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September 2, 2016 - 1:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The top two point leaders for New York Sire Stake 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings will headline the 16 starters who will compete for $111,000 in two divisions at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 3)

In the first $55,500 division, Miso Fast (Roll With Joe-Sakura Hanover) comes in leading all his peers with 205 NYSS points on the strength of four consecutive wins in that competition this year. In his last start at Yonkers, he got parked out the better part of the mile and ended up finishing fifth in 1:55.4. That event was on Aug. 18 and he hasn’t raced since, so he comes in to this race off a 16-day layoff.

This year, Miso Fast has a mark of 1:53.1 at Tioga Downs and has banked $79,636 in earnings.

Trainer Ron Burke has retained the services of Jim Morrill Jr. to do the driving and Miso Fast will leave from post three as the 9-5 morning line favorite.

Serious Major (Art Major-Seriously) will be strong competition as he moved into the NYSS level after winning three straight races at the Excelsior A level. Since making the jump he has won at Yonkers Raceway in 1:56.2 and finished second at Vernon Downs in 1:52.3 to Funknwaffles who will race in the other division here. For the year, Serious Major is five out of six in the win column.

Serious Major  took a mark of 1:54.4 at Tioga Downs and has won $78,606 in purses.

Ray Fisher Jr. will pick up the lines for trainer Chris Ryder and leave from post 5 as the 7-2 second choice.

In the second $55,500 split, Funknwaffles (American Ideal-Hatsoff Hanover) is a perfect six for six on the year, leads all his NYSS competitors in earnings and currently sits second in points with 150. He started out in Excelsior A, winning three races there before moving up to NYSS action where he won three more.

Funknwaffles just scored his lifetime mark at Vernon last week in 1:52.1 and has $106,439 in purses for his efforts.

Jim Morrill Jr. will be in the bike for trainer John Butenschoen and is listed at 9-5 from post seven.

Pointomygranson (American Ideal-Sangall) has only one NYSS win this year and would just make the final if today’s points were to decide it. But he’s been a solid competitor in every race he’s been in. He was second at Monticello Raceway in 1:56.1, coming home in :27.3. And last week at Mohawk Raceway in the Metro he closed sharply from seventh in :26.1 to finish fourth, beaten only a length and a half in a 1:51.3 mile.

Pointomygranson has a mark of 1:55.1 at Saratoga Raceway and has earned $35,479 this year.

Marcus Miller will be in the house to drive for trainer Chris Ryder and drew the invisible rail at 4-1.

There are also two divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card that is slated to begin at 6:15 p.m. 

September 1, 2016 - 1:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Dayson with driver Jim Morrill Jr.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

He’s diminutive in size but dominant on the track. Dayson ($2.20) came from off the pace and pulled away to a convincing victory in his division of the $119,300 New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 31).

Off the wings, Allerage Echo (Chris Lems) and The Royal Harry (Oskar Florhed) both left and battled old-school to the quarter in :28 flat before The Royal Harry finally took the lead. Meanwhile Dayson (Jim Morrill Jr.) relaxed in third about eight lengths behind, waiting for the dust to settle. The field remained unchanged to the half but became more closely grouped, nose to tail. 

At the five-eighths pole, Morrill tipped Dayson and asked for more, and more is what he got. He eased past Allerage Echo and snuck up on The Royal Harry as they circled the final turn. When they hit the top of the stretch, Dayson found another gear and he pulled away on his own. Morrill had the whip tucked and the lines in his lap as they crossed the wire a four-length winner in 1:57.3.

“He was very good; nice and strong. He got around the track perfect tonight and didn’t do anything wrong” said winning driver Jim Morrill Jr. “I tipped him up the backside and was hand-wrapped to the wire.”

It was the eighth win in 12 starts this year for Dayson (Conway Hall-Nervey’s Taurus) who now boasts $230,583 in 2016 earnings for owners Burke Racing Stables LLC, Our Horse Cents Stable, J&T Silva Stable LLC and Rossie Smith.

In the other NYSS division, A Jersey Contract ($14.00) pulled the upset after a crafty drive by the Downs leading driver Kevin Cummings that gave him the home-field advantage.

With the scratch of morning line favorite Smalltownthrowdown due to his participation in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot on Saturday, Sir Royson (Jim Marohn Jr.) became the favorite and went off at 1-1. However he also made a break before the gate opened and that immediately made the race interesting. Southern Palms (Jim Morrill Jr.) took full advantage off the gaffe and opened up a three-length lead over pocket-sitting A Jersey Contract going to the quarter. 

(Photo of A Jersey Contract with driver Kevin Cummings.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The field stood pat past the half when That’s A Bad Boy (Tyler Freese) pulled first over with Drazzmatazz (Mark Macdonald) on his helmet. The top four were then grouped two-by-two at three-quarters in 1:28.4. Around the last turn, Drazzmatazz tipped three-wide around That’s A Bad Boy trying to gain on the leader, but A Jersey Contract who had the perfect journey in second, shot up the pylons and collared Southern Palms by a neck in 1:57.4. The time was a new lifetime mark for the winner.

“The race shaped up real well for us. We got a two-hole trip right to the wire and he had a lot of trot sitting in there” said driver Kevin Cummings of A Jersey Contract. “I knew when I got him in the passing lane he’d give me more.”

