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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.

October 11, 2015 - 1:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Sent off at 12-1, the lightly regarded Phil Your Boots made believers out of those doubters as he overcame a huge deficit at the half to win the $9,500 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 10).

Off the wings, Cobble Beach (John Cummings Jr.) and Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) both left in search of forward positioning. Jokerman (Jim McNeight), who had the pole, let Cobble Beach go while seating Fireyourguns. After all grabbed a spot, the single-file pack tripped the quarter in :28.4 and the half in :56.1. At this point, eventual winner Phil Your Boots (Drew Monti) was sitting last, 10-lengths off the lead behind a drifting and gapped Bakken (Ray Fisher Jr.).

Monti got his charge around the lagging horse and quickly caught the field. When Button Fly (Shawn McDonough) started an outer-flow, Phil Your Boots followed second-over as they reached the three-quarters in 1:26.1. At the top of the stretch, Cobble Beach packed it in but Fireyourguns still looked strong. Undaunted, Phil Your Boots tipped three-deep and put on a ferocious charge to just nose-out Fireyourguns in 1:54.2.

It was the tenth win of the year for Phil Your Boots ($26.00) including six out of his last eight. And the winner’s share of the purse inflated his 2015 earnings to $43,750 for owner Lou Frascella. Carl Smith trains the winner.   

Drew Monti scored a driving triple Saturday, winning with Phil Your Boots ($26.00), Rockstar Temper ($3.40) and The Battle Begins ($3.60) while Kevin Cummings, Shawn McDonough and Jim McNeight all registered driving doubles.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday (Oct. 12) with a special Columbus Day matinee card that gets under way at 1:15.

October 10, 2015 - 11:36am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Tequila Haze with reinsman Jim McNeight, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

In as definitive a manner as could be displayed, Tequila Haze ($11.20) led at all stations en route to capturing the $7,700 Open II trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Oct. 9).

While weekly regulars Lutetium and BZ Glide were not in the race, Tequila Haze (Jim McNeight) took full advantage of the opportunity and used his gait speed to power to the front off the gate and take immediate command of the race. Enjoying a loose-length lead, McNeight took the field through fractions of :29.2, :59.3 and 1:28.3 before raising the lines and giving Tequila Haze his head around the last turn.

With some rocking and knocking encouragement down the lane, Tequila Haze held strong and hit the wire in front in 1:58. Keystone Wild Card (Drew Monti) was second and Studio City (Dave McNeight III) was third.

It was the fourth win of the year for the 4-year-old gelded son of Muscle Mass and it raised his seasonal earnings to $33,399 for owners Michael Ventura and James McNeight Jr.

Shawn McDonough scored a driving triple of Friday’s card while Jack Flanigen and Ray Fisher Jr. both had doubles.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 10) with post time for the first race set at 6:35.

October 8, 2015 - 1:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Country Delight with driver Jack Flanigen, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Two divisions of $7,700 Open II pacing mares headlined the card at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 7) with eleven ladies going postward.

The better of the two contests turned out to be the second when Country Delight ($5) took a pocket trip en route to winning the seventh race by a long length.

Memumsnotnice (Kevin Cummings) got away sharply as Country Delight (Jack Flanigen) tucked in behind her as the only leaver in the race. From there, Cummings led the field through fractions of :28, :58.2 and 1:27 before they circled the far turn.

At the top of the stretch it appeared as if Memumsnotnice had the race won, but Flanigen shooed Country Delight into the passing lane where she accelerated past the leader to win in 1:55.4.

It was the ninth win of the year for the 5-year-old American Ideal mare who has now earned $57,473 in purses this year for owner James Frandsen. Country Delight is trained by James Clouser Jr.

In the first division, Infrontigo Hanover (Jim McNeight) went to go in front immediately at the start and maintained that position the entire mile, hanging on to beat the pocket-sitting 1-9 favorite, Climate Hanover (Drew Monti) by a mere nose in 1:57.

It was the fifth win of 2015 for Infrontigo Hanover who now has $50,444 in the bank for the year. The 7-year-old Western Hanover mare is trained by Bob Gruber, who co-owns with Summer Wind Stable of NY.

Driver John Cummings Jr. was on fire Wednesday, winning five races on the card. He took his picture with LG’s Pride ($65.50), Seascape Hanover ($5.10), Voltina ($10.80), Hawaiian Joe ($4.60) and Regal Beau ($4.60). Sean McDonough and Jack Flanigen each had driving doubles.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night with the first post set to go at 6:35.

