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December 7, 2019 - 11:56am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Fox Valley Veto out front with driver Billy Davis Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

With no more Wednesday racing this year at Batavia Downs, the top distaff pace joined the weekly featured trot on Friday night (Dec. 6) with one race providing an upset and the other satisfying the chalk bettors.

In the $12,500 Open I Handicap trot, Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) settled in fourth off the gate and watched as Chuckabuck (Drew Monti) made a break and Alert Hanover (Jim McNeight Jr.) overtook Empire Earl N (Mike Caprio) for the lead at the quarter pole. After all that action sorted itself out, Davis pulled Veto off the pegs at the three-eighths pole and motored to the top by the half in 1:00.2.

As the race progressed onto the second circuit, Wheels A Turning (Shawn McDonough) came calling on the outside and matched strides with Fox Valley Veto up the backside, around the far turn and into the stretch. The battle continued down the lane until Fox Valley Veto slammed the door at the light, winning by one-half length in 1:58.3 at 15-1 .

It was the 11th win of the year for Fox Valley Veto ($33.40) and owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner.

(Photo of Lady London with reinsman Ray Fisher Jr.)

Then in the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace of fillies and mares, Lady London (Ray Fisher Jr.) drifted fourth on the outside for the first eighth of a mile before she made a quick rush for the lead at the quarter in :28.2. From there the race was history.

Lady London opened up a 1-&frac12 length lead by the half in :58.3 and extended it to four at the three-quarters in 1:26.4. With no one even close as she sprinted around the last turn, Lady London jogged home wrapped up like a Christmas present to win by 6-½ lengths in 1:56.

It was the third win in the last four starts for Lady London ($5.40) and owner VHF Racing. Sabrina Shaw is the trainer.

Eight participating horse people had multiple win performances on Friday night. Drivers Billy Davis Jr. and Drew Monti led the way with three wins each on the card while Shawn McDonough and John Cummings Jr. both won two. And trainers Sabrina Shaw, Maria Rice, Jim Tronolone and Dave Russo all sent two stablemembers to the winner’s enclosure for photographs.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 7) with post time at 6 p.m.

December 5, 2019 - 2:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

On Friday (Dec. 6) there is a carryover of $868 in the Pick-5 at Batavia Downs and a guaranteed pool of $3,000 has been announced for the Pick-5 wager that day.

The 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 or by direct download by clicking here

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 will move to the Saturday (Dec. 7) program.

Post time for the first race Friday is 6 p.m.

December 1, 2019 - 1:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Sir Pugsley with driver Drew Monti in the lead.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Sir Pugsley took full advantage of a rare inside post, a favorable trip and a failed favorite to light up the tote board in the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 30). 

Driver Drew Monti tucked Sir Pugsley in second behind last weeks winner Howmac Dancer (Renaldo Morales III) going to the quarter as the heavy favorite Crocketts Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum) failed to negotiated the first turn and made a break as a result. Stalbaum gathered his 1-9 shot back together and rushed up the rim to pull close to the leader and remained there for the rest of the mile. 

The top three horses continued to pace in that order -- Howmac Dancer on top, Sir Pugsley in the hole and Crocketts Cullen N on the outside -- to the half in :57 and three-quarters in 1:25.4. When they rounded the last turn and headed into the stretch, Crocketts Cullen N faded just enough to allow Monti to extract Sir Pugsley off the pegs and he came out with a full head of steam and mowed down Howmac Dancer in deep stretch to win by a length in 1:55.2.

It was the seventh win of the year and third of the meet at Batavia Downs for Sir Pugsley ($18.80) who has now earned $88,270 this year for owner Robert Woodburn. Patrick Shepherd trains the winner. 

In the co-featured $11,000 Open II Handicap, Rise Up Now (Shawn McDonough) tripped-out behind the front-running Brunello N (Drew Monti) for over 7/8ths of a mile before popping the deuce mid-stretch and brushing to the lead at the beam to win in 1:56.2. 

It was the fifth win of the year for Rise Up Now ($34.80) who is owned and trained by Steve Andzel. 

Driver Shawn McDonough continued his hot streak in the bike winning three more races on Saturday and he rewarded his backers with premium mutuels with all three. His longshots included Dark Horse ($44.60), the aforementioned Rise Up Now and Willey Bite ($26.40). In the last three nights McDonough has won seven races. 