It was the third win this season for A Jersey Contract (Lucky Chucky-Giza Dream) and it pushed his yearly earnings to $88,574 for owners Tom Vassiliou and Nicholas Tallarico. A Jersey Contract is trained by Maureen Salino.

There were also two divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card.

The first division was won by Credevi (Credit Winner-Fleur De Vie) in 1:58, which was a new lifetime mark. Credevi ($2.30) was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. for owner Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stable and trainer Trond Smedshammer.

The second leg went to Royal Bachelor (RC Royalty-Becca J) in 1:57.4. Royal Bachelor is trained and driven by Dan Daley and is owned by Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford IV and Michael White. The winner returned $9.

Jim Morrill Jr. is the leading driver on the New York Sire Stake circuit and also the third leading UDR driver in North America and he showed why on Wednesday as he won five races; three in stake races and two overnighters. His victories included Credevie ($2.30), Dayson ($2.20), Thanks for Playin ($2.60), Terrorcam ($5.10) and Purple N gold ($5.10).

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 2) with post time set for 6:15.

August 30, 2016 - 2:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Dayson with driver Jim Morrill Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

On Wednesday night (Aug. 31), the New York Sire Stake 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters will visit Batavia Downs to compete in two divisions for a total of $119,300 in purses and Dayson comes in ready after recent Grand Circuit competition.

Dayson (Conway Hall-Nervey’s Taurus) took on the best male sophomore trotters in North America in his last start when he faced off against Hambletonian champion Marion Marauder and Southwind Frank in the $500,000 Colonial Stake at Pocono Downs. After being parked out half the mile, Dayson finished fifth behind winner Southwind Frank, beaten only three lengths in 1:52.4.

Prior to that start, Dayson strung together three straight wins including a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 at the Meadowlands in the $50,000 Townsend Ackerman Stake. For the year, Dayson has seven wins in eleven starts and $201,033 in the bank. He currently sits second in the points standing for his sex, age and gait.

Trainer Ron Burke has assigned leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. to steer Dayson in his $59,100 division and they will leave from post three as the prohibitive morning line 6-5 favorite. 

The Royal Harry (RC Royalty-Wilsonator) will be major competition for the favorite after he recently competed in the Hambletonian in August. The Royal Harry faced the best of his class in that race and acquitted himself well, trotting back to back heats race-timed in 1:53 and 1:53.3.

In four NYSS starts this year The Royal Harry has posted two wins and two second-place finishes and that ties him with Dayson for second in overall points. Those starts also helped pad his wallet this year to the tune of $136,283.

Trainer Ake Svanstedt has listed Oskar Florhed to drive The Royal Harry and they will line up in post two as the 2-1 second choice.

In the other $60,200 split, NYSS divisional point’s leader Smalltownthrowdown (Cash Hall-Ann’s Promise) comes into western New York red hot on the heels of two eye-popping victories.

Last week he went wire to wire in 1:56.2 at Monticello Raceway to win by almost nine-lengths and two weeks before that, he won in similar style at Saratoga Raceway in 1:54.4 by five-lengths. That time was also a new lifetime mark. Smalltownthrowdown has five wins in 12 starts this year and $156,795 in earnings.

Trainer/driver Dan Daley will be in his usual spot behind Smalltownthrowdown and depart from post five, listed at 7-5.

Sir Royson (Crazed-Leibovitz Hanover) has had a mixed bag of racing luck of late. A nice 1:56.3 second place effort behind Dayson at Yonkers on July 14 was sandwiched between a break at Buffalo Raceway and one at Saratoga. But after a 10 day sabbatical, Sir Royson qualified in good form at Freehold in 1:59.2 and looks to build on that effort in here.

Sir Royson has three 2016 wins, two in NYSS action and $94,928 in earnings. He took a mark of 1:54 at Tioga Downs back in May.

Trainer Linda Toscano has Jim Marohn Jr. in the sulky and Sir Royson will leave from post two as the 4-1 second choice.

There are also two $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the program that are carded as race one and two.

Post time for Wednesday’s first race is 6:15 p.m.

August 29, 2016 - 3:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Wiener Dog Races, Batavia Downs.

(Photos courtesy of Paul White.)

Above, winning wiener dog, Pablo, with owner Adrienne Penders.

Above, the crowd packed the spectator area at Sunday's Wiener Dog Races at Batavia Downs and free bottles of cold water helped them beat the heat.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The centerpiece of Batavia Downs Family Fun Day on Sunday (Aug. 28) was the annual Wiener Dog Races and this year, 2,400 live patrons came out to watch a great program of live harness racing while anticipating the nine qualifying wiener heats that followed.

After the qualifying events were held and the final field was set, nine dogs went postward in the two-pylon sprint as the rail trackside was literally five-deep with spectators.

Track announcer Joe Zambito gave the word and they released the hounds for the race. After the pack thundered down the stretch and the dust had settled, Pablo was a convincing winner, with Nibbles beating out Minnie in a close photo for second.

It was the third time Pablo had competed in this event and the third time was a charm for him and his owner.

“He’s always been competitive and always done well in the race, but he never won it,” said Pablo’s owner Adrienne Penders. “This year he finally got it done.”

Nibbles is owned by Tammy Anderson; and Minnie is owned by Lori Laine.

