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August 7, 2022 - 8:12pm
posted by Tim Bojarski in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

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After coming up a mere neck short of victory in the top class at Batavia Downs last week, Dewey Arnold bounced back and made sure that didn’t happen again with a decisive gate-to-wire romp in track record time in the $15,000 Open I Handicap trot on Sunday (Aug. 7). Driven by Kevin Cummings, Dewey Arnold was only one of five winners guided to victory by the red hot reinsman during the afternoon. 

Cummings bolted to the lead with Dewey Arnold and maintained a three-length advantage over Keystone Apache (Jim Morrill Jr.) to the quarter in :28.3 and the half in :57.4. Keystone Apache closed the gap slightly as they straightened out for the backside dash, but Dewey Arnold heard hoofprints and trotted on, opening up four lengths at three-quarters in 1:26.1. As they headed into the final bend the field had taken a knee and Dewey Arnold was on his own. He straightened out for the line and trotted home under wraps to a 4-½ length victory in 1:55.1. 

The time of 1:55.1 was a new Batavia Downs track record for aged trotting geldings, supplanting the 1:55.2 previously registered by Lutetium in 2015. Trained by David Dewhurst, this is the second trainee of his to set a track record at Batavia over this past year after the Open pacing mare Racine Bell scorched the Downs oval in 1:51.3 on August 4, 2021, setting a new standard for aged distaff side-wheelers. That clocking was also the second fastest pacing mile of all time at Batavia, behind only Aracache Hanover’s 1:51.1 set in 2011.

A 12-time winner of $257,745 in purses last year as a 3-year-old star of the New York Sire Stake circuit, Dewey Arnold ($4.10) has come back at four to be a top Open class trotter with now seven wins and $74,575 earned this year for owners Philip Hale and David Dewhurst. 

Along with the feature, the Cummings quintuple was completed by wins with Freaky Flyer (1:59, $3.00), Alexander Hanover (2:01.4, $4.00), Ideal Longshot (1:57.2, $29.40) and Best Brew (1:56.1, $2.20). 

The undercard $14,000 Open II Handicap trot went much like the headliner as Lunar Credit led at every station to score an upset in his first win of the Batavia meet. 

Jimmy McNeight Jr. went right to the front as All About Thechase (Mike Caprio) tucked and followed in the pocket. With a weak, early outside challenge from Art Of Duty (Mike Baumeister), Lunar Credit proceeded through workman-like fractions of :28.4, :58.1 and 1:27.1 and had a good three-length advantage heading into the last turn. McNeight then line-drove Lunar Credit down the lane and held off late charges by the tripped-out All About Thechase and a fast closing C R Blazin Beauty (Dave McNeight III) to win by 1-¾ lengths in a season’s best 1:57.1. 

It was the second win in only six starts this year for Lunar Credit ($29.20) who is owned by his driver and trained by Jim McNeight. 

Jimmy McNeight Jr. also had a big day in the bike, scoring the hat trick on Sunday. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 10) with post time at 6:00 p.m. Free full past performance race programs for all live race days can be downloaded by visiting the track's website at bataviadownsgaming.com and clicking the "Live Racing" tab.

Photo courtesy of Wendy J Lowery

August 7, 2022 - 8:10pm
posted by Tim Bojarski in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

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Just in case anyone was wondering, Jim Morrill Jr. made it perfectly clear why he is the leading driver at Batavia Downs after putting on a clinic in the sulky Saturday night (Aug. 6). Morrill won six of the 13 races on the card while finishing second and third twice each as well, to end the night with a stellar .648 universal driver rating. 

Morrill won both halves of the Daily Double with Amrcanbootscoota A (1:55.2, $2.30) and Finkle Is Einhorn (1:56.2, $13.00), then continued with Ohio Prince (1:55.1, $5.00) and finished his run with a natural hat trick in races 10, 11 and 12 with Drunkonaplane (1:54.2, $4.10), Harry Hoo N (1:56.2, $8.60) and Bali Beach (1:56.3, $3.50).

The win with Drunkonaplane came in the $14,000 Open II Handicap pace where Morrill sent his charge down the road in fractions of :26.3, :56.1 and 1:24.4. Off the turn he sprinted for home and closed out the deal by a length ahead of a wall of five horses to claim Drunkonaplane's seventh win of the year. Vogel & Wags Nags and Team Rice Raing own the Maria Rice-trained gelding. 

