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November 22, 2015 - 2:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Adversary Seelster with driver Ron Beback Jr., photo courtesy of Paul White.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

How do you top a five-win night? Simple; win six! That’s exactly the kind of weekend Batavia Downs dash driving leader Kevin Cummings had.

After winning five races on Friday, Cummings took six of the 12 races on the card Saturday night, including the last five straight races. And he finished second twice and third three times besides. In fact, he was only off the board once all night. That performance translated into a .676 UDR for the night.

Cummings took pictures with Lucky Nadotremblay ($2.80), B Eva’s Lucky Lad ($5.50), In The Clear ($7.20), Camstar ($10.20), Noble Legend ($7.50) and Precise Accusation ($18).

As a result of his two-day winning spree, Cummings now has 115 victories for the meet and that puts him 39 ahead of his nearest competitor. For 2015, Cummings has registered 318 wins and $1.7 million in earnings. That win total is only 16 shy of his career best, which was set last year.

In the $10,000 Open pace feature at Downs, a two-horse duel resulted in Adversary Seelster being the best among seven of the best resident pacers.

Jokerman (Jim McNeight) left fast to take control of the front, but Adversary Seelster (Ron Beback Jr.) came out early to overtake him by the quarter. Positions remained the same until Youwillwishyouhad (Kevin Cummings) pulled at the half and charged hard at the leader.

Cummings pushed the pace to three-quarters, gaining a slight advantage on the outside at that point. But after Beback popped the plugs on Adversary Seelster, the gelding found another gear and responded in kind. He put away Youwillwishyouhad and then fended off a late challenge by Jokerman before hitting the wire first in 1:55.2.

It was the fourth win of the year for Adversary Seelster, and the winning time was a seasonal mark for him. The winner’s share of the purse pushed his 2015 earnings to $35,100 for owners Keith Pinkowski and Curtis Edholm. Adversary Seelster is trained by the currently red hot Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr.

Jim McNeight and Ron Beback Jr. both had driving doubles, while conditioner Alex Giuliani sent three of his trainees to the winner’s circle.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Nov. 25) at 6:15 p.m.

November 22, 2015 - 2:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Lutetium (Kevin Cummings)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

It’s an old story, but one that’s frequently told in western New York. Lutetium wins another $9,500 Open trot feature race at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 20).

Leaving from the outside (post six) in an abbreviated field, Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) shot right to the front and took a lead he would never relinquish. With a loose, two-length advantage for most of the race, Lutetium cut quarters of :28.2, :58.3 and 1:28.2. As he opened up a wider margin past that last station, Cummings guided Lutetium to the wire first in 1:58.2 as the rest of the field viewed his efforts while arguing for minor spoils.

It was the tenth win of the season for Lutetium ($3.20) and sixth victory at Batavia Downs this meet. The winner’s share of the purse inflated his 2015 earnings to $80,371 for owner Colleen Girdlestone. Mark Laidlaw trains the 8-year-old gelded son of Credit Winner.

The Downs' leading driver, Kevin Cummings, registered a quintet of victories Friday night, extending his already insurmountable lead in the dash win category for the meet. He finished first with Lutetium ($3.20), Creating A Dream ($3.10), Leave Your Mark ($8.90), Livefreeordiehard ($8.10) and Rebel Teen ($4.80). Shawn McDonough and Ray Fisher Jr. also had driving doubles.

On the training side, John Mungillo sent three horses to the winner’s circle and Mihalo Zdjelar Jr. did the same with two.

November 20, 2015 - 1:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Wind gusts topping 50 mph could not dissuade the best effort of Mach This Way after she got aired-out for more than half a mile before winning the $10,000 Open mares pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Nov. 18).

The race was basically the tale of two mares. Memumsnotnice (Drew Monti) who shot right to the front to cut the fractions as she normally does and Mach This Way (Ron Beback Jr.), who was taken back to sixth until past the quarter pole.

Coming to the head of the stretch the first time, Beback pulled Mach This Way first-over and started a slow, methodical march towards the leader. By the time the field hit the three-quarter pole, Mach This Way was almost alongside Memumsnotnice and had no intention of stopping. The pair broke away from the pack, paced stride-for-stride around the far turn and matched steps all the way down the stretch until Mach This Way got a late advantage to win by a half-length in 1:56.4.

