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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Downs is expecting a nice crowd on Wednesday night.

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

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

By Brian Mazuek, for Batavia Downs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To watch all the action via streaming video or for more information on the track, go to <

November 13, 2012 - 2:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing, jack flanigen.

Press release:

The “Jack Flanigen Milestone Watch” has officially begun. When racing resumes on Wednesday night at Batavia Downs Casino, all eyes will be on Flanigen, who is closing in on 4,000 lifetime wins in the sulky.

The veteran driver, a lifelong resident of Western New York currently sits at 3,992. The 46-year-old Flanigen is a native of the Buffalo suburb of Hamburg and now lives a little more than five miles from the Batavia track, in Oakfield. In two-plus decades of driving he has become Western New York's winningest driver, and now he's closing in on another milestone.

He reached 3,000 victories on Oct. 20, 2007. There are other drivers from the Batavia-Buffalo Raceway circuit -- past and present -- who have won more races. Jeff Gregory of nearby Churchville is the current leader with 6,583 lifetime wins. Jim Morrill Jr., is at 5,432; Hall of Famer Buddy Gilmour 5,381; Ken Holliday 5,092; Ben Webster 4,378; and John Stark Jr. 4,119.

But most of their wins came at other racetracks. For Flanigen it’s been all about Western New York. Well, at least after the very beginning. His first career drive (and win) didn’t come on his hometown circuit but rather at Lake Shore Meadows, in Erie, Pa. He sat behind a horse named Mighty Mite for trainer Jim Crossan. By 1990 Jack was one of the most sought-after drivers on the Western New York harness racing circuit.

During the '90s he drove in 11,899 races and won 2,279 times. His best year was 1996, when he brought home 271 winners. During his career the horses he has driven have earned more than $11 million. His 3,992 wins best WNY legends, Ed McNeight Jr. (3,456), Jim McNeight (3,089) Gaston Guindon (3,080), Dave Vance (2,894) and Gerry Sarama (2,630).

Flanigen was the Downs dash leading reinsman in 2011. He missed the entire 2008 Downs season with concussion suffered on closing night at Buffalo Raceway. This season, during the 2012 summer-fall meet, he is currently fourth in the driver standings with 74 wins.

And to think it wasn't all that long ago that he actually pulled back on his driving career. In 2001, Flanigen began a second career, taking a full-time job with the New York State Department of Transportation as a truck driver.

“I wasn’t sure which way the business was headed; Batavia was closed and Buffalo was racing reduced dates,” Flanigen said. “So I decided I needed to get a job with benefits just in case.”

When purses climbed at Batavia and Buffalo Flanigen gave up driving trucks for the DOT in 2009 to go back driving horses full-time. He also added training to his resume again, something he hasn’t done since 1994.

“I was just looking for another way to supplement my income so I went back training," he said. "I currently have six in my barn.”
Looking back Flanigen said his career has been a bit of a surprise.

“I never dreamt sitting on driver/trainer Franny Bond‘s lap when I was 10-years-old, while he was out jogging horses, that I would have ever come close to his accomplishment."

October 22, 2012 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

King Otra ($3.60), getting a crafty drive from veteran reinsman Tony Morgan, made every pole a winning one, taking his first $9,000 Open Pace of the season on Saturday night (Oct.20) at Batavia Downs Casino

Leaving from the rail King Otra got plenty of respect from the other six rivals strolling to the first quarter in :28.3, as the field lined up in post-position order. A 30-second, second quarter breather gave the 5-year-old altered son of Western Ideal a big advantage on the top end as field reached the half.

Down the backside the “King” began to lengthen his stride pacing a :28.3 third quarter. A :28.1 final stanza sealed the deal with King Otra going on to a 1-3/4th length score over Cole Hard Cash (Dan Noble) and the pocket sitter, Spender Hanover (Jack Flanigen).

King Otra was claimed for $10,000 back on July 14 at Buffalo Raceway by current owner and now trainer Linda Magnusson. Since the claim he has won eight times and is Western New York’s winningest pacer with 13 victories in 2012. He raised his seasonal earnings to $58,413.

Jacqueline Ball, of Batavia, corrected selected all nine winners in the final free handicapping contest of the season at Batavia Downs and takes home the top prize of $500. A total of 268 patrons participated in the handicapping contest.

The Pick-6 carryover pool continues to build and starts out at $1,860 when racing resumes on Tuesday night, the final Tuesday program of the season. Post time is 6:25 p.m.