Also on Saturday night drivers Ray Fisher Jr. and Renaldo Morales III each scored two wins. Trainers Ryan Swift, Joe Skowyra and Steve Andzel all had two wins apiece as well. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 6) with post time at 6 p.m.

November 30, 2019 - 11:18am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

It was a big night for driver Ray Fisher Jr. on Friday (Nov. 29) as he hit a major career milestone by surpassing the $20 million mark in career earnings at Batavia Downs after winning with trotter Lady Justice who is owned and trained by his wife, Ryan Swift. 

Fisher first started driving in 1987 and 30,212 starts later he has now registered 4,494 wins, 3,995 seconds and 3,725 thirds, all of which pushed him to this current earnings mark. Fisher’s career best one-year win total came in 1997 when he got 317 and his best earnings total came just two years ago when he banked $1,437,878 in 2017.

This year Fisher has earned $971,684 to date on the strength of 120 victories. At the current Batavia Downs meet Fisher has 49 wins and more than $400,000 in earnings. 

Fisher was joined in the winner’s circle by his wife Ryan and son Kyle for a special presentation made by Batavia Downs Director/General Manager of Live Racing Todd Haight. 

The top races on Friday night were both trots and each yielded convincing winners.

In the $12,500 Open I Handicap, Rockefeller Lindy (Mike Baumeister) tripped-out behind the frontrunning Majestic Kat (Billy Davis Jr.) until mid-stretch when Baumeister pulled right line, cleared and hit the wire three-quarters of a length ahead in 1:58.4.

It was the fourth win of the year for Rockefeller Lindy ($20.60) who has now earned $46,093 for owners Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. James Clouser Jr. trains the winner 

Then in the $10,000 Open II trot, newcomer Chuckabuck (Drew Monti) toured the facility on the front end from start to finish and won by 2-1/2 lengths in 2:00. Scoring his seventh win of the  year, Chuckabuck ($7.40) scored his first for new owner Carl Monti. Darrin Monti trains the winner. 

The Downs leading dash driver Billy Davis Jr. lit it up again, winning four races on the card. He now has 123 wins for the meet, 42 ahead of second place Jim Morrill Jr. Shawn McDonough also had a good night winning three races each. Angus McDonald and JD Perrin led all trainers Friday with two wins each. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on tonight (Nov. 30) with post time at 6 o'clock.

November 28, 2019 - 11:33am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Blue Bell Bonnie with driver Dave McNeight III.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Rain driven by 50 mile-per-hour winds that blew right down the stretch made racing conditions less than desirable on Wednesday evening (Nov. 27) but it didn’t bother Blue Bell Bonnie who displayed intestinal fortitude while cutting the mile to victory in the $12,500 Open I Handicap for fillies and mares at Batavia Downs. 

Driver Dave McNeight III took command from post two when the gate released the girls and was never headed from there. After cutting fractions of :29.4, 1:01.2 and 1:31.2, Blue Bell Bonnie scooted around the last turn and took her one-length advantage all the way to the wire where she won in 2:00.2. 

It was the ninth win of the year for Blue Bell Bonnie ($8.30) who has now made $68,383 for owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi. James Clouser Jr. trains the mare. 

The inclement weather stifled chalk bettors in two races as longshots blew up the tote board starting in race one where Playin The Ponies (Denny Bucceri) rallied late at 45-1 to win by a length and pay $92.50. The win also generated a 7-1-5 trifecta that paid $4,776.

Then in the fifth race, Better To Be Lucky (Renaldo Morales III) came from off the pace as well to win at 56-1 and return $114.50. The 8-6 exacta paid $764, 8-6-7 trifecta paid $3,528 and the 8-6-7-ALL superfecta returned $5,726. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Nov. 29) with post time at 6 p.m. Also please note that there is a $930 carry-over for the Pick-5 wager that starts in race one. 

November 26, 2019 - 3:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, lougazi, Batavia Downs.

From Todd Bojarski for Batavia Downs.

The race summary for Friday, Nov. 22nd at Batavia Downs will tell you that Lougazi won the $12,500 Open 1 Handicap trot in the seventh race by an easy 1 ¼ lengths, but that’s not the whole story.

