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Batavia Downs

October 7, 2019 - 1:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Saturday night (Oct. 5) will be one that Oakfield native Mike Caprio will never forget because he captured his career milestone 2,000th driving win with his own prized trotter BZ Glide in the featured $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot at Batavia Downs. 

After a two-month summer vacation and one qualifier back, BZ Glide left from the pylons and cut fractions of :28, :58.3 and 1:28.1 before turning for home and holding off all challengers under a line drive by Caprio to win in a season's best 1:57.4. 

The win was a true family affair as BZ Glide ($5.40) is owned by the Caprio Stable and is trained by Mike Caprio's wife, Alana. 

Caprio got his driver’s license in 1981 and has been competing full time ever since. His first driving successes came behind two main horses; his father Joe Caprio’s prized pacer Prosecutor and a horse he owned with his dad, Connecticut Glove. 

Prosecutor (Flying Bret-Chuck’s Maid 1:59.3, $104,902) was a 58-time winner lifetime and a top-class pacer in Western New York for many years, winning 39 of those races on that circuit with the younger Caprio at the lines. 

Connecticut Glove (Bullet Hanover-Congress Glove 2:00.3, $211,261) was a hard-knocking overnighter who won 43 races lifetime, 20 of which had Caprio in tow. 

Since the early years Caprio has owned 57 horses and had much success with many of them, but the one that stands out as the shining star of his career was his 2,000th winning drive, BZ Glide.

BZ Glide (Yankee Glide-Bloomer Zoomer 1:56.1, $339,847) was purchased as a 2-year-old by Caprio and his wife Alana and they developed him into one of the best Open class trotters to ever compete in Western New York. Now 10-years-old, BZ Glide has won 45 races with Caprio at the helm and has been the cornerstone of their operation during that time. 

Caprio has also been responsible for much of the driving success of another Western New York 56-time winning star, Fireyourguns (American Ideal-Villa Hanover 1:47.3, $406,886) who is trained by Terence Mc CLory. 

Besides driving his own horses, Caprio has always been a very popular catch driver throughout his career. As a result he has scored 2,000 wins out of 14,904 starts with 1,829 seconds and 1,839 thirds and has earnings of $4,942,824. His highest earnings year was 1989 ($251,170) and he scored his most wins in 1988 (129).

October 5, 2019 - 11:18am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A pair of $9,000 claiming/conditioned trots topped the card at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Oct. 4) and the winner of each took a different route to victory. 

Call My Broker (Jim Morrill Jr.) took full advantage of his pylon post position and seated the field off the gate. Then, after cutting moderate fractions of :28.4, :59.3 and 1:29.1, Morrill kept Call My Broker rolling down the lane and held off the pocket-sitting Barn Winner (Ray Fisher Jr.) to win by three quarters of a length in 1:58.3. 

Call My Broker ($3.60) scored his fourth win of the year for owner Frank Meier and trainer Angelo Nappo. 

Later in the other division, Alert Hanover (Shawn McDonough) started from post two and opted to stay there, taking the garden spot trip behind Golden Tate (Jim Morrill Jr.) from the start to the top of the lane where Golden Tate made a break he did not recover from. McDonough directed his horse around the off-stride trotter and cruised home on top by a length, also in 1:58.3.

Winning his fourth race of the year as well, Alert Hanover ($6.80) was owned by Carl Kuepfer and trained by Patrick Shepherd until the race ended when he was claimed. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on today (Oct. 5) with post time at 6 p.m.

October 2, 2019 - 11:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Although the weather turned decidedly cooler after the rain on tonight (Oct. 2) in Western New York, driver Drew Monti was red hot at Batavia Downs as he won six races on the card, including a natural Grand Slam in races three to six. 

Monti visited the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle with A J Cash (2:01, $2.70), Rock N Roll Rosie (1:57.3, $8.40), Our Art And Heaven (1:59.2, $4.60), Cracked Glass (1:58.4, $9.10), Terlingua (1:56.3, $19.60) and Tymal Luckynpink (1:57.2, $3.90). 

