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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.

downsaug4.jpg

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 .

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

downsjuly31.jpg

Press Release:

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

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

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

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

Be sure to come out tonight, for the Batavia Downs Casino and New York Sire Stakes Glass Giveaway! The first 750 patrons to swipe their Player’s Club Cards beginning at 5 PM will receive a ticket that is redeemable for a free glass after the 7th race! The 64th season is underway at America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track. Enjoy take every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evening. Post time is 6:40. Racing fans wishing to dine in the Clubhouse should call 585-343-3750 to make a reservation.

Photo courtesy Paul White.

July 29, 2010 - 3:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Race fans turned out to enjoy the first Wednesday of the meet at America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track, despite the inclement weather that began the night. The evening’s feature event was the seventh race on the card, an open pace for fillies and mares with a purse of $9,000.

Hitting the wire first in that seventh race, was Southwind Prairie with Jim McNeight at the lines, pacing to the mile in 1:58 for her third win of the 2010 season.

In for the place was Newberry Winner with Jamie Dunlap in the sulky to complete the $26.20 exacta. Ray Fisher Jr. and Overseas Tour came in for the show.

The fractions for the 6-horse field were 28.2, 58.4, and 1:28.3, respectively.

The mile began with Jennifers Major getting the trip, but switched the lead with Newberry Winner and fought to regain it just after the ¼ pole. Tom Agosti and Jennifers Major coasted in the lead through the clubhouse turn of the pay-off half, but began to fade after the ¾ pole as Southwind Prairie and Jim Mc Neight took over on the final turn and through the final stretch to pose in the photo of this evening’s feature contest.

Southwind Prairie is a 6-year-old mare by Bettor’s Delight. Karl T. Schoeffel of Evans City, Pa., owns her. Lisa Lederhouse is the trainer. The winning $2 mutuel price was $7.

The 2010 meet at America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track will continue this Friday and Saturday evenings.

This Saturday, July 31, is the Batavia Downs Casino and New York Sire Stakes Glass Giveaway! The first 750 patrons to swipe their Player’s Club Cards beginning at 5 p.m. will receive a ticket that is redeemable for a free glass after the 7th race!

July 28, 2010 - 12:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

The Western New York harness racing circuit returned to Batavia Downs Casino on Monday, marking the beginning of the 64th season of live racing.

Race fans lined the apron, filled the grandstand and dined in the historic Clubhouse and Rail Bar to catch all of the action from America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track.

The 3-year-old New York Bred Late Closing colt and gelding trotters enhanced the first program of the meet with two contests, the second and the fourth races, each with a purse of $13,100.

Racing to victory in the first Late Closer was Cider With Ice with driver-trainer Dan Daley in the sulky, trotting the mile in a swift 1.59.1. The quarter times for the field were :27.4, :57.4, and 1:28.1, respectively.

Finishing 2-1/2 lengths behind for the place was Womanizer with Gareth Dowse at the lines. Azad Boko with red hot Jack Flanigen in the driver’s seat came in for the show.

The mile began with Womanizer getting the top, but quickly lost the lead to Cider With Ice after the quarter pole and the 3-year-old colt by Credit Winner was never in any real jeopardy from that point.

Ann-Mari Daley, Richard Lombardo, and Albert Crawford own Cider With Ice, now unbeaten with the addition of trotting hobbles. He returned $4.30 to win.

Taking honors for the second stakes race of the evening was Black Licorice with Brian Mattison at the lines, trotting the mile in 2:02.2. Jack Flanigen and Headingforaruckus were close behind for the place, while MC Thunderstruck with Dan Daley showed up third. The quarter times were :30.1, 1:00.4, and 1:31.4, respectively.

Black Licorice took the early lead but was passed by Headingforaruckus shortly after the quarter pole. Flanigen kept the lead until midstretch when Mattison and Black Licorice squeezed in along the passing lane and charged to the win by two lengths. Black Licorice is a 3-year-old gelding by Credit Winner. He is trained by Paul Kelley and owned by East Pond Stable. The winning mutuel price was $17.40.

Live racing will continue this Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track, with our new post time of 6:40 p.m.

The Clubhouse and Rail Bar is now open all race nights serving fine fare, most notably the all-you-can-eat buffet, complete with prime rib, shrimp and crab legs each Friday and Saturday night! To make a reservation, please call 343-3750.

Saturday, July 31 marks the first promotion of the season at Batavia Downs Casino: A Glass Giveaway, co-sponsored by Batavia Downs Casino and the New York Sire Stakes.  The first 750 patrons to swipe their Player’s Club cards beginning at 5 p.m. will receive a ticket that may be redeemed for a glass in the Paddock Room following the 7th race.

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

downs09a.jpg

Yesterday, Batavia Downs opened its 64th harness racing season. Officials were kind enough to let me hang out in the stables and take pictures.