It capped an amazing 24 hours for the horse, who just the night previous had an adventure which saw him corralled in the Batavia Downs parking pot at 2 a.m.

Due to high winds on Thursday night, the bar door of Barn 1 swung open and after opening his own stall door, Lougazi went for a walk, ambling around the barn area. After meandering his way over to the Richmond Avenue entrance, he proceeded to walk out the gate onto Richmond Avenue.  

After spending some quality time at the VA, he walked down to Alex’s Place to check out their festive holiday decorations. Feeling a bit lucky, next he headed over to the Batavia Downs parking lot where a friendly patron was able to stall him until Batavia Downs staff could coax him back to his stall with a midnight snack of horse feed.

Security was informed by a patron that the horse was loose and immediately took action.

“We followed the horse very slowly and got him back inside the gate on Richmond safely," said security guard Nate Stone.

After all that excitement, Lougazi managed to get enough sleep and was able to overcome any prerace jitters to win the Open Handicap the following night.

Photos courtesy of Paul White. Top, Lougazi with driver Ray Fisher Jr. out in front to win the Open 1 Handicap trot in the seventh race on Nov. 22. Bottom, Lougazi in the Winner's Circle.

November 24, 2019 - 1:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Photo of Howmac Dancer with driver Renaldo Morales III.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A late-comer to the party, Renaldo Morales III headed to Genesee County upon the completion of the Tioga Downs meet and since arriving has become one of the hotter drivers in the area. On Saturday (Nov. 23) he continued to streak as he won four races, including both pacing features at Batavia Downs. 

In the $12,500 Open I Handicap Morales put Howmac Dancer right on the point and led the entire race by open lengths. After setting easy fractions of :28, :57.1 and 1:25.2, Morales let Howmac Dancer out a notch in the far turn and the gelding roared away down the lane, opening up a 3-½ length lead in a :28.1 final quarter to win in 1:53.3. 

It was the sixth win at Batavia Downs and eighth of the year for Howmac Dancer ($6.10) who is owned by the Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi. James Clouser Jr. trains the winner.

Then in the $11,000 Open II pace, Morales did an about-face and took In Runaway Bay N off the gate and sat a snug fourth on the pegs through the first half. From there he pulled second-over behind Southwind Onyx (Kyle Cummings), followed that cover to the three-quarters where Southwind Onyx took the lead from Lots Of Loving (Denny Bucceri) and then ran that one down in the stretch to win by 1-½ lengths in 1:55.2.

In Runaway Bay N ($4.30) is owned by Mark Jakubik and trained by Angelo Nappo.

Morales completed his Grand Slam behind Weekend Atnannies (1:56, $8.10) and Cee Pee Panic (1:58, $2.70). 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Nov. 27) with pot time at 6 p.m. This will be the final Wednesday of live racing this  year.

November 23, 2019 - 1:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Lougazi in front with driver Ray Fisher Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

After making back-to-back breaks earlier this month forcing him to qualify, Lougazi rebounded from an off-track last week to score an easy 1-¼ length victory in the $12,500 Open I Handicap trot at Batavia Downs on Friday evening (Nov. 22). 

Rockefeller Lindy (Dave McNeight III) inherited the lead off the pylons as no one else left in the abbreviated field of five. He took advantage of the situation and went a pedestrian :29 to the quarter and :59.1 to the half. Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) pulled first-over at that station and began to pursue around the third turn.

The race was on as Lougazi engaged Rockefeller Lindy on the backstretch and the two then trotted side-by-side to the three-quarters and around the last turn. Heading into the lane Lougazi took control, cleared and trotted away in the stretch, hitting the wire a wrapped-up winner in 1:58.3.

Lougazi ($3) raised his earnings for the year to $89,375 after scoring his ninth win for owner Mary Warriner and trainer Ryan Swift. 

In the $11,000 Open II trot, Ticket To Seattle (Renaldo Morales III) tripped-out behind Majestic Kat (Billy Davis Jr.) until halfway down the stretch when he tipped-out and blew by his cover at the light to win in 1:59. A $21.60 upset winner, Ticket To Seattle is owned by William Emmons and trained by James Clouser Jr. 

Dave McNeight III was the top driver on Friday with three wins. 

There is a $1,200 carryover for the Pick-5 wager in the first race tonight (Nov. 23) when live racing resumes at Batavia Downs with a 6 o'clock post time.

