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July 26, 2013 - 7:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

Batavia Downs announced today that their highly anticipated expansion project will open on Sept. 27.

"Pushing back our opening date ensures that all facets of our new gaming facility will be finished and ready to accept customers,” said Michael D. Kane, president and CEO of Batavia Downs.

Batavia Downs will be open on Aug. 28th and 29th, days which the casino had planned to be closed. Promotions already scheduled around the weekend of Aug. 30th, including several large cash drawings, will go on as planned. 

"Customers should check our Twitter and Facebook pages for exciting promotions planned on days we were to be closed,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing.
 

July 23, 2013 - 7:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

The 67th year of racing at Batavia Downs Race Track and Casino kicked off Batavia Downs on Monday evening and in a season when some of the dominant drivers of recent years are out for one reason or another, the competition for top driver in 2013 is wide open.

Especially after an opening night that saw eight different drivers trot into the winners circle.

Track announcer Joe Zambito.

To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

July 23, 2013 - 7:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

If the opening night of action is any indication about the 2013 driver's race at Batavia Downs, things probably will be up in the air until the final night.

The 72-day meet at Batavia Downs, now in its 67th season, started Monday evening and after the nine-race card was completed, eight different drivers found their way to the winner's circle.

But someone managed to take the lead after the first night and that was 18-year-old provisional driver Drew Monti who managed to post a pair of victories. He scored with Carscot Review ($5.90) in the second race and Special News ($2.60) in the seventh to take the spotlight.

Batavia Downs Live Racing General Manager Todd Haight said of the first night, "We had a great crowd tonight. We distributed a large amount of free programs and our handle was about what we expected.  Overall, considering all we've had to deal with to get the property ready for racing I'm extremely pleased." Racing fans wishing to view replays of the races can do so at bataviadownscasino.com. Simply click on 'Live Racing' tab then on date and race number.    

Racing action returns on Wednesday night with a 6:30 p.m. start. The feature will go off in the seventh race as the fillies and mares do battle in the Open for $8,500. The 2-1 morning line favorite is Keep It Fair who captured the Fillies and Mares Open last week at Buffalo Raceway by going wire-to-wire in 1:55.3 for driver Aaron Byron. Greg Merton, however, will be take the reins this time around and score Keep It Fair from the two post.

Wednesday night also marks the return of 'Batavia Downs Live' on Time-Warner Cable in Rochester and surrounding areas on digital channel 98. Track announcer Joe Zambito and Ashley Holliday will co-host the 12-race card from start to finish.

July 19, 2013 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Excitement. Anticipation. Optimism. Those three words are probably the best to describe the upcoming 2013 harness racing season at Batavia Downs, beginning on Monday (July 22) with a 6:30 p.m. post.

The 72-day harness schedule will be highlighted once again by popular promotions, a new addition in the betting format and some new faces in the trainer and driver colony.

And that's just on the racing side.              

The much anticipated opening of the new video lottery terminal area in the old Paddock Room is expected Aug. 30 and it will bring an added electric atmosphere to the half-mile oval throughout the summer and fall months.

"It might be a little tough at first but the end product will look great," said Todd Haight, general manager of Live Racing, when speaking about the renovations going on at Batavia Downs Gaming and Race Track. "We've lost some space on the racing side. But we are really excited about it all and what the end result will be. With the new gaming floor, new concession stand, sports bar and restaurant, we are very optimistic for the future."

At the start of the season, fans wanting to get to the apron of the track will enter the gate by the paddock (left-hand side of the facility) while those wanting to go to the video lottery terminal area, the clubhouse or enclosed grandstand will still enter where they normally would at the main entrance. Haight noted that one can reach the rail on the apron by walking down the stairs in the grandstands.

Haight is extremely pleased that "Batavia Downs Live" will return to Time-Warner Cable, digital channel 98, which serves Rochester and surrounding counties.

"This could be huge for us. We did not have a consistent schedule in the past but now we do. We will be on cable TV Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights through at least the end of October."

Besides using Western Regional Off-Track Betting’s Dial-A-Bet system, racing fans will be able to watch and wager on the races via Batavia Bets, WROTB’s online wagering platform.