Thirty-three more pictures after the jump:

July 24, 2010 - 2:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

mug-jack_flannigan.jpgBatavia has been a welcome change for veteran catch driver Jack Flanigen, who has been in the sulky since 1984. After resigning in January from his day job of nine years at the New York State Thruway Authority, Flanigen decided to once again pursue his passion as a reinsman full-time.

The decision has indeed paid off, as Flanigen has tallied up 188 wins and $746,158 in purses at the Buffalo meet this year.

Todd Haight, track analyst at Batavia Downs Casino, is optimistic that Flanigen will continue his success when the 64th Season of Live Racing opens this Monday, July 26.

“Flanigen had an excellent meet at Buffalo," Haight said. "Not only has he clinched leading driver honors, but he's had some nice New York Sire Stakes wins. I believe Jack will have an excellent meet here as well."

Due to his success, Flanigen has attracted many drives from leading trainers at Buffalo Raceway, such as Lisa Lederhouse, Bobbi Martin and Larry Clabaugh.

As mentioned, he's also attracted attention from trainers in the New York Sire Stakes program who are already winning with It’s Only Roni, Tuesday’s With Mom and new Buffalo Raceway track record holder Roadside Delight.  
 
One of the highlights of the 2010 season for Flanigen has been the opportunity to be at the reins for veteran 14-year-old trotter Boomer Berman, who has finished first or second in his last 18 starts.

“He’s unreal," Flanigen said. "To be 14 and this good is amazing, he’s a pleasure to drive."
 
Jack Flanigen has had numerous successes at America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track, including leading driver honors multiple times in the mid 1990s.
 
During his 26-year driver career, Flanigen has won 3392 races and has amassed $8.2 million in purse earnings.

July 23, 2010 - 9:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business, Western OTB.

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 22, 2010 - 1:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, Announcements, sports, pets, weiner dog races.

Batavia Downs Casino will hold its annual Weiner Dog Races and Family Fun Day on Sunday, Aug. 29.

The whole family is invited to visit with Mr. Scribbles, Pringles the Clown, and get free pony rides 2 to 4 p.m. for the kids. Sahlens hot dogs and sodas will be just $1 at the Paddock Room concession stand beginning at noon.

At approximately 4:30 p.m., the Weiner Dogs will take to the track! Petco of Batavia is the official sponsor of the event and will supply doggy bags to the owners of the participating dogs.

This year, six separate heats will be held with the fastest dachshund that dashes down the track in each heat declared the winner. The winners will be given an opportunity to race in the championship following the final heat and compete for prizes. Last year, Jean Smart’s 2-year-old dachshund, “Jake Arnold," was a narrow winner.

If you would like to enter your dachshund, please contact Arna Tygart at 343-3750, ext 437 beginning July 26.

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

stable_horses.jpg

The horses are returning to Batavia Downs for another season of harness racing. The first dozen or so horses arrived today -- by Monday, officials expect the stables to be full and bustling once again.

Live harness racing makes its 2010 debut Monday. First post time is 6:40 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 14, 2010 - 4:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

"Batavia Downs Live," a three-and-a-half hour television broadcast of the harness races from Batavia Downs, returns on July 26 -- opening night of the 2010 season -- at the historic track.

Up to 69 race cards will be televised in the Time-Warner Rochester region on Channel 98. Channel 98 is on Time-Warner's basic digital package. The coverage area extends from portions of eastward Niagara County and through all or most of Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, Yates and Steuben counties.

The broadcast begins at 6:30 p.m.,10 mintues before the Downs' new 6:40 p.m. first race post time.

Once again, racing analyst Todd Haight and track announcer Joe Zambito will anchor the broadcast.
 
“We are extremely pleased to be back on Time-Warner,” said Michael D. Kane, vice president of Live Racing and OTB branch operations. “This is a wonderful opportunity for Batavia Downs to once again showcase its live racing product to new customers and to provide our longtime racing fans with the nightly races in the comfort of their homes.”
 
Last year the races were also shown in Erie County and Buffalo.
 
“We continue discussions with Time-Warner in those areas, but as of right now we have no deal in place," Kane said. "Our racing fans should visit our website for any further updates.” <http://www.bataviadownscasino/>
 
Western Regional Off-Track betting, the owner of Batavia Downs, provides telephone betting through its Dial-A-Bet service. Patrons may phone 1-800-724-4000 to establish an account.

July 12, 2010 - 10:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

July is upon us, and that means the return of pacers and trotters to Batavia Downs Casino.

Opening night is July 26, which not only marks the 64th season of live harness racing at America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track, but a newly expanded stakes schedule.

Batavia is doubling the number of New York Sire Stakes contests it will offer as compared to 2009 and is adding the County Fair Finals for 2- and 3-year-old pacers and trotters.

The 2010 Batavia Downs Casino stakes schedule boasts combined purses in excess of $1 million. Stakes racing culminates with the eighth annual Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace on Oct. 16.

“We are thrilled to see an expanded stakes schedule for 2010,” said Todd Haight, track analyst for Batavia Downs Casino. “I’m confident the New York bred pacers and trotters will bring as much excitement and as many fast miles for our patrons this year as they did in 2009.”