November 22, 2019 - 1:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Horsemen and horsewomen are reminded of the draw schedule for Thanksgiving week at Batavia Downs.

A double draw will be held on Tuesday (Nov. 26) for races to be held on Friday (Nov. 29) and Saturday (Nov. 30). The entry box will close at 9 a.m. for both days.

After the draw, the judges must receive driver changes for Friday’s card (Nov. 29) by 1 p.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 26). Drivers changes for Saturday’s card (Nov. 30) are due by 10 a.m. Wednesday (Nov. 27).

For more information or to make phone entries please call the Batavia Downs Race Office at 585-344-6161.

November 21, 2019 - 12:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Photo: Lady London out front with driver Ray Fisher Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Just to prove last week’s 5-¾ length win was no fluke, Lady London moved up to the top class and wired the field again in the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace for fillies and mares at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Nov. 20).

Driver Ray Fisher Jr. was decisive in strategy and repeated last weeks script; he left strong with Lady London and called out every quarter. They went :28 to the quarter and :57.1 to the half with the field in single file, and then rolled to the three-quarters in 1:25.4 with Squeeze This (Billy Davis Jr.) following close in the pocket and the favored HP Sissy (Drew Monti) winging it first-over on the rim. 

Coming off the final bend HP Sissy stalled and Squeeze This popped the deuce and was in full flight coming for home. She made up ground all the way down the lane but despite her valiant attempt to close the gap, Squeeze This fell a nose short to Lady London who stayed tough and won in 1:56. 

It was the eighth win of the year for Lady London ($7.50) who has now earned $70,873 for owner VHF Racing. Sabrina Shaw is the trainer. 

In the $9,000 under-feature, Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) dropped from Open II company and looked impressive as the heavy favorite with a wire to wire 1-1/4 length victory in 1:57.1. The eighth win of the year for Little Joke ($2.40) pushed her earnings to $74,428 for owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner. 

Ray Fisher Jr. and Denny Bucceri led all drivers on Wednesday with three wins each. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Nov. 22) with post time at 6 p.m.

November 19, 2019 - 1:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

On Wednesday (Nov. 20) there is a carryover of $1,135 in the Pick-5 at Batavia Downs and a guaranteed pool of $4,000 has been announced for the Pick-5 wager that day. 

The 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 or by direct download by clicking here

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 will move to the Friday (Nov. 22) program.

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

November 16, 2019 - 11:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Photo: Tullow N and driver John Cummings Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Starting slow and finishing fast was a winning strategy for Tullow N, who posted a convincing victory in the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on a very cold Saturday night (Nov. 16). 

I’m So Handsome (Billy Davis Jr.) took command early and led the single-file field to the half in :58.2. It was there that Tullow N (John Cummings Jr.) pulled first-over and motored up the outside as they made their way around the third turn. 

When they straightened out on the backside Tullow N was in full gear and paced right by the entire field, clearing by the three-quarters. Cummings then settled Tullow N and took a two-length lead into the last turn. In the stretch, the pocket-sitting I’m So Handsome and a three-wide Howmac Dancer (Renaldo Morales III) tried their best to reel-in the leader, but Tullow N was on a mission and won in-hand in 1:55.2.

The eighth win of the year for Tullow N ($9.60) pushed his earnings to $89,260 for the season. The Blindswitch Racing Stable owns the classy 8-year-old altered son of Mach Three-Tessa Bromac who is trained by Dave Russo.

(Photo of Carlos Danger in front with trainer/driver Ron Beback Jr.)

Despite coming off a very solid win in his last start, a jump in class shied bettors from backing Carlos Danger this week in the $10,000 Open III pace. But the game 6-year-old had the last laugh over the doubters after he went gate to wire in 1:56.3 at 10-1 for trainer/driver Ron Beback Jr. Carlos Danger ($23.40) is owned by Decker’s Corner Stable, Decker’s Gate Stable and Jo’s Get R Done Stable. 

Billy Davis Jr. was the top dash driver again on Saturday adding three more wins to his total. He now has 111 wins for the meet and has long locked-up the driving title for the meet as he is 32 wins ahead of the second place Jim Morrill Jr.

Drew Monti and Dave McNeight III also scored two wins apiece.