"Batavia Bets offers an easy rewards program for wagers made on us," Haight said. "The online site is user friendly and you don't have to wait for an operator to take your call. We thought it made sense to bring back the TV show now that we offer online wagering.”

Ashley Holliday will serve as a co-host along with track announcer Joe Zambito.

"Ashley is very knowledgeable and has basically done it all in the horse business,” Haight said. "She will give her insight and perspective on the races. She'll also explain to fans about different pieces of equipment. I think our fans will find it very interesting.”

While there are several ways to wager without going to the track, Haight says getting people out to the Downs is imperative.

"We showed huge growth on our export handle last season, but we must continue to do our best to get people to come out to the racetrack. Like in previous seasons we've got a lot of good promotions that hopefully will do just that.”

Some of this year’s promotions include several dollar days (or nights), two free handicapping contests, the wiener dogs races that began in 2005 and remain more popular than ever, the driver's bike races that began in the early 1980s and the season ending Pick-6 contest.

A kickoff booklet will be distributed on Saturday night (July 27), which features free wagers for Pick-4s, daily doubles and racing programs. All live racing programs will contain a $5 free play coupon for the video games.

Haight stated that the driver's bike race, normally held on Labor Day, will be held on Columbus Day instead.

"With the New York Sires Stakes here on Labor Day we decided to move the bike race to Columbus Day.”

The very popular all-you-can-eat shrimp, prime rib and crab leg buffet will return every Friday and Saturday night in the clubhouse. New this year, Player's Extra members are entitled to receive $3 off their buffet.

Another added feature this season in the clubhouse is mutuel clerks that will be taking bets tableside.

“Customers won't have to leave their table to make a wager," Haight said. "This isn’t really new, but it’s new to us. Many customers had a hard time going up and down the stairs to make a wager. I’m confident our clubhouse patrons will really enjoy this feature.”

The annual college scholarship race is slated for Saturday (Sept. 14). Five more high school seniors will compete for their share of $7,500 in college scholarship money.

The 11th annual $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace is scheduled for Saturday (Oct. 5). This race usually attracts some top, hard-hitting pacers from all over the country. Previous winners include Foiled Again, the richest pacer in harness racing history.

Exciting New York Sires Stakes action begins on Aug. 16. The Caledonia Fair races have been rescheduled to be held at the Downs on Aug. 1. Also this season, the Downs will host the New York County Fair finals on Aug. 28.

New trainer/drivers in town include Jacques Beaudoin, Gaston Lareau, Mario Dessureault and former Downs regular Fred Cohen, the last three making the move up from Pompano Park in Florida.

Speaking of drivers, the track will also print in the nightly program the driver's choice in a race.

"When a driver is initially listed to drive several horses in a race, he gets to choose who he wants to drive," Haight said. "We will now print their choices in the bottom of each program page. It could be a great handicapping tool."

As far as the wagering format goes, Batavia Downs has added a second Pick-3 to its menu along with a new Pick-5 ($2 minimum). The Pick-5 replaces the Pick-6. To win the Pick-5, the customer must select all five winners in the Pick-5 sequence or the entire pool carries over.

Batavia Downs will also be part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Program, beginning Aug. 7, when the Pick-4 pool will be guaranteed at $3,000.

Racing will be held Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights in July with a 6:30 p.m. post time. Then in August, racing switches to a Sunday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday format with posts remaining at 6:30 p.m., with the exception of Sundays, which get under way at 1:15 p.m. The season ends on Saturday (Dec. 7).

July 11, 2013 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming will be closing at 10 p.m. on Monday, July 15 and reopen no later than 3 p.m. on the following day, Tuesday, July 16 to accommodate construction work.

Management is confident that the facility will reopen prior to 3 p.m. that day. Those wishing to find information on the reopening of the facility should check Batavia Downs’ Web site (bataviadownsgaming.com) as well as their social media pages on Facebook (facebook.com/bataviadowns) and Twitter (twitter.com/bataviadowns) for up to date information that day after 11 a.m.

The newly expanded gaming floor is scheduled to open on Aug. 30.

July 11, 2013 - 12:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Racing fans will notice some changes when the 2013 live racing season gets under way at America’s oldest lighted harness track, Batavia Downs. The 67th season July 22, with a new post time of 6:30 p.m.

