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December 13, 2017 - 12:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association:

Batavia, NY---The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has announced its horses of the meet for 2017 at Batavia Downs.

Pacer of the Meet: Focus Power

While racing in the top Open class for 13 starts at Batavia, western New York newcomer Focus Power won three times and finished second another five while amassing $36,010 in purses. He was on fire in September when he won three out of four starts while setting two new lifetime marks during that period (September 2, 1:53 and September 23, 1:52.4).

After being claimed at Yonkers just prior to the start of the Batavia meet, Focus Power made an immediate impact to the good fortunes of owner James Caradori and trainer Darrin Monti. Driver Drew Monti was aboard for every start. Overall Focus Power has nine wins in 2017 and earnings that total $97,395.

 

Trotter of the Meet: BZ Glide

BZ Glide was a fixture in the weekly Open trot once again this year and showed although he’s getting older, he hasn’t lost a step. In 15 starts against the local best, BZ Glide won three with six seconds and a third banking $34,405 in the process. He also set a seasonal mark of 1:56.3.

As has been the case every year, the family affair of Alana Caprio training and Mike Caprio driving, the two also team up in ownership of the big trotting gelding. For the year, BZ Glide has a total of five wins and earnings of $52,405.

Mare of the Meet: Voltina

Competing the entire meet in the fillies and mares Open I or II, Voltina was as tough as they came winning three Open I’s and one Open II along with six second place finishes and took home purses totaling $34,060. She took her seasonal mark of 1:55 at Batavia as well.

Owned by CHS Racing LLC, the Tony Cummings-trained Voltina had a career year winning a total of eight races and earning $69,456 in purses. Kevin Cummings was aboard for the majority of her starts.

Claimer of the Meet: Quicksilvercandy A

Listed as the winning-est pacer in North America for a good portion of the year, Quicksilvercandy A had a field day racing at Batavia Downs. Moving up and down the class ladder, the mare ended up winning seven claiming races including the $20,000 Claiming Championship final for her division in November. Her four seconds and two thirds also helped bump up her bankroll to $40,165 for the meet.

Owned and driven by Larry Stalbaum, Quicksilvercandy A recorded a career year of 20 wins and $108,994 in earnings under the training of Kim Asher.

Most Improved Horse of the Meet: In Runaway Bay N

In Runaway Bay N came to Batavia Downs off a less than stellar early part of the year. He made his first start at Batavia in August, winning in the bottom class; non-winners of $1,000 in 1:55.1. He strung together four wins while working his way up to the Open where he finished second two weeks in a row. The following week he faced Foiled Again and finished a respectable fourth to the richest Standardbred of all time. Since then he has won three Open paces. For the meet, he took a seasonal mark of 1:53.1 and earned $39,050.

In Runaway Bay N is owned by Super Mile LLC and is trained by Angelo Nappo. Kevin Cummings was in the bike for the bulk of the work.

The connections of these horses will be presented their trophies in the winner’s circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 16) during the 10th annual “Night of Distinction” awards ceremony. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.

(All photos are courstesy of Paul White.)

December 12, 2017 - 4:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Rusty Freeman, courtesy of Rusty Freeman.

By Tim Bojarski, for Upstate NewYork Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association:

Anyone who has ever dealt with a quarter crack can appreciate what it takes to get their horse sound and racing again. Rusty Freeman is responsible for changing the way this debilitating condition is handled, reducing down time from weeks to days and turning the process into a state of the art form over the years.

As a result of his tireless work to help the breed, the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will present Freeman with the Innovator’s Award for contributions to the sport of harness racing in the winner’s circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 16) during the 10th annual “Night of Distinction” awards ceremony.

Freeman was working as a factory machinist in western New York in the late 1970’s when he was first introduced to harness racing. While visiting a friend who had trotters, he was shown why a particular horse was lame with a hoof crack and the whole thing quickly intrigued him.

He developed a way to use a Dremel tool and cut out just the part of the hoof he felt was needed, and then put a tube under the patch. That way air could still get to the sore area to aid healing and it could also be flushed with antiseptic to keep it clean.