October 18, 2012 - 1:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

There's no doubt who the sharpest race mare in Western New York is these days, it's definitely You're Too Funny. She overcame the eight-hole Wednesday night (Oct. 18), to score her third straight victory in the $9,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace at Batavia Downs.

Driven by Jack Flanigen, You're Too Funny ($5.80) has now won four times and finished second four times in her last eight starts in the weekly Wednesday feature, giving her great credentials for "Horse of the Year" honors.

Sitting dead last at the half, You're Too Funny slowly started her winning rally. The field became double-decked down the backstretch and You're Too Funny was still seventh at the three-quarter pole, fourth over. Flanigen then guided her out four-wide down the stretch, unleashing a wicked stretch drive and beat another fast closer, Miss Two Punch (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) by a neck and Romania Hanover (Shawn Gray) in 1:55.2 over the fast track. Romania Hanover may be one to watch for next week as she was parked out for almost three-quarters of a mile.

Owned by Greg Capell, of Batavia, and trained by Chris Naedele, You're Too Funny now has 11 wins in 25 starts and increased her bankroll to $55,034 in 2012.

The horses return to the track on Friday night at Batavia Downs with the $9,000 Open Trot scheduled as the feature in the seventh race. Big Baller, after a week off, returns and will open as the 8-5 morning line favorite with Dan Noble in the sulky.

To get the latest news and information on Batavia Downs or to watch streaming video of the races, go to

October 4, 2012 - 1:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

You're Too Funny, after three consecutive second places in the $9,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace at Batavia Downs, took a brief respite from the harness racing battles. But after a week of freshening, You're Too Funny ($15) returned to the war Wednesday night (Oct. 3) and conquered the field of six by scoring a half-length victory over the heavy 1-9 favorite It's De Lovely in 1:55.1 over the fast track.

It's De Lovely (Dave McNeight III) cut the fractions of :27.4, :57.3 and 1:26.4 and seemed in control around the final turn. But the three-length lead evaporated quickly as the fast pace turned out to be too much to handle.

You're Too Funny and driver Jack Flanigen used a steady and methodical stretch run beginning just past the three-quarters pole, grinding into the lead with every stride down the stretch, eventually collaring the pace setter. Evil Eva (Shawn Gray) was up for third.

Owned by Greg Capell, of Batavia, and trained by Chris Naedele, You're Too Funny has now bankrolled $46,030 on the season. It was the ninth win of the season as well for the four-year-old American Ideal mare.

The Dan Noble watch continues as he inches closer to 3,000 lifetime wins. The 29-year-old Ohio native drive home a pair of winners on Wednesday night and sits at 2,995 career tallies. A great weekend of harness racing kicks off on Friday night at Batavia Downs when a 12-race program gets underway at 6:25 p.m. The Pick-3 returns with a 50-cent minimum wager and a $1.00 minimum bet, starting in race 10.
On Saturday night, a super 13-race card is set highlighted by the 10th Annual $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace along with the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot, the usual $10,000 Open Pace and a strong undercard.
The night will also feature $1 Sahlen's hot dogs, draft beer and soda and a Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace T-shirt giveaway.
Then on Monday, Columbus Day, a special matinee is on tap with post time slated for 1:15 p.m.
For all the information on the holiday weekend action or to view live streaming video of all the action, go to "">

September 16, 2012 - 1:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, Notre Dame.

Press release:

In the third $7,500 "Dash for Cash," Lindsay Hilburger -- representing Notre Dame of Batavia High School with professional driver Dave McNeight III alongside -- led all the way to take the first-place scholarship check of $3,000.

The one-mile harness race for area high school seniors racing for college scholarship funds took place Saturday night (Sept 15.), at Batavia Downs Racetrack & Casino.

Sonia Nevinger (Alexander) took second place and a $2,000 scholarship check; Leanne King (Pembroke) was third and earned a $1,200 scholarship; Jessica Levins (Batavia High School) took the fourth-place spot and $800 in scholarship funds, while Jamie Marshall (Elba) was fifth and received a $500 check.

The final time of 2:08.2 was by far the fastest running time of any of the scholarship races.

“It was nice to see such a large turnout,” said Todd Haight, general manager of Live Racing.

The track apron was packed with fans of all ages as they came out to cheer on their classmates and favorite schools.

The scholarship race is a partnership of the New York Sire Stakes, the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association, Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs.