Last year’s champion Piglet, won his qualifying heat this afternoon but failed to hit the board in the final despite a hearty attempt.

"Once again, Family Fun Day was a great success" said Todd Haight, director/general manager of Live Racing. "The stands were full with kids of all ages and everyone had a great time at Batavia Downs. The wiener dogs put on another great show and we would like to thank everyone who brought their dogs out to compete and to Genesee Feeds of Batavia who sponsors the event every year." 

Each of the nine qualifying heat winners received a $25 free play voucher to Batavia Downs Gaming. The winning owner of the final was presented a $100 free play voucher, the second-place finisher received $75 in free play, and the third-place finisher will enjoy $50 in free play. All three owners will also get two complimentary buffets each in the Batavia Downs clubhouse.

The 2-9-3 doggie-tri combination was reported to return 25 Milk-Bones among trackside punters.

August 29, 2016 - 2:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Kevin Cummings courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The weather wasn’t the only thing that was hot at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 28), Kevin Cummings was as well. The Downs leading driver who is currently sporting 37 wins at the meet reached that total on the strength of today’s performance.

Cummings won with Windemere Maggie ($4.20) and Ona Dream ($7.20) to complete the early Daily double ($24.60). After that, he finished the card scoring with Sea Deuce ($4.10), Lexis Amigo (5.40) and B Evas Lucky Lad ($8.60).

Cummings third winner, Sea Deuce, took the afternoon’s $7,200 feature pace in 1:56.3. Sea Deuce went wire to wire in victory, coming home strong in :28.2 to hold of the pocket sitting Mystical Valentine (Jack Flanigen) in the process. It was the sixth win of the year for the 6-year-old gelded son of Armbro Deuce that is owned by Cummings and trained by Priscilla Mooney.

Not to be outdone, Dave McNeight III (who is currently second is dash wins behind Cummings) and Ray Fisher Jr. also reached the winner’s enclosure twice.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 31) at 6:15 p.m. and will feature two divisions of the New York Sires Stake 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings who will vie for $119,300 in purses. 

August 29, 2016 - 2:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Milliron Pete with driver Ron Beback Jr.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Milliron Pete made his local debut for new connections last week after 19 days off and experienced an off-track and road trouble for his effort. But the Northfield Park invader more than made up for that outing on Saturday night (Aug. 27) when he won the $10,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs in convincing fashion.

With the scratch of Heaven Rocks, the abbreviated field of five departed the gate with Milliron Pete (Ron Beback Jr.) scooting right to the front. Everyone stood pat until the three-eighths when the 2-5 favorite Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) pulled first up as they hit the half in a meager :58 flat.

Positions remained unchanged as the group circled the final two turns with Knocking Around just outside the flank of the front-running Milliron Pete. And despite his best effort to collar the leader down the lane, Knocking Around could not as Milliron Pete held fast and paced home in :28.1 to win by a long-length in 1:54.4. Knocking around toughed out the place spot while China Dream (Jack Flanigen) came from mid-pack for third.

It was the ninth win of the year for Milliron Pete ($20.40) and the winner’s share of the purse pushed his annual income to $60,315. Milliron Pete is owned Elm Racing and is trained by Ron Beback Jr.

Saturday turned out to be long-shot night at the Downs led off by Green Olives ($53) winning the second race and triggering a $305 Exacta (8-5), $1,662 Trifecta (8-5-3) and $4,220.50 Super (8-5-3-2). Then in the third, Kashability ($21.00) spurred a $621 Exacta (3-8) and a $2,712 Trifecta (3-8-5). 

Ray Fisher Jr. scored three wins on the card while Kevin Cummings followed up with two.

August 29, 2016 - 6:01am

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The fourth annual Wiener Dog Race held yesterday at Batavia Downs Gaming brought thousands of families to cheer, laugh and smile for a fun-filled afternoon of free entertainment.

Pictured above is Pablo, the winner of today’s race with owners Jon Wright and Adrienne Penders from Pavilion.

“This is the first race we have won in the three years of racing,” Adrienne said.

Last year Pablo came in second but shined in the final race.

More than 60 dogs participated in today’s race. There were nine heats of seven to eight dogs per race. 

Winners of each heat race are:

  1. #4 Skittles
  2. #5 Pablo
  3. #4 Minnie
  4. #6 Frank
  5. #3 Maximus
  6. #3 Ruby
  7. #7 Mickey Zoom
  8. #4 Piglet (who won the 2015 race)
  9. #2 Nibbles

Winners overall were: First Place -- Pablo, Second Place -- Nibbles; and Third Place -- Minnie. Each owner took home a winning free play certificate and various prizes.

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August 27, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

After back-to-back second place finishes to Serendipitious and Studio City in Open company races the last two weeks, Winky’s Pride got her revenge by beating them both, along with five other top-flight trotters in the $10,500 feature trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 26). 

As the starting car sped away, Serendipitious (Ray Fisher Jr.), WInky’s Pride (Drew Monti) and Kahoku (Ron Beback Jr.) all left as fast as the gate and then argued strongly for the lead. As they moved by the quarter in :28, Serendipitious took the front from the first seated Winky’s Pride and the two mares left Kahoku parked-out to dry.

