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August 20, 2017 - 3:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Fireyourguns with driver Mike Caprio.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

In a race that provided more moves than United Van Lines, Fireyourguns once again showed his local dominance as he won his third $10,000 Open Handicap victory at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 19).

Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) left and tucked in behind last week’s Open winner Believe This Bob (Drew Monti) by the eighth pole. But before they got to the quarter, Caprio decided to pull and take the lead himself and all that action only took :26.3 seconds. Despite the race proceeding at a crisp pace, the newly imported Australian Teo Enteo A (Larry Stalbaum) who had gotten away fourth, was already out and rolling at the three-eighths and grabbed the front by the half in :54.4.

Teo Enteo A continued to motor along up the backside when Believe This Bob popped out from third and tried to push the issue. He got up to second on the outside and eventually drew even with the leader at the top of the stretch. But as those two continued to battle, Teo Enteo A tired and started to drift allowing the pocket-sitting Fireyourguns a clear path to the wire. Caprio raised the lines and drove hard and Fireyourguns did the rest, winning by a neck in 1:53.1.

It was the fifth win in 11 starts this year for Fireyourguns ($3) and third win in as many starts at Batavia Downs. Now boasting $376,456 in lifetime earnings, Fireyourguns is owned by Jennifer and Robert Lowe and Terrence McClory, who also trains the winner.

In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) who hasn’t left in the last four weeks, shot off the gate and took the lead then never looked back; winning by two-lengths in 1:54. Shady City ($7.80) captured his ninth win of the year for owner/trainer Larry Stalbaum.

Driver Ray Fisher Jr. had three wins on the night.

The guaranteed $5,000 USTA Strategic Wagering Pick-5 pool produced a $3,308.50 payout for the 4-1-6-4-7 combination.

Live racing resumed at Batavia Downs this afternoon (Aug. 20) with a post time of at 1:15.

August 19, 2017 - 1:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Edom Up Blue Boy with driver Rock C. Vinci.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

On a night when overlooked horses took the spotlight, Edom Up Blue Boy ground-out a hard earned, first-over victory in the $10,500 Open Handicap trot at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 18) despite being dismissed by the betting public at 37-1.

Osprey Vision (Dave McNeight III) played give-and-go with the always front running Lutetium (Drew Monti) and seated the latter for the first time since March. Osprey Vision then marched out quarters of :28.2 and :59.1 before Edom Up Blue Boy (Rock C. Vinci) pulled first off the stodgy second quarter. Edom Up Blue Boy eventually pulled alongside Osprey Vision past three-quarters and the two then matched strides from there until the wire.

Osprey Vision held a short advantage over Edom Up Blue Boy all the way down the stretch while BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) and Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) were surging and gaining three and four wide. As the wall of horseflesh hit the wire, Edom Up Blue Boy snuck ahead of Osprey Vision while turning away the late closer’s best his efforts to win in 1:59.1.

It was the fifth win of the year for Edom Up Blue Boy ($57.50) and second Open trot victory at Batavia Downs in the past month. Driver Rock C. Vinci also owns and trains the winner.

In the co-featured $8,000 Open II trot, Corleone Hall (Mike Caprio) pulled from fourth at three-quarters to overtake the front-running Winky’s Pride (Drew Monti) and win by one-half length in 1:59.3. The winning time was a seasonal mark as it was the first win of the year for Corleone Hall ($16.00) who is owned and trained by Perry Wilson.

Mike Caprio and Drew Monti both scored driving doubles on the card.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs tonight (Aug. 19) with a $5,000 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool as part of the USTA Strategic Wagering program. The early Pick-5 starts with the first race and runs through race five.

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

August 17, 2017 - 1:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

All Charged Up with driver John MacDonald.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The Canadian owned, central New York based All Charged Up has been plying her trade in Western New York for three-weeks now and on Wednesday evening (Aug. 16), she just captured her second straight $9,000 Mares Open Handicap pacing feature at Batavia Downs.

All Charged Up (John MacDonald) left, but yielded to Little Santamonica (Larry Stalbaum) who wanted the front and got her way. From there she did all the heavy lifting, setting fractions of :27.2, :56.2 and 1:25.1. At that station MacDonald started to roll All Charged Up to the outside and the mare paced right around the leader. She had command before they hit the stretch and then paced away to an easy five-length victory in 1:53.1, which was only one-fifth of a second off the track record for aged pacing mares (Xenia Hanover 1:53, 2013).

It was the 25th lifetime win for All Charged Up ($4.40) and it pushed her career earnings total to $236,532 for owner J P Stables. The 6-year-old daughter of Ponder is trained by “The Prime Minister” John MacDonald.

MacDonald doubled his fun by winning the co-featured $8,000 Mares Open II pace with Drea’s Good Powow. Getting a similar two-hole trip, Drea’s Good Powow sat behind Voltina (Kevin Cummings) until the top of the stretch when he pulled her and paced right by to win by a length in 1:55.2.  

It was the second win in three starts for Drea’s Good Powow ($3.80) and the second win of the night for owner J P Stables and trainer/driver MacDonald.

The biggest win mutual of the meet so far was realized in the eighth race on the card. Ray Fisher Jr. took advantage of a fast :55.3 half and swooped the field from worst to first with Canthelpbutwin at 54-1. When the dust had settled from the tote board being blown up, the win price displayed was $101.50 for a $2 wager. That prompted a $2 “7-2” Exacta that paid $1,129, a $2 “7-2-all” Trifecta that paid $1,646 and a $1 “7-2-all-all” Superfecta that returned $464.50.

