Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

Wiener Dog Race

October 17, 2021 - 9:15pm
posted by James Burns in news, Batavia Downs, Wiener Dog Race.


After missing some time due to Covid-19,  Batavia Downs continued Family Fun Day and Weiner dog races Sunday afternoon. 

The Downs offered free pony rides, horse drawn wagon rides, magic shows and Mr. Squigels as entertainment for the children as well as food and beverage specials. Attendance and spirits were high as the fall weather cooperated for the festivities. 

Two of the crowd favorites were back as well: $1 hot dogs and wiener dogs. While both were enjoyed by all, the wiener dog races drew the most attention. 

The wiener dog race was stacked full of past winners and dominated by 7 year olds.  After nine heats, there was a "wiener take all" final.  

This year's champion repeated from 2018, Louie (pictured above). His trainers Bruce and Laurie attribute his speed to his love of whipped dairy desserts, specifically what kind? They politely requested that their secret no be divulged to prevent it from being copied and "whipped" next year. 
















September 20, 2021 - 12:01pm
posted by Press Release in Wiener Dog Race, Batavia Downs, news.


Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel announced today that Batavia Downs will be hosting their famous wiener dog races on Sunday, October 17th. While there is no live harness racing that day, a different type of racing will go on at Batavia’s historic track.

Up to 80 dachshunds will be racing for the crown of the fastest wiener dog in Western New York.  Each “heat” winner will receive free play and the top 3 finishers in the championship race will receive free play, food vouchers, and a free hotel stay.

Family-related activities will also take place including on-site entertainers, kettle corn stand, pumpkin painting, carriage rides, pony rides and $1 hot dogs and sodas. These will take place from 1 to 3pm with the wiener dog races commencing at 3 pm.

If you have a pure-bred dachshund and would like to enter your dog to participate, please call or email Arna Tygart at 585-343-3750 ex 6437 or email at [email protected].

Admission and Parking is free.

“The Wiener Dog Races have a great history here at Batavia Downs,” said President and CEO, Henry Wojtaszek.  “We look forward to welcoming families and the community back for another fun and affordable event.”

Photo: File photo from 2017 race.

August 27, 2018 - 9:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Wiener Dog Race, Batavia Downs, news, batavia.


Press release:

It looked like a trackside racing crowd from the 1960s at Batavia Downs as a gathering of more than 4,000 people jammed the stands and the apron to watch the 14th annual “Dachshund Dash” on a beautiful late summer Sunday afternoon (Aug. 26). The Wiener Dog Races were the centerpiece of Batavia Downs Family Fun Day presentation.  

Eighty dogs were programmed to compete in 10 heats with one winner from each advancing to the final. And after several close finishes, three romps and one runaway dog, “Louie” nosed out “Jasper” in a photo finish with “Dexter Tyberius” finishing a close third in the championship heat.

Louie is owned by Bruce Hummel, of Pittsford, and quickly became a fan favorite in the Purple Haze winner’s circle after the race.

All those who entered received doggie bags courtesy of Genesee Feeds of Batavia, the official sponsor of the race. The owners of all heat winners received $25 in gaming Free Play and the top three finishers in the championship race received 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.

Photos by Howard Owens.










August 24, 2018 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Wiener Dog Race, Batavia Downs, sports.


Press release:

It’s time to release the hounds at Batavia Downs.

On Sunday afternoon, 80 speedy dachshunds will go to post in 10 heats trying to become one of the 10 finalists in the 2018 Batavia Downs Wiener Dog Races, sponsored by Genesee Feeds of Batavia. 

The Wiener Dog Races will begin at approximately 4 p.m. at the conclusion of the live harness races and are the final event of the annual Family Fun Day at the Races at America’s oldest lighted harness racetrack.

Admission and parking are free for the afternoon of entertainment that always produces the largest on-track attendance of the year. Family Fun Day includes many free kids activities set up trackside in front of the new Batavia Downs Hotel. 

All those who enter will receive a doggie bag courtesy of the official race sponsor, Genesee Feeds of Batavia.

