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Batavia Downs

July 18, 2019 - 12:22pm

Above is a Batavian file photo from the 2018 races.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Registration for one of the most popular promotions of the season at Batavia Downs Gaming --- the annual “Dachshund Dash” wiener dog races --- begins on today (July 18) and will remain open until entry capacity is met. 

These races are scheduled to take place on Sunday (Aug. 25).

If you have a dog that has competed in this event in the past or have one you would like to enter for the first time, please call Sara Tenney at 585-343-3750, ext. 439, to register or for more information. If you leave a message you will receive a call back for confirmation. 

Please be aware that entries are limited to the first 80 dogs and the fields have filled fast the last several years.

This is the 15th year Batavia Downs has hosted the annual races that are sponsored by Genesee Feeds of Batavia.

A total of 10 heats will be contested with eight dogs competing in each heat. The first race will begin after the last live harness race of the day, which will be approximately 4:30 p.m. 

All those who enter will receive doggie bags full of treats courtesy of Genesee Feeds of Batavia, the official sponsor of the race. The owners of all heat winners will receive $25 in gaming Free Play and the top three finishers in the championship race will receive two clubhouse buffet certificates and $100, $75 and $50 (first through third) in Free Play for the gaming floor. The top winner’s total prize package including the gaming Free Play is valued at $200.

The wiener dog races are the final part of Family Fun Day at Batavia Downs Gaming that runs from 2 until 4 p.m. This fun-filled event includes many activities for kids including free pony rides courtesy of Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Also on that day there will be $1 hot dogs and sodas from noon until last race.

Last year a crowd of nearly 3,000 people showed up to watch “Louie” nose out “Jasper” in a photo finish with “Dexter Tyberius” finishing a close third in the championship heat. The very friendly Louie, who is owned by Bruce Hummel, of Pittsford, quickly became a fan favorite in the Purple Haze winner’s circle after the race. 

Track officials expect to host a similar sized crowd again this year. 

July 17, 2019 - 3:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, NYS Sire Stakes.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia Downs has announced that Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Center and the New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund will be sponsoring a cocktail party to be held before the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) Night of Champions on Saturday (Sept. 14) at the Downs. 

The party is by invitation only and is for all NYSS finals participants and their guests and some VIPs and will run from 4:30 until 6 p.m. in Grandstands Banquet Room, which is located on the second floor of the building, adjacent to the hotel entrance. The party will conclude in time for everyone to make their way to the clubhouse for the first championship final of the night that will be carded as race two.  

Kelly Young, executive director of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund and Todd Haight, director/general manager of Live Racing expressed their excitement looking forward to this very important night for all who race in New York State. 

“The Night of Champions is a time for the connections of all the horses who made it to the finals to look back on the year and celebrate their success. These equine athletes rose to the top of their class and thrived during a demanding season gathering points across the state from Buffalo to Yonkers, and every harness track in between,” Young said. 

“We’re so pleased to join with Wanda Polisseni and her Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Center to celebrate the best of the best at Batavia Downs. Wanda is a dedicated owner of New York-bred horses and her love of the sport makes her a great partner to honor our Night of Champions participants.”

“It’s been many years since Batavia Downs hosted the Breeders Crown back in 1988 and we couldn’t be more proud to have been selected this year to showcase the very best horses that have been bred and raced in New York State,” Haight said. 

“Wanda is a longtime friend of Batavia Downs and our 'Purple Haze' winner’s circle is named after her stable. Now she is joining with us again on this great night to host the NYSS cocktail party and enjoy the best racing in the state. I can’t wait for September 14!”

Henry Wojtaszek is the CEO and president of Batavia Downs Gaming. His thoughts about the event go beyond its racing significance and expresses the financial impact it will have on the communities that WROTB benefits. 

“The Night of Champions being held at Batavia Downs is a testament to the hard work being put forth by our staff into making this one of the best racetracks in the country,” Wojtaszek said.

“Not only will this event attract folks from all over the state to our facility, but also to local hotels, restaurants and businesses. The economic benefit of having this marquee event right here in Genesee County will be felt by all.”