The one race Morrill didn’t win was the featured $15,000 Open I Handicap pace which went to Stop Action, who scored his second straight top class victory of the Batavia meet. 

Stop Action (Kevin Cummings) got away last as Art Scene (Jim Morrill Jr.) went for the lead and was pushed three deep around the first turn heading to the quarter in :26.3. As soon as he settled, Just Plain Loco (Dave McNeight III) pulled first-over from fourth and took the lead from Art Scene in front of the stands. But immediately after he crossed over, Ideal Artillery (Drew Monti) was advancing on the outside towards the leader and there was still a half to go. 

Just Plain Loco maintained a length advantage over Art Scene and Ideal Artillery heading up the backstretch and to three-quarters in 1:24.1. At that station, Stop Action was still fifth, but Cummings was revving him up. As the race proceeded into the last turn, Stop Action was tipped three-wide but still three lengths off the lead at the top of the stretch. Cummings kept him highly motivated heading down the lane and Stop Action flew by everyone to win by ½ length in 1:53.2. 

It was the 10th win of the year for Stop Action ($8.10) who has now earned $89,581 in 2022 for owner Super Mile. Angelo Nappo trains the winner.

Kevin Cummings ended the night with a hat trick in the bike and trainer Shawn McDonough also claimed three wins for his stable. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 7) with post time at 1:15 p.m. Sunday features $2 Sahlen hot dogs, 12-ounce draft beer and soft drinks, all available at the Homestretch Grill from 12 noon until 4 p.m. Also there is a carry-over of $857 in the Jackpot Super Hi-5 wager in the last race on Sunday. Free full past performance race programs for all live race days can be downloaded by visiting the track's website at bataviadownsgaming.com and clicking the "Live Racing" tab.

Photo courtesy of Wendy J Lowery

August 6, 2022 - 1:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica, Attica Rodeo, sports.

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Photos by Philip Casper

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August 5, 2022 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GLOW Corporate Cup, 5K, batavia, sports.

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Kim Mills, a frequent winner of local 5Ks in recent years, once again had the best women's time in the GLOW Corporate cup, crossing the finish line at 19:31.

Perry MacKinnon, an intern with Farm Credit East, and from Canada, bested the men's field by two minutes with a time of 15:23.  Zakariah Jantzi, Bontrager Real Estate & Auction, came in second at 17:24.

Bontrager won the team competition with Zakariah, John Bruggman (17:41 and third overall), and Abby Jantz (19:56, second among women).

In the 50-59 age group, Brian Fraser, 52, came in first at 18:50, and Nathan Balduf, 52, second at 22:14.

For full race results, click here.

UPDATE 5:45 p.m.:  Coordinator Steve Tufts reports that there were 760 registered participants and 599 completed the 5K race.

"Yellowjacket Racing – our race management company – tell me that they’ve been seeing 20-25% no-shows since the pandemic," Tufts said. "They added that our 6% increase over last year was good because most races in the northeast this year are down from last year."

There were 50 teams.  There was no cost to have a team but each registration was $25.  Some employers covered all or some of this expense for their team.

The winner of the team T-shirt contest was U.S. Gypsum Co.  They actually repeated from last year.  The Merrill Lynch office will donate $500 to their charity of choice in the near future.

There were 8 Gold sponsors at $1,000, 13 Silver sponsors at $500, and 10 Bronze sponsors at $250.

There were 38 corporate tents of various sizes mapped around a stage and numerous more 10x10s were thrown up on the perimeter.

There was a first-time winner this year of the GLOW Corporate Cup:  Bontrager Real Estate & Auction.  This team competition combines the fastest 3 local employee times of a team and compares that to other teams.  The perennial favorite team from Batavia City Schools was second and Intergrow Greenhouse was third.

Early estimates on the net money raised for the GLOW YMCA is around $25,000, Tufts said.

"There was a route change this year in case Richmond Avenue was impassible due to road construction," Tufts said. "We probably could have run the original course, but a lot of work went into designing a different way to safely get runners and walkers around this city at the tail end of rush hour on a hot August night.  Starting at the south side of Centennial Park allowed us to close off traffic to the section of Park Avenue nearest State Street.  It was fun running down State, turning left onto Washington Avenue, and left again onto Bank Street.  Two huge water stations were necessary this year along with a misting tent at the finish line."