It was the sixth win of the year for Mach This Way ($17.80) and pushed her earnings to $48,005 for owner William Emmons. James Clouser Jr. trains the Mach Three mare.

Ron Beback Jr. had an outstanding night in the sulky, winning four races. He took pictures with Dirt Track Momma ($6.90), Mach This Way ($17.80), China Dream ($3.30) and Carman Coyote ($13.20). Drew Monti, Jack Flanigen and Ray Fisher Jr. all scored driving doubles. Trainers James Clouser Jr. and Maria Rice also sent two horses each to the winner’s enclosure.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs tonight (Nov. 20) at 6:15.

November 15, 2015 - 2:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Western Alumni and driver Ray Fisher Jr., photo courtesy of Paul White.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

The weather was clear but Western Alumni made it rain Saturday night (Nov. 14) at Batavia Downs when he went worst-to-first at 12-1 in the field of seven to capture the $10,000 Open pace feature.

It was a jailbreak off the gate as Adversary Seelster (Ron Beback Jr.), Jokerman (Jim McNeight) and post time favorite Cobble Beach (Kevin Cummings) went three deep for the first two furlongs, tripping the timer in :26.4. The field settled itself just in time for Western Alumni (Ray Fisher Jr.) to pull from seventh and start his outside trek towards the leader.

At the half, Button Fly (Shawn McDonough) pulled out in front of Western Alumni and provided a windshield for him to the top of the lane. From there, Western Alumni tipped three-deep and Fisher proceeded to rock-n-knock to a length victory over a fast-closing Best Ears (Jack Flanigen) in 1:54.3.

It was the fifth win of the year for Western Alumni ($26.20), pushing his earnings to $49,986 for 2015. Jerry Nugent Jr. trains the 7-year-old Western Hanover gelding for North Creek Racing LLC.

Trainer JD Perrin widened his lead as the top dash-winning trainer of the meet by sending four horses to the winner’s enclosure. Barn stars for the night included Dancin Thea ($8.40), Meadowlandcampbell E ($2.50), Youwillwishyouhad ($2.50) and Veto Hanover ($5.00). Drivers Drew Monti, Kevin Cummings, Jim McNeight and Ray Fisher Jr. all won two races.

Live racing at Batavia Downs resumes on Wednesday night (Nov. 18) with post time at 6:15.

November 14, 2015 - 1:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Studio City (#3) with driver Dave McNeight III pullls ahead to win the Open trot Friday night at Batavia Downs. Photo courtesy of Paul White.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations:

Racing brave in a first-over trip, lightly regarded Studio City ($19.80) scored his second straight top-class win, taking the $10,000 Open trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 13).

After Curious George (Jack Flanigen) directed the field to a :28.4 quarter, Studio City (Dave McNeight III) pulled first-over at three-eighths and started his march to the front. The outer flow continued to grow as Write That Down (Shawn McDonough) joined the fray in a :59.1 half.

When the group hit three-quarters, Studio City and Curious George were neck and neck before Write That Down tipped three-deep around the last turn and Justgottogetthere (Ron Beback Jr.) found room in the passing lane. The quartet battled four-abreast all the way down the lane with Studio City getting up to photo out Justgottogetthere in 1:59.2. Write That Down finished third.

Two heads and a neck separated the top four finishers of the race.

It was the fifth win of the year for Studio City and pushed the 2015 earnings of the 6-year-old Conway Hall gelding to $50,407 for owners Scott Woogen and Lisa Denison. Lisa Lederhouse trains the winner.

Sean McDonough continued to be the hottest driver on the grounds, winning four races on Friday. That moved him in to third place among the locals for dash wins this meet. The leader in that race, Kevin Cummings, had a driving double along with Ron Beback Jr. and Dave McNeight III.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Nov. 14) with post time set at 6:15 p.m.

November 12, 2015 - 12:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Before returning last week, Little Santamonica hadn’t competed at Batavia Downs since early in the 2014 meet when she won back to back Open distaff races. It took her a week, but she regained her old form at the Genesee County oval on Wednesday night (Nov. 11) in winning the $10,000 Open mares pace.

Little Santamonica (Shawn McDonough) took a seat early and watched as three-straight winner, Memumsnotnice (Kevin Cummings), battle her way to the lead in a swift :27 quarter over a track rated “good." Then as she has done for the past three weeks, Memumsnotnice proceeded to lead the field by a loose two lengths en route to tripping the three-quarters in 1:25.3.