He then researched and developed an acrylic compound he uses instead of fiberglass and combines that with Kevlar cloth to do the patches. The combination of the tube under the new patch material gives the area every opportunity to heal and grow out properly in a short amount of time.

Freeman has been plying his trade at harness tracks in New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania for almost 40 years now and many times works hand in hand with vets. As a result, hundreds of horses have been made sound quicker, allowing them to get back in the box much sooner.  

Also a farrier, Freeman is an accredited member of the American Association of Professional Farriers (AAPF) and helps other professionals in the field understand and benefit from his technics.

Post time for the first race on Saturday is 6 p.m.

December 11, 2017 - 1:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, news, harness racing.

Photo of Jim Compton and horse Michael Scores, courtesy of Tim Bojarski.

By Tim Bojarski, for the Upstate New York Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association:

Jim Compton has been a respected western New York horseman for over 35 years. He trained, drove and bred many horses that are still remembered at his home tracks for their competitive nature and success.

For his years of dedication to the sport, the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will present him with the Lifetime Achievement Award in the winner’s circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 16) during the 10th annual “Night of Distinction” awards ceremony.

Compton’s full time job was working for General Motors in Rochester, but his passion was for harness racing. So in 1978 he started moonlighting at the farm of local driving legend Fred Haslip to learn the ins and outs of the business. After a few years he got his trainer's license and in 1983 he drove his first race.

Compton and his wife Sandra always ran a small but successful stable, racing horses like Sly Hi, No Parking Zone, Splurging Rita, Gasper Again and Held For Ransom, who won multiple Opens at Batavia Down, Vernon Downs and Buffalo Raceway en route to amassing 51 lifetime wins.

When Held For Ransom’s career was over, Compton bred him to one of his race mares named Suspicious Burns and the result of that breeding was a horse named Michael Scores.

Michael Scores was a New York Sires Stake star and rock-solid overnight campaigner for 11 years. He won 86 races and earned $668,079 lifetime without ever seeing the Grand Circuit. He set track records at Tioga Downs (1:50.4) and at Batavia Downs (1:52.1) when he won the 2006 Kane Memorial Pace. And he will always be remembered for his “intentionally parked out” style of racing.

Compton’s numbers were not gaudy, however they were efficient. On the training side he had 578 wins out of 2,892 starts with $1.9 million in purses and a UTR of .337. As a driver he won 522 races out of 2,725 starts and made $1.13 million in purses and a UDR of .330. And all the horses he either trained or drove were 50 percent in the money over his entire career.

Post time for Saturday night’s card is 6 o'clock.

December 10, 2017 - 12:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Lucky McTrucky, driven by Drew Monti, wins at Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

It was a hard fought race between two game opponents, but Lucky McTrucky came out on top of Jimi Wind Ricks in the $9,000 feature pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 9).

Lucky McTrucky (Drew Monti) inherited the lead from the pylons as no one else in the field left. Now lined up in post-position order, the leader strolled the group to the half in a very pedestrian :59 split. Eager to challenge at that point, Jimi Wind Ricks (Billy Davis Jr.) came with a rush at the three-eighths and drew alongside Lucky McTrucky up the backside and that began a very contentious encounter.

After a :27.4 third panel, Jimi Wind Ricks got the lead on the outside by over a half-length but could not clear as Lucky McTrucky stayed game and would not let him go by. They continued to fight around the far turn with both Monti and Davis rocking and knocking their respective mounts, hoping each other would give way. They hit the straight and were still going at it but Lucky McTrucky gained a slight edge and held it to the wire where he won by a half-length in 1:55.1.

It was the 42nd lifetime win for Lucky McTrucky ($7.30) who is owned by Tessa Roland and trained by J.D. Perrin.

In the $8,500 Open III pace, Big Ricky (Ron Beback Jr.) took a mostly overland route to defeat the heavily favored David The Saint (Ray Fisher Jr.) by a length in 1:56.4. Big Ricky ($9.70) is owned by William Emmons and is trained by James Clouser Jr. 

Driver Shawn McDonough had a big night at the Downs, winning three races including the nightcap with Best Ears who blew up the tote board with an $86 mutuel.

The final week of the meet kicks-off when racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 15) with post time at 6 p.m. There are only two more nights of racing in 2017.