October 6, 2015 - 2:12pm

(Submitted photo: Jerome J. “Jerry” Grasso)

Press release from Batavia Downs:

Jerome J. “Jerry” Grasso has been named the recipient of Batavia Downs Gaming’s annual Italian-American of the Year award. Jerry Grasso will be honored with this accolade on Monday (Oct. 12, Columbus Day) with a special trackside ceremony after the seventh race.

Joe Gerace, the first recipient of this award, will act as master of ceremonies.

“Jerry is a wonderful individual. In addition to being a good family man, he has been an asset to our community for many years and is truly deserving of this award.” Gerace said.

Mr. Grasso, who resides in Batavia, is a current trustee of the Knights of Columbus (Monsignor Kirby Council #325) where he was also a past Grand Knight. He is a faithful navigator of the Knights of Columbus 4th degree, Batavia Assembly #0755.

Aside from his involvement in the K of C, Mr. Grasso was a volunteer at Notre Dame High School for 25 years where he contributed his time heavily to sports and scholarships.

Besides his efforts for the school, Mr. Grasso has also spent countless hours volunteering and assisting in fundraising for multiple organizations, in and around Batavia.

He has been a Eucharistic Minister in the Catholic Church since 2001, taking particular pride in giving Holy Communion to those unable to attend church services.

Joining Mr. Grasso in the winner’s circle for the presentation will be past Italian-American award winners Chuck Zambito, Ray Cianfrini, Joe Teresi, Charles Ruffino, Russ Romano and Laurie Napoleone.

October 4, 2015 - 12:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Atta Boy with reinsman Jim Morrill Jr., courtesy Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

The marquee event at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 3) was the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace. But history and outstanding performances in other races combined to provided a show that those in attendance won’t soon forget.

In the main event, Atta Boy Dan led at every post en route to a three-length victory in the 13th annual Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace.

Off the gate, Atta Boy Dan (Jim Morrill Jr.) rebuffed early challenges from Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) and Doctor Butch (Jim Marohn Jr.) and seated them both past the eighth pole. Then after the field followed in single file to a :27.4 quarter, Morrill backed off the half to :56.3 and took full control of the race.

Royal Heart (Drew Monti) started an outer flow into the clubhouse turn and had Aslan (Sean McDonough) in tow, but no one got closer than two-lengths before they hit the head of the stretch. From there, Fireyourguns pulled the pocket for one last shot but Atta Boy Dan, pacing his last quarter in :27.4, was just too good and pulled away to an easy win in 1:52.1.

Fireyourguns hung on to be second and Aslan came up to be third.

“I had a smooth journey to the half and as soon as I called on him, he was on cruise right to the wire. That was a good horse (Fireyourguns) sitting on my back and I was a little worried about him, but mine felt pretty good too. I wish I could have a Burke horse off the rail every year in this race,” said winning driver Jim Morrill Jr.

It was the 16th victory of the year for Atta Boy Dan ($2.30) and the winner’s share boosted his earning to $222,757 in 2015 for owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi.

Atta Boy Dan was just part of the story for Jim Morrill Jr. on Saturday night as he won seven races out of the 11 he had on the card. Combine those with a second and third he also had and Morrill posted an amazing .717 UDR for the evening.

The all-time pacing track record of 1:51.1 was not broken in the race; however trotting history was made instead.

(Lutetium with reinsman John Cummings Jr., courtesy of Paul White.)

Lutetium got back to his front-running comfort zone and destroyed the field in the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot.

In a late driver change, John Cummings Jr. was tapped to steer Lutetium and wasted no time earning his keep. When prohibitive betting favorite, Tall Cotton made a break in the first turn, Cummings rushed Lutetium away and opened up a gap of as much as 15 lengths between himself and the rest of the field through fractions of :27.1, :55.4 and 1:25.1 before scooting home to a six-length victory in 1:55.2.

The winning time broke the existing track record of 1:56 for aged trotting geldings that was co-held by Lutetium and Second Hand News, both who set that mark in 2014.

“They said he hasn’t been leaving well lately, so I scored him down fast. Once he got the front in the race; the more I grabbed him, the more he went on. I was a passenger,” said Cummings Jr.

It was the ninth win of the year for Lutetium and it pushed his bank account to $68,886 for owner Colleen Girdlestone and trainer Mark Laidlaw. Overlooked at 10-1, Lutetium returned $22.60.

