Skip to main content

Batavia Downs kicks off second season Wednesday

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of Kevin Cummings, 2022 leading Dash Driver, 
by Wendy J. Lowery

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

For the first time in two decades, Batavia Downs will hold their second opening day card of the year when the Genesee County oval welcomes back the horsemen, horsewomen, their horses and the fans for the 53-day summer/fall meet that starts on Wednesday (July 26) at 6 p.m. and runs through Saturday (Dec. 9). The earlier winter session set several betting records driven by competitive racing and the next 20 weeks promises to produce the same kind of results.

The opening night card Wednesday includes the first visit of the year by the New York Sire Stakes as the 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings will be on hand to compete in one division for a purse of $106,300. There will also be three Excelsior A races that will go for $20,000 each, bringing the total amount of loot up for grabs to $233,300 for that card. 

Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO of Western Regional Off-Track Betting and Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel, is excited to welcome racing back to the facility and is appreciative of the many fans that attend the track all season to watch the action in person.

“The excitement of live harness racing begins on Wednesday at the Downs for fans of photo finishes, daily doubles, and exotic wagers and it should  be an electrifying night of fun and entertainment. Our fans will be treated to competitive harness racing and great promotions that tie into our new remodeled Clubhouse, expansive gaming floor and the number one ranked hotel in Batavia. Our staff and those from New York State, will ensure a safe racing meet for drivers and equine athletes and we look forward to everyone joining us for live racing and all the fun that goes with it at the area’s premier entertainment destination,” said Wojtaszek.

The live schedule changes several times throughout the year. Opening week has racing only on Wednesday and Saturday. In August, the action switches to Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from August 1 to August 12 and changes to Wednesday, Friday, Saturday from August 16 through October 28. The lone exception is Friday (Sept. 8) which will be dark in lieu of a Labor Day matinee on Monday (Sept. 4). Then in November and December, racing cuts back to two days a week on Wednesday and Saturday through the close of the meet. Post time for all race days is 6 p.m., except the Labor Day matinee that will start at 1:15 p.m.

Once again there is a hearty slate of stake action courtesy of the New York Sire Stakes. The state-bred series will be in action on Wednesday (July 26), Tuesday (Aug. 1), Wednesday (Aug. 2), Tuesday (Aug. 8), Wednesday (Aug. 16), Saturday (Aug. 26) and Friday (Sept. 1).

There are two notable nights of racing this year. The first is Saturday (Aug. 26) when both 3-year-old colt and filly divisions will be on the same card along with the $75,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Invitational pace, Batavia Down’s signature event. Then on Wednesday (Sept. 13), Batavia Downs was selected to host the NYSS Excelsior finals that will be contested for a total purse of $400,000.

The clubhouse will be open for all race dates and offer a varied menu. Every Saturday will feature a prime rib buffet while the other race nights will be catered by the Center Street Smokehouse. The Railbar will always  be open for live racing.

All the top drivers will be back including Jim Morrill Jr. and Kevin Cummings, who both had the distinction of becoming the first drivers to ever surpass the $1 million mark in earnings in a single meet at Batavia last year. Leading trainers Shawn McDonough, Jennifer Giuliani, Sam Smith, James Clouser Jr. and Dave Russo will also be back along with a host of others.

Don Hoover, Director of Live Racing and Race Secretary at Batavia Downs, is heading into his second year in those positions at the Downs and looks to build upon the successes of last year.

“Overall, I was pleased with the 2022 Summer/Fall live race meet and was pleasantly surprised by the success of the recently concluded January/February winter meet. I look forward to continuing that momentum into the upcoming 2023 Summer/Fall 53-day live race meet, highlighted by the $75,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace and the $400,000 New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Finals,” said Hoover.

Bettors will have plenty of opportunities with a wagering menu that includes three Doubles, 10 Exactas, 10 Trifectas, nine Superfectas, two Pick-3's, two Pick-4's, one Pick-5 and one Jackpot Super High Five available on every 10-race card.

Patrons will also have plenty of promotions to look forward to.

On opening night there will be free programs in the grandstand and the Lotta Cash Giveaway where customers can deposit non-winning tickets wagered on Batavia Downs races for a chance to win two $250 betting vouchers and a Batavia Downs Gaming Play and Stay package that includes one night’s stay at the Batavia Downs Gaming Hotel, $25 in gaming Free Play and a $50 dinner certificate to Fortune’s.

Every Wednesday is the Play and Stay promotion where customers can deposit non-winning tickets wagered on Batavia Downs races for a chance to win a Batavia Downs Gaming Play and Stay package that includes one night’s stay at the Batavia Downs Gaming Hotel, $25 in gaming Free Play and a $50 dinner certificate to Fortune’s.

Then there’s the Wednesday and Saturday Finale promotion where you get $25 gaming Free Play when you wager $25 on the last race at Batavia Downs.

Every live race day offers Match Play Free Play Frenzy where you receive $25 gaming Free Play when you wager $25 at the same time on the same live Batavia Downs race. And there is also the Early Bird Daily Double, where you receive $10 in gaming Free Play when you wager at least $10 at the same time on the Early Daily Double. Plus every live racing program includes a $5 gaming Free Play coupon.

All promotions require participants be Players Club members and gaming Free Play is subject to required base points being earned before redemption. Full rules are available in the program.

You can watch all the live racing action for free on the Batavia Downs YouTube channel and free, full past performance programs for every live race night will be available on the Batavia Downs website under the live racing tab.

Authentically Local