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September 4, 2010 - 11:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press Release:

Batavia, NY --- The start of Labor Day weekend at Batavia Downs Casino featured four NY County Fair finals for 2 and 3 year-old pacers and trotters, worth $8,000 each.

The 3-year-old pacers kicked off the fair finals in race two. This one saw Emmas Lily (Artiscape-Sweet Rosa Belle) with trainer/driver Truman Gale upset favored It’s Only Roni with Jack Flanigen in 2:00. Charlesinazone was right there in third. Emmas Lily, who won for the eighth time this season, is owned by Stephanie and Brian Cassell.

The win machine, Vagra (Dream Vacation-Agra), notched his 13th win of the season when he trotted to a 4-1/2 length score in 2:03. The veteran Doug Ackley trains and drives the talented 3-year-old trotter. EJ’s Dream Kat (Jack Flanigen), who was the early leader, held on for second over Here Comes Doodles (Kevin Cummings).

Heavily favored Lofty Dreams did not disappoint in the 2-year-old trot when he went on to a much the best 8-1/2 length win in 2:05.1. Jack Flanigen put the Dream Vacation-Dusty Girl colt on the lead for owner-trainer Steve Pratt and they never had an anxious moment. The win was Lofty Dream's eighth of his freshman campaign. Iroquoindianspring with Kirk Desmond got second over Love And Peace with Mark Whitcroft.

Last, but not least, former Batavia Downs regular Dave Fisher guided Surf Cast Michelle to a head victory over Totally Determined and Leon Bailey in 2:02.3 in the 2-year-old pace. Fisher brushed the Quality Of Life-Surf Cast Paradise filly to the front at the half and that proved to be the winning move. Surf Cast Michelle is now five for seven lifetime.

Queen Creek got Pick-6 players off on the right foot, when she went gate-to-wire in the $9,000 Preferred Trot. Starting from post position two, Queen Creek assumed command when the gate opened and under strong Ron Beback, Jr. urging was able to hold off the pocket sitting Kash N Credit (Troy Boring) in 1:59.2.

Thanks to six straight winning chalks the Pick-6 was hit. Five winning ticket holders took home $268 each. The Pick-6 pool will be guaranteed at $1,000 on Saturday night.

New York Sire Stakes action continues on Saturday night when the glamour division, the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, race for almost $150,000 in purses. Post time is 6:40 p.m.

September 2, 2010 - 9:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

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Press release:

Batavia, NY --- The weekly $9,000 pacing feature for the distaffers went to Joe Cicatello’s, Nora Lee, in 1:55.2, Wednesday night at Batavia Downs Casino.

Leaving from post-position four, Nora Lee with Jamie Dunlap at the lines followed second over cover, tipped three deep at the top of the stretch and outfinished the pocket sitting Pembroke Primo (Kevin Cummings) to win by 1-3/4 lengths. The Grey Filly (Ron Beback Jr.) closed from last to be third.

Nora Lee, a Modern Art 4-year-old mare, notched her 7th win of 2010 and raised her seasonal earnings to over $36,000. Mike Delano is the conditioner.

Batavia Downs Casino will host four New York Sire Stakes County Fair finals when racing resumes on Friday Night. Post time is 6:40 pm.

Saturday is Hall of Fame Night as The Downs inducts three of Western New York’s all-time top drivers - John Schroeder, Jeff Gregory and Clint Galbraith - in ceremonies at the winner’s circle. Gregory and Galbraith will be in the Casino lobby for a Meet ‘n Greet and autograph session beginning at 5:30. Also, race fans have a chance to win a set of Clint Galbraith’s colors via a random drawing. Sign up begins at 5:00 at Player’s Club.

August 31, 2010 - 11:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Announcements, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

It’s a tribute to the men and women who flirted with harness racing immortality. And the Harness Racing Hall of Fame exhibit will be on display this weekend at Batavia Downs Casino.

It’s called the Drive to Win exhibit and it features drivers and trainers who through circumstance or fate, did not rise to stardom. Their stories are poignant and down to earth and highlight that through adversity, the one shining element that connects them all is their love of and commitment to the great sport of harness racing.

Huge portraits, many provided by The United States Trotting Association and the sport’s weekly magazine Horseman And Fair World, introduce the subjects of the exhibit who were all nominated by racing fans. Each includes the complete story of the individual and what made them noteworthy in the sport.