The $1.8 million Night of Champions races will highlight the richest card of racing ever held in Western New York. Also featured on the card will be Batavia Downs signature stake, the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Invitational pace and a slate of races featuring the best resident overnight horses on the grounds. Post time for this grand night of racing will be 6 p.m.

July 16, 2019 - 4:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The first condition sheet of the season for Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel is now available at the track’s website www.bataviadownsgaming.com. Simply click the "Live Racing” tab and then the "Horsemen" tab.

The condition sheet is also available at www.ustrotting.com .

The 2019 season gets underway on Wednesday (July 24). Tack is allowed on grounds beginning Thursday (July 18) and horses may begin arriving on Saturday (July 20). 

The first draw of the season for opening night which includes a leg of the New York Sire Stakes, will take place on Friday (July 19).

The next draw for Saturday (July 27) will occur on Wednesday (July 24).

The entry box closes at 9 a.m. each draw day.

For more information or additional help please call the race office at 585-344-6161.

The 73rd season at America’s oldest lighted harness track features 65 race dates, including six matinees.

July 5, 2019 - 1:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

With the start of the live racing season just three weeks away, horsemen should be advised this is the last call to turn in a stall application for the upcoming 2019 Championship summer/fall meet.

Stall applications must be received by the track no later than Monday (July 8).

The backstretch opens for tack on Thursday (July 18) at 8 a.m. and horses may begin arriving on Saturday (July 20) at 8 a.m.

Stall applications, agreements and reservation forms are available for download on the track’s website (www.bataviadownsgaming.com). Simply click Live Racing>Horsemen to find all three forms. 

Applications are also available at the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association office located on-site at Buffalo Raceway.

The first draw will be held on Friday (July 19) for Wednesday (July 24), which is the first New York Sire Stake engagement of the year at the Downs.

Batavia Downs offers a text messaging service for notices about draws, entries and other racing information. Horsemen are encouraged to text the word “HORSEMAN” to 51660. You will then need to reply “YES” and you’ll be opted in for race office text message updates.

All stable inquiries should be directed to Todd Haight, director/GM of Live Racing, at 585.343.3750, ext. 6322.

June 22, 2019 - 9:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, music, arts, entertainment, news.

survivorbataviadowns2019.jpg

Survivor opened the 2019 concert season at Batavia Downs on Friday night.

Here's the lineup for the rest of the summer:

  • June 28 -- Queensryche
  • July 5 -- Kim Mitchell
  • July 12 -- Journey Former Lead Vocalist Steve Augeri
  • July 19 -- Gin Blossoms
  • July 26 -- Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
  • Aug. 2 -- Tanya Tucker
  • Aug. 9 -- Theory Of A Deadman

survivorbataviadowns2019-2.jpg

survivorbataviadowns2019-3.jpg

survivorbataviadowns2019-4.jpg

June 19, 2019 - 2:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in drew monti, harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Leading Western New York harness racing driver Drew Monti is heading east to Massachusetts to become a regular in the driving colony at Plainridge Park. 

Monti, who started driving at the age of 18, has put up some impressive numbers in his seven years campaigning at just about every track in New York State. From 8,427 lifetime starts he has 1,334 wins, 1,211 seconds and 1,179 thirds, has earned $7.7 million in purses and with a career Universal Driver Rating (UDR) of .300.  

During his short career in Western New York, Monti has already won two dash driving titles at Batavia Downs in 2016 and 2018 and one at Buffalo Raceway, also in 2018. 

However this is not Monti's first foray outside of his home state to compete. 

In the winter of 2017 the now 24-year-old headed to the Meadowlands and drove 163 starts that yielded 18 wins, 22 seconds and 18 thirds that earned his horse's connections $193,675 in purses over the seven weeks he spent there. 

In January of 2019, Monti went to Miami Valley to compete against 30 of the sport's top reinsmen in the North American Drivers Championship and finished a close third  behind winner Dan Noble and Brett Miller. 

Monti has gotten support from several stables upon hearing of his move to the Ridge and one of them is Lindy Farms.  

The President of Lindy Farms, Frank M. Antonacci has said that Lindy will support Drew’s move to Plainridge with drives from their stable. That in part is why Monti decided to come to Plainville, Mass.