We will update this post with more information from the organizers when it is available.

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Perry MacKinnon

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Zakariah Jantzi

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Team WBTA

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Grillin' in the Upstate Toyota tent.

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Liberty Pumps tent.

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The Blueways Band provided the soundtrack for the race afterparty.

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UPDATE: 

Here are a couple of additional shots of one of the water stations by Jim Burns.

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August 4, 2022 - 5:14pm
posted by Tim Bojarski in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

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The New York Sire Stakes made their third visit to Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 3) and featured the 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings who competed for a total of $107,000 in purses. The highlight of the night was when Human Cocktail (Huntsville-Losta Matzah) rallied late to win the second $53,500 division in 1:53.3 and set a new Batavia Downs track record for 2-year-old pacing colts.

Kid From The Bronx (Mark Macdonald) left hard and led by a gapped three length margin through panels of :27.1 and :55.3 with Human Cocktail (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Its A Me Mario (Jason Bartlett) trying to keep pace. Moving past five-eighths Its A Me Mario came with a rush and took the lead from Kid From The Bronx at three-quarters but the race was far from won.

Around the last turn Kid From The Bronx fought back and as the two were stacked up, forced Human Cocktail to go three-wide heading into the stretch. As Kid From The Bronx and Its A Me Mario began to tire, Human Cocktail rolled past them both in the middle of the track and pulled away to a ½ length victory over the fast closing Thunder Hunter Joe (Austin Siegleman) in 1:53.3, which was also a new lifetime mark. 

After moving up from Excel "A" action, it was the first NYSS win for Human Cocktail ($3.90) and owner Stephen Demeter also bred the winner along with Blue Chip Bloodstock and Daniel Zucker. Gareth Dowse trains the colt. 

Earlier there was a major upset in the first $53,500 split as Huntinthelastdolar (Huntsville-Eighthunrddolarbill) upended the 1-9 favorite American Fling with a strong stretch finish.

American Fling (Jason Bartlett) went right to the front while Huntinthelastdolar (Doug McNair) settled in second for a perfect trip. American Fling went :27.4 and :58.3 on top by three lengths at the half where Johnny Sack (Mark Macdonald) pulled first-over and tried to move into contention.

With the added pressure from the outside American Fling sped up the third panel and Huntinthelastdolar started gapping in the hole, but that all changed again in the last turn. Johnny Sack began to fade and Huntinthelastdolar was tight again on American Fling's back. When the passing lane opened, McNair dipped into it with Huntinthelastdolar and paced away from the tiring American Fling to win by 1-½ lengths in a lifetime best 1:55 1.

It was the first lifetime start and NYSS victory by Huntinthelastdolar ($19.20) for his owners Steve Heinbacker and Gregg McNair, who also trains the colt. Crawford Farms bred  Huntinthelastdolar. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Aug. 6) with post time at 6:00 p.m. Free full past performance race programs for all live race days can be downloaded by visiting the track's website at bataviadownsgaming.com and clicking the "Live Racing" tab.

Photo courtesy of Wendy J Lowery

August 4, 2022 - 3:44pm
posted by Steve Ognibene in batavia, muckdogs, sports, baseball.

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In battle of two great teams the Muckdogs came up short on their quest for a PGCBL title last evening at Dwyer stadium.

In the third inning, the Mohawks took advantage of Muckdogs errors and grabbed a 3-0 lead.

That drove frustration on the West Division champions' bench through most of the game and the team struggled to right the ship.

The Mohawks added another run in the seventh and three runs in the eighth inning to take a 7-0 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, a bit of spark came when Jerry Reinhart got a single RBI to left field, bringing home Levis Aguila.

Tyler Cannoe bopped a home run in the bottom of the ninth to make the game 7-2 Amsterdam, and that became the final score. 

With the crowd, community, and fans supporting the team throughout the season the owner Robbie Nichols was greatly appreciative.

Many fans and supporters of the game sent positive notes and remarks from the stands after the game.  Players exchanged hugs, positive words and memories will not be forgotten during the season.

A message from the Muckdogs organization was on Twitter today and can be read here.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

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August 3, 2022 - 7:59pm
posted by Steve Ognibene in muckdogs, batavia, sports, baseball, notify.

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Batavia Muckdogs started out Wednesday with great home vibes and three runs on two doubles in the third inning to take a 3-0 lead.