Photo: Jamie Marshall, Jessica Levins, Leanne King, Sonia Nevinger, Lindsay Hilburger (courtesy of Paul White).

August 26, 2012 - 11:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, Wiener Dog Race.

Press release:

For the second year in a row, Lindsay Ryan’s “Gordon” proved he’s still the fastest dachshund in Western New York, when he won Sunday’s Petco Wiener Dog Races at Batavia Downs.

In front of the largest crowd ever to witness the annual event, 75 dogs squared off in 10 elimination heats with each elimination heat winner returning for the championship final.

The fastest 10 dogs left their handlers and roared by the historic half-mile tracks home stretch and after videotape review it was determined that “Gordon” had indeed narrowly crossed the finish line first.

Tom Grimm’s “Isabella” was a very close second while Christopher Cummings “Max” finished right there in third.

“Gordon’s” accomplishments earned her owner $200 in casino free play. Second and third place was worth $100 and $50 in casino play for their respective owners.   

The wiener dog races are the final event of Family Fun Day at the races held each year on the last Sunday afternoon in August.

If you're unable to view the slide show below, click here. To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

August 16, 2012 - 11:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

With the construction of Batavia Downs Casino’s new LED sign, pieces of the old neon sign are now available to interested parties. Batavia Downs Casino has already given two letters to representatives of the Holland Land Office Museum of Batavia, but other letters still remain.

Interested persons should contact Tom Balk, director of Building and Grounds for information on obtaining remaining pieces. It should be noted that the letters are over 7 feet tall and in various states of disrepair having been on the roof for so long. Mr. Balk can be reached at (585) 343-3750, ext. 312.

August 9, 2012 - 3:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Announcements, sports, harness racing.

Press Release:

Batavia, NY – Old Fashioned Night returns to Batavia Downs Casino and Racetrack this Saturday night (August 11) for the first time during the 2012 racing season, but with a twist.

Historically, Old Fashion night prices include 50-cent Sahlen’s hot dogs, sodas and racing programs, however this year the nation’s oldest lighted half-mile harness racetrack is going "Crazy Cheap."

Thanks to sponsorship of the evening by Crazy Cheap Cars of Oakfield, Sahlen’s hot dogs will be just 3 for $1 in the paddock room beginning at 5pm. First race post time is 6:25 p.m.  Guests wanting to take advantage of the reduced price simply need to ask for the “Crazy Cheap Price.”

“We’re proud to be working with the folks at Batavia Downs on the Crazy Cheap night promotion,” Mike Ognibene, owner of Crazy Cheap Cars of Oakfield said. “We’re looking forward to a great evening at the track.”

“The first Old Fashioned night of the season is usually our biggest night of the year,” said Batavia Downs General Manager Todd Haight.  “Not only does it bring out a great crowd which enhances the on-track excitement but it creates larger betting pools for our racing customers. We want to thank Mike for partnering with us on this promotion.”

One day later another top promotion takes place at the Genesee County oval, Super Seniors Day.  Beginning at 12-noon in the clubhouse and running until 2:30 p.m., all seniors 55 or older that purchase the Sunday lunch buffet at the regular price of $8.95 will receive a racing program and $10 in casino free play. It's like dining for free. Sunday reservations are strongly recommended. To make a clubhouse reservations, please call 585-343-3750.

“It’s a great way to thank all our seniors for their many years of supporting Batavia Downs,” Haight added.

A complete list of all the 2012 racing promotions can be found at 

August 3, 2012 - 2:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Beginning Aug. 5, racing at the nation’s oldest lighted harness track moves to a schedule of Sunday afternoons, and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Sunday's program features 13 exciting races, including the $9,000 featured Open Trot and $7,600 Open II Trot. Sundays with Ashley Parade Marshal and outrider Ashley Holliday will be available for pictures every Sunday trackside in Downs Winner Circle from 12 to 12:45 p.m. Don’t forget to bring your camera for family photos with Ashley and her horse “Jake.”

The matinee post time is 1:15 p.m. Sunday food and drink specials include $1 Sahlen's hot dogs, sodas and draft beer served from 12 to 4 p.m. in the Paddock Room.

On Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, post time is 6:25.

In addition simulcast wagering will be available from some of North America’s top tracks including Saratoga racecourse. Admission and parking is always free. For more information please visit

July 31, 2012 - 12:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Possible stars of the future -- 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers -- converge on Batavia Downs Casino when New York Sire Stakes action continues on Wednesday night (Aug. 1).