At the top of the last turn, Ding (Jack Flanigen) took her best shot, getting almost alongside the leader. But that advance gave Little Santamonica (who had been locked in fourth) just enough room to swing off the pylons and tip three deep. From there, McDonough needed little urging as the mare flew down the lane past the leader to win in 1:55.3.

It was the tenth win of the season for Little Santamonica ($7.40) and the winner’s share of the purse boosted her annual earnings to $79,735 for owner Jordan Hope, who also trains the mare.

Shawn McDonough scored the natural driving hat trick in races five through seven with Enzo Seelster ($13.80), Red Clay ($2.70) and Little Santamonica ($7.40). Kevin Cummings, Ron Beback Jr. and Jim McNeight also scored driving doubles.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Nov. 13) with post time at 6:15 p.m.

November 8, 2015 - 3:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Cobble Beach with driver Jack Flanigen, photo courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Not one to be camera shy, Cobble Beach took the overland-route to capture another $9,000 Open pace feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 7).

Sent off as the 3-2 favorite, Cobble Beach was taken to the back of the pack by driver Jack Flanigen at the start of the race as a contentious battle for the lead was staged between Button Fly (Shawn McDonough) and FB Seelster (Dave McNeight III). The latter took command before the group completed the first circuit in :57.2.

Cruising past five-eighths, If It Rains (Kevin Cummings) pulled first-over and brought Cobble Beach with him in tow. After the herd hit three-quarters in 1:26.4, If It Rains went by FB Seelster around the far turn and Cobble Beach passed If It Rains in the lane to take the lead and the race in 1:55.3.

It was the tenth win of the season for Cobble Beach ($5.10) and his best single-year earnings total continued to rise to $78,680 for owner Leonard Segall. James Clouser Jr. trains the 5-year-old Artiscape gelding.

The red-hot Jack Flanigen has been on a tear of late and Saturday was no exception. Flanigen bagged a quintuplet of victories and lit up the tote board in the process with Stirling Cadillac ($36.80), Cobble Beach ($5.10), Best Ears ($8.80), Peter Pumpkineater ($2.60) and Reachinforthestars ($11.40).

Kevin Cummings, Jim McNeight and Ron Beback Jr. also had driving doubles. Trainers JD Perrin and Maria Rice both sent two starters to the winner’s circle.

The $2,004 Pick-5 carry-over pool provided one lucky bettor a $4,700 payout for a .50-cent bet Saturday after he cashed in his 6-1-6-1-1 winning ticket.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night with the first post set for 6:15.

November 7, 2015 - 12:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Studio City made a beeline for the lead and took no prisoners once that position as acheived, en route to victory in the $8,500 Open I-II trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 6).

Dave McNeight III sent Studio City to the quarter in :28.4 before backing off the next panel to :31. The breather forced three horses to pull and attack going to the half, but only Diamonds For Life (Ron Beback Jr.) got even remotely close to the leader. Studio City fought off the challengers around the far turn and proceeded to pull away to a three-length victory in 1:58.4.

It was the fourth win of the year for Studio City ($8.80) and the purse pushed his earnings to $45,407 for owners Scott Woogen and Lisa Denison. Lisa Lederhouse trains the winner.

Several horsemen made multiple visits to the winner’s circle on Friday. Jack Flanigen had a driving triple while Kevin Cummings, Jim McNeight and Ray Fisher Jr. all registered doubles. On the training side, John Mungillo, Maria Rice and JD Perrin all sent two winners to post.

When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 7), the Pick-5 carryover pool will be $2,004, which is the largest carryover pool of the 2015 season.

November 5, 2015 - 1:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

(Photo of Memumsnotnice with driver Ray Fisher Jr., courtesy of Paul White)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

After winning two of her first four races of 2015 back in January and February, Memumsnotnice (Ray Fisher Jr.) went 0-for-21 the next eight months. But that drought ended in October and now the mare is riding a three-race win streak, all in Open mares company and all at Batavia Downs.

On Wednesday (Nov. 4), Memumsnotnice ($7.20) took the $10,000 distaff Open pace in the same dominating fashion she displayed the previous two weeks. After leaving from post five, she led by a loose two-lengths while cutting fractions of :28.2, :57.4 and 1:25.4 before cruising home unchallenged in 1:55. The winning time was a new seasonal mark.