Mohawks scored a homerun in the fourth inning to bring Batavia’s lead to two.

Bottom of the fifth, a costly error for the Mohawks allowed Tyler Cannoe to reach first, and Kyle Corso to come home. That brought made it 5-1 for the Dogs.

Fleming scored his second homerun of the playoffs and brought in Alex Torres, and a lead for the Dogs 7-1 in the sixth inning.

An RBI double for Levis Aguila scored for Daniel Burroway, putting Muckdogs in the eighth. With no change in the ninth, Batavia won 8-1 to force a game three of the PGCBL championship round, which was to begin at 8 p.m.

Winning pitcher Julian Pichardo pitched six innings and allowed only one run.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

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August 3, 2022 - 12:12am
posted by Tim Bojarski in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

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$107,000 is the targeted prize for 14 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings when the New York Sire Stakes makes its third stop of the year at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 3) and American Fling comes in undefeated in this series and is entered in the first of two $53,500 divisions. 

American Fling (American Ideal-Feeling You) is currently the second richest 2-year-old pacing male in North America and is a perfect four-for-four in the NYSS. And he is only a nose away from being undefeated for the year as he finished second in his only non-winning start. He took a lifetime mark of 1:53.1 in NYSS action at Tioga Downs in June and followed that up by setting a new track record of 1:55.1 for age, gait and gender at Buffalo Raceway in July. Given his 1:53.2 victory at Saratoga last week, the Batavia Downs track record of 1:52.4 for a 2-year-old pacing gelding is not out of reach.

Jason Bartlett will drive for trainer Ed Hart, starting from post two. 

Looking to  prevent a fifth straight win by the probable favorite is Johnny Sack (American Ideal-Worldly Treasure) who is winless this year but not for lack of performance. In his last two out of three starts he cut the mile and just got caught to finish second twice in NYSS action while also finishing third at the Meadowlands in an overnight race, timed in 1:51.1.

Also Bandito Joe (Roll With Joe- Blind Faith) has good gate speed and an inside post, giving him a great chance to position himself strategically for this contest. His lifetime mark of 1:54.4 at Yonkers and speedy :27.4 last quarter last week at Saratoga shows he is capable of upsetting in this race. 

Mark Macdonald will drive Johnny Sack from post five for trainer Ray Schnittker and Austin Siegleman will team Bandito Joe from post three for trainer Travis Alexander. 

In the second $53,500 split, Its A Me Mario (American Ideal-NF Salsa) has made four straight NYSS starts, finishing second in three of them. All three times were against American Fling who is in the other division Wednesday. Last week It's A Me Mario drew post seven and chased a fast last half, and still was only beaten 2-¼ lengths for the win. With an inside draw here and his recent nemesis absent from the field, this looks like a good spot for him to grab his first win of the year. 

Lauren Tritton drives for trainer Shane Tritton from post two. 

Human Cocktail (Huntsville-Lotsa Matzah) likes to be near the front and brings his best game on the point. With a post one start here and coming off his fastest race time to date, it would appear that despite moving up from Excel “A” competition he will dictate the pace and be the one to catch coming home. 

Also Ben Solo (Huntsville-Leah) won his last start which was in NYSS competition in 1:55 at Saratoga Raceway with a snappy :27.2 final quarter. He likes to come from off the pace and with a lot of early speed inside him, will get the opportunity to finish strong again. 

Jim Morrill Jr. will drive Human Cocktail for trainer Gareth Dowse and leave from post one while Jason Bartlett will steer Ben Solo for trainer Steven Finkelstein from post five. 

There are also two $15,000 Excel “A” series events carded as race four and eight. Post time for race one on Wednesday is 6 p.m.

Photo of American Fling lifetime mark courtesy of Fred Brown 

August 2, 2022 - 1:33pm
posted by Press Release in Bowling, sports, notify, Genesee Region USBC.

Press release:

League secretary meetings for the 2022-23 bowling season are scheduled for Aug. 16 at T.F. Brown’s in Batavia and Aug. 18 at Mount Morris Lanes.

Both meetings will start at 6:30 p.m. Pizza and refreshments will be available at no charge, courtesy of the Genesee Region USBC.

Informational kits for secretaries of leagues at Medina Lanes, Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion, Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia, Legion Lanes in Le Roy and Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen will be distributed at the Aug. 16 meeting.