December 9, 2017 - 2:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Horsemen racing at Batavia Downs are reminded of the draw schedule changes for the final week of racing.

A double draw will take place on Tuesday (Dec. 12) for race cards to be held on Friday (Dec. 15) and Saturday (Dec. 16). The entry box will close at the normal time of 9 a.m.

All program information, including driver changes for Friday's card, must be submitted to the judges by 1 p.m. on Tuesday (Dec. 12). 

Saturday's program changes must be received by the Judges no later than 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 13).

For more information please visit the horsemen's link at www.bataviadownsgaming.com.

December 9, 2017 - 1:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.
Photo of Fox Valley Veto with driver Billy Davis Jr.
 
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
 
Winning two races in a row for the second time in his last six starts, Fox Valley Veto claimed top weekly trotting honors once again at Batavia Downs after winning the $10,000 Open Handicap on Friday night (Dec.8). 
 
Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) went for the lead and took the field to the half in :58.1. At that station Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) pulled first-over from third and went right up to challenge the frontrunner. 
 
Fox Valley Veto took command by the three-quarters, moving back to the pylons and stretching out to a two-length advantage. Around the last turn, Empire Earl N was trying to keep up but his race was run and Fox Valley Veto had won; wrapped up under the wire in 1:57.1.
 
It was the seventh win of the year for Fox Valley Veto ($7.40) and it pushed his earnings to $60,837 for owners Vogel & Wags Nags and Jack Rice. Maria Rice does the training. 
 
Then it was bombs away in the co-featured $8,000 Open II trot when 17-1 Court's N Session (Shawn McDonough) came from mid-pack at three-quarters to tip three-deep at the head of the lane and catch heavily favored Osprey Vision (Ray Fisher Jr.) in deep stretch to win by a neck in 1:59.4. 
 
Owned by Marie Houghtaling and trained by Ron Houghtaling, Court's N Session scored his fifth win of the year and paid $37.80. 
 
The Downs leading driver Larry Stalbaum scored four more wins Friday, pushing his meet-leading total to 126. Ray Fisher Jr. who currently sits in second had two wins and now has 121 victories at Batavia. 
 
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs tonight (Dec. 9) at 6 o'clock.
December 7, 2017 - 4:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Photo of Mydelight Bluechip with driver Ben Mc Neil.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The lake effect snows blew into Genesee County making Batavia Downs look like the North Pole and Mydelight Bluechip made like Rudolph and led all the way to win the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace on the last Wednesday night (Dec. 6) of racing for the meet.

Mydelight Bluechip (Ben Mc Neil) was on a “take no prisoners” mission as she left and parked Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) and Voltina (Kevin Cummings) to the half in :56.3. As the race went on to the second circuit, Little Joke continued to apply the pressure but Voltina faded away, allowing Miss Irish Rose A (Larry Stalbaum) room to advance to the outside from sixth and move into a closer third position.

Moving through the last turn Mydelight Bluechip put away both of those challengers and led by two lengths. At that point it looked like she’d wrapped things up until Squeeze This (Drew Monti) and Hey Kobe (Shawn McDonough) came flying late, gobbling up ground in the stretch. But Mydelight Bluechip dug in and pulled out the win by a narrowing margin in 1:57.2.

Privately purchased on November 11 by Ellen Mc Neil, Mydelight Bluechip ($20.80) scored her first victory for her new owner and third of the year overall. The 5-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight is trained by John Mc Neil III, rounding out the Mc Neil trifecta in the race.

In the co-featured $8,000 distaff Open II, Sportsmuffler (Drew Monti) took the lead before the half and from there, left the rest of the field in her rear-view mirror as she pulled away to a seven-length win in 1:56.2. Owned by Lav Racing Stable and trained by Mike Carrubba, Sportsmuffler ($3.70) registered her 10th win of the year and pushed her earnings to $54,149 as a result.

Drew Monti was red hot on a cold night, winning four races on the card. Besides scoring with Sportsmuffler, Monti also won with Tymal Luckynpink (1:57.1, $5.50), Juxlivin My Dream (1:59.2, $10.20) and Hold On Tightly (2:02.3, $21.20). Monti actually won a fifth race with P L Hellcat in the tenth race but was disqualified and placed second for a Eurorail violation.