In her last three starts, Memumsnotnice has led at every station and won those races by a combined seven lengths.

The winner’s share of Wednesday’s purse pushes Memumsnotnice's earnings to $42,568 for owners Thatsideofthefence, LLC, and John Mungillo, who also trains the 6-year-old Jereme’s Jet mare.

Kevin Cummings, Shawn McDonough, Jack Flanigen, Dave McNeight III and Ray Fisher Jr. all scored driving doubles Wednesday night.

When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Nov. 6) at 6:15, the Pick-5 carryover will be $1,173. That is one of the largest carry-over pools of the season.

November 4, 2015 - 1:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

On Sunday (Nov. 15), Batavia Downs will be the site for the U.S. Trotting Association District 8 membership meeting, Director election and New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) year-end awards banquet, hosted by the New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund.

All members of USTA District 8 are invited to attend the general membership meeting which begins at 4 p.m. in the Robert J. Kane board room. The agenda includes a discussion of proposed USTA rule changes and other business, followed by questions and answers.

There will also be voting for two Directors' seats that are currently available and polls will open at 4 p.m. If you are not attending in person, be advised that your mailed ballot must be received by the USTA no later than Nov. 11.

At the conclusion of the meeting, there will be a cocktail party held in advance of the dinner that will start at 6:30 p.m. and be hosted by Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Monticello Raceway, Saratoga Raceway, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. Cocktails and hors devours will be available at in the Grandstands Banquet Room, located on the upper level.

Dinner will start at 7:30 p.m. and will also be held in Grandstands.

Shortly after dinner begins, opening remarks will kick off the NYSS awards ceremony and presentations by the USTA and the New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund.

Tickets for the banquet are $30 per person and must be purchased in advance. Anyone purchasing a ticket will also receive $15 worth of "free play" on the gaming floor.

Tickets can be obtained by sending a check (payable to the NYS Harness Horse Breeders) to: NYS Harness Horse Breeders, 12 Avis Drive, Suite 1, Latham, NY 12110 Attention: Betty.

Payment must arrive no later than Wednesday (Nov. 11) and the general public is welcome to attend.

If you need further assistance, please call the HHBNYS at 518-785-5858.

November 1, 2015 - 11:47am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

The last matinee card of the year at Batavia Downs was held on Saturday (Oct. 31) and featured the top-two pacing classes on the grounds and the performances turned in by the winner of each were equally impressive.

Cobble Beach (Jack Flanigen) shook off a couple fringe finishes and took no prisoners going wire to wire in the $10,000 Open pace in 1:54.4. It was the ninth win of 2015 for Cobble Beach ($7.70), which has become a career year for wins and earnings (now $74,180) for the 5-year-old Artiscape gelding. James Clouser Jr. trains Cobble Beach for owner Leonard Segall.

In the co-feature $8,400 Open II, Historian (Jim McNeight) took advantage of a two-hole trip behind FB Seelster (Dave McNeight III) and stalked the leader the entire mile before shooting up the passing lane in deep-stretch to garner victory by a mere head. Historian ($12.20) toured the course in 1:53.3, which was a new lifetime mark for the 5-year-old Stonebridge Regal gelding. Jack and Maria Rice own the winner with Maria Rice also doing the training.

Several horsemen made multiple trips to the winner's circle on Saturday. Kevin Cummings, Jim McNeight and Jack Flanigen all had driving triples while trainers Maria Rice, James Clouser Jr. and JD Perrin all sent two winners postward.

Arainna Brone, who was visiting Batavia Downs while home for the weekend from college, won the $4,000 pair of diamond earrings in the “Diamond of a Day” promotion sponsored by TAG Jewelers.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Nov. 4) with post time at 6:15 p.m.

(Photo of Arainna Brone with Tony Gruppo of TAG Jewelers, courtesy of Paul White.)

October 31, 2015 - 1:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Write That Down with reinsman Shawn McDonough, ocurtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Write That Down proved that last week’s Open II win was no fluke as he took on the best resident trotters Friday night (Oct. 30) and came out on top in the $9,500 Open trot at Batavia Downs.

When prohibitive post-time favorite Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) left from post six to take the lead, the rest of the field stood down and followed in post one-through-five order behind him. After a :28.1 quarter, the leader started to back-off the pace and that is when Write That Down (Shawn McDonough) pulled and started his move.