Wednesday's 13-race program, which gets under way at 6:25 p.m., features three NYSS legs worth more than $36,000 each and five divisions of the Excelsior series worth more than $12,000 each.

Flipper J’s freshman 1:54.4 track record set in 2010 and tied by Forever Just in 2011, both with Jason Bartlett in the bike, could be in jeopardy. Cowgirl Hall lowered the benchmark for 3-year-old trotting fillies (1:57.2) when the New York Sire Stakes made its first local start of the season here this past Saturday night.

The NYSS kicks off in race two when a short but select field of New York breds square off for purse money of $36,900. Drawing post five is the Artiscape-Lo Gophobia colt, Framed Art. He comes off a 1:53.4 track record performance at Saratoga Raceway with Mark MacDonald at the controls. Trainer Andrew Stafford gives MacDonald the return call.

Installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite is the Art Major-Classical Yankee colt, Doctor Butch. He comes in off a 1:54 score at Saratoga with Tim Tetrick in the sulky. Doctor Butch briefly held the record at Saratoga until it was broken later on the program by Framed Art. Trainer Linda Toscano hands over the lines to Jim Morrill Jr.

Goshen track record holder (1:56.3), Thirty Two Red, was a prohibitive favorite in his Saratoga leg but he made a costly break at the start and was eliminated. That was the son of Bettor’s Delight-Sakura Hanover’s first defeat after NYSS wins at Monticello and Buffalo. Ray Schnittker is the trainer/driver.

The field also includes Dealmaker, second to Framed Art at Saratoga, and the Ron Burke trainee Royce Blue Chip.

NYSS action continues in race five, when a field of six will line-up for $37,600 in purse money. The Bettor’s Delight-Flibbertigibbet colt, Swift As A Shadow, who drew the rail, starts out as the 5-2 favorite. Once again trainer Linda Toscano will call on the services of Jim Morrill Jr. Swift As A Shadow’s lone career win came at Monticello when he paced his back half in :56.1, to score in 1:56.4, in his first New York Sire Stakes engagement.

Three colts and three geldings do battle in the third and final $37,600 NYSS division, carded as race seven. This could be a race handicappers may be shopping for some value. I’m Banksy (Art Major-Delightfully Yours) begins as the 2-1 favorite. He ships in off a 1:53.4 score at Pocono but has never raced on a half-mile racetrack. Jim Morrill Jr. drives for trainer Fred Grant. Trainer/driver Patrick Lachance sends out a very dangerous colt in Sir Cary’s Z Tam.

The son of Bettor’s Delight -Yankee Celebration had the misfortune of coming first over against the talented Doctor Butch at Saratoga and before that, finished behind the same rival and another top colt, Thirty Two Red, at Monticello.

The five Excelsior races go off as races one, three, eight, 10 and 12. Racing fans unable to attend the races can watch all the action from Batavia Downs via streaming video at <> . Simply click on the “Live Racing” section and then on the “Video” link.

July 28, 2012 - 3:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Current Ca Ching went gate-to-wire and held off the challenges of Go Jesse Go and the favored Kash N Credit to win the $9,000 Open Trot at Batavia Downs Friday night.

Leaving off the two-hole, Current Ca Ching ($7.40) went the mile in 1:59.1 after posting fractions of :28.3, :57.4 and 1:28 for winning driver Keith Kash Jr.

It was a blanket finish as Current Ca Ching was able to hold off the late charge of pocket sitting Go Jesse Go, who was beaten by quarter of a length at the wire. Kash N Credit, who was parked the entire mile, lost by just a length and a quarter.

It was the seventh win of the season of Current Ca Ching and second in his last three starts. Current Ca Ching is owned by Rocco Stebbins, of Rochester, and trained by Ron Stebbins.

Shawn Gray notched a three-bagger on the night while four drivers all scored doubles, Kevin Cummings, Ray Fisher Jr., Jim McNeight and Keith Kash Jr.

Darrin Monti and Bob Gruber III each had a double on the training side.

Tonight's the kick-off of the 2012 Batavia Downs stakes season when three-year-old trotting fillies taking center stage in three divisions of the New York Sires Stakes. Post is 6:25 p.m. for the 14-race program.

Also carded this evening are five divisions of th Excelsior Series, with each worth more than $12,000.

Racing fans unable to attend the races can watch the all the action from Batavia Downs via streaming video at Simply click on the “Live Racing” section and then on the “Video” link.