This was just one of three wins for John Cummings Jr., who scored the hat trick on the night.

There were also two, $50,000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) consolation events on the card for 2-year-old colts and geldings and also fillies.

The boy’s division was won by Southern Palms (RC Royalty-Pacific Elegance) in 1:59.2. The post-time favorite went wire to wire and won by four-lengths. It was the first career win for Southern Palms ($4.40) who is trained by Erv Miller for owners Ronald Michelon and Anthony Lombardi.  

After the race, winning driver Jim Marohn Jr. said “Erv (Miller) tipped me off that he was a handful tonight; and he was!”

The distaff leg went to Royal Surprise (RC Royalty-Miss Conway), also in 1:59.2. After getting away fourth, the filly tipped three-deep at three-quarters and pulled away to a two-length win. It was also the first career win for Royal Surprise ($6.50) who is trained by Dan Daley for owners Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford, Richard Lombardo and Michael White.

“She was good the whole mile and when I asked her, she just trotted away. She was good tonight,” said winning driver Jim Morrill Jr.

There was a huge crowd on hand Saturday night and the fans both in the stands and watching remotely, were putting some money through the windows. The total handle was up 15 percent this year, versus Kane night of 2014.

The Paddock Room and enclosed grandstand were very crowded and the clubhouse was sold out once again. There were so many people in line to receive their free Kane Pace T-shirt, it took over two races to distribute the goods.

Racing will reconvene at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 7) for a 12-race program that will commence at 6:35.

October 2, 2015 - 12:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Picture, courtesy of Paul White, shows some of the horsemen who donated their training and driving percentages to the fundraiser.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Batavia Downs race track held a fundraiser Wednesday night (Sept. 30) to help support the family of driver Brad Hanners.

The event was overseen by Jami Rae Chatt, whose enthusiasm and passion to help others definitely rubbed off on the owners, trainers, drivers and even the fans of the Downs, as they all pitched in together to raise $9,200 for the Hanners family.

Brad’s Aunt, Ann Coe, was on hand Wednesday and was truly moved by the outpouring of support that everyone at the races that night provided. She spoke with many on hand near the silent auction area and was greeted by all in a winner’s circle presentation after the tenth race.

“Batavia Downs would like to thank everyone for their generosity in making this fundraiser a huge success," said Todd Haight, director/general manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. "It was truly a touching and remarkable night. I would also like to thank Jami Rae Chatt for once again leading the way with this effort and making it a winner for Brad's family.”

October 1, 2015 - 12:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Climate Hanover with reinsman Drew Monti, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Taking full advantage of post and position in the race, Climate Hanover ($5.10) scored an impressive victory in the $8,500 Open mares pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 30).

Starting from the pylons, Climate Hanover (Drew Monti) yielded the lead to a hard charging Country Delight (Jack Flanigen) who left from post eight. With the field then following the leader in post-position order, Country Delight led the girls to a modest :58 half.

Past that station, Call Me Maybe (Shawn McDonough) was motoring on the outside and drew near-even with the leader at three quarters in 1:26.4. Those two then battled on top until the head of the stretch when the passing lane opened and left clear passage for the pocket-sitting Climate Hanover to shoot through and pull away to a two-length victory in 1:55.4.

It was the seventh win of the year for the 5-year-old Western Ideal mare and the winner’s share of the purse boosted her 2015 income to $57,284 for owner James Caradori. Climate Hanover is trained by Darrin Monti.

Climate Hanover’s triumph capped off a three-win night for driver Drew Monti, who also took post-race pictures with Maradona ($14.60) and Old Mcheath ($11.40). Drivers Dave McNeight III and Ray Fisher Jr. also had driving doubles.

Batavia Downs returns live on Friday night (Oct. 2) with a 12-race card that will begin at 6:35.

September 29, 2015 - 12:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Racing Media Relations

The racing community has once again come together at Batavia Downs to help out the family of one of their own. Wednesday night (Sept. 30) is the “Helping the family of Brad Hanners Fundraiser” night.

There are many facets to this endeavor but one singular goal as horsemen are donating purses and donated items will generate revenue through a silent auction.

Drivers who will be donating their entire 5-percent income for the Wednesday night card include Drew Monti, Shawn McDonough, Dave McNeight III and Jack Rice. Trainers who have also agreed to donate their entire 5% are Dave McNeight Jr., Maria Rice, Mike Carrubba and Bob Gruber.