Monti hit the board with a second and a third as well giving him a .530 Universal Driver Rating (UDR) for the night. 

Over the last six race nights at Batavia Downs, Monti has been the winningest driver on the grounds with 10 victories in 33 starts giving him a win percentage of 30 percent, and including his five seconds and four thirds, he has a UDR of .428 during that same time.

The feature race for the night was the $12,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap that saw Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) leave from post seven to take the lead and keep it throughout the mile and win by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:56.1. 

It was the seventh win of the year for Little Joke ($15) who is owned by Vogel and Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner. 

Davis had two more winners on the card beside the feature giving him a driving hat trick as well. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 4) with post time at 6 p.m.

(Photo of Drew Monti courtesy of Steve Roth.)

October 2, 2019 - 11:49am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Saturday (Sept. 28) marked the halfway point of the 2019 Batavia Downs harness racing season and all indicators are showing so far, it has been one of the best in the track’s history.  

The on-track handle up 15.1 percent, the export handle is up 26.1 percent, OTB handle is up 8.7 percent and total betting from all sources associated with Western Regional OTB is up 20.5 percent or $820,609.

“The numbers are very impressive, but the product has been as well,” said Todd Haight, director/general manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. “Our overnight racing has been very competitive and we’ve had many guaranteed pools in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program which draw bettors from all over to follow our track.

"And our New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) Night of Champions was the jewel of the season and it has exposed many new local people to our sport as a result.” 

Many horses have set seasonal or lifetime marks at Batavia since the meet started, plus seven new track records have already been set since July. Trotters Hypnotic Am, Quincy Blue Chip, Third Shift and CR Blazin Beauty along with pacers Hickfromfrenchlick, American Mercury and Cigars And Port account for those new track standards. 

There were also two stake records broken by Hypnotic Am and Third Shift during the NYSS Night of Champions. 

At this point of the season Billy Davis Jr. is the leading driver with 63 wins, Jim Morrill Jr. is second with 58 and Dave McNeight III is third with 46.

On the training side, James Clouser Jr. is on top with 37 wins, Maria Rice is second with 20 and David Russo sits third with 17. 

There is a tie for the winningest horse between Blue Bell Bonny and Tullow N who each have visited Purple Haze Winner’s Circle five times. 

The Batavia Downs meet will continue this afternoon (Oct. 2) with post time at 5 p.m. and runs through Saturday (Dec. 15) with a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday schedule. Post time for Wednesdays is at 5 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays are at 6 p.m. There is one remaining Monday meet, which is Columbus Day (Oct. 14) with an early post of 1:15 p.m.

September 29, 2019 - 7:22am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A torrential rainstorm rolled into Genesee County just prior to post time and downgraded conditions to sloppy before the first race ever hit the track. But the inclement weather and less than desirable track conditions did not prevent Tullow N from imposing his will on his foes in winning the $12,500 Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 28).

Tullow N (John Cummings Jr.) was the only leaver in the feature and Cummings took full advantage of his position. After settling onto the lead, he backed the quarter down to a pedestrian :29 flat and then further throttled-down to a :59.2 half as everyone refused to pull. 

As soon as they entered the third turn, Cummings hit the gas and Tullow N looked more like himself. With a two-length gapped advantage he got to the three-quarters in 1:27.3, swung around the last turn and then just paced away in the lane to win by three in 1:56.

It was the seventh win of the year and fifth of the Batavia meet for Tullow N ($5.90) and owner Blindswitch Racing. Dave Russo trains the winner.

Russo had another training win earlier in the night with Reiki ($4.20) who he also drove in the Billings Amateur Pace. 

In the $11,000 Open II pace, Mr. Euroman N (Billy Davis Jr.) went right to the front and never looked back. After cutting fractions of :27.3, :57 and 1:25.3, Davis rounded the last turn on cruise control and let Mr. Euroman N fly home in 1:55 on top by a 1-½ length margin. It was the second win in a row for Mr. Euroman N ($3.40) who is owned by Vogel and Wags Nags Stable, Jack Rice and Adelphi Bloodstock. Maria Rice trains the winner.  