The historic track is in the midst of a $27 million construction project to move and expand the gaming floor to the ground level. The projected opening is Aug. 30.

Racing fans wishing to enjoy the races on the track apron or in the paddock room must enter through the north gate, located where a new cross walk has been installed. Racing fans wishing to dine in the clubhouse or view the races from the enclosed grandstand can continue to enter through the main entrance.

“We’re excited about nearing the completion of phase one of the expansion project,” said William White, vice president of Administration. “We have been working closely with Todd (Haight, GM of Live Racing) to put this facility back together in time for racing.

"I’m confident both our racing and gaming customers will enjoy the benefits from having both venues on the same level.”

Among the improvements on the racing side are a new paved track apron, redesigned paddock room mutuel betting windows and walk about tellers in the clubhouse.

July 8, 2013 - 2:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports.

Press release:

One of the biggest events on the promotional calendar at Batavia Downs every season is the Wiener Dog Races and 2013 will be no exception as the dachshunds take to the track during this year's Family Fun Day at the races, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 25.

Entry into the races begins today, July 8. To enter your dachshund, call event coordinator Arna Tygart at 585-343-3750, ext. 437.

There is an 80-dog limit and an also-eligible list will be started if needed. The first 70 dogs entered will receive a "Doggie Gift Bag" courtesy of the race sponsor -- Petco of Batavia.

The fleet-footed dachshund named Gordon, owned by Lindsay Ryan, of Lancaster, will be looking to three-peat in this year’s event. He dead-heated with another wiener dog legend, Jake Arnold, and then scored a very narrow victory last year.

A total of 10 heats will be contested this year with eight wiener dogs in each race.

The winners of each qualifying heat will receive $25 in free play at Batavia Downs Gaming. The winners of each heat will advance to the finals with the champion getting $100 of free play for the gaming machines.

The second- and third-place finishers will also receive free play. The wiener dog competition, a dash down the homestretch of Batavia Downs, will begin after the last live harness race, at approximately 4:20 p.m.

"This is one of our biggest days of the year and it definitely brings out one our largest crowds of the season," said Batavia Downs' General Manager of Live Racing Todd Haight. “We'll get dogs coming in from all around New York State. In fact, we have heard some are already in training."

Besides the wiener dog races, other highlights of the Family Fun Day will include free pony rides from 2 until 4 p.m. sponsored by Castilone Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep of Batavia.

The day will also see appearances by the ever popular Pringles the Clown and Mr. Scribbles. There will be $1 Salhen’s hot dogs and $1 sodas available from noon until 4.

A 12-race card of afternoon harness racing is scheduled on Family Fun Day with first post slated for 1:15 p.m. Admission and parking is free.

Batavia Downs, the oldest lighted harness track, will kick off its 67th season on Monday, July 22.

June 21, 2013 - 9:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business, Western Regional OTB.

Press release:

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation (WROTBC), owner/operator of Batavia Downs has pledged its support of the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act and the referendum that will be put to the citizens of New York State in November.

“This legislation keeps Batavia Downs Gaming as a vital partner to state and local governments,” said Michael Kane, president and CEO of WROTBC and Batavia Downs Gaming. “This act will allow us to continue providing good paying jobs and generating significant funding for schools and our municipalities. Governor Cuomo and the legislature recognize the significant contributions made by racetrack casinos in Western New York to state education funding and job creation.”

June 17, 2013 - 2:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

"Batavia Downs Live,” the popular three-and-a-half hour television broadcast of the harness races from Batavia Downs, returns on July 24, the second racing night of the 2013 season, at the historic track located in Genesee County.

A total of 20 race cards will be televised in the Time-Warner Rochester region on digital cable Channel 98. The coverage area includes Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, and Seneca counties.

The broadcast beings at 6:30 p.m. and will conclude at 10 p.m.

Ashley Holliday, who currently serves as the Downs parade marshal, will now double as TV host and racing analyst on all Time Warner broadcasts, while continuing her duties as parade marshal on other race nights. She’ll co-host the broadcast with longtime track announcer Joe Zambito.

