 and 1:30.4.

Final Time (Conway Hall-Charm’s Chip) is trained by part owner Joseph Flynn. She is also owned by Edward Flynn. The winning price of the first stakes race was $7.90.

Late Closer stakes action continued in the fourth race on the card. This event had three fillies getting class relief by dropping out of Sire Stakes events and two of them would finish one-two. Distracting Beauty with trainer-driver Perry Simser at the controls moved to the front at the quarter pole and trotted strongly to the wire, holding off the pocket sitting Jetties with Jimmy Whittemore by one length in 2:01.3 Judith (Jack Flanigen), who came first over, wound up third.

Simser commented that the young filly is “becoming more handy” and “showing improvement.”

The fractions for the fillies were :30, 1:00.2 and 1:31.3. Distracting Beauty (Malabar Man-Overnight Rail) is owned by Gary Greenhouse, Harvey Friedman and Ronald Rubenstein. The winning price was a modest $5.50.

The third division started out pretty much as expected with 2-5 favorite Dream State and Josh Marks showing the way, however the final result was anything but expected.

Heading around the final turn Don’twanttobeblue and Ray Fisher, Jr., going off at 50-1 despite leaving the tougher Sire Stakes ranks, were up to challenge and trotted right on by the heavy favorite as the field of seven turned for home.

Not home free yet, Don’twanttobeblue was surrounded as Radiant One and Jack Flanigen had exited the pocket and were storming down the center while My Winning Way K with Jimmy Whittemore, who split horses also were coming on.

At the wire it was the Erv Miller trained Radiant One who got up by a head over the upset minded Don’twanttobeblue and My Winning Way K in 2:01.2. The fractions were :30.1, 1:01.1 and 1:30.3.

Radiant One (Credit Winner-Marvelous Yankee) notched her fourth win of the season for owners Mystical Marker Farms, Shim Racing and John Carver. The winning price for the final stakes race was $23.20.

The New York Sire Stakes season continues next Wednesday evening, August 18, when the 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters head to Western New York.

Live Racing will continue this Friday and Saturday evenings with a 6:40 p.m. post time. Be sure to join us when harness racing goes 'Back to the Track' this Saturday, August 14. There will be a chance to win a trip for two to the 2010 Little Brown Jug, a $50,000 must-win national Pick 4, baseball caps to the first 500 racing fans that swipe their Players Club card beginning at 5 p.m. at Players Club, food and drink specials, a special handicapping contest for prizes and other special incentives offered on track. For more information, visit www.BackToTheTrack.com .

August 12, 2010 - 12:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

(Batavia NY) --- Harness fans will celebrate the history and future of harness racing this Saturday when Batavia Downs teams with the United States Trotting Association (USTA) to present Back to the Track night.

Back to the Track is a promotion designed to bring fans out for an evening at the harness races as a means of recapturing the excitement they remember from earlier visits. A variety of special incentives are planned.

Batavia Downs and 20 other harness tracks around the U.S. will each give away a trip to the 2010 Little Brown Jug, the brightest jewel in the pacing Triple Crown, on September 23. There are two ways to become eligible to win the trip. Either download a VIP pass, and deposit it a box located next to Players Club or play the Back to the Track handicapping contest. One name will be picked via a drawing to win.

Beginning at 5:00, the first 500 fans to visit Player’s Club will receive a coupon for a free Back to the Track baseball cap, redeemable in The Paddock Room following the evening’s 7th race.

Additionally, food and beverage specials will be served all evening in The Paddock Room, including: $1.50 Sahlen’s Hot Dogs and soda, $2.00 drafts, a chicken BBQ for $8.50 and free coffee from 6:00 to 8:00. Soda and drafts are served in a commemorative Back to the Track cup.

Drivers and trainers will be signing autographs from 5:15 to 6:15, a handicapping seminar, hosted by Todd Haight, begins at 5:45. There will be a dedicated betting window for beginners. A horse and groom will be on-site until 8:00 pm., giving racing fans a chance to learn more about the sport and a representative from the USTA will be on hand to answer questions. All events taking place in The Paddock Room.

Players Club bonuses include a free taco from compliments of Taco Bell and a special handicapping contest for prizes. Sign up to play the handicapping contest begins at 5:00 p.m at Players club. Batavia Downs racing programs will be free of charge also beginning at 5:00p.m.

Batavia Downs Casino is owned and operated by Western Regional Off Track Betting, a public benefit corporation that operates in 15 counties and creates revenues for racing and local governments.