The field stayed pretty much unchanged to the half in :57.2 and three-quarters in 1:27.3 before Kahoku folded from taking air and Serendipitious started to look like a winner. But Monti had other ideas as he tipped Winky’s Pride by the head of the stretch and under light urging, trotted away to a two-length victory in 1:57.2. Studio City (Dave McNeight III) snuck up the rail to be second and Serendipitious hung on for third.

It was the fourth win in 26 starts this year for Winky’s Pride ($19.60) and the winner’s share pushed her earnings up to $41,039 for 2016. The time of 1:57.2 was a new seasonal mark for the 8-year-old chestnut daughter of Amigo Hall and only 2/5th’s of a second off her lifetime best.

Winky’s Pride is owned and trained by Robert Hummel.

Dave McNeight III and Ray Fisher Jr. both had driving doubles and trainer Lisa Mariacher conditioned two winners as well.

Racing resumes at Batavia Down tonight (Aug. 27) with post time set for 6:15.

August 27, 2016 - 3:14pm

Photo courtesy of Batavia Downs. Pictured is last year's winning wiener dog, "Piglet," and his owner, Heidi Kaiser.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The "Dog Days of Summer" at Batavia Downs means it's time for the annual Genesee Feeds Wiener Dog Races. That popular event is once again happening this Sunday afternoon (Aug. 28) with post time for the first Dachshund race scheduled for approximately 4:20 p.m. after the completion of the live 11-race live harness racing card.

Last year, Heidi Kaiser’s Dachshund, “Piglet,” made his third Downs appearance and cruised to a comfortable victory defeating nine other fleet-footed Wiener-racers in the championship final.

On Sunday, seven heats will be contested with each heat winner scoring a $25 free play voucher to Batavia Downs Gaming. The heat winners will then return for a championship race where the winning owner getting $100 in free play, second place finisher gets $75 in free play, and the third place finisher receives $50 in free play. The owners of the top three finishers will also get two complementary buffets in the Batavia Downs clubhouse.

All entrants will receive doggie bags for their athletes from the official sponsor of the Wiener Dog Races, Genesee Feeds of Batavia.

The Wiener Dog Races are one of the biggest promotions of the season at Batavia Downs and the main event of "Family Fun Day" at the races.

"Family Fun Day is one of my favorite live racing days,” said Director/General Manager of Live Racing, Todd Haight. “The kids always have a great time. You can bring the whole family out because there is something for everyone and you can eat, drink and enjoy everything going on for the entire afternoon and it costs next to nothing.”

Treat the kids to a fun, affordable day out with $1 Sahlen's hot dogs, soda, and snow cones and free pony rides from 2-4 p.m., sponsored by Castilone Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Jeep of Batavia. There will also be special appearances by Pringles The Clown, Mr. Scribbles, Jason the Juggler and other fun activities for kids of all ages. And everything is presented in a clean, safe environment where they can just enjoy themselves.

Admission and parking are free and live harness racing action begins at 1:15 p.m.

August 25, 2016 - 1:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The $9,500 mares Open pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 24) was like “Groundhog Day” for the winner as My Tallia Ideal once again came from off the pace to dominate at the end and score consecutive victories in the Genesee County oval’s top distaff class.

Looney Dune (Ben McNeil) took a slow slow methodic outside route to the lead after the small but select field of mares broke from the gate for race one. She cleared before the quarter in :27.3 and from that point, the trailing field followed her in post-position order until they straightened out for the half.

At the head of the stretch, My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) pulled and began motoring up towards the leader followed by All Charged Up (John McDonald) and Who Says That (Drew Monti) in the outer flow. By the middle of the backstretch, My Tallia Ideal’s forward assault was complete when she cleared and tripped the three-quarter timer in 1:25. From there, the gauntlet was laid down as the daughter of Western Ideal opened up by two, then three and pulled away more to a 1:53.4 win over All Charged Up and Who Says That.

It was the sixth win of the year for My Tallia Ideal ($5.90), including three out of four Batavia Downs starts, all being in the top class at the Downs. The win pushed her earnings for the year to $43,525 for owners Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney McNeight. My Tallia Ideal is trained by Dave McNeight Jr.

Four drivers owned most of the card as Todd Cummings won three races and Kevin Cummings, Jack Flanigen and Dave McNeight III each won two. Trainer Dave McNeight Jr. also sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 26) with post time for the first race at 6:15.

August 23, 2016 - 1:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, sports, news, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

If you have ever attended live harness racing and realized you may be interested in becoming an active participant in America’s oldest organized sport, Batavia Downs is offering a new owner seminar at 3 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 10) in the Robert J. Kane Boardroom, located in the lower grandstand. It is being held in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association and the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State.

The program will include a two-and-a-half hour classroom presentation by representatives of the United States Trotting Association (USTA) and the Harness Horse Breeders of New York (HHBNYS) and will include guest trainers, drivers, owners and management from Batavia Downs Racetrack. Topics will include risk and reward, what it costs, choosing your horse, trainer and driver, and time will be allowed for questions and answers throughout the evening.

The package includes:

  • All needed classroom materials;
  • A hands-on tour of the paddock as horses prepare for the night's action;
  • Reserved seating in the clubhouse;
  • Dinner at the prime rib, crab leg and shrimp buffet;
  • A trip to the winner’s circle for a win picture after a race;
  • Membership to the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State;
  • $20 worth of free-play on the gaming floor;
  • and a free one-year subscription to the industry’s award-winning publication, "Hoof Beats Magazine."