“Bringing Ashley aboard will add another dimension to our broadcast,” said Todd Haight, general manager of live racing. “Throughout the years she's gained a tremendous knowledge of harness racing and will do a great job of conveying that to our viewers.

"It only made sense to bring back the TV broadcast now that OTB offers online wagering at Bataviabets.com. I expect some real growth once the season begins.”

Western Regional Off-Track Betting, the owner of Batavia Downs, also provides telephone betting through its Dial-A-Bet service. Patrons may phone 1.800.724.4000 to establish an account or for more information on how to open a Batavia Bets account.

June 14, 2013 - 12:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

We're not supposed to call it Batavia Downs Casino anymore, but beyond that, officials are still sorting out what a new compact between New York and the Seneca Nation means for Western Regional OTB.

In exchange for resuming long-overdue payments, at a reduced rate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has granted the Senecas exclusive rights to casino operations in WNY.

Exactly what "exclusivity" means hasn't been entirely spelled out, said Michael Kane, president of the Western Regional OTB.

Dick Siebert said he's worried the governor has given away Rochester to the Senecas after promising that Batavia Downs would be the only gaming facility in the region.

Dropping "casino" from the name isn't too troubling, nor is the requirement to stop calling video terminal games "slots," and even the loss of electronic table games isn't crippling, but there needs to be some compensation to WROTB for the deal cut with the Senecas.

The Senecas had their taxes reduced, Siebert said, so should Batavia Downs.

"They got what they wanted and we’re just looking for a little relief ourselves since they took the table games away from us," he said.

WROTB is lobbying for a 15-percent reduction in the amount of money it sends to New York, Siebert said.

"We need concessions to be able to provide more for our local counties," Siebert said.

Batavia Downs is undergoing a $27-million renovation downstairs and space was being set aside for electronic table games. That space will just now be used for something else, Siebert said.

"We can survive without them (the table games), that's for sure," Siebert said.

Kane agreed.

"We still think our customers will be very happy with the expansion," Kane said.

Related link: The Buffalo News.

March 12, 2013 - 3:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Western Regional Off-Track Betting and Batavia Downs Casino are pleased to announce they will be hosting a World Harness Handicapping Championship qualifier at the historic harness track on Friday night, March 22.

Entry fee is $10 and two entries are permitted. The initial entry fee includes $5 returned in Casino slot play. The contest is limited to 150 entries.

The qualifier will consist of races 1 – 10 at Buffalo Raceway and races 1 – 8 at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Contestants are required to make a total of nine mythical win-place wagers on the 18 designated contest races of which at least five contest wagers must be made on Buffalo Raceway. The remaining four wagers can be made on either Buffalo Raceway or the Meadowlands. Only one mythical wager is allowed per designated contest race.

Each contest wager will consist of a mythical $10 win-place wager. No best bet selection is required.

The “Win” mutuel will be capped at $40. The “Place” mutuel will be capped at $20 Therefore, the most a contestant can win in any given contest race is $300.

The Grand prize is a trip to compete in the $100,000 World Harness Handicapping Championship to be held on April 13 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The winner will also receive hotel accommodations for two nights and $500 in expense money. The package is valued at $1,750. The top 10 finishers receive prize money.

Advance payments are being accepted by mailing a check or mail order to Batavia Downs Casino, 8315 Park Road, Batavia NY 14020, Attn: Todd H.

Walk-ups the night of the contest can also enter with the amount of open seats available determined by the number of advance entries.

January 31, 2013 - 12:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

The staff of Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas have released the name and logo of their new bar and restaurant to be built inside Batavia Downs Casino. After receiving hundreds of entries via a naming contest, run through Twitter, the name chosen by staff and Mr. Thomas is “34 Rush."

The logo of the new sports bar includes Thurman’s signature and the phrase “34 Rush” with a slightly pitched block font and the words sports bar underneath. Fans who wish to follow “34 Rush” may do so at facebook.com/34rush as well as twitter.com/34rush.

“We give thanks to the many fans that submitted names over the course of last week," said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “The name of the bar correlates to Mr. Thomas’ position and his number. The bar name is not one of a typical sports bar. It’s unique, just like Thurman.”