Open Water (Jim McNeight Jr.) who finished second in that tenth race was placed first and gave trainer Jim McNeight his 1,000th career training victory. McNeight’s training win total has earned $3,495,864 in purse money for his connections. McNeight also has 3,587 driving wins with an additional purse amount of $13,133,205 to go along.

In the Downs eleventh race, the heavily favored Heavenly Way (Ray Fisher Jr.) was soundly backed in the show pool and finished fourth in a five-horse wire photo. With Heavenly Way being off the board, it prompted eye-popping show payouts of $77.50, $108 and $264.

The driver's race just got a little more interesting after Wednesday night. Larry Stalbaum still leads with 122 wins and Ray Fisher Jr. is second with 119. But on the heels of his big performance, Drew Monti draws into a closer third with 116 wins, only six behind the leader with only four days of racing left in the 2017 meet.  

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 8) with post time set at 6 o'clock.

December 5, 2017 - 3:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

As a result of no winning ticket once again on Saturday (Dec. 2), Batavia Downs will offer a $2,500 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool when racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 6) at the oldest lighted harness track in America.

The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager that begins in race one and runs through race five. There is no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners the entire pool (minus takeout) will be carried over to the next Pick-5 pool. 

Wednesday’s guaranteed pool is part of the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster are available on the USTA’s website.

This link will take you directly to those program pages.

Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m.

December 3, 2017 - 2:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

Photo of Chumlee A with driver Larry Stalbaum.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

In a performance that could only be described as overwhelming, Chumlee A made a bold backside move after being parked out from the start to win by as many as he wanted in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 2).

Major Trick (Kevin Cummings), Lucky McTrucky (Drew Monti) and Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) all left the gate and wanted to cut the mile, but only one could do it. So Major Trick grabbed the pylons and parked out Lucky McTrucky while Chumlee A settled in second-over in the outer flow. The top two horses fought tooth, fang and claw through swift early fractions of :27.1 and :55.4 and neither one would relent.

With the same leading order headed around turn three, Stalbaum tired of following and tipped Chumlee A three-deep past the five-eighths pole as the group motored up the backside and by the three-quarters cleared, and the route was on. Chumlee A was in overdrive and opened up distance between himself and the rest of the field with every stride. Stalbaum sat chilly from the top of the lane home as Chumlee A continued to pour it on of his own volition, eventually ending the six-length route in 1:54.

It was the third straight win both in North America and at Batavia Downs for Chumlee A ($3.20) and it established a new lifetime mark for the Somebeachsomewhere progeny. Chumlee A is owned by Mark Jakubik and Kim Asher, who also does the training.

The $9,000 co-featured Open II Pace went to Heaven Rocks (Ron Beback Jr.) who toured the facility on the front end unfettered from start to finish, winning by a gapped five lengths in 1:53.3. Heaven Rocks ($5.70) sixth win of the season was also a new lifetime mark for the 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven that is owned by William Emmons and trained by James Clouser Jr.  

Larry Stalbaum, Ray Fisher Jr. and Ron Beback Jr. all has two wins on the night.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Dec. 6) at 5 p.m. when the early Pick-5 wager will carry a guaranteed pool of $2,500. Please note that it will be the last Wednesday of the year as racing will only be held on Friday (Dec. 15) and Saturday (Dec. 16) the final week of the meet.

December 2, 2017 - 4:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.
 
Fox Valley Veto with driver Billy Davis Jr.
 
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
 
Challenged for almost the entire mile, Fox Valley Veto took on all comers and went wire to wire to capture the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot at Batavia Downs on Friday evening (Dec.1)
 
Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) and Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) both wanted the front and they went at it hot and heavy off the gate. Fox Valley Veto cleared and then held Lutetium at bay outside to the half in a quick :57.2.
 
Past the five-eighths Lutetium rightfully packed it in and Fox Valley Veto opened up a three length advantage when he hit the three-quarters in 1:27.2. But during the third quarter, Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) had motored up from the back of the pack and was closing quickly on the leader. 
 
At the top of the stretch Empire Earl N was full of trot and looked like he was going to blow right on by. But Fox Valley Veto had the will and held his ground, toughing-out the win in 1:58. 
 