The cost is only $30 for a single and $50 for a couple. Reservations should be made in advance but payment will be made at the door. There are several ways to register. There are links on both USTA and Batavia Downs Facebook pages or go to shop.ustrotting.com and click Prospective Owners Events. You can also e-mail [email protected] or call 877-800-8782, ext. 5555 or 585-343-375, ext. 6322.

This is your opportunity to own your own sports franchise and go from the grandstand to the winner’s circle with your winning horse. Purses have never been higher at many tracks in North America and there has never been a better time to get involved in all the fun and excitement of harness racing ownership than right now.

August 22, 2016 - 12:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Robin J with driver Jim Marohn Jr.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A heavy early rain dampened the track, but not the enthusiasm shown by the eight 2-year-old pacing fillies competing for one of the largest single purses ever offered at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 20). And when the all the moves were made, Robin J (Roll With Joe-Mommy Robin Q) saved her best one for last and captured the victory in the New York Sire Stake event.

Artrageous (Jim Morrill Jr.) left sharply for the lead and Robin J (Jim Marohn Jr.) settled in behind her as the field moved to the quarter in :28.3. Shortly after they passed that marker the outer flow set up with American Cheer (Billy Davis Jr.) coming first over and Pleasant Roll (Chris Lems) and Roaring To go (Kevin Cummings) following right behind.

At the three-quarter pole they fanned four across the track when Pleasant Roll tipped three wide and Roaring To Go went four abreast. Pleasant Roll took the lead from Artrageous by a half-length in the last turn, but Artrageous dug in and took it back before they hit the stretch. As they headed down the lane Artrageous was in the middle of the track trying to fight off Pleasant Roll when Marohn moved Robin J into the passing lane and powered by them both to take the win in 1:56.

“She was real good tonight, but I couldn’t have asked for a better trip. The way it set up and the way the race went; it was all about the trip” said Marohn after the race.

It was the fifth win in six lifetime starts for Robin J ($4.50) and the purse enhance her lifetime total to $131,605 for owner Ken Jacobs. Robin J is trained by Linda Toscano.

There were also four $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the program.

The first division was won by Megyn K (American Ideal-Fantasy Jet) in 1:58 for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Jean Drolet. Megyn K ($2.90) is owned by Stephen Schneider, William Siegel, Jay Lieberman and Karen Munk.

The second division went to Bullvillestephanie (Roll With Joe-Bullville Ana) in 1:57.4 for driver Ray Schnittker and trainer Steve Crevani. Bullvillestephanie ($11.40) is owned by Crevani Farms.

The third leg was won by Ann Hill (Rock N Roll Heaven-Taxi Fare Hanover) in 1:57.1 for driver Chris Lems and trainer Tony Alagna. Ann Hill ($3.30) is owned by Tom Hill.

The final split was taken by Pirinea’s Princess (Roll With Joe-Chant-a-nuka) in 1:59.1 for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Dennis Laterza. Pirinea’s Princess ($3.00) is owned by Latz A Luck Stable.

Jim Morrill Jr. scored four driving wins on the card that included three in stake action and one in the overnight featured $10,500 Open pace with Ron Burke’s multi-million dollar winner, Clear Vision (Western Hanover-Artistic Vision) in 1:53.4, wire to wire.

August 20, 2016 - 12:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Serendipitous and driver Ray Fisher Jr.)

By Tim Bojarski

There were two mares against the boys in the $10,000 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 19) and girl-power prevailed as Serendipitous, who was overlooked at 9-1, pulled out a wire to wire victory in a lifetime best time of 1:57.1.

Weekly leaver Lutetium (Todd Cummings) made a break off the gate which handed Serendipitous (Ray Fisher Jr.) the lead and with it, the mare took the field in post-position order to the half in :57.3. At the five-eighths, Noble Legend (Kevin Cummings) pulled first over and brought heavily favored J A T O (Mike Caprio) in tow and the pair motored up toward the front.  

That outer flow chased the leader to the three-quarter station in 1:27.1 without gaining much ground when J A T O pulled three wide in the last turn and started his solo assault. But when he actually drifted five-wide in the move, Serendipitous was able to maintain her lead in mid-stretch and fend off the pocket-sitting Winky’s Pride as well as the late rush by J A T O to win by a neck.

Winky’s Pride (Drew Monti), who was the other mare in the race, finished second and J A T O settled for third.

It was the sixth victory of the year for Serendipitous ($21.80) and the winner’s share of the purse padded her bank account to the tune of $33,267 for Guy Polillo Est. and trainer John Mungillo.

The secondary feature carded as the $8,500 Open II saw Kahoku ($7.70) avoid some early road trouble and go wire to wire in a fast 1:56.3 for driver Ron Beback Jr. The 8-year-old gelded son of SJ’s Caviar is trained by Mark Laidlaw for owners Colleen Girdlestone and Michael Gentner.

Batavia Downs leading dash driver Kevin Cummings had a driving triple on the night while Drew Monti doubled up.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs tonight (Aug. 20) with the first post set for 6:15. Saturday’s card features the NYSS 2-year-old pacing fillies going for $110,200 in race four on the card.