John MacDonald wasn’t the only horseman to capture two driving and training wins on the night. Shawn McDonough and Larry Stalbaum also attained the same achievement.   

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday with post time at 6 p.m. The early Pick-5 on Friday starts with a $1,500 pool and goes as races one through five.

August 13, 2017 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

This afternoon (Aug.13) Batavia Downs early Pick-5 wager has a carry-over of $1,022 and the track will be offering a guaranteed pool of $2,500 for that bet today. America’s oldest lighted harness racetrack presents the early Pick-5 wager in races 1-5 and post time for the first race is 1:15 p.m.

The early Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager. There is no consolation payoff, therefore if no one selects all five winners the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program which is Wednesday, Aug. 16.

August 13, 2017 - 1:02am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.
 
Photo of Believe This Bob with driver Drew Monti.
 
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
 
Tioga Downs shipper Believe This Bob didn't miss a beat on the half-mile track and put on a show in winning the $10,000 Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 12).
 
Believe This Bob (Drew Monti) left from post one and had the lead as soon as the gate released the field, opening up a two-length lead he would maintain the whole race.
 
Working through fractions of :27.2, 55.3 and 1:23.2, Believe This Bob went unchallenged the whole way and for good reason; the trailing horses had trouble keeping up. 
 
At the top of the lane, Lucky King (Ron Beback Jr.) who had gotten a perfect pocket trip, launched a mild bid at the leader. But Believe This Bob kept his eye on the prize and finished a wrapped-up winner in 1:52.3.
 
It was the fourth win of the year for Believe This Bob ($4.20) and 43rd of his career. The 9-year-old gelded son of Beach Romeo is owned by Mary Ann Larrimore and is trained by Joe Skowyra. 
 
In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, Sir Ziggy's Z Tam (John Cummings Jr.) was hopelessly locked in fifth at the top of the far turn but found room along the pylons heading down the lane and brushed late to capture the win in 1:54.2. Sir Ziggy's Z Tam ($13.80) is owned by Tessa Roland and trained by JD Perrin. 
 
Drew Monti and Kevin Cummings both had a driving hat trick on Saturday while John Cummings Jr. and Jim Morrill Jr. each had driving doubles. 
 
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs this afternoon (Aug. 12), with post time set for 1:15.
August 12, 2017 - 1:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Photo of Empire Earl N with driver Larry Stalbaum.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

After three near misses in the resident top trot, Empire Earl N got the job done in winning the $10,500 Open Handicap trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 11).

Striker Ace (Drew Monti) and Osprey Vision (Dave McNeight III) butted heads for the lead for almost a quarter mile before Striker Ace finally took control, but the :27.3 first quarter would take a toll on both later in the race. Past the half Edom Up Blue Boy (Rock Vinci) pulled first-over with Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) right behind.

Edom Up Blue Boy made a steady advance and took over the lead by the top of the lane. But his shadow Empire Earl N kept coming, eventually swung clear in the stretch and trotted away to a relatively easy win in 1:59.2.

Empire Earl N ($9.40) now has earnings of $45,905 on the strength of five wins this year for his owner Larry Stalbaum. Kim Asher does the training.

Batavia Downs defending dash driver Drew Monti had the hot-hand on Friday, winning half the races on the card. His quintuple conquests included Rollovin (1:55.4, $3.10), Tenor Duharas (1:59.1, $3.30), Winky’s Pride (1:59.2, $3.10), Lutetium (1:57.2, $8.40) and Skyway Tia (1:57.3, $6.90).

With those five wins Monti vaulted himself back into the dash driving lead once again this year, now with 18 tallies. That is one ahead of Ray Fisher Jr. (17) who also had a driving triple on Friday, and two ahead of Jim Morrill Jr. (16) who was at Tioga Downs driving in New York Sire Stakes action.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on tonight (Aug. 12) with post time set at 6 o'clock.

August 10, 2017 - 1:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of All Charged Up with driver John Macdonald.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

After just missing off a perfect two-hole trip last week in the top distaff pace, All Charged Up bounced back and got the job done in winning the $9,500 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 9).

All Charged Up (John Macdonald) hit the pylons early and let the unsuspecting Jolt Of Jo (Dave McNeight III) dictate the quarters. Taking on the challenge, Jolt Of Jo then went in :28 and :57.3 before the sleeping giant, All Charged Up pulled first over past the stands.

The race proceeded up the backside with All charged Up advancing on Jolt Of Jo and eventually taking command with only a quarter of a mile to go. She cleared the front in the final bend and paced away down the lane to open up a two-length advantage, coasting home to a wrapped-up win in 1:54.3, which was a new seasonal mark.

It was the first win in only her fifth start of the season for the late-starting All Charged Up ($3.10) and owner J P Stables. John Macdonald also trains the winner.

In the co-featured $8,500 Mares Open II, Susie’s Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) made easy work of seven foes as she went gate to wire without much effort in 1:55.3, which was also a new seasonal mark for the winner. Susie’s Delight ($6.90) is owned by the Swift Racing Stable and is trained by Ryan Swift.

Ray Fisher Jr. found himself being photographed four times on Wednesday as he shooed home Mintiliscious (1:55.1, $3.60), Sin City Shark (1:55.3, $3.90), John’s Jesse Bird (1:58.2, $3.40) and the aforementioned Susie’s Delight. 

