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Batavia Downs

April 23, 2009 - 10:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, T.F. Brown's.

Today, we have a special Deal of the Day -- three gift certificates offers in one day.

Rules: Gift certificates must be used within 30 days of purchase.  People who have won a gift certificate in the past 30 days cannot win a gift certificate from the same business again. State law prohibits using gift certificates to purchase alcohol.

Process: Purchase your gift certificate through the PayPal button below. There is only one gift certificate available from each business. The first completed purchase wins.  PayPal will notify you if the gift certificate has been purchased and is out of stock. It's best if you're able to stop by The Batavian office and pick up your gift certificate prior to 5 p.m. today, however mail is an option.

T.F. Brown's ($12.50):


 Adam Miller ($12.50):



Batavia Downs ($12.50):


April 14, 2009 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, Deal of the Day.

Today's Deal of the Day: A $25 gift certificate for the Grandstands Bar & Grille at the Batavia Downs Casino. The Batavian Deal of the Day Price: $12.50.  That's HALF off.

The Grandstands features an affordable menu, so this is a pretty valuable offer.

The gift certificate must be used by June 30, 2009. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value and is non-transferable.

Rules: E-mail me at howard (at) thebatavian dot com. First e-mail wins, but the winner must arrange to stop by my office on Main Street before 5:30 p.m. today to pay for the gift certificate. If the first e-mailer can't or doesn't make it in, the certificate goes to the second e-mailer.

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

March 30, 2009 - 11:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs.

Officials at Batavia Downs are trying to figure out what to do after Rocky Ferrando won a 2009 Dodge Challenger over the weekend.

Great for Rocky, but the problem for the Downs is that Ferrando is a full-time OTB employee.

According to Dan Fischer at WBTA, officials are researching Batavia Down rules about employees entering and winning contests.

Listen to WBTA this morning and afternoon for more on the developing story.

UPDATE: WBTA has an audio interview up with Marketing Manager Marty Biniaz. The prize has been rewarded to Melanie Rahlston  of Mount. Morris.

December 5, 2008 - 1:50pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Batavia Downs, Daily News, fire, My T Acres.

Tom Rivers reports in today's Daily News that Batavia Downs will now be known as Batavia Downs Casino following a change of heart among the state's lottery regulators. Further, "video gaming machines" will no be re-dubbed "slots." Rivers explains:

Lottery and state legislators have eased their restraint in using terms "casino" and "slots" to describe the activities and games in the race tracks, which are now filled with beeping and flashing machines that resemble Vegas slots.

What does this mean for the business? Apparently, a lot.

"The word 'casino' is more representative of our business," said Martin Biniasz, the Downs marketing director. "It's a wise move on the state's part because they realize these machines can be a great revenue generator."

Biniasz goes on to say that the new name will allow them to better compete with Native American casinos.

In other news, Scott DeSmit covered yesterday's fire at My T Acres in Batavia, which was featured on The Batavian yesterday and this morning. The Batavian will also be posting an interview with My T Acres co-owner Patricia Riner later this afternoon.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at

November 20, 2008 - 9:19am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Batavia Downs, Holland Land Office Museum.

There's really no way to say it better than Pat Weissend:

"Traffic backed up at the New York State Thruway as thousands of people from the east and the west merged to spend their entertainment dollars on a chance to make more money at one of Genesee County’s best known attractions: Batavia Downs!"

So it is that Batavia Downs lands at No. 8 in the Holland Land Office Museum's countdown of the 25 Things That Made Genesee County Famous.

The harness racing track is the oldest night-time pari-mutuel track in North America. Batavia Downs opened on Friday, September 20, 1940 at 8:20 p.m. to an estimated crowd of 2,500 people. A total of $629 was bet on the first race and over $10,000 was bet on the first card.  

The opening was the dream of William “Lefty” Goldberg and others who, as shareholders in the Monroe - Genesee Breeders Association, chose Batavia because of its location between Rochester and Buffalo. The Monroe - Genesee Breeders Association is the predecessor of the Monroe - Genesee Racing Association. The first season’s attendance was 25,935 people with a total bet of $310,790. The following year, attendance and betting doubled, but racing was canceled in 1942 and 1943 due to travel restrictions and gas rationings.

For more on Batavia Downs and how it made us famous, be sure to visit the Holland Land Office Museum Web site. While your there, you can peruse the other 17 "things" that have so far made the list. You can also hit up the museum's blog to leave your two cents about what should make it in the top seven.

Image of Batavia Downs program from 1964 taken from the Holland Land Office Museum Web site.

November 15, 2008 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs.

The state Legislature is consider new regulation that would allow Batavia Downs to expand its hours and increase the types of games it offers.

Currently the Downs is limited to 116 hours per week. Under the proposal, the casino could stay open for 128 hours per week.

Among the new games being considered are electronic roulette and electronic blackjack. Right now, the Downs is limited to slot machines and video poker.

The moves are being eyed as a way to give the state a boost in revenue when it's struggling to close massive budget gaps over the next four years.

"We will consider them all if it will help us raise some revenue," Paterson said in an interview today with Gannett News Service.

Apparently, the legislature cannot expand the race tracks into full-blown casino's without a constitutional amendment.

I'm guessing that's why the facilities don't offer -- and the Legislature is not considering -- poker?

Poker remains popular throughout the U.S. It seems logical that it would be as successful at Batavia Downs as any place else.