“I had been watching Drew drive for the past couple years and know the ability he has. I think coming to Plainridge is going to help move his career forward and provide him the opportunity to drive stakes horses both here and beyond,” said Antonacci. 

“Talent got him to where he is today and he seems like a good young man with a bright future. I look forward to having him drive for us.” 

A 2016 graduate of Canisius College with a degree in finance, Monti recognized the opportunities ahead of him at Plainridge Park and felt it was a good time to make the move.

"I had heard a lot of good things about Plainridge, the people racing there and their great purse structure in place as a result of the state's Horse Racing Development Fund and really look forward to racing there full time. It seems like a great place to compete," said Monti. 

"Massachusetts has a fast growing Sire Stake program, one that a lot of people outside the Commonwealth are talking about. I look forward to getting starts there as well and with Lindy Farms support, I am really excited about this opportunity."

Monti has made a few trips to The Ridge this past week and already likes the track, and his four wins in 12 starts are evidence of that. 

Photo of Drew Monti courtesy of Steve Roth.

June 18, 2019 - 1:23pm

Press release:

On Monday, members of Batavia Downs management announced their commitment to expand their ticket giveaway programs, collectively known as “Suitestakes,” at their gaming facility.

Batavia Downs plans to enter into a three-year agreement with Pegula Sports Entertainment for a suite at the Buffalo Football Stadium for events as part of Batavia Downs’ Ticket Promotion Program.

Batavia Downs just finished the first year of a three-year agreement with Pegula Sports and Entertainment for a Suite at the Key Bank Center.

The “Suitestakes” promotion has been in place at Batavia Downs since 2014 and has expanded over the years. As part of Batavia Downs’ Marketing Plan, the purchase and use of all tickets is approved by the New York State Gaming Commission on an annual basis.

The program did receive Gaming Commission approval for the 2019 year.

The promotion was honored with the prestigious Diamond Romero Award by Raving Consulting for its success in generating revenue and enhancing patrons’ relationship with Batavia Downs. The award is judged by an independent group of Casino Marketing Professionals.

“Our Suitestakes program has and continues to help us achieve record results,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing of WROTB/Batavia Downs. “We will be expanding the number of times and methods with which we distribute the tickets to ensure future success.

"Revenues from the facility are distributed to the shareholders of Western OTB including the 15 Western and Central New York counties and two cities of Buffalo and Rochester. Our success means more money is given to those municipalities.”

As a public benefit corporation Batavia Downs competes daily with privately run casinos to attract customers. The environment is competitive and Batavia Downs is committed to continuing programs so residents of member municipalities don’t miss out on critical community development revenue.

“Recently, there has been speculation about the propriety of our promotional activities that benefit our customers and whether tickets for sporting events and concerts have been used properly,” said Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO of WROTB/Batavia Downs. “After those reports, we invited the Gaming Commission to examine our records and interview WROTB officials regarding these allegations.

"Two Gaming inspectors accepted our invitation and we complied expeditiously. Following this review, the inspectors advised WROTB that they were pleased with our cooperation and fully satisfied that the records they reviewed and the interviews they conducted did not raise any issues of concern for the Gaming Commission.“

The board will consider the resolution pertaining to the Buffalo Stadium tickets at their meeting later this month.

June 13, 2019 - 2:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, First Responders, news.

Press release:

Representatives from Batavia Downs today announced a new program that will provide a 25-percent discount to active first responders at Batavia Downs Restaurants.

This includes local, county and state police, volunteer and paid firefighters, and ambulance service providers, paramedics/EMTs, and correctional officers.

Discounts will be valid on food and soft drinks but will not include alcohol.

Active first responders must show their service ID card to receive the discount for them and one guest. The discount program is available starting today.

“We are so pleased to be able to extend this offer to first responders in our area,” said Scott Kiedrowski, vice president of Operations at Batavia Downs, who also oversees the Food & Beverage Department.

“We value their contributions to our communities in keeping us safe and healthy. This discount is a token of our gratitude."

June 11, 2019 - 3:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, Batavia Downs, Ground Force Fights, mma, batavia.

Press release:

Representatives from Batavia Downs and Ground Force Fights today announced they will be holding a spot in Saturday’s MMA card at Batavia Downs for the Canadian pop star and American movie star to settle their differences in the cage.