Jim Morrill Jr. and Larry Stalbaum both chimed in with driving doubles while trainer Maria Rice registered two winners as well.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 11) with post time set at 6 p.m. 

August 7, 2017 - 3:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Clear Idea and driver Jodi Jamieson.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The competition was keen among the two divisions of 3-year-old pacing fillies in the $117,600 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) at Batavia Downs as Clear Idea and Angel’s Pride both beat post-time favorites to add to their points and earnings in the state-bred series on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 6).

In the faster of the two $58,800 divisions, Clear Idea (American Ideal-Glass Maker) turned a two-hole trip into her eighth win of the year and solidified her spot as the top NYSS 3-year-old pacing filly.

Heavily favored Tequila Monday (Matt Kakaley) was a tentative leaver from post five and it took her over three-eighths of a mile to grab the front from Clear Idea (Jodi Jamieson) and finally hit the pylons. After tripping the half in :55.2 Kakaley kept his filly rolling up the backside for the next quarter before Roaring To Go (Dan Rawlings) rolled alongside to push the issue. But into the lane Clear Idea found the passing lane and paced by the rest under steady urging from Jamieson to win by a length in 1:53.3.

It was the sixth win in a row for Clear Idea ($4.30) and fifth NYSS win for the filly that has now earned $181,733 this year for owners Hutt Racing Stable and Blake Macintosh, who also trains the winner.

(Angel's Pride with driver Matt Kakaley.)

In the other $58,800 split, Angel’s Pride (Roll With Joe-Angel Place) benefitted from an early break by 1-4 favorite Candlelight Dinner (Jim Morrill Jr.) to score her second NYSS victory this year and move up in the standings.

Queen Josephine (Jodi Jamieson) cut the mile from the start and backed off the half to a pedestrian :58.2 as a gapped leader. That lead would soon end as Angel’s Pride (Matt Kakaley) pulled from third past the five-eighths and circled to the front by the three-quarter pole and she just kept pacing away from there. Angel’s Pride opened up a five-length advantage with Kakaley sitting motionless to win in 1:54.2.

Angel’s Pride ($15.20) registered her fourth win of the year and second in the NYSS. The filly now has earned $81,356 this year for owners Triple D Stables Inc. and JFE Enterprises LLC. Angel’s Pride is trained by Scott Di Domenico.

There were also three divisions of the Excelsior A series, each going for $15,000.

The first division was won by Ameraway (American Ideal-Shyaway) in 1:54.2. Ameraway ($8.30) was driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Erv Miller for owners the Erv Miller Stable Inc., Paymaq Racing, Tangie Massey and Neil Cumsky.

The second split went to Roll With Sparky (Roll With Joe-Circle Game) in 1:55.2. Roll With Sparky ($3.10) was driven by Jodi Jamieson and trained by Jim Graham who owns the horse with Lee Winters and Paul Tandlmayer.  

The final contest went to All About The Pace (Roll With Joe-Queen Of Blues) in 1:56. All About The Pace ($73.50) was driven by Drew Monti and trained by Scott Di Domenico for owners Triple D Stables Inc. and JFE Enterprises LLC.

August 5, 2017 - 1:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Two competitive fields of 3-year-old pacing fillies will be on hand at Batavia Downs to compete for $58,800 per division in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 6) and the track record of 1:52.4 may be challenged.

Clear Idea (American Ideal-Glass Maker) ships in to Batavia on the strength of a five-race winning streak and looks to be the one to beat in her division. She has won seven out of her last nine starts including four NYSS events. She took a lifetime mark of 1:50.4 in an overnight at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Friday (July 7) and has banked $152,333 for her efforts this year.

Trainer Blake Macintosh has assigned Jodi Jamieson to drive and he will leave from post one as the early favorite at 6-5.

Tequila Monday (American Ideal-Margarita) finished third in a hard-fought Fan Hanover stake at Mohawk back in June that went in 1:49.4 and then came right back in another Grand Circuit event, the Lynch at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs. There she chased fast fractions from the outside and still finished only seven-lengths off. With two NYSS wins under her belt, she comes in with a total of five victories this year and $201,711 in earnings.

Former Western New York trainer Chris Oakes has called on Matt Kakaley to steer and they have drawn post five, listed at 2-1.

Roaring To Go (Art Major-Lionness Hanover) is coming off a season’s best effort of 1:52.4 in a gate to wire romp in a NYSS event at Yonkers Raceway on Friday (July 28). It was her first win of the year and certainly an eye-opener. She also raced in the Fan Hanover and Lynch, where she finished second in the consolation of the latter. The filly is versatile and seldom misses the board.

Dan Rawlings will drive for trainer Kevin Lare and is the 3-1 third choice leaving from post six.

In the other $58,800 split, Candlelight Dinner (American Ideal-Time N Again) comes into the event very sharp off a barn change to trainer Tracy Brainard. After a solid qualifier in June, the filly did not perform well in her first three starts. However last week at Yonkers, she tracked a moderate half and then flew home in :56, last quarter in :27.2 to finish third in 1:53.1 by less than a length in a NYSS event. With a good draw and a short field, this is a good spot to get across for the first time this year.

Brainard has tapped local favorite and perennial NYSS leading driver Jim Morrill Jr. to drive and they are listed as the 9-5 morning line favorites from post two.