Kits for secretaries of leagues at Mount Morris Lanes, Perry Bowling Center and Letchworth Pines in Portageville will be distributed at the Aug. 18 meeting.

GRUSBC President Mike Johnson and Association Manager Mike Pettinella will be at the meetings to talk about the association’s league and tournament programs and changes for the coming season.

League secretaries of record will be notified by telephone later this week.

August 2, 2022 - 7:00am
posted by Steve Ognibene in muckdogs, sports, baseball, batavia.

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Batavia Muckdogs faced the Utica Blue Sox for the PGCBL West Division Championship Game on a beautiful Monday evening at Dwyer Stadium.

Both teams started off strong through the first opening innings.

Kyle Corso hit an RBI triple to bring in Josh Leadem, putting the Muckdogs on the scoreboard first, 1-0 in the bottom of the 3rd.

In the next inning, two men reach and Mitch Fleming hits a three-run homer deep over the leftfield wall, Dogs are up 4-0.

In the sixth, Levis Aguila smacks an RBI single and the Muckdogs now lead the Blue Sox 5-0. 

Moments later at home plate on an odd play Caleb Rodriguez is walked, which brings home Abner Benitez.

From there, the Muckdogs held Utica in check to secure a 6-0 victory.

Jackson Murphy gets the co-player of the game with seven shutout innings and seven Ks.  Mitch Fleming was 1 for 4 with one run, and three RBIs.

The Muckdogs advance to the championship round where they will play Game 1, of a three-game series, away today against the Amsterdam Mohawks at 6:45 p.m.

Game 2 will be home at Dwyer Stadium on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. If necessary, Game 3 will start at 7:30 p.m.

 Tickets for Wednesday’s Championship game series go on sale at 9 a.m. today.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

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August 1, 2022 - 3:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, batavia, sports, baseball.

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Nolan Sparks put in 6 1/3 strong innings in the Muckdog's first-round playoff game against Elmira on Sunday, and the offense brought the lumber, leading to a 12-3 victory for the hometown team.

Sparks (top and second photos), a U of R junior, K'd six, surrendered only one earned run and only four hits to pick up his sixth win of 2022 and lower his ERA to 0.38.

Daniel Burroway and Alex Torres each had two RBIs.

The Muckdogs entered post-season play atop the Western Division over Utica by 3.5 games with a 30-15 record.

Manager Joey Martinez attributes the team's success both to player recruitment and the maturity of his players.

"They are a bunch of professionals," Martinez said. "Though they are not professionals yet, I think these guys are. They go about their business every day. They don't get too high, don't get too low. They are very steady-eddy. That's the way we've been playing all year. They have been pretty much very consistent. That's how these guys are, they're super consistent in everything they do -- their work ethic, the way they approach the game."

And they all get along.

"They're a tighter team than last year. These guys really love each other. Every time you have a culture like that, it breeds success."

The Muckdogs play for the Western Division championship against Utica at Dwyer tonight at 7 p.m. 

Photos by Howard Owens To view more photos or purchase prints, click here.

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Manager Joey Martinez.

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July 31, 2022 - 11:36pm
posted by Tim Bojarski in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

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Since shipping in from Kentucky, Keystone Apache has been formidable competition for the western New York regulars and he flexed his muscle for the second week in a row winning the $15,000 Open I Handicap trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (July 31).

Jim Morrill Jr. left sharply with Keystone Apache and settled on the lead. After they posted a conservative :59.1 half, Dewey Arnold (Kevin Cummings) came first-over and tried to advance in the breeze. Morrill picked up the tempo and the :28.1 third quarter temporarily thwarted Dewey Arnold's advance. But Cummings regrouped his charge around the last turn and made another rush for the front in the homestretch. Dewey Arnold tried hard, but Keystone Apache would not relent and hung on to win by a neck at the light in 1:56.3. 

On the strength of his sixth victory of the year, Keystone Apache ($5.00) boosted his earnings to $85,434 for owners Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Team Rice Racing. Maria Rice trains the winner.  

Earlier in the undercard $14,000 Open II Handicap trot, Sanchez Rocks (Drew Monti) got away fourth while All About Thechase (Mike Caprio) cut fractions of :29.2 and 1:00.4 to the half. Monti was out and moving with Sanchez Rocks at that point and made his way to third by the top of the stretch. From there he caught All About Thechase and held off a charge by Frank's Watching (Ray Fisher Jr.) to win by ¼ length in 2:00.2.