On June 9th, Justin Bieber Tweeted; “I wanna challenge Tom Cruise to fight in the octagon. Tom if you dont take this fight you're scared and you will never live it down. Who is willing to put on the fight?”

Richard Mitchell, owner of Ground Force Fights, responds by saying: “We would welcome both Justin and Tom to compete at Throwdown at the Downs 2.0. Fights begin at 6 p.m. and we’d be happy to fit them onto the card whenever it’s convenient for them, given their busy schedules.”

It is unknown at this time why the 25-year-old Bieber decided to challenge the 56-year-old Cruise to the bout.

“Mr. Bieber hails from London, Ontario, while Mr. Cruise was born in Syracuse, New York,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing for Batavia Downs. “Batavia is a perfect place for them to meet in the middle to settle whatever this beef is about.

"Batavia has an airport where both celebrities and any entourages can fly in. If they call ahead we can even send our Batavia Downs Shuttle Bus to pick them up.”

Regardless of whether Bieber and Cruise make an appearance, tickets are on sale now for Throwdown at the Downs 2.0 atbataviaconcerts.com.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m.; event starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 for General Admission and $55 for VIP seats closer to the cage.

Lawn chairs (which are normally permitted for other Batavia Downs events) are NOT permitted for this event. There will be limited chairs and bleacher seating available.

Each concert ticket is also redeemable once at Player’s Club in the three days following the event for $15 Free Play to be used on one of Batavia Downs Gaming’s 800+ gaming machines.

About Batavia Downs/WROTB

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia. WROTB owns and operates 17 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility.

Since its inception, Western Region OTB has generated more than $215 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.

About Ground Force Fights

Ground Force Fights is an amateur mixed martial arts organization based in Western New York. We aim to give the public some of the most exciting talent and amateur mixed martial arts shows. They strive to be the best for not only fighters, but fans as well.

June 7, 2019 - 5:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in checkers, Batavia Downs, news.

Press release:

Representatives from Batavia Downs today announced an upcoming Checkers exhibition with nationally ranked Checkers player John Herberger, of Akron, will take place on Monday, June 24th at noon at 34 Rush Sports Bar.

Herberger, who has ranked as high as 55th in the United States among Checkers players, holds the title of Master and has placed in several local and international tournaments in his career.

Herberger will play 10 games of Checkers at once versus opponents inside 34 Rush at Batavia Downs.

Anyone who beats Herberger in a game of Checkers will receive a Free Night’s Stay in the Hotel at Batavia Downs and free dinner for two at Fortune's.

Those coming to play or watch inside 34 Rush on that Monday will enjoy discounted appetizers and drinks during the exhibition.

There are 10 spots in each exhibition to take place at 12 p.m., 12:45 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

To reserve your spot to play against Herberger, contact [email protected] with the subject line: CHECKERS along with the time you would like to play.

They will also be accepting walk-ins that day as well. There is no fee for competing in the exhibition or to come and watch the games as they take place.

“We’re excited to put on this exhibition,” said Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO of Batavia Downs. “John is not only one of the best local players, but someone who has competed and succeeded in Checkers games all over the world.

"I know I’ll be trying my hand at taking him on that day, and I challenge everyone out there to do the same!”

June 4, 2019 - 12:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia -- Horsemen wishing to race at Batavia Downs for the upcoming 2019 Championship summer/fall meet should take note that stall applications are now available on the track's website (www.bataviadownsgaming.com).

Simply click Live Racing>Horsemen>Stall Application and Agreement and also Stall Reservations links to download. The complete 2019 racing schedule can also be found at Live Racing>Live Racing Schedule.

Stall applications are also available at the Western New York Harness Horseman’s Association (WNYHHA) office located on-site at Buffalo Raceway.

Racing Secretary Joe Zambito has stated that stall applications must be received by the track no later than Friday (July 5). The backstretch opens for tack on Thursday (July 18) at 8 a.m. and horses may begin arriving on Saturday (July 20) at 8 a.m.

There is much anticipation and excitement surrounding the upcoming Batavia Downs season with the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions scheduled for Saturday (Sept. 14) and another purse increase in place for opening night. 