Marquesa Seelster (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mistreos) has won three of her last six starts, but none of them came in NYSS races. It seems her best game is on the lead and having post one in a short field here may give her the opportunity to attempt that strategy.

Trainer Jennifer Davis has put the Downs defending dash winner Drew Monti up to drive and they are listed at 2-1 morning line.

The NYSS events are races three and four. There are also three $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on Sunday carded as races six, seven and eight. Post time for the first race in 1:15 p.m.

August 5, 2017 - 1:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

(BZ Glide with driver Mike Caprio.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Heavy storms blew through Western New York and provided less than desirable conditions, but an off-track and six foes couldn’t keep BZ Glide from getting to the winner's circle in the $10,500 Open handicap trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 4).

Noble Legend (Ray Fisher Jr.) left with the gate and dropped in second behind Lutetium (Ron Beback Jr.) who was not about to give up the front. The race then proceeded from there in single-file order in :28.3 and :59.1. Pulling first-over at that point was Jim Dandy (Jim McNeight Jr.) who brought BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) in tow fourth.

The outer flow was dull and Jim Dandy had trouble getting to the leader up the backside, but he finally drew alongside around the final bend. At the top of the stretch Lutetium and Jim Dandy were joined by three –across by Noble Legend who ducked in the passing lane. But the final blow came when BZ Glide, who had drafted second-over, tipped four-deep around Jim Dandy and out-trotted everyone down the lane, pulling away to an easy length victory in 2:00.1.

BZ Glide ($4.00) registered his third win of the year and 33rd win of his career. The 8-year-old gelded son of Yankee Glide is owned by the Caprio Stable LLC and is trained by Alana Caprio.

(Striker Ace with driver Ray Fisher Jr.)

In the $8,000 Open II trot, Striker Ace (Ray Fisher Jr.) pulled first-over from fourth at the three-eighths and advanced to the lead by the three-quarters before opening up a three-length lead and trotting home handily to win by four in 1:58.3. Striker Ace ($25.60), who is now two for two at Batavia Downs, is owned by Finish Line Investors and John Mungillo, who also trains the winner.

“Drivin” Drew Monti had a grand slam Friday winning with Doing Some Damage (1:57.1, $27.40), Tenor Duharas (2:01.1, $5.00), Button Fly (1:56.2, $33.20) and Rollovin (1:57.4, $6.40).

Kevin Cummings also had a driving triple and Larry Stalbaum registered a double. Conditioner Rose Russo sent two sent two trainees to the winner’s circle for photographs.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on tonight (Aug. 5) with a guaranteed pool of $6,000 for the early Pick-5 which goes in races one through five. The carry-over pool for that wager is $3,281. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.

August 3, 2017 - 1:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Kruella with driver Kevin Cummings. Photo courtesy of Paul White.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Despite winning the distaff feature at Batavia Downs last week, Kruella was overlooked this week in lieu of two ship-in entries from Vernon Downs. But after a furious stretch drive late, Kruella sent the interlopers packing as she won the $9,500 fillies and mares Open pace at Batavia on Wednesday night (Aug. 2).

The heavily favored Vernon invader Little Santamonica (Shawn McDonough) out-left Vernon cohort All Charged Up (Larry Stalbaum) off the gate and went right for the lead, rushing the girls to a :27.3 quarter. With the field standing pat behind her, McDonough backed the half off to :57.1 and it looked like everything was going their way.

As the race went up the backstretch, All Charged Up pulled from second and was followed by Susie’s Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) and Kruella (Kevin Cummings). The outer flow continued to advance around the turn and drew even with the front-runner at the top of the stretch. At that point Cummings tipped Kruella three-deep but was still three-lengths off the leader. With five horses spread across the track and all the drivers applying heavy urging, Kruella closed like a jet on the grandstand side and proved to be the best, winning by a length in 1:54.2.   

It was the third win in a row and of the year for Kruella ($14.60) who registered a new lifetime mark with the 1:54.2 clocking. The 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal and Villa Hanover is owned by Two Gals Stable LLC and is trained by Jineen Simone.

(Above, Jolt Of Jo with driver Dave McNeight III.)

In the $8,500 fillies and mares Open II, Jolt Of Jo (Dave McNeight III) got a perfect two-hole trip behind Voltina (John Cummings Jr.) before popping the pocket at the top of the lane and pacing away to a length victory in 1:54.4, which was a new lifetime mark for the winner.

Jolt Of Jo ($26.60) is owned by R. Lewis Hauber and trained by Jim Graham.

Larry Stalbaum had a driving triple as Shawn McDonough won the last two races on the card. Trainer Kim Asher also had three wins on the night.

With a silent auction, patron contributions and horsemen donating their win percentages from the night, the fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester was able to raise in excess of $9,500.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 4) with post time set at 6 p.m. 

August 2, 2017 - 3:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

When Batavia Downs opened last week Wednesday (July 26) post time was at 6 p.m. That post time was only for opening day. Starting this week (Aug. 2) post time switches to 5 p.m. today, Aug. 2, and will stay 5 p.m. on Wednesdays for the remainder of the year.

The current live schedule for the meet is Sunday afternoon at 1:15 p.m., Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. Monday will replace Sunday in September and go at 5 p.m.

Please log onto www.bataviadownsgaming.com and click the “Live Racing” tab for complete paddock and Lasix schedules for each day. 