August 19, 2016 - 1:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Robin J, courtesy of Fotowon.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

There is $110,200 up for grabs in the 2-year-old pacing filly division of the New York Sire Stakes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 20) but it’s being competed for all in one race. In a rare instance, only eight of the 43 2-year-old pacing fillies that have started in NYSS competition this year have entered the top level this week and they will go postward in race four.

The $110,200 one-race payoff is one of the most lucrative purses ever offered at Batavia Downs behind the all-time record of $286,756 that was distributed in the 1988 Breder's Crown.

Robin J (Roll With Joe-Mommy Robin Q) has been made the prohibitive 8-5 morning line choice on the strength of four wins in five lifetime starts and all were in stake competition. Last week, Robin J went wire to wire in the Geers Stake at Tioga Downs and registered the victory in 1:54, with a last quarter in an eye-popping :26.3, and in doing so set a new lifetime mark. She can race on point or off the pace and that makes her a double threat.

Jim Marohn Jr. makes an infrequent appearance at Batavia Downs to drive Robin J for trainer Linda Toscano and leaves from post two.

Challenging will be Artrageous (Art Major-In Deep Thought) who is a two-time winner this year, most recently in NYSS action at Saratoga Raceway where she won cutting the mile in 1:55.4, her career best. It’s interesting to note Artrageous defeated Robin J in that contest. The filly was race timed in 1:52.4 at Vernon Downs last week in a third place finish and hasn’t been off the board this year in five tries.

Jim Morrill Jr. takes the reins for trainer Andrew Stafford and departs the gate from post one.

Pleasant Roll (Roll With Joe-Pleasant But Bad) has only one win this year but has shown tremendous growth over her last two starts. After dropping down to the Excelsior A level two weeks ago, Pleasant Roll destroyed her field and won by six lengths in a lifetime best 1:53.3. She then followed that effort up with a second place finish in 1:53 in the Geers Stake at Tioga after being parked out for a good part of the mile. Her division time and her personal clocking of 1:53.3 were both faster than Robin J’s race that day.

Chris Lems is in the bike for trainer Julie Miller and will leave from post five.

There are also four $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A Series on the card and they will provide some outstanding wagering opportunities.

The first division (Race 2) has Megyn K (American Ideal-Fantasy Jet) listed as the 2-1 morning line choice from post five for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Jean Drolet.

The second division (Race 3) features the Blake Macintosh-trained entry of Takeyourbreathaway (Rock N roll Heaven-Leave Em Gasping) with Billy Davis Jr. aboard from post two and Clear Idea (American Ideal-Glass Maker) with Drew Monti at the lines from post eight, pegged as the 5-2 handicappers selection.

The third division (Race 6) has trainer Tony Alagna’s Ann Hill (Rock N Roll Heaven-Taxi Fare Hanover) listed at 5-2 for driver Chris Lems who will leave from post five.

And the final division (Race 7) has seen Opaline Blue Chip named the 5-2 early favorite for trainer Richard Ringler and local driving favorite Kevin Cummings, who starts from post five.

Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

August 18, 2016 - 1:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of My Tallia Ideal with driver Dave McNeight III.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

My Tallia Ideal ($5.50) let her foes do the heavy lifting for the first half of the race and then proceeded to pick up the pieces for an easy victory in the $9,500 mares open pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 17).

Wanna Rock N Roll (Todd Cummings), Jann Down (Jack Flanigen) and V’la Faire (Wade Tomaszewski) went three-wide around the first turn and then up the backside, scorching a :27.2 quarter in the process. V’la Faire finally claimed the lead and led the girls to the half.

My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) pulled first-over in advance of that station and floated outside the leader as they went around the clubhouse turn. When they straightened up the backside, McNeight let out the lines and his mare responded in kind. Clearing by the three-quarter pole in 1:26.3, My Tallia Ideal proceeded to stride away from the rest of the field and opened up a four-length lead by the time she stopped the timer in 1:54.3, pacing her last quarter in :28 flat.

Who Says That (Drew Monti) rallied strong to be second and a very game V’la Faire hung on for third.

It was the second win in three Batavia downs starts for My Tallia Ideal, both of which were in the top company. The 6-year-old daughter of Western Ideal has now earned $38,775 in 2016 for owners Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney McNeight. Dave McNeight Jr. does the training.

Wins came in multiples for many horsemen on Wednesday night. Drivers Dave McNeight III and Ray Fisher Jr. both had triples while Drew Monti and Kevin Cummings chimed in with doubles. On the training side, Dave McNeight Jr. and Angelo Nappo each sent two horses to the winner's enclosure for photos.

Racing resumes on Friday night (Aug. 19) at Batavia Downs with the first post set for 6:15.

August 15, 2016 - 1:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Goosebumb Hanover with driver Jim Morrill Jr.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Despite the oppressive humidity at post time, victory in the $119,300 New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies was no sweat for Goosebump Hanover and Non Stick at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 13).

Goosebump Hanover (RC Royalty-Good Common Cents) took a wait-and-see approach in the first $59,100 division as Jim Morrill Jr. took back to last while Lindylicious (Kevin Cummings), Swinging Royalty (Chris Lems) and Earn Your Wings (Charlie Norris) accounted for three lead changes before the half that was reached in :58.2.