Open I events on both gaits (with a minimum of six starters) will compete for $12,500, Open II for $11,000 and Open III for $10,000. 

Claiming races at all levels will also be raised. For example, a $25,000 claimer will go for a $10,500 purse, a $10,000 claimer will go for $8,500 and a $5,000 claimer will go for $5,700.

The first draw will be held on Friday (July 19) for Wednesday (July 24) which is the first New York Sire Stake engagement of the year at the Downs.

Batavia Downs will also offer its new text messaging service for notices about draws, entries and changes to the racing schedule. Horsemen are encouraged to text the word “HORSEMAN” to 51660. You will then need to reply “YES” and you’ll be opted in for race office text message updates.

The 73rd season of live harness racing at America’s oldest lighted harness track features 65 race dates including eight matinee cards. The meet opens on Wednesday (July 24) and runs through Saturday (Dec. 14).

Live racing will be presented on Sunday afternoons at 1:15 p.m. (through August), Wednesdays at 5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. There will also be racing on four Mondays during the meet including July 29 (5 p.m.) and Aug. 5 (5 p.m.), Labor Day Sept.2 (1:15 p.m.) and Columbus Day Oct. 14 (1:15 p.m.). There is also a special 3:15 p.m. post on Saturday (Nov.2) which is Breeders Cup Day.

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

May 24, 2019 - 10:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weatern otb, Batavia Downs, business.

An audit by the state comptroller is more than welcome, officials with Western OTB, operator of Batavia Downs, said this week.

The board of directors unanimously passed a resolution pledging transparency in its business dealings and Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO of Western OTB, sent a letter to Thomas DiNapoli inviting an audit.

"Over the past several weeks, some media reports have focused on our finances and promotional operations," Wojtaszek wrote. "In order to continue to meet our high standards of transparency and compliance, I would like to inform you we welcome an additional audit of the corporation's finances by your staff and of course will follow any recommendations we can to improve moving forward."

The moves come as a result of reports, based on information from anonymous sources, that Western OTB is the target of an FBI investigation into allegations that "politically wired" companies have received preferential treatment in contracts with the corporation. 

It's a charge officials with Western OTB deny.

A source on the board characterized the news reports as based on "rumors."

In his letter, Wojtaszek noted that Western OTB has generated more than $231 million in revenues for the 15 counties in its region and that prior comptroller audits have not revealed any financial impropriators or irregularities.

"(That) is something we are very proud of," Wojtaszek wrote.

May 13, 2019 - 4:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, NY Sire Stakes.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs has announced that they have retained the services of Heather Wilder and Peter Kleinhans as their on-air personalities for the broadcast of the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) Night of Champions which will be held at the track on Saturday (Sept. 14).

Wilder will be doing pre and post-race interviews and Kleinhans will provide analysis and handicapping insight.

 

Heather Wilder, above, grew up with solid roots in harness racing  being the daughter of Dan and Ruth Altmeyer and later marrying Meadows leading driver Mike Wilder. Her knowledge of every aspect of the sport is extensive as is her relationships with all its participants. 

Besides being actively involved in racing everyday, Wilder currently handles talent management for the Delaware County Fair during the live TV broadcast of the Little Brown Jug. She has also been a regular part of the United States Harness Writers Association’s (USHWA) Dan Patch Awards Banquet both as an onstage host and Facebook live interviewer and producer for many years. 

While she worked as public relations and marketing director for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) she became a pioneer of reporting on racing on Facebook Live and coordinated the promotion of countless on-track events. In recognition of her fine work she was the recipient of USHWA's Lew Barasch Memorial Breakthrough Award for industry career achievements in 2013. 

Wilder’s lifelong involvement with the sport and its players will make for interesting trackside and winner’s circle interviews throughout the night.

Peter Kleinhans started going to Roosevelt Raceway as a teenager and his passion for the sport grew from there. Eventually he started training and driving his own stable and reached the top of the game. 

Kleinhans was training a stable of 20 horses led by Enough Talk who was the first trotter in the world to break the 1:50 barrier when he won by over eight lengths in 1:49.3 at Colonial Downs in 2008. Enough Talk also won the Breeders Crown in 2010 and received the Dan Patch older trotter of the year trophy from USHWA in each of those two seasons.  