Drivers and trainers who will be making a general donation include, Ron Beback Jr., Russell Bratt, Denny Bucceri, Mike Caprio, Kevin Cummings, James Clouser Jr., Lee Dahn, Alex Giuliani, Brad Jackson, Lisa Lederhouse, Jim McNeight, Darrin Monti, Jim Mulcahy, John Mungillo, Angelo Nappo, Jerry Nugent Jr., Courtney Ohol, JD Perrin, Don Rothfuss, Rose Russo, Ron Van Wagoner and Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr.

Owners who have agreed to donation a portion of their Wednesday earnings include Steve Andzel, Dave Bratt, Louis Frascella, Mike Torcello and Howard Ouriel.

Organizations who will be donating funds include the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) and the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association.

Those attending the races live can also make cash donations or bid on any of the silent auction items that will be available. The auction will be held in the Paddock Room and bids will be accepted from 6:15 p.m. until five minutes after the 10th race.

Auction items include:

-- A set of bobbleheads consisting of Jim Marohn Jr., Wendy Ross, Tim Tetrick, Drew Monti and Jody Jamieson;

-- An autographed whip from William O’ Donnell, David Miller and Jody Jamieson and a Sweet Lou cup;

-- A Future Hall of Famer, Yannick Gingras, autographed jacket and driving gloves;

-- A Hall of Famer, Ron Pierce, autographed driving jacket;

-- An autographed full set of driving colors from Hall of Famer, Ron Pierce;

-- A Breyer Foiled Again horse signed by Yannick Gingras.

Jami Rae Chatt is the driving force behind the fundraiser and is well qualified to do it. Chatt also organized the Anthony Coletta fundraiser that raised $12,835 in 2013; an effort that garnered her the Unsung Hero Award from USHWA last year.

“Because we did so well for Anthony Coletta, we wanted to help the Hanners family any way we could. When everyone is on the racetrack, it’s all business. But other than that, we’re all one big family and I have seen how generous the Western New York racing community can be on many occasions. I’m just glad to be a part of it,” Chatt said.

Todd Haight, director/general manager of Live Racing said “Jami is an amazing young lady. When she came to me asking if the track would help put this on we were more than happy to help anyway we could. Jami is a very caring individual and her efforts for Anthony Coletta proved that. I only hope we can be as successful for this family as they go through this very bad time.”

September 29, 2015 - 12:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Racing Media Relations

Horsemen are advised that Batavia Downs will be accepting entries for the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace through Wednesday morning (Sept. 30) at 9 a.m. The race will be held Saturday (Oct. 3) on one of the richest cards ever offered at the oldest lighted harness track in America.

Known as the Downs signature event, The Robert J. Kane Memorial is named for the former Chairman of the Board of the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation, owner of Batavia Downs. The race has had three millionaires win it, including Foiled Again ($7.1M), who won it twice; Bolt The Duer ($1.8M) and Aracache Hanover ($1.7M) who set the all-time track of 1:51.1 in 2011.

Other premium racing opportunities that night include the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot and a $10,000 Open pace. Also scheduled are two $50,000 New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old consolation races.

Entries or inquiries can be made by calling the race office at 585-344-6161.

September 26, 2015 - 11:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Cobble Beach with driver John Cummings Jr., courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Racing Media Relations

Cobble Beach was in full command the entire way as he put a circle around the five-horse field in the $9,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 26).

Leaving from post four, Cobble Beach (John Cummings Jr.) shot right to the lead and took instant control of the race. While about five lengths back, prohibitive betting favorite Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) got away fourth and was content to stay there until the half.

After hitting that station in :56.4, Caprio unleashed Fireyourguns and advanced as far as second at the three-quarter pole. But the assault creased when the gelding faded uncharacteristically around the far turn. From there, Cobble Beach paced home in a speedy :27.4 to win by three-lengths in 1:52.4.

It was the eighth win of the year for Cobble Beach ($4.70) and the fourth top-class victory for him at Batavia Downs. The winners share boosted his bankroll to $67,565 for owner Leonard Segall and trainer James Clouser Jr.

Saturday was a night of multiplicity for several horsemen. The driving/training team of Dave McNeight III and Dave McNeight Jr. scored a hat trick with Goldstar Thumper ($3.50), Maple Leaf Matt ($14.20) and Outoftexas ($7.30) while the driving/training team of John Cummings Jr. and James Clouser Jr. registered a double with Bad Bad Boy ($3.40) and Cobble Beach ($4.70). Shawn McDonough, Jack Flanigen and Ray Fisher Jr. also had driving doubles as well.