Batavia Downs Casino is in the process of reaching out to the Twitter commenters that helped contribute to the naming of the bar. Those persons will enjoy a dinner with Mr. Thomas as well as prizes from the casino.  The facility’s $28 million dollar expansion begins on Feb. 4 and will conclude some time in the fall.

January 15, 2013 - 12:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

The staff of Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas are now accepting entries to name the Hall of Famer’s new restaurant on site at Batavia Downs Casino.

The facility’s $28 Million dollar expansion begins within a month and includes construction of a new Thurman Thomas sports bar. Customers may tweet a suggestion for the Sports Bar’s name on Twitter by tweeting from their account and including the name of the Sports Bar with the tag @BataviaDowns. The contest will end at Noon on Friday, Jan. 18.

Staff from Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas will review the entries and declare a winner before the end of January.

The person that submits the winning name will win dinner for two inside the new sports bar with Thurman Thomas and Batavia Downs Staff when the new facility opens sometime in the fall. The winner shall also receive a Batavia Downs Casino Prize Pack valued at more than $250.

If more than one person suggests the winning name, then one person shall be randomly chosen from those who suggested that name. Winner will be notified via twitter that they have won. Full rules can be found on Batavia Downs Casino’s Web site at www.bataviadownscasino.com.

“Thurman’s new sports bar will offer great food, a stage for live entertainment on weekends, and many large flat screen TVs where our patrons can enjoy all their favorite sporting events,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “It will also feature various pieces of football and Thurman Thomas memorabilia.”

January 7, 2013 - 12:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business, Western OTB.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Casino has closed the books on another record year, with a casino expansion starting in less than one month and the possibility of enhanced gaming on the horizon. The facility has enjoyed at least 4-percent growth every year since opening in 2005.

The 640 video lottery terminals at the track’s gaming parlor generated $45.1 million last year in net winnings, according to the NY Lottery. This figure is up 13.38 percent from 2011’s $39.78 million. Earnings in 2011 were 5.53 percent over what was earned in 2010.

“As one of the nine New York State Racetrack Casinos, we are giving back to the State of New York via our daily contributions to the New York State Lottery, and our distributions to our member municipalities,” said Michael Kane, CEO and president for Batavia Downs Casino.

Batavia Downs in owned and operated by Western Regional Off-Track Betting, a public benefit corporation. Municipalities that own Batavia Downs Casino include: the cities of Buffalo and Rochester, and the counties of Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Wyoming.

“As a public benefit corporation, all revenues net expenses are distributed to the fifteen counties and two cities of Western New York,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “People know that when they come here for entertainment, their money is going to New York State, either via the lottery for education or to the counties that they live and work in. We’re happy to give back.”

December 7, 2012 - 3:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Tonight is Customer Appreciation Night at Batavia Downs. After the fourth race in the enclosed grandstand, Subway subs and cake and coffee will be served while supplies last. Racing programs will be $1; coffee in the paddock room will be just 50 cents beginning at 5 p.m.

The free Pick-6 contest continues. Another $500 will be up for grabs for anyone that can pick all six winners on contest races four-nine. Sign up to play begins at 5 p.m. at Players Club and all Pick-6 forms must be returned to Players Club by the start of the fourth race. In the event there is more than one winner, the prize money is divided equally.

Then on Saturday night, the 2012 season comes to a close. Members of the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association will be trackside as part of the fifth annual “Night of Distinction” awards presentation.

Also on Saturday there will be a mandatory pay-out in the free Pick-6 contest. Either $500 or $1,000 will be paid out. If the Pick-6 contest is not won on Friday (Dec. 7), then the pool increases to $1,000 on Saturday night. If won on Friday, then the Saturday contest pool will be $500. Since it's closing night all monies must be paid out to whoever picks the most winners. In the event of a tie, all prize money will be divided equally. Contest races are four-nine. Sign up to play begins at 5 p.m. at Players Club and all Pick-6 forms must be returned to Players Club by the start of the fourth race. No purchase is necessary, must be a Batavia Players Club member to participate.

The Pick-6 contest is sponsored by the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association.

Simulcast wagering returns back to a seven day a week schedule beginning Dec. 9 at both the Downs and ITW simulcast center located across the street.