There was no winner in the Pick-5 wager on Saturday night and as a result, there is an $1,134 carryover and a $4,000 guaranteed pool in the Pick-5 wager on Wednesday evening (Nov. 20) when live racing resumes at Batavia Downs at 5 o'clock.

The guaranteed pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and that means free program pages of the Pick-5 races will be available on the USTA website beginning on Sunday (Nov. 17).

November 16, 2019 - 11:50am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Wheels A Turning in the forefront with driver Shawn McDonough.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Wheels A Turning scored a narrow come-from-behind win in the feature trot at Batavia Downs last week. This week she took control off the gate and provided the same outcome in the $12,500 Open I Handicap trot over a sloppy track at the Downs on Friday night (11-15). 

The feature field was scratched down to five and the lone mare, Wheels A Turning (Shawn McDonough) was the best off the gate, hitting the quarter in :30 flat. With no one applying any pressure, McDonough kept the fractions tepid; 1:00.4 to the half and 1:30 to three-quarters. 

Rounding the far turn the pocket-sitting Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) and outside rusher Lougai (Ray Fisher Jr.) had the best shot for top honors and both were looking strong in pursuit. However under meaningful urging from McDonough, Wheels A Turning maintained her position and won by 1-¼ lengths in 2:00.1.

Wheels A Turning ($4.20) hit double-digit territory, scoring her 10th win of the year and hitting the $85,560 mark for purses. Allan Schmucker Jr. owns the mare that is trained by Sabrina Shaw.

(Above photo of Spoiler Alert with driver Renaldo Morales Jr.)

Despite his name, everyone apparently knew how this story would end in the $11,000 Open II Handicap trot as the heavy 3-5 favorite Spoiler Alert (Renaldo Morales Jr.) led every step of the way to score an impressive 1-½ length win in 1:59.3. Celebrating the eighth win of the year by Spoiler Alert ($3.20) were owner Jeffrey Hayes and trainer Misty Carey. 

Billy Davis Jr. remained hot and extended his already insurmountable dash win lead for the meet by winning four races on Friday. He now has 108 wins for the session. Renaldo Morales Jr. also had three wins in Friday. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on tonight (Nov. 16) at 6 o'clock.

November 14, 2019 - 11:47am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The severe winter storm that hit western New York over the last two days caused many cancellations in the area due to bad driving conditions. Even though we are one day removed from the brunt of the disturbance it’s impact left the track at Batavia Downs unsafe to race over and as a result, management decided to cancel live racing for Wednesday (Nov. 13). 

“Our first and foremost consideration at Batavia Downs is the safety of our horses, horsemen and horsewomen and after speaking with our drivers and trainers, it was a unanimous decision to cancel tonight’s card,” said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. 

Batavia Downs had a guaranteed pool of $6,000 in the Pick-5 wager on Wednesday and it was announced that the same guaranteed pool will be moved to Friday's card (Nov. 15) when live racing resumes. The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages will be available courtesy of Trackmaster on the USTA’s website starting tomorrow morning. 

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 will move to the Saturday (Nov. 16) program.

Post time on Friday (Nov. 15) is at 6 p.m.

November 12, 2019 - 12:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

On Wednesday (Nov. 13) there is a carryover of $2,343 in the Pick-5 at Batavia Downs and a guaranteed pool of $6,000 has been announced for the Pick-5 wager that day.

The 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 or by direct download by clicking here

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 will move to the Friday (Nov. 15) program.

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

November 11, 2019 - 11:47am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo: Howmac Dancer out in front with driver Denny Bucceri.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

After winning his way up through the non-winner ranks, Howmac Dancer scored a major upset in his first top class $12,500 Open Handicap pace victory at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (11-9). 

There was a mad rush off the gate with Major Authority (Wade Tomaszewski) parking out Mr. Euroman (Billy Davis Jr.) and Tullow N (John Cummings Jr.) two and three deep to the quarter in :27.3. With everyone finally taking a seat, Major Authority kept rolling to the half in :55.3. 

At that point Howmac Dancer (Denny Bucceri) pulled from mid-pack, moved smartly up the backstretch and took command by the three-quarters in 1:25. Rounding the far turn, Howmac Dancer had a gapped advantage but still had to withstand a late rush from Black Is Back (Dave McNeight III) and Race Me Rocky (Shawn McDonough) which he did to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.1. 