July 27, 2012 - 1:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Three-year-old trotting fillies will square off in three divisions to open the local New York Sire Stake season on Saturday night, July 28 at Batavia Downs Casino. Post time will be at 6:25 p.m.

The first Saturday night of the annual summer-fall meet will also feature five Excelsior Series divisions, with each division worth more than $12,000.

The New York Sire Stakes will begins in race two, in which $43,980 will be up for grabs. The Credit Winner--Pacific Legacy filly Lima Playmate will start at 5-2 on the morning line for the connections of Ray Schnittker and Lima Playmate Stables.

Lima Playmate ($225,891) will get the services of Steve Smith. Regular driver Ray Schnittker will be at bit tied up, he’s will be at The Meadowlands preparing his world champion filly Check Me Out for the Hambletonian Oaks Eliminations.

New York Sire Stakes action will then move to race four, in which $44,780 will be on the line. The much-improved Kristens Victory (Cash Hall--Treasured Victory), who overcame post seven at Tioga Downs to score at odds of 29-1 in a division of the Tompkins-Geers, might be the filly to beat in this one.

The Karen Garland trainee has really picked up her game since going on Lasix. Owner Steve Smith, who drove her to second place finishes in New York Sire Stakes races at Monticello Raceway and Yonkers Raceway will be back in the sulky.

The last but certainly not least $43.980 New York Sire Stakes division was carded as race eight. As far as being continuous, it really doesn’t get any better with two of the top sophomore trotting fillies in the New York Sire Stakes drawing into the same division.

The Credit Winner--Meadowbranch Mary filly Fortunista will open as the favorite on the morning line at 5-2, basically due to post position; she drew the rail for owner-trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera and Barbara and Donald Arnstine.

Fortunista ships to Western New York on quite a form spree, having won her last four starts including New York Sire Stakes legs at Buffalo Raceway, Yonkers Raceway and Monticello Raceway. She sports season’s earnings of $172,001.

The talented Cowgirl Hall (Cash Hall--Britt’s Spirit) won’t go down without a fight. In her nine starts in 2012 she’s won five and has been second in three of them for trainer-driver “Gates” Brunet. She’s earned $144,955 this season for owners Ted Gewertz, M. H. Rosenthal and Jean and Debbie Brunet.

The Excelsior series races were carded as race one, six, 10, 11 and 12.

Racing fans unable to attend the races can watch the all the action from Batavia Downs via streaming video at <> . Simply click on the “Live Racing” section and then on the “Video” link.

July 24, 2012 - 10:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

And they're off ... for the 66th season, there is live harness racing at Batavia Downs.

More than 3,000 racing fans turned out for opening night and they witnessed Shawn Gray, who captured Buffalo's 2012 driving title, notch three wins.

Two other of the nation's top drivers, Dan Noble and Jim Morrill Jr., were also featured on the night.

July 20, 2012 - 6:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press Release:

A bigger signature race, a new first race post time and Sunday afternoon racing in August are just some of the changes in store when racing returns for the 66th season on Monday (July 23) at Batavia Downs Casino. The pacers and trotters will meet at America’s oldest lighted harness track for 72 exciting race dates.

The Robert J. Kane Memorial Invitational Pace, the track's signature event, will now offer a $50,000 purse. This year’s Kane Memorial is slated for October 6. Last year, Aracache Hanover with Trevor Henry in the bike, lowered the Downs all-age record when he paced to victory in 1:51.1. Aracache Hanover is locally owned by William Switala and James Martin.

Racing fans will need to arrive 15 minutes earlier with first race post for all evening racing programs now slated for 6:25 p.m. Racing gates open at 5 p.m. with the exception of August 11 and September 15, when racing gates open for Old Fashioned night at 4:30 p.m.

A total of six matinees will be offered, including all four Sundays in August. The other two afternoon race cards are Labor Day and Columbus Day. Post time for all matinees remains at 1:15 p.m. with racing gates opening at 12 p.m.

Racing will be conducted on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Saturday night basis for the first two weeks of the annual Summer-Fall meet with Sundays replacing Mondays in August. Twelve races will be carded nightly except on Saturdays when the Genesee County racetrack will host 13-race programs.

A complete racing calendar is available for download at

Changes were made to the wagering menu, with the major change being the minimum on trifecta wagering has been lowered to 50 cents. However a $1 wager is required. One dollar daily double wagering is also being offered.