December 4, 2012 - 3:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, business, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Each year, the members of the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association look to recognize a member of the racing community who has selflessly given of their time and effort for the betterment of the sport and its horses.

This year, the organization will honor a man who has been doing it for more than three decades. Peter Kanter, D.V.M., Ph.D., has been practicing equine medicine in Western New York since 1973, after graduating from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. While servicing the needs of horsemen in the morning, he has also been the paddock vet at both Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway each night since 1979.

But this is only part of the story. Besides caring for his four legged patients, Dr. Kanter was also working to defeat a human disease that has touched everyone’s life at some point. From 1973 until 2008, Dr. Kanter served as a director in the Division of Drug and Treatment Development as well as being in charge of the Department of Comparative Surgery at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. Among his many accomplishments there, he was responsible for bringing a plethora of treatment drugs to market and also helped develop the techniques of what is now commonly known as minimally invasive surgery.

At the track, his commitment to the sport and its participants has been unparalleled and his many clients are a testament to that. He has made an uncountable number of horses better through his work and he continues to be there to address their needs before or after the races. While at Roswell Park, his work was responsible for helping to ease the pain and suffering of thousands of people while aiding the fight to a cure.

It is for his life’s work to improve the lives of both man and beast that Dr. Peter Kanter was chosen the 2012 UNY USHWA Unsung Hero. Dr. Kanter will receive his award trackside at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 8) during the fifth annual “Night of Distinction” awards presentation, where all the best equine and human performances of the current Batavia meet, as well as the best in Western New York for the entire year, will be feted.

December 1, 2012 - 12:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

It was the penultimate Friday night (Nov. 30) of the 2012 summer-fall meet at Batavia Downs Casino. Headlining the 12-race program, which take place on a cold and snowy night in Western New York, was a pair of $7,400 races, one trotters and one for pacers.

On the trotting side, Howard Ouriel’s Duke of Wellington, took over the lead past three-quarters and went on to a 2-1/4 length score in 1:59.4 to notch his fifth win of the season. Dan Noble, who has now won 16 races in the last three racing nights at the Downs, was at the controls for conditioner Don Rothfuss.

Duke of Wellington ($22.60), a 7-year-old altered son of Canadian sire Duke of York raised his lifetime bankroll to $119,037.

On race later the best distaff pacers in Western New York hit the racetrack and it was one of the most exciting finishes of the year.

Hasty Pulse with Dan Noble in the bike, took command at the top of the stretch after a first over trip and appeared to be well on her way, but it was Miss Too Punch who would not be denied and closed from last to take home the lion’s share of the purse money.

With Jamie Dunlap in the sulky for trainer Tracy Root, Miss Two Punch ($17) unleashed a wicked late burst to score a narrow neck victory in 1:57.4. The daughter of Allamerican Ingot made her fourth winners circle visit in 2012 and increased her lifetime earnings to $87,482.

In the final Pick-6 wager of the season, that featured a mandatory pay-out, four of six was a winning ticket and returned $83.

Racing resumes on Saturday night with a post time of 6:25. There are only three nights remaining in 66th season at Batavia Downs. Racing concludes on Dec. 8.

The free pick-6 contest kicks off on Saturday night; Players Club members that can pick the winners of races 4 through 9 will win or share in the $500 pool. This promotion is sponsored by the Western New York Harness Horseman’s Association.

November 25, 2012 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

By Brian Mazurek, for Batavia Downs

It was Ladies' Night Friday (Nov. 23) in the featured $8,200 Open I-II Handicap Trot at Batavia Downs as the lone mare in the field of seven, Starbux Eden, beat the boys by 1-1/4 lengths in 2:00.4.

Owned, trained and driven to victory by John Cummings Jr., of Williamsville, the favored Starbux Eden ($4.40) sat the pocket behind the pacesetting Perfect Man (Dave McNeiught Jr.) through quarters of :29.0, 1:00.2 and 1:30.1.

But just before the top of the stretch, instead of dropping down to the passing lane, Cummings Jr. tipped the 6-year-old Striking Sahbra mare to the outside and trotted home smartly in :30.3 on the blustery evening, easily beating Keystone Bernard (Shawn Gray). Partici Pator (Jim McNeight) finished third.