Slowly and methodically, Write That Down advanced on the outside and drew within a length of the leading Lutetium at three-quarters in a brisk 1:27.3. When the race rounded the last turn, these two separated themselves from the rest of the field; Lutetium at the pylons and Write That Down to his right flank. With both Cummings and McDonough rocking and knocking down the lane, Write That Down nosed out Lutetium at the wire in 1:57.2.

It was the seventh win of the year for Write That Down ($15.80) including three wins at Batavia Downs in only four starts here and his owners Scott Beecher and Daniel Seidberg have now banked $43,642 on account of the 4-year-old’s efforts. Jeff Sorenson trains Write That Down.

Ron Beback Jr. piloted three winners on the night and Jack Flanigen had two.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Oct. 31) with a special Breeders Cup matinee that gets under way at 1:15.

October 29, 2015 - 1:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Memumsnotnice with driver Ray Fisher Jr., courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Experiencing the same inclement weather as most of the country on Wednesday night (Oct. 28), six top-class distaff side-wheelers went postward in the wind, rain and sloppy track conditions to compete in the $9,500 Open mares pace at Batavia Downs. And when all was said and done, Memumsnotnice dominated her peers once again.

Starting from post one for the fourth consecutive week, Memumsnotnice (Ray Fisher Jr.) briefly yielded the lead to Country Delight (Jack Flanigen) before retaking at the quarter. She then waltzed unchallenged to a :32 second quarter, unfazed by the river of mud underfoot.

While maintaining a solid three-length lead up to that point, Fisher let the mare out a notch and paced a quick :28.3 third panel in an attempt to put the girls away at that station. The ploy was successful and no one had an answer; Memumsnotnice left the field in her spray en route to a convincing, four-length victory.

It was the fourth win of the year (including second in a row) for Memumsnotnice ($4.90) and the spoils pushed her annual earnings to $37,568 for owners Thatsideofthefence, LLC, and John Mungillo, who also trains the mare.

Ray Fisher Jr. scored a driving triple Wednesday while Drew Monti, Dave McNeight III and Jack Flanigen all registered doubles. Trainers Jim Graham, Dave McNeight Jr. and James Clouser Jr. each sent two winners postward.

Racing resumes on Friday night (Oct. 30) with post time set at 6:15.

October 26, 2015 - 3:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Despite stiff competition and some very inclement weather, Jokerman had the last laugh Saturday night (Oct. 24) by winning the $9,500 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs.

Western Alumni (Ron Beback Jr.) left hard and made it known he was going to cut the mile. And in kind, everyone then followed in post-position order. Past the quarter, Button Fly (Shawn McDonough) came first up and brought Cobble Beach (John Cummings Jr.) in tow. This left Jokerman (Jim McNeight) tucked in nicely, second at the pylons.

Positions remained basically the same through three-quarters and around the last turn. But as soon as they hit the stretch and the passing lane opened up, McNeight directed Jokerman into that gap and muscled his way to the lead and the win in 1:55. Western Alumni hung on for second with Cobble Beach rallying three-wide for show.

It was the ninth win of 2015 for Jokerman who has now earned $66,051 for the year. The 5-year-old American Ideal gelding is trained by Richard Roth, who co-owns with Robert Roth and Randy Roth.

The $8,400 Open II pace co-feature was one of the more entertaining races of the night. Lucky Nadotremblay (Kevin Cummings) and FB Seelster (Dave McNeight III) fought side-by-side, tooth, fang and claw for the front for almost three-quarters of the mile before Arrived Late (Shawn McDonough) tipped four-wide around them at that station to take the lead and open up by three. But he wasn’t safe as If It Rains (John Cummings Jr.) who was right behind him, tracked him down in the stretch to win by a length. Sent off at 16-1, If It Rains, made it rain, returning $35.80.

Jim McNeight scored a driving hat-trick while Kevin Cummings, Ron Beback Jr. and Jack Flanigen all registered doubles. Trainers Gerry Sarama, Alex Giuliani and Maria Rice each sent two winners to post as well.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 28) with the first post set for 6:15.

October 22, 2015 - 12:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Memumsnotnice with driver Ray Fisher Jr., courtesy of Paul White.)