There are 27 drivers and trainers featured in the exhibit including former Western New York regulars Jim Rankin, Robbie Rankin, George Forshey, and Angus Allen. You will also be able to see the stories of Richard Baker, Hugh Bell, Edwin Bither, Harry Burright, Vernon Crank, Harold R. Dancer, Norman Dauplaise, Alfred “Bucky” Day, Bea Farber, Hilda Heydt, Maxie Lee, Joe Lighthill, Howard Parker, Ervin Samples, Forrest Short, Phyllis Smith Page, Harold Snodgrass, Colby Turner, Sacher Werner, John “Tic” Wilcutts, Lew Williams, and Mildred Williams. Their stories provide an illuminating glimpse into this Great American Pastime.

The exhibit was stationary at the Hall of Fame of the Trotter in Goshen, NY until 2009 when it became a traveling ambassador of the sport. Its presentation here this week was made possible through support from Hanover Shoe Farms and is co-sponsored by Batavia Downs Casino and the Upstate NY Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association. It will be on display in The Paddock Room from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from Noon to 4:00 p.m. Labor Day Monday. Evening post times are 6:40 with a 1:15 matinee post on Labor Day.

We will also have many hand outs from the museum including the colorful and informative Hall of Fame Journal from this past July 4th inductions at Goshen, NY.

Many thanks to Tim Bojarski, President-Upstate New York Chapter of USHWA for making this exhibit possible.

August 30, 2010 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports, Wiener Dog Races.

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"Jake Arnold" is one fast dachshund.

For the second year in a row, the 3-year-old owned by Jane Smart has won the prestigious Wiener Dog Races at Batavia Downs.

"Jake Arnold" beat out 52 other entrants, some of whom never even crossed the finish line, before a packed house of 3,850 race fans.

Taking second and third in the final heat of Sunday's races were Ron Schiller’s “Rudy” and Michael Tyrpak’s “Sahlen.”

From the Batavia Downs' press release:

While there’s no doubt "Jake Arnold" loves bacon treats, the key to success is he simply gets nervous when Jane Smart isn’t around.

“Since he’s been a pup, as soon as he sees me, he runs as fast as he can towards me,” said Smart, the winning dog's owner.

Thanks to “Jakes” good work, she received $100 to spend in the casino. And yes “Jake Arnold” will definitely be back next year.

For second-place finisher “Rudy,” this may have been his final appearance at the Genesee County oval. Definitely a champion, "Rudy" won the 2008 races and has finished second behind "Jake Arnold" the last two years.

“He’ll be 8 next year, we’ll have to see how’s he’s doing,” owner Ron Schiller said, but knowing Rudy, he’ll be back.

“We want to thank everyone for coming out and Petco for sponsoring the races,” said Todd Haight, promotional marketing specialist for Batavia Downs Casino and Western OTB. “It’s amazing how big this event has grown since its inception in 2005. It was definitely great to see such a large crowd.”

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More pictures after the jump:

August 29, 2010 - 10:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press Release:

Batavia, NY --- It was another prime summer evening for harness racing in Western New York as the 64th season of live racing continued at America’s oldest lighted harness track. The feature race, the tenth race on the card, was a $9,000 Open Handicap Pace for fillies and mares with an optional claiming price of $17,500.

The feature went to the Meadows invader Snapper, with Jack Flanigen at the lines, pacing to the mile in a swift 1:56.3. In for the place was Pembroke Primo with John Cummings, Jr. Sun Belle Perfect and Ronny Beback showed up to round out the $55.00 trifecta.

Snapper and Flanigen moved from the rail to overtake the early lead from Cummings and Pembroke Primo just before the quarter pole. The talented mare took the front and cruised comfortably until just before the three-quarter pole when Tom Agosti and Jennifers Major showed a boost of speed to challenge Snapper just rounding the final turn. The efforts of the field did not overcome Snapper and Flanigen, as they drew away to win by 1-1/2 lengths. The fractions for Snapper were :28, :58.1 and 1:28.1.

Snapper is a 7-year-old mare by Keystone Luther. She’s owned by Anthony Cummings and Carl Cummings trains her. The winning $2 mutuel price was $3.20. Snapper was claimed out of the race for $21,000 by Howard Ouriel.

Live racing will continue this Friday and Saturday evening. Saturday features the annual tradition of Old Fashioned Night at Batavia Downs Casino. We will roll back the price of Sahlen’s hot dogs and soda to just 50 cents from 5 p.m. to the last race in the Paddock Room.

August 28, 2010 - 4:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press Release:

Batavia, NY --- Racing fans are reminded that Batavia Downs Casino will be conducting a special 12-race matinee program, on Sunday August 29. First race post time is 1:15pm.

Sunday is the first of three matinees scheduled this season, the others being Labor Day and Columbus Day.