It was the fifth win in seven Batavia starts and seventh win of the season for Howmac Dancer ($42) who is owned by Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi and trained by Jim Clouser Jr. 

The $11,000 Open II Handicap pace went to Cultural Paradise (Renaldo Morales III) who led every step of the way en route to his third win in his last four starts and fourth win of the season, timed in 1:56.3. Don Rothfuss trains for owner Howard Ouriel.

The biggest win mutuel of the year was paid out on Saturday after 74-1 shot Raylan Givens (Billy Davis Jr.) rallied late in the fourth race to win by a neck in 1:56.2. The Brittney Ohol owned and trained gelding returned $151 for the win and sparked a $946.00 exacta (7-3), $1,447 trifecta (7-3-1) and $5,175 superfecta (7-3-1-8). 

Drew Monti and Denny Bucceri led all drivers on Saturday with three wins while trainers Don Rothfuss and Mike Ohol won two races apiece.

There was no winner in the Pick-5 wager again on Saturday and as a result there is a $2,343 carry-over and Batavia Downs will be offering a guaranteed pool of $6,000 for the pick-5 wager on Wednesday (Nov. 13) when live racing resumes at 5 p.m.

The pool will be part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, there will be free program page available on the USTA’s website starting on Sunday morning.

November 9, 2019 - 12:17am
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

Photo of Wheels A Turning leading with driver Denny Bucceri.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A class drop spelled victory for Wheels A Turning who moved down from Open I company on Friday night (Nov. 8) to win the $11,000 Open II trotting feature at Batavia Downs.

Getting away fourth, Wheels A Turning (Denny Bucceri) watched in wait while the only other mare in the race, CR Blazin Beauty (John Cummings Jr.), grabbed the lead and set the tone. They went to the half in :58 flat before Bucceri pulled Wheels A Turning first-over and started to march for the front. 

CR Blazing Beauty maintained command of her lead but Wheels A Turning was trotting alongside within a length at the three-quarters, around the turn and into the stretch. As they moved down the lane the two trotted stride for stride to the wire until Wheels A Turning gained a slight advantage and won by a neck in 1:57.3.

It was the ninth win of the year for Wheels A Turning ($6.10) who has now earned $79,310 in purses in 2019. Allan Schmucker Jr. owns the 5-year-old daughter of Mr. Cantab-Free Wheeling that is trained by Sabrina Shaw. 

The Downs leading driver, Billy Davis Jr., Shawn McDonough and Renaldo Morales III all had three winners during the evening on Friday. That pushed Davis’s win total for the meet to 103 wins ,which is a commanding 24 tallies ahead of Jim Morrill Jr. who sits in second place. Patrick Shepherd led all trainers with two wins on Friday, putting him at 25 wins and catapulting him into third place behind the leading Jim Clouser Jr. (42) and Maria Rice (33), who each scored one win on Friday.   

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 9) with post time at 6 o'clock.

November 7, 2019 - 5:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

Photo of Protect Blue Chip in the lead with driver Billy Davis Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A pair of distaff Open paces topped the card on Wednesday night (Nov. 6) at Batavia Downs and fittingly, both winners came from barns of female trainers. 

In the $12,500 Open I Handicap for fillies and mares, Protect Blue Chip (Billy Davis Jr.) got away fifth while Blue Bell Bonnie (Dave McNeight III) and HP Sissy (Drew Monti) battled for front supremacy in a speedy :27.2. Davis pulled first-over with Protect Blue Chip and brought Gia’s Surreal (John Cummings Jr.) in the flow. 

Positions grew tight as the race reached three-quarters in 1:25.3 with the top four horses pacing in a bunch and it didn’t get any easier down the lane. With a mad rush to the wire, from the pylons out was Blue Bell Bonnie, HP Sissy, Protect Blue Chip and Gia’s Surreal all within a head of each other until Protect Blue Chip got the slightest advantage to win by a nose in a blanket finish on a cold night in 1:54.4. 

It was the seventh win of the year and a new seasonal mark for Protect Blue Chip ($18.00) who is owned by Vogel and Wags Nags Stable, Jack Rice and Adelphi Bloodstock. Maria Rice trains the winner. 