Photo courtesy of Paul White

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

It’s not too often a horse jumps up in class and dictates the proceedings but that’s just what happened to Memumsnotnice in the $8,500 Open mares pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 21).

Leaving from post one for the third consecutive week, Memumsnotnice (Ray Fisher Jr.) took quick control of the front and led her minions by a loose two-lengths for the entire mile. After fractions of :29.1, :57.2 and 1:26.1, Fisher raised the lines, cracked the whip and enticed Memumsnotnice to open up a three-length lead and draw away at the wire in 1:55.1.  

It was the third victory of 2015 for Memumsnotnice and the winner’s share boosted her seasonal earnings to $32,818 for owners Thatsideofthefence, LLC, and John Mungillo, who also trains the winner.

Driving and training multiplicity ran rampant at Batavia Downs on Wednesday as Ray Fisher Jr. scored a driving hat trick on the card while Kevin Cummings and Jack Flanigen both copped doubles. Trainers John Mungillo and JD Perrin also both had two winners apiece.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 23) with post time set for 6:15 p.m.

October 20, 2015 - 1:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations:

Starting on Wednesday (Oct. 21), Batavia Downs will move to a new, earlier post time of 6:15 p.m. for the remainder of the season. The only race date that will not start at that time is the final 1:15 matinee which will be held on Breeders Cup Saturday (Oct. 31).

Horsemen are advised to check the paddock and Lasix schedule for the new 6:15 starting time which is available on the Batavia Downs' Web site. They should also take note that all qualifying races for the rest of the meet will be held on Wednesdays at 4:45 p.m.

Racing fans coming to the track should take note that the gates will be open at 4:45 p.m. and the very popular Early Bird Daily Double (the bet that gives you $10 in gaming free-play when you wager $10 on the daily double) will be available in the Paddock Room only from 5-6 p.m.

With 45 days of racing completed, many great promotions have already been presented. But with 24 days of racing left, there is still much more fun yet to come.

Breeder’s Cup day (Oct. 31) will be one of the track’s biggest promotions of the entire year. Live harness racing starts at 1:15 and the races will be intermingled with each Breeder’s Cup event. The track will also offer a Breeder’s Cup Party package for only $20. Fans will receive a lunch buffet, a Breeders’ Cup program, a Batavia Downs program, an American Pharaoh T-shirt and $10 in gaming free-play. This is a $47 value.  

Also on Oct. 31, the track will present the “Diamond of a Day” give-away sponsored by TAG Jewelers (www.tagjewelers.com). Five customers will be chosen at random to pick one of five jewelry boxes. Four boxes will contain gold earrings worth $200 a pair and one box will contain a set of diamond earrings valued at $4,000.

Wednesday (Nov. 25) is the “second chance” Drew Monti bobblehead give-away. A limited amount of these remaining, very desirable collectibles will be distributed on a first come-first served basis to customers who swipe their card at Player’s Club and get a ticket. They will be distributed after the seventh race in the Paddock Room. Racing fans will also have the choice of selecting a Batavia Downs wine rack in the event the bobbleheads are gone. The Drew Monti bobbleheads are also sponsored by TAG Jewelers (www.tagjewelers.com).

During the first two weekends of December, Batavia Downs will host the free $1,000 Pick-6 contest, sponsored by the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association. Fans can swipe their card at Player’s Club and get an official entry form.

Saturday (Dec. 5) is the first $500 leg. If no one selects all six winners, then Friday (Dec. 11) it goes to $1,000. If no one selects all six winners that night, then Saturday (Dec. 12) is a “must-pay” to the player(s) with the most winners selected out of six.

And finally, Friday (Dec. 11) is customer appreciation day. Everyone in attendance will receive free sandwiches from Subway of Batavia, free cake from BJ’s Wholesale of Batavia, free coffee and $1 programs.

The final live racing card of the season is on Saturday (Dec. 12).

October 19, 2015 - 3:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, ADK Hospitality, business, GCEDC.

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Dignitaries, politicians and business leaders gathered at Batavia Downs today for an official groundbreaking ceremony for a new $5.4 million hotel being developed by ADK Hospitality, a company from Buffalo that reached an agreement earlier this year to build the hotel on land formerly owned by Western OTB.