Drew Monti, Shawn Gray, John Cummings Jr. and Billy Davis Jr. all had driving doubles on the card. Trainer Patrick Shepherd had two wins on the training side. Since last Saturday, Shepherd is the hottest trainer at the Downs, winning nine races in only 17 starts. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 2) with post time at 5 p.m.

September 28, 2019 - 12:59am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of BJ Lorado with driver Shawn McDonough.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A summer-long resident of the now closed for the season Tioga Downs, BJ Lorado shipped north to Genesee County on Friday night (Sept. 27) and made himself right at home, winning the $12,500 Open Handicap trot at Batavia Downs.

Southern Palms (Jim Morrill Jr.) took command and led the field of seven to the half in a moderate :58 flat. Looking to take his shot, Keystone Apache (Billy Davis Jr.) came first up and was followed by BJ Lorado (Shawn McDonough) and the two forced the leader into a :28.4 third panel. 

Heading into the far turn, Southern Palms was starting to tire and Keystone Apache’s assault had stalled. As a result, McDonough tipped BJ Lorado three-wide at the apex and cleared by the time they straightened away. Down the lane BJ Lorado was in full flight and trotted to the wire on top by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:56.1. 

It was the seventh win of the year for BJ Lorado ($18.20), who is owned by Michael and Diane Norcross and trained by Donna Riedel.  

In the $11,000 Open II trot, Put On The Day (Jim Morrill Jr.) tripped out third to the half where he pulled first-over, cleared at three-quarters and trotted away down the lane to win by two lengths in 1:58. It was the second straight win for Put On The Day ($3.90), who is owned by his driver Morrill and is trained by Steve Andzel. 

Jim Morrill Jr. led all drivers on Friday winning four races on the card. Shawn McDonough and John Cummings Jr. were right behind, each got the hat trick and trainer Patrick Shepherd also scored three conditioning wins. 

When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept. 28) at 6 p.m. there will be a carryover of $3,202 in the Pick-5 wager with a guaranteed pool of $7,500. The guarantee is made in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages for races one through five will be available on the USTA’s website starting on Saturday.

September 26, 2019 - 10:47am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Frequent flyer miles between the Red Mile, Plainridge Park and Batavia Downs have certainly kept driver Drew Monti sharp as a tack. Currently sitting sixth, fourth and eighth in the driver standings at those respective tracks, Monti has been on a tear since returning to Batavia and over the last five days has posted a Universal Driver Rating (UDR) of .440. 

On Wednesday (Sept. 25) Monti added to those numbers by winning five races on the card including the weekly distaff feature with the red hot HP Sissy. 

HP Sissy’s initials may very well stand for “high powered” because she certainly has a huge engine and showed it off for the second week in a row by dominating the best mares on the grounds while winning the $12,500 Open I Handicap for distaff pacers at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening. 

HP Sissy (Drew Monti) was deliberate off the gate, going three-deep to the quarter to out-leave Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) and Sarah Cola (Mike Caprio). After seating at the first split in :27.2, Monti reined-in the leader and backed off the half to :56.3.

The race proceeded on the second circuit and HP Sissy continued to pace under a strong hold with Little Joke tracking from second. After hitting three-quarters in 1:25 Monti let his mare out a notch and HP Sissy switched into glide and opened up a two length advantage while scooting home in :28.4 to win in 1:53.4. 

Notching her 11th win of the year, HP Sissy ($3.70) has now earned $91,343 for owner Finocchario’s Dream Stable and trainer Mike Ohol. 

Monti completed his piloting pentafecta by winning with Rock N Roll Rosie (1:56.3, $6), Media Queen N (1:54.2, $5), Cracked Glass (1:58.1, $7.70) and Snapshot Springs (1:58.2, $2.40). Adding in a second and two thirds, Monti’s UDR for the night was .479. 