At that station, Earn your Wings was on top by two when Morrill pulled Goosebump Hanover to follow the live cover of Lindylicious, who had made a move at five eighths. Morrill followed the outer flow until it stalled and then swung three-wide at the top of the far turn and started pouring on the speed. When they hit the straightaway, Goosebump Hanover was in full-stride and scored a one length victory in 1:58.

After the race, driver Jim Morrill Jr. spoke glowingly of his filly. “The race set up perfectly for her with the fast half. But when I tipped her and asked her for more, she trotted strong to the wire.”

Goosebump Hanover ($10.40) is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable, LLC, J&T Silva Stables, LLC, Crawford Farms, LLC, and Joseph DiScala Jr.

(Photo of Non Stick with trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt.)

In the second $60,200 leg, Non Stick (Lucky Chucky-Meucci Madness) took no prisoners as trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt left immediately and worked his way to the lead by the quarter in :29 flat. Open Access (Charlie Norris), who left behind Non Stick, was pressuring her on the outside at that point but made a break in the turn and that allowed the leader a :30.4 breather in the second panel.

Approaching the five eighths pole, post time favorite Fad Finance (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled from third and drafted outside of Non Stick up the backside. But as soon as the pair hit the final turn, Morrill gave the filly her head and Fad finance surged a length ahead of Non Stick. However the tables turned quickly when they straightened out in the lane as Non Stick came back on and pulled away to an easy two-length win in 1:58.2.

Non Stick ($5.60) is owned by Ake Svanstedt, Inc., and Little E, LLC.

There were also three $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card and two of them showed up the headliners by just missing the track record for 3-year-old trotting fillies by a fifth of a second (Cowgirl Hall, Bouncing Bax-1:57.2).

The first division was won by Wendy’s Girl (Lucky Chucky-East Creek Wendy) who was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. in 1:57.3. Wendy’s Girl ($2.80) is trained by Tracy Brainard for owners Howard Taylor and Edwin Gold.

The second leg was won by Dazzling Dollars (Cash Hall-Designed To Dazzle) who was also driven by Jim Morrill Jr. and was also timed in 1:57.3. Dazzling Dollars ($3.30) is trained by Trond Smedshammer for owner Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stable.

The third split was captured by Hullaba Lulu (RC Royalty-Lulu Pernilla) who was teamed by his trainer, John Stark Jr. in 1:58.2. Hullaba Lulu ($16.20) is owned by the estate of Edmund Smith, Daniel Giannuzzi, James Giannuzzi and Carol Wink.  

Jim Morrill Jr. had a driving triple on the card while Dave McNeight III won with two.

August 13, 2016 - 1:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of J A T O with driver Mike Caprio, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

J A T O is an acronym for jet-assisted take-off and given the style of his racing, there has probably never been a more aptly named horse. At Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 12), J A T O (Mike Caprio) turned on the jets from last and flew home to capture the $10,000 Open trotting feature in the fastest trotting mile of the meet.

Lutetium (Todd Cummings) took his familiar position up front as he left from post six and dictated the fractions. He went to the half in :57.2 with a two-length lead before anyone made a move. As they motored up the backside, Lutetium then opened up a four-length lead and was beginning to look like a winner, but Mike Caprio pulled J A T O from last and made a very strong three-wide move.

When the field reached three quarters in 1:26.3, J A T O had moved into second and cut Lutetium’s lead in half and when they hit the top of the stretch, it was all over; J A T O simply trotted away to a length victory in 1:57.2. Lutetium hung on for second and Noble Legend (Kevin Cummings) closed well for third.

It was the third win in nine starts for J A T O ($3.80) and it pushed the 4-year-old gelded son of Big Apple Deli’s bankroll to $35,075 for 2016. The time of 1:57.2 was a seasonal mark for the winner.

J A T O is trained by Alana Caprio for owners Margaret Butler and Amy Butler.

Kevin Cummings scored a driving triple and that pushed him into second place among the local driver colony for dash wins, now with 15. Drew Monti and Todd Cummings both had doubles on the card as well. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on tonight (Aug. 13) with two legs of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies on the card. Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

August 12, 2016 - 12:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Non Stick courtesy of Fotowon.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

When the 3-year-old trotting filly division of the New York Sire Stakes rolls into Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 13), three of the top six richest distaff sophomore trotters of 2016 will be on hand to compete for the $119,300 in purses being offered. 

In the first $60,200 leg that is carded as race three, Non Stick (Lucky Chucky-Meucci Madness) comes in with $158,332 bankrolled this year on the strength of a win in the $225,000 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) at Vernon Downs on Sunday (June 19) in a career best 1:54 time. Those earnings rank her fourth among all 3-year-old trotting fillies in North America.

Last week at Yonkers Raceway, Non Stick was a beaten 1-5 favorite after making an uncharacteristic break for driver Daniel Dube while on the lead in the last turn. But the filly drew well again here and will look to make amends this week.

Non Stick is the 2-1 morning line favorite and will start from post two. Trainer Ake Svanstedt takes back the reins and will do the driving here.

Fad Finance (Credit Winner-Armbro Vanity) is more than a formidable foe and comes in boasting three straight NYSS victories. On Sunday (July 24) Fad Finance finished third in the $140,000 Zweig Memorial trot at Vernon Downs, beaten by Flowers N Songs and Woman’s Will who both competed in the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations at the Meadowlands on Saturday (July 30).