Poker is one of the few games that gives the player a chance to consistently win money, since there is no house advantage (the house takes what's called a rake, a small portion of the opening bets) from each pot, and some pots can be won on the pure skill of an individual player (of course, there's luck involved, too).

Whereas slot machines, video poker and similar electronic games have a house advantage built right in. For example, even if a slot machine offers the nearly unheard of, outrageously high pay out of 98 percent, a player cannot beat it in the long run. Eventually, he is going to lose all of his money (it might take millions and millions of pulls, but the odds are against the player).  Of course, short-term variance means most players either lose big or win big on any given day, which is the thrill that hooks in so many problem gamblers.

Blackjack offers a similar house advantage, which can be defeated by a skilled card counter -- but casinos will ban card counters when caught.

So why does the state sanction games that offer the player no real advantage while banning the one wager game that a skilled player can actually beat?

As a libertarian, I have nothing against these facilities offering these games, or the state legalizing them, or people playing them.  People are free to make their own choices in these matters. I just don't get why poker isn't legal.

September 2, 2008 - 7:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs.

Just checking out YouTube for local videos this morning, and came across this:

August 25, 2008 - 9:06am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Batavia Downs, Joe Gerace.


It was an honor and privilage to watch Joe Gerace at Batavia Downs Gaming this past Saturday night. 

Joe spoke after the 7th race and being awarded for the "2008 Italian-American of the Year".  Many Batavia residents, friends and family members gathered in celebration of Joe receiving his award.  Joe thanked the love of his family, god and everyone who knew and supported him. 

Here is a picture of Joe and his wife Lois just before entering the Batavia Downs.  For more pictures of Joe receiving the award:  Pick up your own copy of the Daily News at local newsstands. Or, better yet, subscribe at


August 14, 2008 - 7:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Joe Gerace.

HarnessLink reports that local barber Joe Gerace will be honored August 23 at Batavia Downs as "Italian-American of the Year."

This is the first such award given by Batavia Downs, and HarnessLink says the gaming facility and race track is planning other ethic awards this year.

The life-long Batavia native is the 2008 Humanitarian of the Year for United Memorial Medical Center and the Jerome Foundation, 2006 City of Batavia Volunteer of the Year, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Genesian of the Year in 1993 and was honored for his community service by the Paolo Busti Foundation Scholarship Committee.

The active 72-year-old grandfather of six is the former president of the Batavia Youth Bureau, co-chair of the Genesee County Cancer Society's Festival of Hope, a director of the Batavia Muckdogs (where he is also on the team's Wall of Fame), member of the Batavia Rotary Club and St Nick's Social Club and sat on the City of Batavia zoning board of appeals for 12 years.

Also a licensed realtor and military veteran, Gerace and his wife, Lois, have been married 48 years and are the parents of three grown children.

That's an impressive resume.

August 11, 2008 - 7:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs.

Just found on YouTube, a video of the July 31 Weiner Dog race at Batavia Downs.

July 24, 2008 - 7:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs.

HarnessLink contains a post from Batavia Downs marketing manager Todd Haight about Weiner Dog races on the  track, but no mention of date or time for the event.

We do learn that last year's winner, Rudy, will be back to defend his crown.

June 27, 2008 - 12:43pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Batavia Downs, crime, Daily News, police, sheriff.

From the Daily News (Friday):

  • Genesee County "officials" told reporter Paul Mrozek that the investigation into the murder of Janet Kirkup will focus on Darien or Pembroke. Robert Kirkup recently confessed to the murder of his wife, Janet, during a cross-country trip in 1992, and it is believed that her body is buried somewhere near a campsite in Darien. Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said that the cause of death "may be strangulation." The search for the body has not yet begun.
  • Batavia Downs celebrated the grand opening of its new restaurant, Grandstands, on Thursday. Reporter Tom Rivers was there to get some color and chat with the officials about the Downs' continued success. In a sidebar to the story, it's reported that the Downs recently warranted a check from the state for $286,274, "money that will be used to offset some proerty taxes." It sounds as if the money goes to the communities: to the county, the city and the town. The city is supposed to get nearly $500,000, and the town should receive a little more than $175,000. I wonder how that works. Where does that money come from? Tom Rivers and Paul Mrozek write that the state gives money to "host communities with video gaming centers." Doesn't that sound strange? Hey, community, good job promoting gambling, here's some cash to do with what you please. Am I being too cynical or misunderstanding this?
  • "Officials" from Genesee and Orleans counties had "the beginning of a discussion" about potentially creating a regional jail. It seems people are interested in talking about it, but little else is really decided at this point.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on

May 6, 2008 - 11:16am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Batavia Downs, farmers market, produce.

Not homeless for long, the Genesee Country Farmers Market signed a contract with Batavia Downs to set up shop in its parking lot for the summer season.  The market was told by Kmart a couple weeks ago that it could no longer use its parking lot, which had been home for the farmers for about a decade.

Offers to host the market poured in from all over the community — and some towns nearby.

"We were probably offered every parking lot in Batavia," says Paul Fenton, the market's director. "We had a ton of input on this. The community support was tremendous."

In the end, Batavia Downs, at 8315 Park Road, offered the market the best deal — proximity to the old site and a vigorous promotional backer. The market will be open from 8:00am to 5:00pm starting June 10 and closing for the season on October 31.

Says Fenton: "You'll see a lot more promotional stuff, a lot more giveaways. We're going to double our giveaways. And the Downs will help us with a few of those things."

Call (585) 343-9491 for more information.




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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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