Although he still competes as an amateur driver, Kleinhans has expanded his role in the sport to announcer, analyst and host and has recently filled in at the Meadowlands in those capacities. His knowledge and expertise of the sport and articulate delivery of same will provide an informative and entertaining look at the night’s races for all who are watching.  

“We are very excited to add such accomplished and professional talents to our production of the Night of Champions” said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. “Heather and Peter have performed at the highest levels of the sport both on and off the track and will bring a unique perspective to the show for our fans.” 

The Batavia Downs live racing meet kicks off on Wednesday (July 24) and runs through Saturday (Dec. 14). For more information on the upcoming racing season log on to www.bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing.

(Wilder photo credit: USTA. Kleinhans photo credit: Meadowlands)

May 13, 2019 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Longtime Western New York harness horseman John P. Cummings Sr. passed away on Saturday (May 11) after a lengthy illness. 

Mr. Cummings first got involved in harness racing in 1968 at the age of 22 through his brother-in-law Steve Flanigen. While working full time at both Trico Products and Bethlehem Steel (where he was a tradesman bricklayer) he started jogging and training horses with Flanigen and found what would soon become a lifelong vocation. 

He started out with a couple homebreds named Clippers Classic and Windjammer Munk and soon added overnighters like Don J and Jack Flood to build his stable. Then through his 42-year career he went on to train horse that included Pembroke Primo (1:55.4, $341,026), Mr. Casanova (1:53.2, $274,073), Cambestion (1:52.4, $184,892), Good Evening Smile (1:57.3, $89,219), Solitaire Hanover (1:53.2, $63,953), Pitch The Prez (1:54.4, $89,396) and New York Sire Stake winner Pass Now (1:55.2, $81,918). 

Mr. Cummings most notable horse was Arm And A Leg (1:54, $320,791) who in 2009 won 13 out of 39 starts and $86,000 to be named the Western New York Horse of the Year in a ceremony held at Batavia Downs. 

Over the years Mr. Cummings amassed 3,779 training starts with 731 wins, 574 seconds and 466 thirds and earnings in excess of $1.8 million. 

Although he did also drive, it wasn’t too often. Early on he used Flanigen who had more experience in the bike, and then later he had several more viable options that provided him the luxury of staying solely in the jog cart. You see Mr. Cummings is not only known as a trainer at the track, he also has the distinction of being the patriarch of one of the largest family of drivers in New York State. Four of his five children were boys who were brought up in the business since they could walk. 

John Cummings Jr., Tony Cummings, Todd Cummings and Kevin Cummings were taught the ropes by their father and have all been training and driving since they were old enough to get their licenses. And now Todd’s son Kyle Cummings has made his grandfather proud by breaking out on the racing scene earlier this year with his first driving win.

All told, Mr. Cummings impact on harness racing through himself and his family has been 54,387 starts with 8,272 wins and over $38 million in earnings. That is a family tradition. 

Although his wife, children and horses were his primary passion, when Mr. Cummings had any free time he enjoyed playing cards and was also an avid bowler. He did roll a 300 game and proudly wore the ring he received indicating that milestone everyday. 

"Harry", as he was affectionately known by everyone, had an affable personality and the ability to make people laugh in any situation throughout his entire life and his presence will be sorely missed by all that knew him. 

John Cummings Sr. was the beloved husband of Lallah (nee Flanigen) Cummings; devoted father of John Jr. (Megan Wilson), Anthony (Barbara), Colleen (Tim) Gallagher, Todd (Tammy), and Kevin (Rhonda) Cummings; son of the late Edward and Dorothy (nee Pike) Cummings; loving brother of Edward (late Clara), Frank, late Dorothy "Snookie" and late Peter Cummings; cherished grandfather of 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; also survived by many nieces and nephews. 

Friends will be received on Tuesday (May 14) from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home, 4199 Lake Shore Road (corner of Camp Road and Route 5) Hamburg, NY. A mass of Christian burial will be held Wednesday (May 15) at noon at Saint John Paul II Parish 2052 Lakeview Road, Lakeview, NY.  

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association. Donations and condolences may be left online at www.lakesidefuneralhome.com.

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