Sanchez Rocks ($17.40) scored his 20th career win for owner Marie Houghtaling and trainer by Ron Houghtaling. 

Monti ended the day with a driving triple, as did Kyle Cummings, while 12 different trainers claimed single wins during the afternoon. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 3) with post time at 6:00 p.m. Free full past performance race programs for all live race days can be downloaded by visiting the track's website at bataviadownsgaming.com and clicking the "Live Racing" tab.

Photos courtesy of Wendy J Lowery

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July 30, 2022 - 8:15am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Batavia Muckdogs, sports, baseball, Niagara, PGCBL.

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Last evening the Batavia Muckdogs fell to the Niagara power 6-4.  On Thursday they clinched 1st place to win the West Division for the first time being in the PCGBL.

A 3-0 early lead in the second and third inning put the Power on top. Brian Fry hit a RBI in the fourth to bring in Dallas Young.  Dogs down by two.

Niagara added one in the fifth to lead most of the game 4-1.  The Power added two in the 9th where it was 6-1.

Bottom of the 9th the Muckdogs bounce back with a walk-in run.  A score by Alex Torres and Vincent Grazioplene bring the Muckdogs down by two 6-4 with two outs remaining.

Dogs run out of time on the clock with the final out on team photo night.

Muckdogs final regular season game is tonight vs. Elmira at 7pm.

Playoff tickets for Sunday’s home game versus a team yet to be determined starts at 4pm at Dwyer Stadium.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

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July 28, 2022 - 6:03pm
posted by Tim Bojarski in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

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The "Glamour Division" of the New York Sire Stakes was well represented on Wednesday night (July 27) at Batavia Downs as 14 top 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings bred in the Empire State lined up in two $59,200 contests.

In the first division, Seven Hundred (Hunstville-Exclamation) took advantage of a perfect trip to score his second NYSS victory.

Twin B Deluxe (Jason Bartlett) went right for the lead while Seven Hundred (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Bounty Hunter (Jordan Stratton) tucked in behind for the journey. The horses remained in single file behind Twin B Deluxe through fractions of :27.3, :57.4 and 1:24.2 before rounding the final turn for home. It was there that Seven Hundred left the pocket, bolted past the tiring leader and held off a fast closing Roll With The Flow (Mark Macdonald) to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.4.

Seven Hundred ($9.70) is owned by Rick Berks and is trained by Jake Leamon. Blue Chip Bloodstock and Our Horses Sense Stable bred the winner. 

Morrill ended the night with a total of four driving victories. 

The second division saw NYSS 2-year-old champion JD (So Surreal-Park N Orchard) look like he's ready to defend that title as he went gate to wire in victory.

Mark Macdonald left like a shot for the lead with JD while the heavily favored Pleaseletmeknow (Braxton Boyd) also left from seventh and dropped in third. With everyone seated, Macdonald grabbed leather and backed down the second quarter to :29.4, forcing Pleaseletmeknow to come first up just past the three-eighths. The two hooked up in turn three and matched strides in :27.2 to three-quarters, and then to the top of the stretch. But there, JD forged ahead and separated by 2-¾ lengths at the line and won in 1:52.4. 

It was the third win in a row for JD ($5.40) who is owned by his trainer Ray Schnittker along with George Zitone and Melissa Beckwith. Zitone also bred the pacer. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (July 30) with post time at 6:00 p.m. Free full past performance race programs for all live race days can be downloaded by visiting the track's website at bataviadownsgaming.com and clicking the "Live Racing" tab.

Photos courtesy of Wendy J Lowery

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July 28, 2022 - 7:30am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Genesee County Fair, sports, entertainment, news.

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Families enjoy another Kids Day today with fun and entertainment at the Genesee County Fair.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

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July 27, 2022 - 10:03am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Genesee County Fair, sports, entertainment, news.

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Many fair goers enjoyed last evening's parade at Genesee County Fairgrounds. 

Today is Kids Day and Emergency Responders Night

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos bys Steve Ognibene

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July 26, 2022 - 11:27pm
posted by Tim Bojarski in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

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The New York Sire Stakes make their second visit to Batavia Downs on Wednesday (July 27) when 14 of the best state-bred 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings will be on hand to claim their share of $118,400 in purses that will be distributed in two $59,200 divisions.