It was the third win in five starts at Batavia Downs for Fox Valley Veto ($4) who is owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice is the trainer.  
 
In the $8,000 Open II trot, I Want Kandy (Drew Monti) left and tucked behind Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) who cut 7/8th's of the mile before Monti pulled and trotted right on by to win by a length in 1:58.2. 
 
It was the first win in two Batavia Downs starts for I Want Kandy ($6.30) and the eighth win of the season overall. Darrin Monti trains the winner that is owned by Carl Monti.  
 
There was an accident in the first turn of the night's seventh race when Catherine's diamond (Ray Fisher Jr.) took a bad step and went down and Madd Hoss Jackson (Larry Stalbaum) couldn't get around her and hooked bikes. Stalbaum became unseated but both horses were immediately controlled by their drivers and taken safely to the outside of the track as the race progressed. 
 
Both horses were unhurt and both Fisher and Stalbaum drove the remainder of their mounts. 
 
Stalbaum maintained his Batavia Downs dash driving lead as he won two races on the card (both came after the incident in the seventh race) while the second place Ray Fisher Jr. scored the hat trick. Currently at the meet Stalbaum has 119 wins, Fisher has 117 and Drew Monti has 111. 
 
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on tonight (Dec. 2) with post time at 6 o'clock.
November 30, 2017 - 4:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

As the weather gets cold Voltina gets hot and she proved it by winning the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (Nov. 29), which was her third victory in her last five starts in the top class.

Voltina (Kevin Cummings) fired off the gate and took the lead with lightning speed. Squeeze This (Billy Davis Jr.) also left from post seven but took a quarter mile to clear. As soon as she did, Voltina came right back to grab the front and that was all she wrote.

As Voltina took the field to the half in :57.2 and three-quarters in 1:26, she scoffed at minor challenges from Hey Kobe (Shawn McDonough) and Who Says That (Ray Fisher Jr.) and kept to her task around the final turn. As they headed down the lane Cummings was flailing the lines and opened up a two-length advantage with Voltina looking lively. But one last test came from Mydelight Bluechip (Ben Mcniel) who shook loose in the passing lane and came with a rush. However Voltina was stout and hung on to win by a length in 1:55.2.

Having the best year of her life, Voltina ($8.20) scored her eighth victory of 2017 and bolstered her wallet to $69,456. The 7-year-old daughter of Allamerican Native is owned by CHS Racing LLC and is trained by Anthony Cummings.

In the co-featured $8,000 distaff Open II, Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) took back and followed quick early fractions before pulling second-over at the half behind America Ferrera (Kevin Cummings) and eventually overtook her at the top of the stretch and pulled away to a six length romp in a 1:55.

Now two for two since arriving at the Downs, Little Joke ($6.00) has eight wins and $51,435 on the year for owners Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner.

Driver Kevin Cummings who continues to be the hottest driver on the grounds at Batavia, scored four more wins on Wednesday night. Besides taking the feature with Voltina, he also won with Fie Fy Fo (1:57.1, $9.70), Our Last Photo (2:00.1, $3.20) and Goldstar Thumper (1:57.3, $53).

In the last 10 cards of racing at Batavia, Cummings has won 28 races and now has 102 wins for the meet. He currently sits in fourth place for dash wins behind Larry Stalbaum (117), Ray Fisher Jr. (114) and Drew Monti (110) and with seven nights of racing left, has a legitimate shot at the driving title.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 1) at 6 p.m.

November 28, 2017 - 3:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

As a result of no winning ticket once again on Saturday (Nov. 25), Batavia Downs will offer a $3,500 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool when racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 29) at the oldest lighted harness track in America. The actual carryover is $1,225.

The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager that begins in race one and runs through race five. There is no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners the entire pool (minus takeout) will be carried over to the next Pick-5 pool.

Wednesday’s guaranteed pool will once again be part of the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster are available on the USTA’s website.

To access the free program pages click here

(https://www.trackmaster.com/freeContent/usta/freeContentFiles/hpl/btv1129x.pdf)

Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m.

November 27, 2017 - 2:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.
Photo of Itsonlyrocknroll A with driver Larry Stalbaum.
 