Fad Finance has four wins this year, is the leading point-getter in her division of the NYSS and has $141,806 banked, putting her sixth in North America in earnings for age, sex and gait. The filly is picked second and listed at 5-2 morning line and will once again get the services of Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike.

Race four is the second $59,100 division and Swinging Royalty (RC Royalty-Swing Anna Cash) comes in with a very impressive resume. After finishing second to Non Stick in the EBC, Swinging Royalty scorched the Vernon Downs oval in an overnight event in 1:54.1, winning by 15 lengths and registering a new lifetime mark. The filly then backed that up with her first NYSS win the week after at Tioga Downs.

Swinging Royalty is the third highest point-getter in her division and her $142,147 in earning this year has her ranked fifth among all 3-year-old trotting fillies in North America.

Trainer George Ducharme has Chris Lems back in the bike after a two-week hiatus and he will leave from post six at 2-1. Lems has been aboard for all four lifetime wins by Swinging Royalty.  

Goosebump Hanover (RC Royalty-Good Common Cents) had a slow start this year before winning the $27,690 Tompkins trot at Tioga in July. However her subsequent two outings may have been considered less than expected. So trainer Ron Burke added Lasix for her last start at Yonkers and that could make a difference this week.

Jim Morrill Jr. will steer again this week and leave from post 5 at 3-1.

Earn Your Wings (Credit Winner-Southwind Serena) put in a stellar effort at Yonkers last week, winning from post eight in 1:57. After leaving in :28.2, Earn your Wings yielded the lead to heavy favorite Non Stick and then sat in the pocket. Non Stick made a break before the stretch and Earn Your Wings took it from there, scoring a length victory at 30-1.

With three wins this year and just under $100,000 accumulated, Earn Your Wings drew post two and trainer Annette Lorentzon has called on Mark MacDonald to pilot this week.

There are also three divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior A series carded as races five through seven and all look like solid wagering opportunities.

Wendy’s Girl (Lucky Chucky-East Creek Wendy) is the 8-5 choice in race five for trainer Tracy Brainard and driver Jim Morrill Jr., Winky’s Gal (RC Royalty-Tessel) is the 5-2 favorite in race six for driver Chris Lems and trainer James Weidman and Outsidecourt (Conway Court-Getaway Cheyenne) is the 2-1 morning line in race seven for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Gary Messenger.

Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

August 11, 2016 - 12:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Who Says That with driver Drew Monti.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

After getting away fifth and chasing a stiff pace to the half, Who Says That ($11) followed live cover in a wily drive by Drew Monti to capture the $9,500 mares Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 10).

My Tallia Ideal (Mike Caprio) left and got the lead in a speedy :27.1 first panel. But as soon as she settled in, Yes You Can (Todd Cummings) pulled and went right after her and in doing so, rang up a :55.2 half.

Out of the third turn, My Tallia Ideal had pulled a full length ahead, but V’la Faire (Wade Tomaszewski) tipped three-deep around the now back-peddling Yes You Can and Who Says That pulled from fifth to follow that move. The three mares paced side-by-side around the far turn and into the stretch when Who Says That inflicted her will on the opponents and pulled away to a three-length victory in 1:54.

It was the 10th win in 27 starts this year for Who Says That and it pushed her earnings total for 2016 to $44,162. The time of 1:54 was a new lifetime mark for the 5-year-old Badlands Hanover mare that is trained by Maria Rice for owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable, Christopher Shambo and Jack Rice.  

Todd Cummings and Ray Fisher Jr. both scored driving triples and Drew Monti had a double. Trainers Tony Cummings and Maria Rice both sent two winners postward.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on tonight (Aug. 12) at 6:15.

August 8, 2016 - 1:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Sam Hill and driver Kevin Cummings, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Trainer John Sullivan is a regular at the Meadows Racetrack. But the Rochester native visited his old stomping grounds on Saturday night (Aug. 6) and left with the winner’s share of the $10,000 purse after winning the Open pace at Batavia Downs with his classy veteran, Sam Hill.

If the race were a fight, they would have called it early after Kevin Cummings left with Sam Hill and put local top side-wheeler Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) in his place when he tried to leave against him. From there, Sam Hill called all the shots.

Sam Hill led and Fireyourguns was sitting second when they passed the half in :56.3, then Whosurpal (Todd Cummings) joined the party when he pulled from fifth and tried to challenge. But the best he could do was get within a loose length of the leader in the :28.3 third panel. From there Kevin Cummings gave Sam Hill his head and he powered away to an easy two-length victory in 1:53.3. The time was the fastest pace of the 2016 meet to date.

It was the fifth win in 15 starts for Sam Hill ($5.10) and it pushed his earnings to $55,100 for the year. The 10-year-old Artsplace gelding now has 44 wins and $478,767 lifetime. Sam Hill is owned by Don Tiger.

In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, the red hot Jim Graham Stable saw Closing Credits ($8.70) add to their win total as the 6-year-old Rambaran gelding went wire to wire in 1:54.3 for driver Dave McNeight III. Closing Credits is owned by his trainer and the Cybo Stable Inc.

Drivers Dave McNeight III and Jack Flanigen both scored triples on the card, as did trainers Jim Graham and JD Perrin. Flanigen and Perrin teamed up to win the last three races of the night.

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