August 4, 2010 - 2:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has announced that Clint Galbraith, Jeff Gregory  and John Schroeder will be inducted into its Hall of Fame as representatives of Batavia Downs.

The crystal keepsakes will be presented to these inductees at Batavia Downs on Saturday, Sept. 4, in the winner's circle between races during “Hall of Fame Night.”

This select group of honorees will join Buddy Gilmour, Gerry Sarama and Dave Vance who were already honored at Buffalo Raceway.

There will be many activities held in association with this presentation at Batavia Downs that night, including the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Clint Galbraith’s Niatross setting the 1:55 world record for a half-mile track at Batavia in 1980.

There will be a random drawing to giveaway of a set of Clint Galbraith’s racing colors (all who are in attendance will be eligible), and the $200,000 NYSS 3-year-old pacing colts will be in town.

“We are happy to be involved with the induction of these three outstanding horsemen who have meant so much to the racing scene here over the years, said Todd Haight, the Downs' public relations and promotional marketing specialist. "We will do everything possible to make this a memorable evening for all who attend.”

Clint Galbraith <http://fanguide.ustrotting.com/dt_stars_profiles.cfm?id=76186>

Clint Galbraith left his home in Ontario in the late 1950s and set up shop on the Buffalo/Batavia circuit. After a few years of getting established, he scored his first dash title at Batavia Downs in 1963.

Galbraith was a force on the New York Sires Stakes circuit and campaigned a long string of “Kash” horses that were bred and raised at Rodney Farms that was then, and is now, run by Clint and his wife, Barbara.

Galbraith will forever be synonymous with the legendary Niatross. Niatross won 37 of 39 starts as a 2- and 3-year-old and was named the Horse of the Year in 1979 and 1980.

He was also harness racing's first $2 million pacer and at the time, the fastest horse in the sport after posting a 1:49.1 time trial at Lexington in 1980. He won the Cane Pace, the Meadowlands Pace, Woodrow Wilson and the Little Brown Jug. But Niatross was only a part of his story.

The year 1988 saw another Galbraith student, Call For Rain, set a new world record for pacers over a mile track when he went 1:49.3 at Lexington. Call For Rain won the Breeders Crown twice along with a list of other major stakes during his career.

In recent years, Clint has been enjoying considerable success training and driving the Galbraith stable horses, but a barn accident in early May sidelined him from action. He is currently recuperating and has been visiting the barn to oversee the operation's activities.

Although successful at every level, and racing throughout North America, Clint has always called Western New York home since he first made the move here some 50-plus years ago.

Jeff Gregory <http://fanguide.ustrotting.com/dt_stars_profiles.cfm?id=76186>

Jeff Gregory grew up in a racing family as his dad, Gary, operated a public stable since his birth. The family lived in Churchville, not far from Batavia Downs. Jeff started driving there in the early 1980s before splitting his time seasonally between Vernon Downs and Pompano.

His breakthrough to the big stage came in 2000 when he scored 317 wins, competing primarily at Yonkers Raceway. He received the USHWA Rising Star Award in 2002 and proceeded to prove the honor was well earned.

Today, Jeff is a top driver whose talents are sought on both the Grand Circuit and the New York Sire Stake circuit. These engagements keep him traveling across the state and racing at every major racetrack in North America.

His two biggest victories came with Jalopy in the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks in 2005 and Bubba Dunn in the $338,000 Yonkers Trot in 2002.

To date, Jeff has won more than 6,200 races and $55 million in purses lifetime.

John Schroeder <www.upstatenyushwa.com>

John Schroeder was a Western New York native who hit the racing scene in the early 1960s. He was considered one of the best “trotting men” of his era and plied his trade most notably from the mid-1960s through the late 1970s.

Although the list of horses who found success under the care of Schroeder is extensive, there are five that stand out: trotters Kash Minbar (1:56.1, $651,000) Cathy Lee (2:02, $195,000) and Top Trotter (1:58.4, $112,000) and pacers Worthy Coin (2:01.1, $182,000) and Sir Aladoh (2:00.3, $150,000).

Schroeder handled the bulk of the work until his son, Brian, got his license and picked up many of the drives. Brian went on to race Collier St. Joey in the 1993 Hambletonian.

John drove full time until 1981 when he scaled back his starts in the bike but continued to train. During his career John Schroeder found the winners circle 1,445 times and bankrolled $3.5 million in purses.

August 4, 2010 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

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Press Release:

Batavia, NY --- It was week two of the Batavia Downs Casino Summer/Fall meet and it also kicked off the 2010 New York Sire Stakes season. If Monday night was any indication of what Western New York racing fans have to look forward to, this is going to be one fun summer.