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs 
 
Batavia Downs leading driver Larry Stalbaum is nicknamed "The Bomber" for his propensity of winning with long shots. Stalbaum lived up to his moniker on Saturday night (Nov. 25) when he escaped the consciousness of the betting public and got home first with 14-1 shot Itsonlyrocknroll A in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace. 
 
It was a mad dash off the gate as Hardts Or Bettor (Ray Fisher Jr.), Littlebitaclass (Billy Davis Jr.) And Focus Power (Drew Monti) all battled for the lead. Focus Power tucked in third and Hardts Or Bettor parked out Littlebitaclass for the remainder of the contest. The pair paced in tandem in :26.4 and :56.1 when Littlebitaclass wore down past the five-eighths.
 
At that station Jimi Wind Ricks (John Cummings Jr.) tipped three-wide around him and approached the leader by three-quarters in 1:25.2. But Hardts Or Bettor was still not done as he rebuffed that challenge as well and rounded the last turn looking like he might be the best. But Itsonlyrocknroll A, who had been drafting fourth behind all the early action, made his way into the passing lane at the head of the stretch and from there wore down Hardts Or Bettor to won by a length in 1:54.2. 
 
It was the 13th win of the year for Itsonlyrocknroll A ($30) and it pushed his earnings for 2017 to $80,785. Owned by his driver, Itsonlyrocknroll A is trained by Kim Asher. 
 
The Stalbaum/Asher team also captured the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace in the very next race with recent Austrailian stable addition, Chumlee A. 
 
Stalbaum was second at the quarter with Chumlee A but came quick at that station and led the remainder of the race. After getting to the half in :57.2, Stalbaum turned on the jets and sped the third quarter to :28.3, putting some distance between himself and the rest of the field. From there Chumlee A  was wrapped-up and won by as many as he wanted to in 1:55.1. 
 
It was the second win in two North American starts for Chumlee A ($2.60) who is owned by Mark Jakubik and his trainer, Kim Asher. 
 
For the night the Stalbaum/Asher duo combined for four winners on the card, making their respective meet-leading driver and trainer leads even more secure. 
 
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 29) with post time at 5 o'clock.
November 24, 2017 - 10:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Dragin The Wagon with driver Billy Davis Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

In his last trip to Batavia Downs three weeks ago, Dragin The Wagon won handily wire to wire in 1:56.1. After two starts at Yonkers he returned to the Genesee County oval for a curtain call as the star of the show once again as he won the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot on Friday night (Nov. 24).

Dragin The Wagon (Billy Davis Jr.) went right to the front and opened a gapped lead that would only get bigger. After grabbing leather to the half in :58.4 on a two-length advantage, Davis gave Dragin The Wagon his head while motoring up the backside and that is where he started to pull away. Two lengths turned into four at the three-quarters, six lengths at the top of the lane and eight lengths at the wire where he stopped the clock in 1:56.3 as the rest of the field could only watch from afar.

It was the seventh win of the year for Dragin The Wagon ($3.50) who now has earned $70,168 for owners Cary, David and Michael Cantelon. The 7-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall is trained by Jeff Byron.

In the co-featured $8,500 Open II Trot, Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) also went coast to coast by a gapped margin to win his seventh race of the year under wraps in 1:58. Colleen Girdlestone owns Lutetium ($4.30) who has now bankrolled $44,355 for the year. The winner of 58 races lifetime is trained by Priscilla Mooney.    

Kevin Cummings led all drivers on Friday with four wins on the card. Over the last eight nights of racing at Batavia Downs Cummings has also led all drivers in wins with 22 over that period, finishing first in 25 percent of his starts. Once well out of the dash competition earlier this year, Cummings is now a closing fourth and definitely in the conversation for one of the top three spots. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday evening (Nov. 25) with post time at 6 o'clock.

November 22, 2017 - 10:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Squeeze This with driver Billy Davis Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A heady drive by Billy Davis Jr. conserved effort for Squeeze This both early and late in the mile before he let her lunge down the lightning lane and capture the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (Nov. 22).

