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July 27, 2017 - 10:51am

Drivers racing for bigger purses at Batavia Downs

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.

tom hunt
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Last seen: 4 days 19 hours ago
Joined: Jan 31 2009 - 9:08am

Those 2 year old fillies were like a bunch of school kids playing on a school ground. They were breaking pace in every race. Most of the favorites ended up in the back of the pack.

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