A total of 46 freshman colt and gelding pacers came to America’s oldest lighted harness track to compete for more than $120,000 in purses, split up in six divisions.

After the first three stakes races of the evening all tied Forensic Z Tam’s 1:55.2 track record for 2-year-olds, set in 2006, it was obvious it was only a matter of time until somebody broke it.

In race seven, Flipper J, with Jason Bartlett at the lines, established a new track record when he cruised around the half-mile oval and scored by two lengths in 1:54.4.

Bartlett sent the Art Major-Dolphins Can Talk colt right to the front from post seven and they put up all the numbers of :28.1, :57.3, and 1:26. A :28.4 final stanza was plenty fast enough to get Flipper J’s name in the record books. Linda Toscano trains the talented colt for owner Ken Jacobs. This was Flipper J’s second career win, with his other victory coming in NYSS action at Monticello.

Bartlett described the effort as “easy” and commented that the talented young colt was “very handy from the seven hole.”

Earlier in the evening Bartlett, Toscano and Jacobs teamed up to win the second division with the Artiscape-Perfect Purchase colt Thomas J in 1:55.2. Taking advantage of the rail Bartlett let the colt named after Jacobs' grandson roll. A powerful :56.2 back half made it impossible for the others to catch him; in fact Bartlett commented that the colt “was underwraps at the wire.”

Thomas J in now a perfect three for three in NYSS competition.

Major Way (Art Major-Feminine Ways) gave Bartlett, Toscano and Jacobs the hat trick when he notched a decisive score over seven overmatched rivals in the final NYSS race of the evening. Just like he did in his other two wins Bartlett let Major Way pace out of the gate and they never had an anxious moment, winning by over seven lengths in 1:56.

Major Way is also a perfect three for three in NYSS events and has won the three races by a combined 22 lengths.

Patrick Lachance got the festivities underway when he took the opener with Sir Ziggy’s Z Tam, winning by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:55.2. The Art Major-So Far Away colt is trained and co-owned by Lachance along with Z Tam Stables and Ira Rosenblum.

The American Ideal colt Sir Jonathan Z Tam gave Lachance a driving and training double when he took the ninth race in 1:56.4 by 3-1/4 lengths. Z Tam Stables, Ira Rosenblum and Lachance also own this colt.

Feel Like A Fool and Wind Me Up, part of a George Teague, Jr. entry, finished one-two in the third NYSS division of the evening. Feel Like A Fool and Downs leading driver Jack Flanigen had to survive a judges' inquiry when the Art Major-Fool That I Am colt got rough-gaited and made a break at the wire. The judges ruled he was not lapped on.

The 1:55.2 win was the second straight for Feel Like a Fool who shipped to Batavia fresh off a 1:53.1 score in a division of the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga. Kovach Stables LLC, Theodore Gewertz and George Teague, Jr. co-own.

Teague commented on Feel Like A Fool’s feistiness, “As we saw, if he can learn to control himself he will be very good later on.”

Flipper J setting a new track record of 1:54.4 for freshman pacers with Jason Bartlett at the controls.

August 1, 2010 - 12:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

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Press Release:

Batavia, NY - 2009 Batavia Downs Casino Horse of the Year Arm And A Leg started the 2010 campaign where he left off last season, back in the winner's circle, when he won the featured $9,000 Preferred Pace on Saturday night.

Put right on the lead by regular driver Kevin Cummings, Arm And A Leg made every pole a winning one but first had to withstand a serious challenge in deep stretch from the pocket sitter, Low And Right (Ray Fisher, Jr.), en route to a neck score in 1:55.4. Scotts Rolls Royce (Troy Boring) rode the rail to be third.

The victory was the 42nd of Arm And A Leg's career and raised his lifetime earnings to more than $267,000. He’s a 7-year-old altered son of Nobleland Sam. Stacy Keene does the training for Mark Zakubik.

The New York Sire stakes season gets underway on Monday night at the Downs. Six divisions of 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers headline the 12- race program. Post time is 6:40 p.m. Racing programs are free of charge on-line at www.bataviadownscasino.com .

July 31, 2010 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

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Press Release:

BATAVIA, NY – It was beautiful evening for harness racing in Western New York as pacers, trotters, and a sizeable crowd gathered for the first Friday of the meet. Patrons enjoyed a 12-race card with two feature races: the eighth race on the card, a Preferred Trot, with a purse of $9,000 and the eleventh, an Open Trot, with a purse of $7,800.