Voltina (Kevin Cummings) went back to her penchant of cutting the race; firing hard off the gate to take early command. She yielded briefly to Exotic Beach (Larry Stalbaum) at the quarter, but retook the front by the three-eighths pole. As they motored past the half in :57.3, Squeeze This came first up from sixth and dropped fortuitously into the two-hole in front of the now-gapping Exotic Beach and was sitting right on Voltina’s back.

As the group passed three-quarters, Hey Kobe (Ray Fisher Jr.) who had drafted up behind Squeeze This was now second on the outside and pushing the issue with the frontrunner all the way around the turn. At the top of the lane Hey Kobe made her way by Voltina who was visibly tiring, Aritzia Hanover (Drew Monti) was flying three-deep around Hey Kobe and Squeeze This, well, squeezed into the passing lane and was pacing up a storm by the pylons. When they hit the wire Squeeze This scored a head victory in 1:56.2 over Aritzia Hanover who was another head in front of Hey Kobe who finished third.

It was the seventh win of the year for Squeeze This ($14.20) and the win pushed her earnings to $54,866 for owner Garth Betchel. Jim Graham trains the 5-year-old daughter of Allamerican Native.

In the $8,000 distaff Open II, America Ferrera (Kevin Cummings) turned a two-hole trip behind Sarah Cola (Billy Davis Jr.) into a 1:56.3 seasonal best win. Owned by Henry Conradt, America Ferrera ($32.40) is trained by Mike Ohol.

The USTA Strategic Wagering Program guaranteed pool of $12,500 on the early Pick-5 wager turned out to be a boon for the night’s handle. Aided by longshots America Ferrera ($32.40) and Tinker Taxi ($80), the $2 early Pick-5 combination of 4-2-2-4-7 paid $21,020 on the strength of $18,340 new money bet. The night’s first race handled the most money ever wagered on a single race at Batavia Downs since OTB reopened it in 2002 and the overall handle for the night was up 27 percent over the same date last year with two less races on the card.

“It was a great night at the windows for Batavia Downs on Wednesday,” said Todd Haight, director/general manager of Live Racing. “We would like to thank the USTA and Chris Schick for partnering with us on the Strategic Wagering Program tonight and also Trackmaster for providing the free program pages that enhanced everyone’s handicapping enjoyment.”

Kevin Cummings remains hot and led all drivers again tonight winning three races on the card.

Batavia Downs would like to wish all our fans and patrons a very Happy Thanksgiving and look forward to seeing everyone back at the track when live racing resumes on Friday (Nov. 24) at 6 p.m.

November 21, 2017 - 2:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

As a result of no winning ticket once again on Saturday, Batavia Downs will offer a guaranteed pool of $12,500 for the early Pick-5 when racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 22) at the oldest lighted harness track in America. The actual carryover is $7,270.

This is the largest guaranteed pool ever offered at Batavia Downs. 

The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager that begins in race one and runs through race five. There is no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners the entire pool (minus takeout) will be carried over to the next pool.

Wednesday’s guaranteed pool will once again be part of the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster are available on the USTA’s website.

You can access those free program pages by clicking here.

Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m.

November 19, 2017 - 2:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Horsemen racing at Batavia Downs are reminded of the draw schedule changes for Thanksgiving week.

A double draw will take place on Tuesday (Nov. 21) for race cards to be held on Friday (Nov. 24) and Saturday (Nov. 25). The entry box will close at the normal time of 9 a.m.

All program information, including driver changes for Friday's card, must be submitted to the judges by 1 p.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 21). 

Saturday's program changes must be received by the Judges no later than 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 22).

There are only 11 days of racing remaining in the 2017 at Batavia Downs season, which concludes on Saturday, Dec. 16.  

For more information please visit the horsemen's link at www.bataviadownsgaming.com

November 19, 2017 - 2:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

In Runaway Bay with driver Kevin Cummings.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Blustery winds driving a hard rain made the track conditions at Batavia Downs less than desirable on Saturday night (Nov. 18), but In Runaway Bay embraced the mailman’s philosophy to win the $10,000 Open Handicap pacing feature at the venerable Genesee County oval.