Also on Wednesday this week, Batavia Downs will conduct its annual Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester fundraiser. The auction runs from 5 p.m. until the last race in the Paddock room.

Some of the silent auction items up for bids include two suite tickets to the Bills-Raiders game on Sunday (Oct. 29), four suite tickets to the Sabres-Capitals game on Tuesday (Nov. 7), a Batavia Downs Hotel racing package, a recliner courtesy of Max Pies Furniture of Batavia, and other Sabres and Bills merchandise.

July 31, 2017 - 11:50am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

In A Single Bound with driver Billy Dobson.

 By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Perfect summer weather and a lighting-fast track greeted the glamour division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) on Sunday afternoon (July 30) as the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers invaded Batavia Downs to compete for $119,000 in purses.

In the first $39,900 division, In A Single Bound was peerless as he pulled away to an easy victory.

In A Single Bound (Billy Dobson) yielded the lead to Ideal Wheel (Jim Morrill Jr.) for about an eighth of a mile before retaking command at the quarter, and from there the race was effectively over. In A Single Bound paced strong on the lead that he would increase as the race progressed.

When they hit the three-quarters in 1:24.1, Dobson gave his charge a tap to let him know the race wasn’t officially over and In A Single Bound responded like Superman, opening up ten around the last turn before flying home to a six-length advantage in 1:52.3.

“He raced well, he went pretty good. He kind of pulled up on the backside when he was by himself but he took back off when I asked him so that’s good. He’s eligible to the Empire Breeders Classic and it’ll be nice to see what he can do against those kind of horses” said Billy Dobson.

It was the seventh win of the year for In A Single Bound ($2.40) and fourth in NYSS action. The 3-year-old gelded son of Roll With Joe out of Armbro Bianca is owned by Dennis and Simone Noud and is trained by Monica Krist.

Chip Walther with driver Marcus Miller.

In the second $39,200 split, Chip Walther held off a late challenge to win his second of the year.

Chip Walther (Marcus Miller) left and dropped in the two-hole behind Octane Blue Chip (Corey Callahan) but then changed his mind and decided to take the lead. Having accomplished that by the quarter, Miller then led the field to the half in :56.3.

As they motored up the backside Serious Major (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled first-over and paced up alongside the leader and put his head in front as they hit the last turn. But Chip Walther turned away that challenge before digging in down the lane to hold off all comers and win by a length in 1:53.1.  

“He went good, that was a good mile. He’s a little lazy; he didn’t used to be like that last year but I think that’s okay because when you do ask him to go, he does go on,” said Marcus Miller.

It was the second straight win of the year for Chip Walther ($4.50), both of which were in NYSS action. The 3-year-old son of Art Major out of Bittorsweet Terror is owned by the Ervin Miller Stable, Paymaq Racing, the Nick Surick Stable LLC and Louis Willinger and is trained by Erv Miller.

 Funknwaffles with driver Corey Callahan.

In the final $39,900 division, Funknwaffles showed his dominance with an open-length victory.

Funknwaffles (Corey Callahan) dropped in fourth off the gate and was soon third after avoiding a breaking America’s Fleet (Kevin Cummings), who then regained pace and hung outside the favorite. Not wanting anymore road trouble, Callahan quickly pulled Funknwaffles and put him on the lead by the three-eighths, where he would then proceed to destroy the field.

Callahan kept Funknwaffles in tight rein for the next quarter, stringing out horses behind him. When they hit the five-eighths, he shook the lines once and the party was over.  Funknwaffles opened up an immediate three-length lead and really started to pace. Under a line drive with Callahan sitting in the easy chair, Funknwaffles rounded the final turn and paced away to a seven-length lead down the lane, crossing the wire wrapped-up like a birthday present in 1:53.2.

“He’s such a good little horse, he’s like a little sports car. He’s real handy; you can do whatever you want. I think he’s better chasing horses but I didn’t want to take a chance of getting pinned in there so I moved him to the lead and he did everything from there” said Corey Callahan.

It was the fourth win of the year for Funknwaffles ($2.50), all four of which were in NYSS races. The 3-year-old gelded son of American Ideal out of Hatsoff Hanover is owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by John Butenschoen.

July 29, 2017 - 2:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, batavia, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

After getting aired-out at Vernon Downs last week, Edom Up Blue Boy returned home to Western New York and benefited from a perfect trip to win the $10,500 Open trot at Batavia Downs on Friday (July 28).

Habitual leaver Lutetium (Ron Beback Jr.) was on point and everybody knew the drill. Rolling swiftly around the first turn, no one in the race wanted to challenge for the front so it was post-parade order behind the leader from there. This left Edom Up Blue Boy (Rock C. Vinci) sitting pretty in the garden spot for the next seven-eighths of a mile. As the race moved past the half in a pedestrian :59 split, a weak outer-flow led by Gwally (Drew Monti) tried to mount a challenge, but that soon fell apart moving to three-quarters.

Jim Dandy (Jim McNeight Jr.) who had been sitting third pulled into the last turn and advanced on Lutetium who was showing signs of fatigue. He pulled alongside by the top of the stretch at the same time the passing lane opened up for Edom Up Blue Boy and the pair simultaneously passed the leader. The two then trotted in step all the way to the wire with Edom Up Blue Boy getting the slightest advantage at the wire to win by a head in 1:59.

It was the fourth win in 19 starts this year for Edom Up Blue Boy ($18.60) and pushed his earnings to $23,552 for owner Rock C. Vinci who also trains the winner.