Trotting to victory in Friday's $9,000 feature was Yonkers invader Heaven And Hall with Ray Fisher Jr. at the lines, doing the mile in 1:59.4. Mighty Looker and Kevin Cummings were in for the place, while Hello Carlo with Jack Flanigen made the $152 trifecta. The fractions were 28.4, 58.4, and 1:29.3, respectively. The early stages of the mile was all Hello Carlo and Jack Flanigen who took on all comers but the race was won at the half when the veteran Fisher Jr. was able to find the 2-hole with Heaven and Hall and they simply bided their time in the pocket until angling out at the top of the stretch to score a one-length win. Kevin Cummings and Mighty Looker threatened along the passing lane but had to settle for second. Heaven and Hall is a 7-year-old gelding by Angus Hall. Mark Ford of Campbell Hall owns him and Steven Weaver is the trainer. The winning price of the eighth race was $5.10.

Flamenco Dancer and Tom Agosti got up at the wire in the 11th race by a head, in this evening’s second featured trot. The time of the mile was 2:00.1. Welding Spark D with Jack Flanigen in the sulky landed the exacta, while Jim and Jim Mc Neight were in for the show. The race unfolded with Welding Spark D taking over command at the ¾ mark and opened up 2 at head stretch but a persistent Flamenco Dancer was able to wear him down and score the narrow win. Flamenco Dancer is a 5-year-old bay mare by Tejano. Benjamin Drongosky of Snyder, NY owns her. Alex Giuliani is the trainer. The winning price was $11.20.

Pick-6 is Hit
Thanks to five winning chalks the pick-6 was hit for the first time this season returning $395. The Saturday night pick-6 pool remains guaranteed at $1,000. The pick-6 wager begins in the 7th race.

Be sure to come out tonight, for 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 PM will receive a ticket that is redeemable for a free glass after the 7th race! The 64th season is underway at America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track. Enjoy take every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evening. Post time is 6:40. Racing fans wishing to dine in the Clubhouse should call 585-343-3750 to make a reservation.

Photo courtesy Paul White.

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

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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 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 - 9:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business, Western OTB.

After 29 years of driving Western Regional Off-Track Betting, Martin Basinait is stepping down as CEO.

Basinait announced his retirement to the OTB board in a letter yesterday.

His legacy will be the revival of Batavia Downs. It was Basinait who convinced OTB to buy the vacility and bring back horseracing.

Dick Seibert said it was also Basinait who championed the addition of video lottery terminals.

"Horseracing is a declining industry and there's nothing you can do about it," Seibert told WBTA. "Without the VLTs, we would be facing a dismal future. We have a bright future now."

Basinait's resignation is effective in February 2011. The board will now begin the search for a new CEO.

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

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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 18, 2010 - 3:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, Announcements, education, harness racing.

Batavia Downs has announced a brand-new scholarship race to give away $7,500 for college-bound students. The event will feature students from area schools, accompanied by professional drivers, in a "dash for the cash" on Saturday, Sept. 11.

“We are really pleased to be able to help support the education of students in our community in such a unique way,” said Batavia Downs General Manager Michael D. Kane. “We hope the students who participate not only walk away with scholarship funds, but also a greater understanding of the sport of harness racing.”

The students and their professional driving partners are: Emily Sallome, of Batavia High School, with Mike Pokornowski; Kaley Falkowski, of Batavia High, with Jim Mulcahy; Eric Harrower, of Batavia High, with Ron Beback, Jr.; Michael Norway, of Oakfield Alabama High School, with Mike Baumeister; and Tyler Pingrey, from Notre Dame High School, with Jim Graham.

This summer, the students will attend at least five training sessions at the track with their driver to learn the safety and skills needed to drive a horse. Then between the fourth and fifth live harness races on Sept. 11, they will line up behind the starting gate and compete for scholarships of $3,000, $2,000, $1,200, $800, and $500, depending on their finish.

“Five organizations came together to sponsor these scholarships as an investment in the youth of this community,” Kane said. “This scholarship event is sponsored by the horsemen, breeders, owners, and raceways of Western New York through the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association, Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs Casino.”

Harness Horse Breeders is partnering with other New York tracks this summer to offer scholarships to students across the state.

Batavia Downs, America’s oldest lighted harness track, opens its 64th racing season on Monday, July 26, for 72 racing dates. Racing will be at the new post time of 6:40 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. There will also be a special 1:15 p.m. post on Sunday, Aug. 29.

For more information, visit <http://www.batavia-downs.com/>.

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