The $11,000 Open II pace for fillies and mares went to Badlands Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) who took the lead by the quarter, cut quick fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:26.1 before holding off a late closing Carly Girl (Drew Monti) to win by two-lengths in 1:54.4. Badlands Delight ($9.60) is owned by Sam Smith and is trained by Gerry Sarama. 

Driver Dave McNeight III had a good night as well, winning three races on Wednesday.  

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 27) with post time set at 6 p.m.

September 24, 2019 - 12:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

On Wednesday (Sept. 25) the Pick-5 pool at Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel will be guaranteed at $2,500. 

The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren’t selected, the carryover amount moves to the Friday program.

Wednesday’s guaranteed pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages are available courtesy of Trackmaster on the USTA’s website.

September 24, 2019 - 12:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia Downs has a long history of lady drivers competing at the track going back to the 1950’s. Names like Edith Mouw, Mary Ann Sarama, Cindy Stark, Laurie Stark, Anne Wheeler, Jeanette Byer and Myrtle Patistas were regulars at the Downs for decades. But it has been a fairly male-dominated track when the gate has swung open in recent years.

That all changes on Wednesday (Sept. 25) when one of the top distaff sulky stars in North America ships into Batavia to take on the local driving colony.

Jennifer Lappe got into harness racing in 1993 when she bought a trotter off an Amish truck. That horse eventually won three races for her but defined what she has described herself as being in a 2018 interview -- “a salvager."

Lappe sees value and potential in horses many others may not and isn't afraid to take on the challenge of an older horse or a horse with issues and has capitalized on that over time.

Lappe’s career training numbers are excellent: 4,990 starts with 858 wins, 771 seconds and 690 thirds, which means she’s hit the board 46 percent of the time and has earnings of $5,678,220 to show for it.

She started her driving career in the Midwest on county fair circuits in Illinois and Iowa before moving on to pari-mutuel racing at Balmoral Park in Crete, Ill., after that. In 2007 Lappe made the move to New York and is now based out of Campbell Hall, which is not far from Goshen.

From 2008 until 2018 Lappe used primarily catch drivers to capitalize on the healthy purses in New York. But she returned to the bike full time last year and has really put up some impressive driving numbers in a very short amount of time.

Over the past two years Lappe’s driving has yielded 73 wins out of 653 starts with 111 seconds and 108 thirds. That’s 45 percent in the money with $429,693 in earnings. 

Currently in 2019, Lappe has the best Universal Driver Rating (.267), second highest earnings ($194,562) and third highest amount of wins (34) among all female drivers in North America with 300 or more starts this year.

For the better part of this season Lappe has raced at Vernon Downs, but has also shipped horses to Monticello Raceway, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and now Batavia. Lappe also had a successful stint at The Meadowlands during the winter of 2018.

Lappe's regular starts in Central New York have given her an outstanding meet at Vernon where she currently sits fourth in the overall trainer standings with 27 wins; only nine behind the leading Marissa Chadbourne (36). She is also eighth among all drivers for wins.

Earlier this year Lappe made history at Vernon when she drove her top class Open pacer Bettor’s Edge to a 1:50 win in June, which was the fastest win time ever recorded by a female driver at that track. And that win time was only 2/5ths of a second off the world record of 1:49.3 set by Stacy Chiodo and Mighty Young Joe at the Meadowlands in 2014.

With her operation still spread over multiple tracks, Lappe will test the waters in Genesee County where she will ship four of her stablemates this week. Dreamlands Art (Artsplace-Dreamlands Delilah) 1:49.3 ($751,244), Beyonces Rockn (Rock N Roll Heaven-I’m Betting On you) 1:51 ($278,850), Lucky Man (Camluck-Under Her Spell) 1;49.1 ($1,268,345) and Electrofire (Electric Stena-Temples May Day) 1:50 ($608,812) will all be competing at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening.

Post time for the first race is 5 p.m.

(Photo of Jennifer Lappe courtesy of Lisa Photo and Frances Blazer.)