Among the group is Pleaseletmeknow (American Ideal-I Said Please) who is not only one of the best in the state, but also in North America. 

Pleaseletmeknow is currently the third richest 3-year-old pacing male in North America sitting behind only Meadowlands Pace winner Beach Glass and North America Cup winner Pebble Beach. The bulk of his $266,927 2022 bankroll came through winning a major engagement of his own, the $261,730 Messenger Stake at Yonkers Raceway on July 1 where he pulled first-over from fourth and rallied to a three-quarter length, 1:51.3 lifetime best victory.

Pleaseletmeknow has six wins in eight starts this year with two seconds. He has won three divisions of the NYSS that includes his last outing at Monticello Raceway where he was the heavy 1-9 favorite and romped in 1:53.2 by 2-½ lengths. He is the current points (175) and earnings ($96,788) leader in his division of the state series and comes into Genesee County at the top of his game. The track record for 3-year-old pacing geldings at Batavia Downs is 1:52.2 and that is certainly not out of reach here.

Trainer Travis Alexander has regular driver Matt Kakaley up and they will start from post seven for this contest.

Looking to stand in his way are JD and Forrest Blu who both come in looking very sharp as well.

JD (So Surreal-Park N Orchard) was the 2-year-old NYSS champion in 2021 and has not missed the board in four NYSS outings this year with two thirds, one second and a win in his last start at Monticello in 1:54.3. That was his second consecutive victory as he also won the week before that in an Excel A race at Goshen Historic on July 3 in an all-time track record-breaking performance of 1:52, that also gave him a new lifetime mark.

Western New York native Ray Schnittker trains JD and he has his regular pilot Mark MacDonald aboard and they have drawn post six. 

Forrest Blu (Roll With Joe-Lima Fairest) was a neck short of being the NYSS 2-year-old champion last year after cutting the mile himself and getting beaten by JD. This year he has had only one NYSS start before being injured and scratched out of his second. After a month off he qualified back very aggressively at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono where he cut the mile in 1:53 flat, last half in :55.2 and last quarter in :27.4. Off that performance it appears he is ready to roll. 

Tyler Buter will again drive for trainer John Butenschoen from the inside post two.

The other division features Bounty Hunter (Huntsville-Stonebridge Sundae) who comes in a neck and a nose short of three straight wins.

After going winless in 2021, Bounty Hunter already has two victories this year. And in his last three starts that were all in NYSS action, he was second by a neck in Buffalo, second by a nose in Saratoga and was a winner at Vernon Downs in a lifetime best 1:52.2 where he beat JD. After he was given a one month summer break, Bounty Hunter qualified back and finished second at Harrah’s Philly in 1:54, last half in :56.1 and last quarter in :27.4.  

Jordan Stratton makes the trip to Batavia to drive Bounty Hunter for trainer Robert Cleary who has drawn post two.

Twin B Deluxe (American Ideal-JK Isn’tshelovely) has five wins and eight board hits in 10 starts coming in but only one is in NYSS action. That came at Saratoga on June 12 when he won in a lifetime-best 1:53. The gelding has shown much versatility by both leaving and racing off a helmet and with starting from mid-pack in here, that will be a big advantage for him.

Jason Bartlett drives for trainer Andrew Harris and has post four.

Stretch The Line (Huntsville-Jessalilmixup) has yet to win in 2022 but it’s not because he doesn’t know how. Last year he won five times and earlier this year it appears he was hampered with a breaking problem. But in his last four starts he has minded his manners we'll and finished second once - race timed in 1:52.1 - and third three straight times since. If he keeps improving that first “W” is within reach here.

Marcus Miller will steer for Erv Miller from post five.

The two NYSS events will go as race four and seven. There are also two $15,000 Excel “A” series races that are in races five and eight. Post time for the first race on Wednesday is 6 p.m.

Photos by Geri Schwarz

July 26, 2022 - 10:53pm
posted by Tim Bojarski in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

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Questionably overlooked by the betting public, Just Plain Loco just plain ran away with the race and scored an impressive 3-¾ length victory in the $15,000 Open I Handicap pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (July 23) over the speedy oval on a hot summer night. 