In the $8,000 Open II trot, Noble Legend ($5.20) was never headed, leading gate to wire for a five-length victory in 1:58.3 for driver Ray Fisher Jr. Jack and Maria Rice own the winner with Maria Rice doing the training.

Ray Fisher Jr. had a driving triple while Drew Monti doubled up. Trainer Russell Bratt sent two students for pictures as well.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on tonight (July 29) with post time set at 6 p.m.

July 29, 2017 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

New York Sire Stake (NYSS) 2-year-old champion Funknwaffles is back in the state to defend his title in 2017 looking better than ever and he will lead a fine group of 3-year-old male pacers into Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (July 30) to battle over a total of $118,300 in purses.

Funknwaffles (American Ideal-Hatsoff Hanover) won eight out of nine starts last year, earning $257,284 in purses. He capped off his Empire State run by winning the $225,000 NYSS final at Yonkers Raceway, setting a new track record of 1:52.3 for age, sex and gait.

This year he has started out on fire, winning all three NYSS events he’s entered as well as racing in Grand Circuit events including the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs where he finished second to Fear The Dragon in 1:49.3.

This year Funknwaffles has already earned $222,699 on the strength of his seven starts and just registered a new lifetime mark of 1:50.4 at Saratoga Raceway last week, which was also a new track record for 3-year-old male pacers.

Trainer John Butenschoen has named “The Captain” Corey Callahan to drive once again and the heavy 3-5 morning line favorite will start from post six in race four which goes for $39,900.

(Corey Callahan)

There will be some stiff competition for the favorite in this race from Geez Joe (Roll With Joe-Beach Bretta) as he comes into the contest a picture of consistency. After being lightly raced at two, the time he was given to develop has definitely paid off for his connections this year.

Geez Joe has won four of his last six starts, finishing second in the other two. He took a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 at Vernon Downs in an Excelsior A contest on June 18 and just missed tying it at Saratoga Raceway last week in the same division going 1:51.3. He has amassed $57,050 in winnings this year on the strength of 11 outings and steps up to the NYSS from the Excelsior A for this event. Marcus Miller will once again be in the bike behind Geez Joe for his father, Erv Miller.

Being overlooked at 6-1 from post five is Talent Soup (American Ideal-Tessa Hanover). He has two fast-timed seconds in NYSS action this year, but it’s the races around those you must pay attention to. Talent Soup has faced the best 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings in North America in the Rooney at Yonkers Raceway and the Hempt at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs. Unfortunately he drew bad posts in both and was chasing 1:49.2 and 1:47.4 miles. He was raced timed in 1:50.1 and 1:49.1 in those events and those are big time performances, period. He just finished second in 1:51.4 in the NYSS at Saratoga and he is ripe for an upset for driver Billy Dobson and trainer Bruce Saunders. 

In the first $39,200 division, In A Single Bound (Roll With Joe-Armbro Bianca) has been racing like Superman this year having already won six out of nine starts and being a perfect four for four in NYSS action and that has inflated his bankroll to $90,588.

Last week, In A Single Bound cut the mile that eventually led to the track record set by Funknwaffles. And although he finished third in the race, In A Bound had nothing to be ashamed of as he did all the heavy lifting and was still only beaten by two lengths.

Monica Krist trains In a Single Bound and has assigned his regular driver Billy Dobson to run the show again this week and they have drawn post one and are listed at 2-1.

Also in the race is Pointomygranson (American Ideal-Sangaal) who although is winless this year, set the track record of 1:53.2 for 2-year-old geldings at Batavia Downs last year in NYSS action. He knows this track well and is in a perfect position to play spoiler for his trainer Chris Ryder and driver Brett Miller.

(Brett Miller)

And the final $39,200 split looks to be a pretty evenly matched affair with a slight nod going to Serious Major and Chip Walther.

Serious Major (Art Major-Seriously) took a 1:50.3 mark at Hoosier in an overnight event before starting in NYSS action this year. There he scored a first and second in two consecutive starts before entering the Ron Burke stable on July 1. Since then Lasix was added before a front end try that fell short in his last outing. This horse has ability and back class and will get support at the windows. Jim Morrill Jr. picks up the lines for Ron Burke and will leave post two at 9-5.

Chip Walther (Art Major-Bittersweet Terror) was qualified twice after a break in his first NYSS attempt at Buffalo and he’s come back from that schooling in good order. He has since finished second in an Excelsior A race at Yonkers and he won last week in a NYSS event at Saratoga in 1:53.1. This horse took a mark of 1:50.3 and made $126,655 last year and he now looks to be on a path to have similar success.

The Marcus and Erv Miller team will start Chip Walther from post five at 2-1. (Inset photo on right is Marcus Miller.)

There are also two $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card in race one and seven.

Post time for the first race is 1:15 p.m. 

(Photos courtesy of the USTA)

July 27, 2017 - 10:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, sports, harness racing, notify.

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Batavia Downs opened its 71st season Wednesday night with a big crowd and record purses for drivers.

Todd Haight, director of living racing, said the Downs has been able to boost the purses because increased revenue from the gaming floor and the concert series this summer helped bring more people to Batavia Downs, and also generated revenue that could add to the purse pool.

The bigger purses mean more big name drivers. This season, Ake Svanstedt, from Sweden, and Jason Bartlett joined the field.