September 23, 2019 - 10:37am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

One of the most recognizable voices in the sport of harness racing in North America is that of Frank Salive. With decades of race calls to his credit and a wide and varied career resume besides, Salive will bring his “dulcet tones” to the oldest lighted harness track in North America on Friday (Sept. 27) when he makes Batavia Downs the 75th track that he has plied his trade at. 

"Over the years in my travels, Wally Hennessy and Bud Gilmour told me a lot of great things about racing in Western New York and I'm ecstatic to be invited to get involved with this great time of harness racing here," Salive said.

"After my time at Pompano ended I tried early retirement from 2012-2014 but I could not shake the racing bug. Now I'm in my fourth season at nearby Fort Erie Race Track and still fill in at great harness tracks like Batavia when the need arises. I'm very excited to be coming down." 

A native of Leamington, Ontario, Canada, Salive’s first exposure to harness racing was at Windsor Raceway in 1972 at the age of 17 when he saw Albatross compete there. But his career path did not take him directly to the announcer's booth.

Salive first played junior hockey with the Peterborough Petes as their starting goaltender under the direction of Hall of Fame coach Roger Neilson. He played there for three years, culminating with an appearance in the first World Junior Hockey Tournament in 1974 when the Petes beat Team Russia in Leningrad.

As a result of his outstanding play, Salive was named the top goaltender in the series and most valuable player of the tournament. He was later drafted in the 10th round by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1975 amateur draft.  

Salive never played for the Penguins, instead opting for a career in broadcasting. He worked in radio and television in Windsor and covered the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal for CTV in Canada.

Although his broadcast resume grew, his heart was calling him back to the track and in 1977 he took his first professional job calling races at Sudbury Downs. He later assumed that same role at Windsor and in 1991 moved to the number one job in Canada, covering all the harness action at Woodbine and Mohawk Raceway. There he called thousands of races from 1991 until 2005 including such prestigious events as the North American Cup.

Most recently he has worked at Western Fair, Pompano Park and Fort Erie Race Track, where he currently is the full time Thoroughbred announcer since 2016.

Salive called his 150,000th horse race at Kawartha Downs in 2017 and after that race, thanked everyone in harness racing who over the years worked so hard to make the races happen so that he had the privilege of calling them. 

Aside from his extensive body of work in hockey and racing, Salive is also a movie star of sorts, having had a role in three notable films. In 2005 Salive had a part in the movie “A History Of Violence” starring Viggo Mortenson, Maria Bello, Ed Harris and WIllam Hurt. Then is 2006 he was in “Lucky Number Slevin” with Bruce Willis, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman and Danny Aiello, and in 2009 he had another part in “Life Of Charlie."

Salive will also be on hand at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 4) to take on the calling duties one more time. 

Post time for both nights is 6 o'clock.

(Photo of Frank Salive, courtesy of Pompano Park.)

September 22, 2019 - 6:19am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Sir Pugsley with driver Drew Monti.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Oh Canada! The Ontario based owner-trainer combination of Robert Woodburn and trainer Patrick Shepherd shipped south on Saturday (Sept. 21), enlisted the services of resident reinsman Drew Monti and then watched as their stable stars Sir Pugsley and Down On My Luck took the top two paces of the week at Batavia Downs. 

In the $12,000 Open I Handicap, Sir Pugsley took an early seat at the back of the pack in the abbreviated field of five while Some Attitude (Shawn Gray) went to the half at his own pace of :56.3. As the field was rounding turn three, Monti got Sir Pugsley underway at the five-eighths and the afterburners were on. Sir Pugsley took off like a jet and went from fifth to first during the third quarter timed in :28.1 and continued his assault in the turn where he cleared and opened up two-lengths by the time they hit the stretch. There, Sir Pugsley just strode away down the lane to win by 2-¾ lengths in 1:53.2.

It was the fifth win of the year for Sir Pugsley ($3.30) who now boasts $63,395 in purses this year. 