Just Plain Loco (Dave McNeight III) shot right to the front and took a gapped length advantage to the quarter in a quick :27.1, forcing the 1-5 Surfer Beach (Jim Morrill Jr.) to seat third. After getting to the half in a softer :56.3, Just Plain Loco started pulling away from the pocket-sitting Stop Action (Shawn McDonough) and the rest of the field that was trying to keep up. But try as they might, they couldn’t as Just Plain Loco turned on the jets and scooted away to a 3-½ length advantage at the top of the stretch and as McNeight glanced back at the trailers, Just Plain Loco cruised home with the easiest of victories in 1:53 flat, tying his seasonal mark. 

Winning his fourth Open pace in the span of the last five weeks, Just Plain Loco ($11.80) pushed his bank to $62,270 this year for owners Paul Lang and Mark Toth. Jeniffer Giuliani trains the winner. 

McNeight finished the night with the hat trick in the bike. 

In the $14,000 Open II Handicap pace, McSpidey also went gate to wire and matched his best time of the year as well.

Art Scene (Jim Morrill Jr.) crossed over to the front just past the eighth pole, but Kyle Cummings immediately pulled McSpidey from third, bolted to the lead and never looked back. After setting fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:26 with Art Scene on his back and the rest of the field a few lengths behind, McSpidey turned for home and held off a late brush from the pocket-sitter to win by ¾ of a length in 1:54.2. 

McSpidey ($6.50) got his sixth win of the year for owner William Emmons and trainer Jim Clouser Jr. 

Cummings and Clouser also hooked up to win with Lanas Desire (1:57, $19.60), giving each a double for the night.  

Then in the $13,000 Open III Stratosphere got a perfect trip and pounced late to score. 

Stratosphere (Drew Monti) got away second behind Sunfirewindrain (Jim McNeight Jr.) who paced to the quarter in pedestrian :29.1. Shortly after that station Three Dragons (Dave McNeight III) tipped from third and was intent on pushing the pace. That move quickly failed as Sunfirewindrain sped up and Three Dragons could not step with the :27.1 third panel. As they rolled into the turn, Stratosphere was now on Sunfirewindrain’s back and was waiting for the word “go” from Monti. That call came from the top of the stretch and Stratosphere swelled up in the lane, pulling away to an easy 2-½ length victory in 1:55.1. 

It was the third win of the year for Stratosphere ($7.30) who is owned by his driver and trained by Darrin Monti. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday (July 24) with post time at 1:15 p.m. Free full past performance race programs for all live race days can be downloaded by visiting the track's website at bataviadownsgaming.com and clicking the "Live Racing" tab.

Photos by Wendy J Lowery.
Top photo: Just Plain Loco

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McSpidey

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July 26, 2022 - 7:30am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Genesee County Fair, sports, entertainment, news.

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Color Run, RC Racing, Pig Races and much more highlight Monday at Genesee County Fair.

The parade is featured this evening for events, starting at 6:30 pm. 

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

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July 23, 2022 - 10:00am

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The 182nd Genesee County Fair kicked off Friday with the North American Six-Horse Classic Hitch Series Class. 

The Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series has reportedly become the most prestigious draft horse event on the continent. Thousands of spectators have cheered on the tremendous draft horse hitches at venues such as Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair, the Calgary Stampede, the Michiana Event Center, and the Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts.

Six gleaming one-ton horses create a spectacle as they stomp into the arena as one, outfitted in patent leather and chrome harness, pulling the historically restored freight wagons. Crowds can literally feel the earth tremble as the massive hitches pass by.

Each year, six horse hitches across the United States and Canada compete at state and county fairs and agricultural exhibitions to accumulate points for the Classic Series.

Close to 200 hitches travel within their region and beyond, competing at nearly 80 qualifying shows throughout North America.

The competition builds to a climax at the end of the series when the five highest point hitches in each of three breed classifications are invited to compete for up to $100,000 in premiums for the Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series Finals.

This year Draft Horse Superintendents Dave Dermody and Mark Barie were able to secure 10 six-horse hitch teams. These teams will be performing two exciting competitions showcasing their gentle giants. Teams traveled this year from Indiana, Quebec, California, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and New York.

Pictured above is the winner of tonight’s North American six-horse hitch Classic, Jackson Fork Ranch Percherons LLC. from Little Jackson Hole, Wyo.  The driver was Reece Mengels.

For a complete fair schedule, click here.

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Photos by Steve Ognibene.

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