In all, there will be eight New York Sire Stakes and seven New York Late Closers throughout July, August and September at Batavia Downs Casino.

The glamour division, the 3-year-old New York Sire Stakes colt and gelding pacers, are set to race on Saturday, Sept. 4. In 2009, the 3-year-old pacers gave Kenneth J’s all-age track record of 1:52 a scare when Jim Morrill Jr., with OK Braveheart, Handsome Harry, and Hypnotic Blue Chip each did the mile in a sizzling 1:52.2, 1:53 and 1:52.3, respectively. OK Braveheart’s 1:52.2 mile established a new track record for 3-year-olds.

Haight is optimistic that the same level of talent will be showcased this year as well.

Sept. 18 marks a notable day in the 70-year history of Batavia Downs, as the second largest (combined) stakes purses ever will be up for grabs when the 2-year-old filly trotters and 3-year-old colt trotters vie for estimated purses of $280,000. This figure is second only to Armbro Flori’s victory in the Breeders Crown in 1988, which boasted a purse of $286,756.

Another highly anticipated event this year is the Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace, which carried a $40,000 purse in 2009. Scheduled for Oct. 16, Haight believes that the timing is attractive for pacers that want to continue racing after the Oct. 9 Breeders Crown.

“Scheduling the Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace a week after the Breeders Crown could be an attractive option for many of the best horses in all of harness racing,” Haight said.

Last year’s winner, Foiled Again, one of the top pacers in the sport, cruised around the Downs oval in 1:52.3. Matt Kakaley was in the sulky for trainer Ron Burke <http://fanguide.ustrotting.com/dt_stars_profiles.cfm?id=133792>.

For the complete Batavia Downs stakes schedule, visit www.bataviadownscasino.com <http://www.bataviadownscasino.com/>.

July 6, 2010 - 9:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs.

mercy_downs.jpg

Mercy Flight picked up a patient at the Batavia Downs parking lot around 9 a.m.

According to a witness, a man apparently fainted and fell off a truck at the Farmers' Market.

No further information is available.

June 19, 2010 - 9:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, horses, photos, sports.

horses02.jpg

This weekend, horses and riders from throughout Western New York again converged on Batavia Downs for a horse show and riding competition.

The show continues today and tomorrow.

More photos after the jump:

June 10, 2010 - 5:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, Announcements.

With summer less than two weeks away, farm-grown fruits and vegetables will soon be in plentiful supply at Batavia’s Genesee Country Farmers’ Market. The popular open-air market begins its 2010 season this Tuesday, June 15, in the parking lot at Batavia Downs Casino.

In addition to farm-fresh produce, the market will also feature home-baked goods like bread, rolls, pastries, pies and muffins.

Member wineries of the Niagara Wine Trail will once again offer a wide variety of local wines to taste and purchase. And a new addition this year is a lunch wagon serving sandwiches, drinks and desserts. About 20 vendors are expected to participate.

In making the announcement, Market Manager Paul Fenton said “We are looking forward to our third season at Batavia Downs Casino. It’s an easily accessible spot for all of our customers and is convenient for the many patrons of The Downs, too.

"We are proud of the fact that we are a grower’s market and everything we sell is grown by our vendors.”

The market will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Tuesday and Friday through Oct. 29.

June 5, 2010 - 7:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, photos, Genesee Cancer Assistance.

hope14.jpg

There was a large turn out Friday evening at Batavia Downs for the annual Festival of Hope to benefit Genesee Cancer Assistance.

GCA raised $30,000 this year.

The event featured a 5K walk/run, games for children, music, a Chinese Auction and haircuts and beauty treatments.

On left below, Paul C. Stomper poses with Dr. Kevin Mudd. Stomper was the keynote speaker Friday. The Batavia native has travelled the U.S. working with cancer patients and has authored a book, "Come Sunday, Inspiration for Living with Heart."  Mudd is president of GCA. You can find out more about Stomper and his book at ComeSunday.net.

hope13a.jpg

More pictures after the jump:

May 26, 2010 - 6:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, Announcements, classic cars.

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The sun is shining and all systems are “go” for the 2010 Tuesday Night Cruises at Batavia Downs Casino.

Cruise director Darrell Mase (pronounced “Mays”) and Batavia’s Lone Wolf Cruisers are supervising the shows in cooperation with Batavia Downs Casino.

Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. in the north end of the BDC parking lot on Park Road (near the OTB Simulcast Center – formerly Matty’s Pizzeria). The cruises will take place every Tuesday – weather permitting - through Aug. 31.

The shows are free and open to cars, trucks and motorcycles. All cruisers receive $5 in casino free play and the chance to win other prizes from the casino’s promotion staff. A cruisin’ soundtrack will be provided by DJ Dennis.

May 22, 2010 - 8:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, animals, horses, photos, sports.

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There's a horse show going on at Batavia Downs. Riders from all over the northeast are in Batavia to test their skills and display their handsome mounts. If you've missed it, the show continues Sunday at 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

More photos after the jump:

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