Then in the $11,000 Open II Handicap, Down On My Luck left sharply along with Notabadgame (John Cummings Jr.) who took the lead and cut unchallenged fractions of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:25.1 in the first three panels of the race. Monti pulled Down On My Luck from the pocket at that point, sat in the breeze around the far turn and ran down the leader in the stretch to win by 2-½ lengths in 1:53.3. 

It was the third win in a row at Batavia Downs for Down On My Luck ($5.10) and seventh victory of the year overall. The 5-year-old son of Camluck-False Alert had now earned $41,487 this year.

Monti and Shepherd completed a driver-trainer hat trick in the final race of the night when Fool Me Once ($5.10) pulled second-over from fourth at the half and put the swoop to the group three-wide around the last turn to win by 2-½ lengths going away in 1:54.1. Carl Kuepfer owns the winner. 

Billy Davis Jr. also had a driving hat trick on the evening.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 25) with post time set at 5 p.m..

September 21, 2019 - 2:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Lougazi with driver Ray Fisher Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Using his usual method of starting slow and finishing fast, Lougazi scored his seventh win of the year in the $12,500 Open I Handicap trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 20).

With Southern Palms and Jailhouse Buckaroo breaking off the gate, the abbreviated field of six turned into an immediate quartet led by Rose Run Speedster (Shawn McDonough) who took the group to a moderate half of :58. Keystone Apache (Billy Davis Jr.) pulled first-up followed by Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) and the backstretch got a little more interesting.

The top four horses were within two-lengths of each other and the tempo quickened with a :28.2 third quarter. With everyone having a shot coming off the turn, Keystone Apache made a break, leaving Lougazi uncovered and finding new gears. Fisher got after him and Lougazi trotted up a storm down the lane, making up a 1-3/4 length deficit and then stretching out to a 1-1/4 length victory in 1:56.1.

On the strength of that win, Lougazi ($3.90) pushed his bankroll to $72,250 this year for owner Mary Warriner and trainer Ryan Swift.

In the $11,000 Open II trot, Put On The Day (Jim Morrill Jr.) bounced back from a disappointing break last week to score a one-length victory off a three-wide move at three-quarters in a seasonal best performance of 1:57.3. Put On The Day ($11.80) is owned by his driver Morrill and is trained by Steve Andzel.

Morrill had a total of four wins on the card to lead all drivers on Friday.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on tonight (Sept. 21) with post time at 6 o'clock.

September 19, 2019 - 1:25pm

UPDATED Sept. 19, 1:23 p.m.: The following event is postponed. A new date will be announced once the parties' availablity is confirmed.

Ithaca Beer Co. and Batavia Downs announced today they will launch the sale of the new Thurmanator Beer at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19th at the 34 Rush Sports Bar.

“We’ve been looking forward to this special release for some time," said James Sapienza, head of Brand Development for Ithaca Beer Co. “The Thurmanator beer is an easy-drinking lager we hope will score big with hardcore Buffalo football fans, as well as those seeking a refreshing and crisp, light golden lager with a subtle sweetness and restrained hop character that lends a gentle floral quality and clean finish.”

The public event will include an appearance by the beer’s namesake, Buffalo Football Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas, and sampling from many of Ithaca’s line of products while attendees enjoy the Thursday Night Football game on the big screens.

Batavia Downs is located at 8315 Park Road in the City of Batavia.

About Ithaca Beer Co.

Begun in 1998 in a small renovated retail store just outside of Ithaca, the original space had a small seven barrel brewhouse, a modest tasting bar and sold full growlers to go as well as homebrew supplies.

Today, Ithaca Beer brews about 25,000 barrels of beer per year and features both 50 and five barrel pilot brew houses. In addition to a state-of-the-art brewing facility, Ithaca Beer has fully automated packaging capabilities for bottling, canning and kegging.

Ithaca Beer distributes beer to 54 wholesalers in 14 states in the Northeast from New England in the East to Ohio in the West and Virginia and North Carolina to the South.