It was the 10th win of the season for Starbux Eden in 35 starts and increased her 2012 earnings to $60,005.

Reinsman Dan Noble, currently second in the Downs' standings, was the driving star of the evening winning six times on the 12-race card.

November 20, 2012 - 5:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Casino will celebrate the accomplishments of world champion and trotting track record holder Archangel with a coffee mug giveaway on Wednesday night (Nov. 21). The locally owned trotter took Western New York by storm when he competed in the historic $1.5 million Hambletonian.

To receive a collector’s edition photo mug, patrons simply need to swipe their Player’s Club card beginning at 5 p.m. at Players Club to receive a ticket that can be redeemed in the Paddock Room after the seventh race for an Archangel mug. Supplies are limited.

Archangel, a son of Credit Winner-Michelle’s Angel, was purchased for $120,000 in 2010. Earlier this year he set a world record on a half-mile racetrack on July 7 at Yonkers Raceway when he won the Yonkers Trot, the first leg of Trotting’s Triple Crown, in 1:54.1. Then on Sept. 9, he lowered the Batavia Downs trotting all-age and 3-year-old record when he cruised to victory in a New York Sires Stake event in 1:54.3. His final time was more than two seconds faster than the previous record of 1:56.4 set by Earl in 1993 in the Provenzano Trot.

In two years of racing Archangel earned $906,579, including $771,386 during his sophomore season. His lifetime best of 1:53.1 came at Vernon Downs and was equaled at Lexington, Ky. In addition to the giveaway, a special meet-and-greet session with owner/trainer Peter Arrigenna and co-owner Alan Hainsworth will be held in the track lobby beginning at 5:30 p.m. On display will be some of the trophies won during the 2012 campaign.

“We wanted to buy a top quality horse, one that could be dominant on the New York Sire Stakes and eventually become a Grand Circuit horse,” Hainsworth said. “He did that and more. He earned a lot of money for us and it’s really been an amazing ride. I got a chance to meet some great people along the way.”

Hainsworth and partners purchased another son of Credit Winner for $170,000 at the recently concluded Harrisburg Sale and are hopeful they have another champion.

“He’s extremely well bred and is a carbon copy of Arch,” Hainsworth added. “Not only do I have confidence in his breeding but in my trainer as well.”

The Downs is expecting a nice crowd on Wednesday night.

“Back in the day, the night before Thanksgiving used to be one of the biggest nights of the year,” said Todd Haight, track general manager said. “I’m confident we’ll have a nice crowd on hand, many thanks to Pete and Alan for making this happen.”

November 17, 2012 - 1:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

By Brian Mazuek, for Batavia Downs

Under The Stars and driver/trainer Jim McNeight were first under the wire in the featured $8,500 Open I-II Trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 16).

Under The Stars had finished second in three of his last four starts in the Open trot but finally broke through for the win.

Sitting second over going to the three-quarter pole, Under The Stars ($11.60) swept three-wide around the final turn and trotted around the pace-setting and favored Perfect Man (Dave McNeight III) and the cover of Big Baller (Dan Noble).

Down the lane Under The Stars trotted strongly to the wire, beating the pocket sitting Starbux Eden (John Cummings Jr.), by a length in 1:59.2, while Ziegfeld (Jim Morrill Jr.) rallied late to finish to third.

Owned by Mike Calimeri of Falconer, N.Y., it was the fourth win of the season for Under The Stars, a five-year-old Yankee Glide gelding. The win also moved his seasonal winnings to $44,952.

A 12-race program is slated for tonight at 6:25 p.m. with some top late-season races on tap.

The $27,000 Henry Tojj Pacing Series finale is the feature, scheduled for the seventh race. Johnny Grippa, with driver Jim Morrill Jr., is the morning line choice at 5-2 starting out of the four post.

The $10,000 consolation of the Henry Tojj will follow as the ninth race with D J Supreme and driver Shawn Gray the favorite from the four spot at 5-2.

The weekly $9,000 Open Pace will go as the sixth race with What The Sheik with Jim Morrill, Jr. in the sulky as the 6-5 morning line favorite despite starting from the eight hole.

To watch all the action via streaming video or for more information on the track, go to www.batavia-downs.com <http://www.batavia-downs.com

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