Then in the $11,000 Open II Handicap for fillies and mares, Lady London (Ray Fisher Jr.) went a mile that could have gotten her the top prize in the main event. After leaving sharply from post four in :27.1, Lady London led at every station by a gapped advantage that grew as the race progressed. After hitting three-quarters in 1:24.1, Fisher let Lady London pace home of her own volition and she stretched out to a 5-3/4 length win at the wire in 1:54.1. 

It was also the seventh win of the year for Lady London ($5.30) who is owned by VHF Racing and trained by Sabrina Shaw, who had a training double on the card. 

John Cummings Jr. and Billy Davis Jr. were the hot drivers on Wednesday, each scoring a hat trick of victories. Kevin Cummings joined Shaw in the trainer ranks with two wins on Wednesday as well. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Nov. 8) with post time at 6 p.m.

November 3, 2019 - 10:53am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo: Down On My Luck with driver Drew Monti.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The formidable team of owner Robert Woodburn, trainer Patrick Shepherd and driver Drew Monti struck again in prime time to win both feature races on Saturday night (Nov. 2) at Batavia Downs. 

In the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace, Down On My Luck scored his sixth win in only eight starts at Batavia Downs this year after he made a second-over move past the half, took over the lead from the front-running Howmac Dancer (Ray Fisher Jr.) at the top of the stretch and then held off a late rush by Tullow N (John Cummings Jr.) to win by a nose in 1:55.3. 

It was the 10th win overall this year for Down On My Luck ($3.50) who now has $63,492 on the card in 2019. 

Then in the $11,000 Open II Handicap pace, Sir Pugsley left from his assigned seven post and dropped in third by the quarter. But he was out and rolling early moving up to second by the half, taking over the lead from China Dream (Billy Davis Jr.) at the three-quarters and then clearing and pulling away down the lane to win by a wrapped-up 3-1/4 lengths in 1:55.3.

It was the sixth win of the year for Sir Pugsley ($3.00) and pushed his bank to $81,020. 

Monti ended up the leading driver on the night, scoring a total of four wins and three seconds during the card. Besides Down On My Luck and Sir Pugsley, Monti also won with In Runaway Bay N (1:55.3, $8.10) and Brunello N (1:55.1, $3.60).  

Billy Davis Jr. also finished the night strong getting a natural hat trick in the final three races. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 6) with post time at 5 o'clock.

November 2, 2019 - 12:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Photo of Dragin The Wagon with driver Aaron Byron.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

It was a landmark night for owner Cary Cantelon as her prized trotter Dragin The Wagon shipped in from a three-week stint at Yonkers Raceway to score his 50th lifetime win in the $12,500 Open Handicap trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov.1). 

Driver Aaron Byron left hard with Dragin The Wagon from post five and crossed-over in the first turn. But he was soon joined by Joey Pro (Jim Morrill Jr.) who made his way up the outside to the front by the quarter in a swift :27.3. Now in control, Joey Pro trotted strong on the point past the half and on to the second circuit. 

The lone mare in the race, Wheels A Turning (Billy Davis Jr.), pulled first-over and made her way alongside the leader by the time they hit three-quarters in 1:26.2. Joey Pro was far from finished and he continued to park out Wheels A Turning around the last turn, although that one was matching strides all the while. When the race hit the stretch, Joey Pro drifted off the pylons which allowed Byron and the pocket-sitting Dragin The Wagon enough room to squeeze through and draw away by 1-1/2 lengths at the wire in 1:57.1. 

It was the fifth win of the year for Dragin The Wagon ($7.30) who now has $443,879 in earnings to go along with his 50 wins.

In the co-featured $11,000 Open II Handicap trot, Southern Palms (Jim Morrill Jr.) made a first-over move past the half, tangled with the front-running Rose Run Rudi (Aaron Byron) for a quarter of a mile before gaining a one-half length advantage under the wire to win in 1:59.2.

Southern Palms ($5.40) is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama.

Southern Palms was just one of five wins driver Jim Morrill Jr. had on the night, including the natural hat trick in races two through four. He also scored with Well Connected Kid (1:59.3, $3.20), Let’s Be Honest (1:59.1, $4.50), JNR Express (2:00.4, $2.30) and Can’t Win (2:01, $4.20). 

Morrill also had two seconds and a third to top off his night. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs this afternoon (Nov. 2) with a special Breeder’s Cup Day post time of 3:15 p.m. 

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