"Batavia Downs Live," the 3 1/2 hour Time Warner cable broadcast of the Downs races will not be aired tomorrow.

"We simply couldn't get the airtime," Michael Kane, Vice President of Live Racing said. "With all the activities scheduled it's going to be a great day to be at the racetrack anyway."

Among the Family Fun activities scheduled for the kids are appearances from Pringles the Crown and Mr. Scribbles along with free pony rides. These events take place from two until four.

Food specials, beginning at noon, include $1.00 Sahlen Hots, Sodas, Popcorn and Snow Cones. A special clubhouse buffet will be served for just $7.95.

And finally after the last harness race of the afternoon its the annual wiener dog races, sponsored by Petco.

A total of 56 dachshunds will compete in 7 heats with the winner from each heat returning for a championship final. The owners of the top three finishers in the finals receive Casino free play. For more information visit www.bataviadownscasino.

August 26, 2010 - 4:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

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Press release:

BATAVIA, NY – In the $9,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace on Wednesday at Batavia Downs, it was the Tioga Downs invader, Biggest Big Bertha, who sizzled the mile in 1:55.1 and took home the $4,500 top prize. The final time was just three ticks off the older mares track record.

Trained and driven by Rick Plano, Biggest Big Bertha made every pole a winning one but had to withstand a serious bid by 4/5 favorite Nora Lee and Kevin Cummings in deep stretch en route to a neck win. Artistry In Rhythm and Ken Holliday were up for third.

Biggest Big Bertha is a 9-year-old mare by Little Steven. She is owned by Marilee Keene. The fractions for the event were :29, :58.1 and 1:26.3.

Be sure to join us this weekend for exciting Live Racing promotions this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Batavia Downs Casino. Post time for Friday and Saturday is 6:40 PM. Friday evening is our annual Italian-American Night. On Saturday evening three lucky patrons will have a chance to win up to $1,000 as they enter the Cash Cube! Registration begins at 5 PM at Player’s Club.

Sunday marks the first matinee of the 64th Live Racing Season, with a post time of 1:15 PM. The famed Weiner Dog Races will follow Sunday’s racing action. The 56 dashing dachshunds will compete in 7 heats and take to the track shortly after the last harness race at approximately 4:20 PM.

August 26, 2010 - 4:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Announcements, sports, harness racing.

Press Release:

(Batavia NY) --- The always popular Wiener Dog Races will be featured as part of the Family Fun Day matinee at Batavia Downs Casino this Sunday August 29. First post time is 1:15 p.m.

There will be seven heats at the end of the 12-race harness card (about 4:20 p.m.) with a maximum of eight dogs each, followed by a “championship heat” between the winners of the seven qualifying events. The 100-yard event is staged on the track in front of the home stretch.

“The wiener dog races are very entertaining,” said Michael D Kane, Vice President of Operations and Live Racing. “We encourage the entire family to come out for this event on Sunday. It’s the perfect way to wrap up our family fun day of entertainment,” he added.

Mr Scribbles and Pringles the Clown will entertain the children from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in The Paddock Room. There will also be pony rides, $1 snow cones, Sahlen hot dogs and soda. A special clubhouse buffet will be featured for $7.95.

This year’s wiener dog race is sponsored by Petco on Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia.

The weekend begins with Italian-American Night Friday evening when Oakfield Attorney Raymond Cianfrini is honored by The Downs as its Italian-American-of-the-Year. A special clubhouse buffet with an Italian flavor will be featured along with live music by the Formula Band.

Saturday night, three race fans will be drawn at random to enter the Casino’s Cash Cube and the chance to grab up to $1000 in cash. Sign-up begins at 5:00 at Player’s Club.

Batavia Downs Casino is owned and operated by Western Regional Off-Track Betting, a public benefit corporation.

August 22, 2010 - 8:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press Release:

Batavia, NY --- Congratulations to Dan Dickens of Batavia, the winner of the August 21, 2010 Batavia Downs Casino $1,000 Handicapping Contest! Dan bested 353 other contestants with a top score of 46 points to claim the $500 top prize.

A three-way tie for second place between Rick Case, Gary Macomber and Luann Furano, each 45 points, proved to be unbreakable as they selected the same winners during the nine race contest. Each will receive $150 for their fine efforts.

Three contestants finished with 44 points but it was John Hutchinson, with a tiebreaker total of $33.50 that was able to secure the fifth spot and take home $50.

All prize money can be picked up beginning on Wednesday, August 25, at 5:00 p.m. at Players Club. The next free handicapping contest of the season takes place, September 18. Many thanks to all that participated and Good Luck!

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.

downsaug1.jpg

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 .

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