The track also moved up start times this season. Haight said the new start time is closer to the final race time for the thoroughbreds at other tracks, so OTB betters around the state are more likely to stick around for harness racing. That means bigger prize pools for wagers, Haight said.

This is also the first full season the Batavia Downs Hotel has been open, and on opening night for the race season, all the rooms were booked, Haight said.

He also highlighted the food service at the gaming facility and the special promotions that will be taking place throughout the year.

“We really think it’s going to be another good year,” Haight said.

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Ake Svanstedt won the fourth race driving Natalie Hanover.

July 24, 2017 - 10:50am
posted by Billie Owens in news, sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The 71st season of live harness racing at America’s oldest lighted track opens on Wednesday (July 26) and runs through Saturday (Dec. 16). This year’s schedule features 71 race dates including seven matinee cards.

The live schedule this year has new post times. Racing will be presented on Sunday afternoons at 1:15 p.m., opening Wednesday at 6 p.m. (then switches to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays for the remainder of the meet) and Friday and Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. to begin the season. Monday will replace Sunday in September and go at 5 p.m.

The finest standardbreds in the Empire State will be on hand as the New York Sire Stakes will be making eight stops at the Downs this year, each worth an estimated $100,000 for the contestants. Mark your calendars for Wednesday (July 26), Sunday (July 30), Sunday (Aug. 6), Sunday (Aug. 27), Friday (Sept. 1), Wednesday (Sept. 6), Friday (Sept. 8) and Wednesday (Sept. 13) to see some of the best racing all year.

Once again the local action will be highlighted by the very popular claiming series that the track introduced last year. Mid-level claimers who accumulate points throughout the year will vie for championship final purses of between $15,000 and $20,000 for each respective division in November.

Many familiar faces will be returning to drive this year including last year’s dash title winner Drew Monti, runner-up Jim Morrill Jr., Ray Fisher Jr. and Larry Stalbaum.

Monti accumulated 117 wins at the Downs last year before moving to the Meadowlands to drive when this meet concluded. Morrill was right behind him in second with 112 tallies and Fisher was third with 98. Stalbaum never showed up at the Downs until Saturday (Nov. 5) but made the most of his cameo appearance by winning 32 races in only 18 nights.

This year all four are sporting equally impressive numbers and the competition on the track looks to be fierce from start to finish. To date, Stalbaum has won 206 races, earned $1.08 million and has a UDR of .372, Monti has won 155 races, earned $964,900 and has a UDR of .304, Morrill has won 132 races, earned $1.01 million and has a UDR of .333 and Fisher has won 109 races, earned $705,458 and has a UDR of .319.

“The start of a new meet is always busy and exciting and I am really looking forward to getting the horses back on the track” said Todd Haight, director/GM of Live Racing. “We have some great stake action on tap, a good overnight program in place and a very tough driver colony that competes very hard every race. This is definitely a meet that will offer value for our bettors.” 

For the fans, another lengthy slate of 20 promotions dots the live schedule and offers something for everyone that comes to Batavia Downs all year long.

Starting at 4:30 p.m. on opening night, fans will receive a free racing programs and magnetic racing schedules while supplies last. Programs will be available at the program stands and the magnets can be obtained by swiping your Player’s Club card at member services.

Sunday (July 30) is Old Fashion Day when hot dogs and soft drinks are only 50 cents and draft beer is $1. Items are available from noon to 4 p.m. on the track apron and at the Homestretch Grill. Batavia Downs is the only harness track that still offers concession items at this price during the Old Fashion Day promotion.  

Every Sunday in August is Dollar Sunday. Draft beer, hot dogs and soft drinks will all be $1 from noon until the final race of the afternoon.

On Saturday (Aug. 12) there is a great promotion to highlight the newest addition to the track, The Hotel at Batavia Downs. Starting after the fifth race and for four consecutive races after that, 12 names will be randomly drawn to win a free night’s stay at the beautiful new facility. Any Player’s Club member who swipes their card before 7 p.m. will be automatically entered to win. Patrons do not have to be present to win and can only win once.

There will be a gold rush at the Downs on Saturday (Aug. 19) when five sealed boxes will be given away to randomly drawn contestants. Four will contain a one ounce silver bar but one will contain a one ounce pure gold bar valued at $1,500. The promotion is sponsored by TAG Jewelers of Cheektowaga (www.tagjewelers.com ). Any Player’s Club member who swipes their card before 7 p.m. will be automatically entered to win.

Sunday (Aug. 27) is the very popular Family Fun Day and Wiener Dog races. There is a full slate of free fun for kids of all ages including pony rides sponsored by Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (www.castilonechryslerdodgejeep.net ), Pringles the Clown, Jason the Juggler, Mr. Scribbles and booths set up on the apron including face painting, sand art and sno-cones.

Then following the live harness racing action, the Wiener dogs hit the track for the “Dachshund Dash” sponsored by Genesee Feeds of Batavia. Up to 10 heats with eight dogs per heat will line up before the championship field is decided. There, the top three dogs will earn their owners Clubhouse buffets and gaming Free Play packages valued up to $200. And all dogs entered will be rewarded with a “doggy bag” full of gifts.

Labor Day (Sept. 4) brings back the annual drivers' bike race and chicken bar-b-que. A tradition since 1975 the drivers' bike race pits eight of the Downs' top reinsmen against each other on a different kind of bike; a 10-speed. The contest is held after the seventh live harness race and the bikes are randomly given away after the race to eight lucky patrons who correctly put their name in the box of the winning driver. Entry slips will be distributed between noon and 2:30 p.m. and must be deposited before the seventh race. Winners must be present to win. 