Superfecta wagering is now offered on all races with the exception of races one and seven. The Pick-4 has been moved to the third race and the late-late double moves to the last two races nightly. The popular Pick-6, which paid $10,000 to one lucky ticket holder last season, begins on race seven.

North America’s leading dash winning harness racing driver in 2011, Dan Noble, will make his Batavia Downs debut on opening night. Noble led all drivers last year with 773 wins. He currently sits fourth this year with 320 wins.

Shawn Gray, currently the leading driver at Buffalo Raceway, will also be racing at Batavia Downs for the first time. The Maine native shipped to Buffalo in January and has notched 185 wins so far this season there.

Jim Morrill Jr., who recently won the $445,594 Yonkers Trot with Archangel, makes a special appearance on Monday night. Morrill established records for most wins and earnings in a single season at the Downs in 2006.

Again this season all racing programs will contain $2 free play coupons that can be redeemed at Players Club. The cost to purchase a program remains at $2, however on opening night and on July 28, the first New York Sire Stakes event of the season, racing programs will be free.

Player’s Club members dining in the track's historic clubhouse will receive $5 in Casino free play with the purchase of a buffet. On Sunday afternoon, the cost of the lunch buffet minus the free play coupon is just $3.95.

The entire racing season will be broadcast via live streaming video at Race replays are available at the same web address.

The 2012 season features a variety of promotions, including two old fashioned nights, the biggest free handicapping contest ever and the annual family fun day at the races featuring the hilarious wiener dog races.

July 17, 2012 - 8:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Casino generated more than $11.5 million for education during the first two fiscal quarters of 2012 (January - June), according to the recently released data by the Division of Lottery. As part of Batavia Downs Casino’s ongoing support of New York’s education, 51 percent of Batavia Downs Casino net win is given to the New York Lottery.

“We’re proud to our contributions to New York State Education, year after year," said Mike Kane, president and CEO of Batavia Downs Casino.  “Compared with the revenue generated last year in the same time period, we’re looking at major growth.”

Batavia Downs’ contributions from January – June in 2011 were 9.86 million dollars, making this year’s contribution a 17-percent increase from last year.  Since opening in 2005, Batavia Downs Casino has generated more than $120 million in education funding for New York.

July 13, 2012 - 12:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

The new LCD-based sign, replacing the old neon sign, atop Batavia Downs was illuminated for the first time Thursday evening.

July 9, 2012 - 2:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Workers this morning carefully dismantled the landmark Batavia Downs sign atop the roof of the grandstand of the legendary racetrack.

The neon sign is being replaced with a more energy efficient and less costly LCD sign that has been fabricated to exactly match the lettering of the old sign.

Ryan Hasenauer, marketing director for Western Regional OTB, said officials plan to keep the B and the D from the old sign and display them in some manner on the property, but the future of the remaining letters of the sign has yet to be determined.

Bottom photo: The first two letters of the new sign, time permitting, will be fitted into place some time today.

June 28, 2012 - 6:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Batavia Downs officials have announced the names of the five students selected by their high schools to participate in the 2012 college scholarship race.

They are: Lindsay Hilburger -- Notre Dame of Batavia; Sonia Nevinger -- Alexander; Jessica Levins -- Batavia; Jamie Marshall -- Elba; and Leanne King -- Pembroke.

The race will be held on Sept. 15, between the fifth and sixth live harness races at Batavia Downs. Approximate post time for the scholarship race is 7:45 p.m.

A total of $7,500 in college scholarship funds will be given to each high school student in the dash for cash. The race will be conducted at one mile -- two laps around Batavia Downs' historic half-mile oval.

“We're thrilled to provide additional scholarship funds to area high school students,” said Todd Haight, general manager of Batavia Downs. “This coincides with the contributions made daily by Batavia Downs Casino to the New York state lottery for education.”

All students are required to practice at least five times during the month of August with the driver/trainer they will be teamed up with. This exposes the student to the full equine experience associated with the racing industry.

Scholarship breakdowns are as follows: $3,000 to the winner; $2,000 for second; $1,200 for third; $800 for fourth; and $500 for fifth. Scholarships are not equine specific and can be used for any higher education.

The event is a partnership of Batavia Downs Casino, Buffalo Raceway, Harness Horse Breeders of New York and the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association.

The 66th season at America’s oldest lighted harness track gets under way on July 23 with a new post time of 6:25 p.m.




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