In Runaway Bay (Kevin Cummings) took the lead from post five as soon as the gate released the field and when everyone else went to the pylons, single file was the pacing order through splits of :29, :58.3 and 1:28. Just before that last station, Focus Power (Drew Monti) who had gotten away last, swung three-deep around mid-pack stalling horses and powered up into the mix before the race entered the last turn.

From there In Runaway Bay held off Focus Power and Show Stopping (John Cummings Jr.) who had been in the pocket the entire trip, around the fourth bend and into the stretch; neither could gain any ground on him. And the same held true all the way to the wire. In Runaway Bay was strong under urging and paced home sharply to win by a length in 1:57.

It was the eighth win of the year for In Runaway Bay ($4) who has now made $44,360 for owner Super Mile LLC and trainer Angelo Nappo.

In the $9,000 Open II pace, Littlebitaclass (Drew Monti) got away sixth before coming third-over in the outer flow and eventually found himself back at the rail third at the seven-eighths pole where he then shot up the passing lane and ran-down the leading Hardts Or Bettor (Ray Fisher Jr.) to win by a length in 1:57.

Owned and trained by Tessa Roland, Littlebitaclass ($5.90) captured his seventh win of the year and eclipsed the $60,000 mark in earnings, now with $61,034.

All the leading drivers registered victories on Saturday. Larry Stalbaum and Drew Monti both had three wins while Ray Fisher Jr. had two and Kevin Cummings one. The leader board at the end of the week now reads Stalbaum 109, Monti 107, Fisher 105 and Cummings 89.

There was no Pick-5 winner again on Saturday so there is a $7,270 carryover to Wednesday’s card and Batavia Downs will once again be a part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Program with a guaranteed $12,500 pool on the early Pick-5 wager.

Free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster will be available at handicapping.ustrotting.com starting on Monday.

Racing resumes on Wednesday (Nov. 22) with post time at 5 p.m.

November 18, 2017 - 4:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

As a result of no winning ticket once again on Friday, Batavia Downs will offer a $6,000 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool when racing resumes tonight (Nov. 18) at the oldest lighted harness track in America. The actual carryover is $2,901.

The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager that begins in race one and runs through race five. There is no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners the entire pool (minus takeout) will be carried over once again.

Saturday’s guaranteed $6,000 pool is part of the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster are available on the USTA’s website.

This link will take you directly to those program pages.

https://www.trackmaster.com/freeContent/usta/freeContentFiles/hpl/btv1118x.pdf

Post time for the first race Saturday is 6 p.m.

November 17, 2017 - 11:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.
Kahoku and driver Kevin Cummings take the lead to win.
 
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs 
 
Patience was a virtue for Kahoku on Friday night (Nov. 17) as his come from behind effort earned him a his sixth win of the year in the $10,000 Open Handicap trot. 
 
BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) shot right to the front and opened up a three length lead while taking the field to the quarter in :28.2 and with everyone settled behind him, the half in :58.4. 
 
As the group entered the second circuit, Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) came first-over and eventually worked his way next to the leader. The pair then matched strides to the three-quarters with neither one giving an inch. Around the last turn BZ Glide was inside with Kahoku to his right with Caprio and Cummings sparring in the bike like boxers in the ring. 
 
As the race and it's way down the lane the pair continued to trot in stride until 20 yards from the wire when Kahoku finally wore BZ Glide down and gained a length advantage under the wire in 1:57.4.
 
It was the second win in the last three starts for Kahoku ($12.80) who is owned by Colleen Girdlestone and trainer by Priscilla "Sis" Mooney. 
 
The combination of Cummings, Mooney and Girdlestone also took the major share from the co-featured $8,500 Open II trot one race earlier when Lutetium went wire to wire in handy fashion to win by a length in 1:57.2, which tied his seasonal mark. 
 
It was the 57th lifetime win for Lutetium ($13.40) who is creeping up on a half-million in earnings for his career, now sitting with  $446,087 in the bank. 
 
As a result of no winning ticket again in the Pick-5 on Friday, there will be a guaranteed $6,000 early Pick-5 on Saturday night as part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Pool. The early Pick-5 runs from race one to race five.
 
Free past performance pages will be available at www.handicapping.ustrotting.com
 
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday evening (Nov.18) with post time do the first race at 6 o'clock. 

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