The bike race is sponsored by Crazy Cheap Cars of Oakfield (www.crazycheapcars.com ) and the chicken bar-b-que is sponsored by the Center Street Smoke House of Batavia (www.centerstreetsmokehouse.com ).

“With the new hotel added to the property last year, many groups have been here for different functions. We have aggressively promoted live racing to them and are looking forward to many new fans attending starting this Wednesday night,” Haight said. “Our concert series has brought in tens of thousands of people this summer, many of which were new to the track. We hope our promotions keep them coming back to watch the races all season long.”

For more information and updates as they happen, log onto the track's website at www.bataviadownsgaming.com and click on “Live Racing.” Follow us on Facebook as well (www.facebook.com/bataviadownsracetrack )!

June 7, 2017 - 1:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Horsemen wishing to race at Batavia Downs for the upcoming summer/fall meet please note that stall applications are now available for download on the track's website (www.bataviadownsgaming.com). Simply click Live Racing>Horsemen>Stall Application and Agreement. The complete 2017 racing schedule can be found at Live Racing>Live Racing Schedule.

Stall applications are also available at the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association (WNYHHA) website (www.wnyhha.net) or at the WNYHHA office located at Buffalo Raceway.

Race Secretary Joe Zambito has advised that all stall applications must be received by the track no later than Friday (July 7). The backstretch opens for tack on Tuesday (July 18) and horses may begin arriving in the barn area on Thursday (July 20).

The 71st season of live harness racing at America’s oldest lighted harness track features 71 race dates including seven matinee cards. The meet opens on Wednesday (July 26) and runs through Saturday (Dec. 16).

Live racing will be presented on Sunday afternoons at 1:15 p.m., Wednesday evenings at 5:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. to begin the season. Monday will replace Sunday in September and go at 5 p.m.

Once again, the 2017 meet will be highlighted by the very popular claiming series that the track introduced last year. Mid-level claimers accumulate points throughout the year and then vie for championship final purses of between $15,000 and $20,000 in November for each respective division.

All stable inquiries should be directed to Todd Haight, director/GM of Live Racing at 585-343-3750, ext. 6322.

May 25, 2017 - 1:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs:

Batavia Downs is pleased to announce that Shane Hoehn will be joining their staff as Assistant Race Secretary and Program Director for the upcoming live harness racing meet that begins on July 26.

Hoehn was born and raised in Vernon and started working at Vernon Downs right out of high school. During his 20-year tenure there, he started out selling programs and eventually became their full-time Race Secretary, a post he held for seven years.

In 2010, Hoehn left his duties at Vernon to pursue his own business venture. However in 2012, he went back to his racing roots and took the Assistant Race Secretary position at Saratoga Raceway, where he worked until 2014.

“I am looking forward to coming to Batavia Downs and get back into racing full time," Hoehn said. "I have never been to Western New York and am very excited to move there and get started. I have known (Batavia Downs Race Secretary) Joe Zambito for quite a while and am looking forward to working with him."

As much as Hoehn is anxious to starting his new position, track management is equally pleased with the new addition to their team.

“In an era that requires personnel in our industry to wear many hats on a daily basis, Shane Hoehn brings 22 years of experience in race track administration with him to Batavia Downs and will be a valuable asset to the racing community here” said Todd Haight, director and general manager of Live Racing at the Genesee County oval. We look forward to getting him settled in and underway in with his duties.”

Batavia Downs opens its 2017 live racing season on Wednesday (July 26) and will host 71 cards of harness racing action through Saturday (Dec. 16).

December 17, 2016 - 10:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs:

Shady City stuck to script with a strong come from behind effort to win the $9,500 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 17).

Foreign Officer (Shawn Gray) shot out for the lead quickly and gained that position without any opposition. Once there, he led the group in single file to the half in :57.2. When the race advanced past five-eighths, Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) pulled first up and brought Warrawee Qually (Kevin Cummings) with him as they proceeded to advance toward the leader.

Those positions remained unchanged around the far turn, but at the head of the stretch, Shady City put on another of his furious closing brushes. He went by the fading Foreign Officer, as well as Western Expression (Mike Whelan) who had tripped-out and snuck up the rail, to win by a head in 1:54.4.

It was the sixth win of the year for Shady City ($4.10) who has now earned $68,332 for 2016. The 6-year-old gelded son of Metropolitan is owned by his driver, Larry Stalbaum and is trained by Kim Asher.

In the $9,000 co-featured Open II pace, Rock The Dream (Ray Fisher Jr.) came from last at the half to go three-wide at three-quarters and win a narrow decision over Private Equity (Todd Cummings) in 1:55.1. It was the fourth win in five starts for Rock The Dream ($7.90) who is owned by Tessa Roland and trained by the Downs leading trainer, JD Perrin.

Ray Fisher Jr. had a driving grand slam while Larry Stalbaum got the hat trick and Shawn Gray doubled up. Trainer Kim Asher also had three wins on the night followed by JD Perrin with two.

As the 2016 meet came to a close, the leading driver and trainer were welcomed in front of the grandstand and presented with their winning hardware. Drew Monti was the leading dash driver with 116 wins and trainer JD Perrin was the top conditioner for the third straight year at the Batavia summer/fall meet with 47 wins.

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