September 19, 2019 - 11:32am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

HP Sissy has been racing in the shadows of the mares competing in the top distaff class at Batavia Downs of late, settling for minor spoils since her only win in Genesee County this year on Aug. 7.

But with a renewed sense of purpose and a driver change that reunited her with the reinsman she scored her first win of the year with in February, HP Sissy went a dominating mile in gate to wire fashion to win the $12,500 fillies and mares Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (Sept. 18). 

HP Sissy (Drew Monti) left fast and hard and towed the abbreviated field of six to the quarter in :27.2. Tailed closely by Lady London (Ray Fisher Jr.), HP Sissy backed down the second panel to :29.3 which pushed the favored Blue Bell Bonnie (Jim Morrill Jr.) off the cones and into the breeze. 

Although there were horses in pursuit, they really weren’t a challenge to HP Sissy who was loose on the front up the backstretch. After hitting three-quarters in 1:25.2 by an open two-lengths, she rounded the turn and extended her lead to three with Monti sitting statuesque and from there, HP Sissy scooted home an easy wrapped-up winner in 1:53.3, which was a new seasonal mark for the winner. 

It was the 10th win of the year for HP Sissy ($5.70) who has now earned $85,093 in 2019 for owner Finocchario’s Dream Stable. Mike Ohol trains the winner.

The co-featured $11,000 fillies and mares Open II pace saw Kaitlyn Rae (Billy Davis Jr.) outmuscle several leavers for the top and finally settled there to cut speedy fractions of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:25.2 before turning for home and stretching out to a 1-½ length victory in 1:55.3.

It was the 65th lifetime win for Kaitlyn Rae ($4.00) who now has won $442,878 in her career. The 10-year-old daughter of Cheyenne Rei-I C U Lookin is owned and trained by Riley Asher-Stalbaum.

The venerable Lightning Raider N (Jim Morrill Jr.) won his 62nd career race, timed in 1:56.3 on Wednesday and pushed his career earnings to over $650,000. The uber-game 14-year-old gelded son of Christian Cullen-Talent Hanover will retire on Jan. 1 but continues to show that his heart and ability has not diminished with time. 

Several horsemen had multiple wins on Wednesday led by Jim Morrill Jr., Dave McNeight III and Billy Davis Jr. with three wins each followed by Drew Monti with two. Trainer Riley Asher-Stalbaum also had two wins on the conditioning side. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 20) with post time set at 6 p.m.

September 17, 2019 - 11:16am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs, pick-5 pool.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

On Wednesday (Sept. 18) the Pick-5 pool at Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel will be guaranteed at $2,500. 

The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren’t selected, the carryover amount moves to the Friday program.

Wednesday’s guaranteed pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages are available courtesy of Trackmaster on the USTA’s website (www.ustrotting.com).

September 16, 2019 - 10:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Park Road, Batavia Downs, batavia, video.
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During Saturday's Night of Champions at Batavia Downs, Western OTB President/CEO Henry Wojtaszek talked about the speed humps installed the day before on Park Road outside of the casino.

September 15, 2019 - 10:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, video, harness racing.
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Records fell and more than 3,500 race fans enjoyed a perfect evening for racing at Batavia Downs on Saturday for the Sire Stakes Night of Champions, the most important harness racing event in New York for 2019.

Local and state race officials said Batavia Downs became the perfect host for this event, the first time its been held in Western New York, because of all the upgrades to the facility, including the addition of a hotel, over the past couple of years.

September 15, 2019 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, video, batavia, Kmart.
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During last night's Sire Stakes at Batavia Downs, Western OTB President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek said another company is under contract to purchase the former Kmart location on Lewiston Road, which sits across Park Road from the southern end of the race track.

Western OTB had been interested in acquiring the property to convert into a multi-use facility -- concerts, sporting events, convention center.

Wojtaszek said WOTB doesn't know the name of the potential purchasers, which is conducting due diligence on the acquisition now, but if the deal does not go through, he said, Batavia Downs has been assured it can bid again.

If the deal does go through, Wojtaszek said the purchaser is a company Batavia Downs can work with.

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