The next card of live racing will be Wednesday (Sept. 30) at Batavia Downs with post time set for 6:35 p.m.

September 26, 2015 - 11:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of BZ Glide with driver Mike Caprio, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Racing Media Relations

BZ Glide ($6.10) made a change in race strategy pay off by going wire to wire in the $9,500 Open trot feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 25).

In what seemed to be a race from a parallel universe, nothing that is known to normally happen, occurred. BZ Glide (Mike Caprio), who almost always comes from off the pace, went right for the lead. And habitual frontrunner, Lutetium (Kevin Cummings), settled in the garden spot, opting to let someone else dictate the race.

In the end the contrary methodology of one paid off while the other, not so much.

BZ Glide performed like a well-oiled machine on top, covering scads of ground with his long, fluid stride. He controlled the field by a loose length the entire race under a passive hand-drive by Caprio, setting fractions of :28.2, :58.4 and 1:28.4 before rounding the final turn.

As they headed down the stretch, Cummings directed Lutetium off his cover and tried to gain momentum on the pylons, but their attempt was ineffective as BZ Glide trotted home without issue in 1:57.4.

It was the sixth win in 15 starts for BZ Glide this year and the winner’s share of the purse boosted his earnings to $42,695 for owner Caprio LLC. The 6-year-old Yankee Glide gelding is trained by Alana Caprio.

September 24, 2015 - 11:37am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Act Now with driver Kevin Cummings, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

What does a mare that raced the likes of Anndrovette, Table Talk, Color’s A Virgin and Rocklamation just two months ago do when she comes to Batavia Downs? Win by four lengths in the $10,000 Open distaff pacing feature on Wednesday night (Sept. 23).

The 4-year-old pacing mare Act Now, who just scorched the Open class ladies at Flamboro Downs in 1:53 flat last week, came south of the border on Wednesday to take on the best in Western New York. However the best weren’t good enough to even challenge the invader who toured the facility unencumbered this night.

Act Now (Kevin Cummings) left the gate and shot right to the front, opening up a three-length advantage; a lead that was extended up to six-lengths during the race. Cummings had a stranglehold on the mare through fractions of :27.2, :55.1 and 1:23.4 when talk of another track record started swirling through the press box.

With the plugs popped and Cummings clearly driving with the time in mind, Act Now flew home with no opposition nearby, to win by four lengths in 1:53.3. The finishing time was only three-fifths of a second off the track record of 1:53 for aged pacing mares set by Xenia Hanover in 2013.

It was the second win in 10 starts this year (including two in a row) for Act Now ($4.10) and her share of the purse boosted her lifetime earnings to $521,717 for owners Joseph Davino and Patrick O’Brien. The Western Ideal mare is trained by Nikolas Drennan.

The Downs leading driver, Kevin Cummings, had five winners on the card Wednesday night. He took a picture with Socialdelight ($4.10), Dedalos ($4.20), Most Happy Rider ($4.70), Act Now ($4.10) and Mystical Danica ($5.10). Sean McDonough and Dave McNeight III both scored driving doubles.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 25) with the first race post time set at 6:35.

September 20, 2015 - 9:20am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

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

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Winning the $9,000 Open pace at Batavia Downs seemed like a walk in the park for Cobble Beach on Saturday night (Sept. 19) as he made putting away the competition look pretty much, stress-free.

Assigned post seven, Cobble Beach (Jack Flanigen) left sharply to take a lead he would not relinquish this night. With the field in post-position order behind him, Cobble Beach set fractions of :27.3 and :56.3 before a weak outer flow developed past five-eighths.

As the group hit the six-furlong marker in 1:26.1, the outside threat failed just as Spender Hanover (Don Rothfuss) and Closing Credits (Dave McNeight III) came out to take their best shot after following quietly on the pylons. But their best wasn’t good enough as Cobble Beach coasted to an easy two-length victory in 1:55.2.

It was the sixth win in 32 starts for Cobble Beach ($8.40) this year and the purse increased his earnings to $63,065 for 2015. The 5-year-old gelded son of Artiscape is owned and trained by James Clouser Jr.

The Downs top-two drivers, Kevin Cummings and Dave McNeight III, both scored driving triples Saturday while Jack Flanigen and Sean Mcdonough both doubled their pleasure.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Tuesday afternoon with the second (and final) twilight post time of 4:30.

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