The project turns the land from tax-free acreage to tax-generating acreage and is expected to create 25 full-time equivalent jobs in the 82-room facility. To help finance the project, Genesee County Economic Development Center has granted more than $600,000 in tax relief. Once open, hotel guests with balconies will be able to watch harness racing from their rooms.

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Western OTB VP Mike Nolan, left, and CEO Michael Kane.

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 ADK Hospitality CEO Anthony Baynes.

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October 17, 2015 - 11:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Button Fly with driver Shawn McDonough, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Since coming to Batavia Downs three starts ago, Button Fly had yet to taste victory after three narrow decisions. But class relief and post one worked wonders for him this week as he captured the $8,400 Open II pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 17).

After yielding the lead to Gold Star Spike (Drew Monti) at the eighth pole, Button Fly (Shawn McDonough) pulled and retook the lead by the quarter and never looked back. After putting the field to sleep in a stodgy :58 half, Button Fly paired :28.1 and :28.2 final panels en route to an easy two-length win in 1:54.3.

Sent off as the prohibitive 1-5 favorite, Button Fly ($2.40) captured his fifth win of the year and boosted his 2015 earnings to $40,285 for owners David Ball and Jerry Reinhart. Winning driver, Shawn McDonough, also conditions the 5-year-old Lis Mara gelding.

Shawn McDonough had a very productive night, winning four races as a driver as well as two as a trainer. His driving wins included Red Clay ($2.70), Kruella ($3.80), Button Fly ($2.40) and Enzo Seelster ($17.00); the last two he also trains. Kevin Cummings scored a driving double as did Dave McNeight III. Trainer Dave McNeight Jr. conditioned two that visited the winner's enclosure.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 21) at a new, earlier post time of 6:15 p.m. This will be the post time for all evening cards for the remainder of the 2015 meet.

October 15, 2015 - 12:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Wicked Elphaba with reinsman Ray Fisher Jr.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Wicked Elphaba started slow but finished strong to take the $10,000 Open mares pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 14).

Wicked Elphaba (Ray Fisher Jr.) quickly found herself with a ten-length deficit when Aurora Borealis (Kirk Desmond), Seascape Hanover (John Cummings Jr.) and Country Delight (Jack Flanigen) all battled for the lead in a brisk :27.1 quarter. From there, Seascape Hanover took the front and cut the mile while leaving Country Delight hung out to dry.

As the group passed the half and moved towards five-eighths, Fisher pulled Wicked Elphaba and brushed strongly up the backside. At the three-quarter pole, Wicked Elphaba tipped three-deep around the fading Country Delight, drew even with the front-running Seascape Hanover, and then flew by to take the lead. The mare paced away down the lane to win by three lengths in 1:56.  

It was the fifth win of the year for Wicked Elphaba ($9.20) and the first in the top class for distaff pacers at this meet. The winners share pushed her 2015 earnings to $25,873 for owner Tanah Merah Farms. The 5-year-old Western Terror mare is trained by Ryan Swift.

Drew Monti had a grand slam on Wednesday night, taking pictures with Climate Hanover ($2.80), Missevil ($9.70), R T Lange ($32.20) and Diditagain Hanover ($26.00). Shawn McDonough and Dave McNeight III both had doubles on the card as well.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 16) at 6:35 p.m.

October 13, 2015 - 1:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Pictured from left: Mary Bucceri, Sara Tenney and Rock Vinci. Photo courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Although it was Columbus Day at Batavia Downs, it was Groundhog Day for Rock Vinci. That is because Vinci won the special Italian-American drivers race (known as the Christopher Columbus Pace) for the second year in a row, in the identical time as last year and with another bombs-away payoff.

Vinci left with his horse, the 12-1 Bruener, before giving way to 102-1 Put It In Gear (Denny Bucceri). Past three-eighths, the prohibitive 1-9 favorite, Feets Of Magic (Drew Monti), pulled to try and take the lead from Put It In Gear. But while those two jousted until the top of the stretch, Vinci snuck Bruener up the pylons and won going away in 1:58.2. The winner paid $26.20.

Last year, Vinci won the "race for the cannolis" with Windsong Destroyer off a similar two-hole trip, also in 1:58.2 and returned a healthy $16.80.

Aside from the gratitude of owner Joe Kilburg, trainer JD Perrin and his driving percentage of the purse, Vinci was also presented with a half dozen gourmet cannolis in the winners's circle and gets to retain his bragging rights for another year.

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