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.

Please note: If you have a dog racing, you must check in to the dog “paddock” tent near the valet parking lot and the dogs are not allowed on the apron of the track during the live horse races. 

Dachshund racing was first held in Australia during the 1970s and rose in popularity in North America after a 1993 Miller Lite commercial made the “sport” nationally known. In 1995 there was a national circuit formed with a final held in Ft. Wayne, Ind., as part of their German-fest celebration. The Wiener Dog Nationals were held there in 2018 for the 23rd year.

Batavia Downs is the first harness track in North America to present wiener dog racing as a promotion and has done so annually since 2005. The popularity of this event has grown exponentially since then with many other racetracks now putting on their own races. However the first and now longest running dachshund meet held at a standardbred track will continue its tradition of excellence once again this year.

Photo: File photo.

August 28, 2017 - 8:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Wiener Dog Race, sports, news.


Press release:

Ruby, a 3-year-old dachshund making her first lifetime start, defeated nine other wiener dogs on Sunday (Aug. 27) en route to winning the 2017 Batavia Downs Dachshund Dash, sponsored by Genesee Feeds of Batavia.

History has shown that a dog racing for the first time normally doesn’t perform as well as dogs that have raced in previous years. But that wasn’t the case on Sunday when Ruby, who is owned by Patrick Gorman, of Buffalo, served notice with an electrifying heat victory believed to be the fastest win ever at Batavia.

In the final she took the lead soon after the start and cruised to victory.

“She stays fit by swimming,” said her owner Gorman. “She loves to fetch so that’s why we entered her.”

For her efforts her owner takes home $135 in Batavia Downs Gaming Free Play and two clubhouse buffet tickets.

Finishing second was Maximus for owner Carrie Marseglia while Martin for owner Christine Baker was third.

Getting the biggest roar of the crowd was former champion, also named Rudy. Now a 14-year-old, the legendary Dachshund who was unbeatable in 2005 and 2006 made the final but was unplaced.

“It was a remarkable afternoon,” Director of Marketing Ryan Hasenauer said. “Every year Family Fun day gets bigger and better and we look forward to doing it all again next year.”

With New York Sire Stakes, Family fun Day and the Wiener dog races, local racing fans and families came out in force on a perfect summer afternoon. Track officials estimated the live crowd to be 3,500.












August 29, 2016 - 6:01am


The fourth annual Wiener Dog Race held yesterday at Batavia Downs Gaming brought thousands of families to cheer, laugh and smile for a fun-filled afternoon of free entertainment.

Pictured above is Pablo, the winner of today’s race with owners Jon Wright and Adrienne Penders from Pavilion.

“This is the first race we have won in the three years of racing,” Adrienne said.

Last year Pablo came in second but shined in the final race.

More than 60 dogs participated in today’s race. There were nine heats of seven to eight dogs per race. 

Winners of each heat race are:

  1. #4 Skittles
  2. #5 Pablo
  3. #4 Minnie
  4. #6 Frank
  5. #3 Maximus
  6. #3 Ruby
  7. #7 Mickey Zoom
  8. #4 Piglet (who won the 2015 race)
  9. #2 Nibbles

Winners overall were: First Place -- Pablo, Second Place -- Nibbles; and Third Place -- Minnie. Each owner took home a winning free play certificate and various prizes.





August 2, 2016 - 12:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, Batavia Downs, Announcements, Wiener Dog Race.

Submitted photo (of some previous contestants and their handlers at the starting line) and press release:

Do you have a speedy Dachshund? That’s what Batavia Downs officials are wondering as they have announced registration opening for the Genesee Feeds 2016 dachshund (wiener) dog races to be held on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 28.

The wiener races that begin approximately 4:15 p.m. are the final event on its annual Family Fun Day at the Races at America’s oldest lighted harness racetrack.

All entered dogs receive a doggie gift bag courtesy of Genesee Feeds. The owners of all heat winners receive gaming free play, and the top three in the championship race, receive Clubhouse buffet certificates and free play for the gaming floor.

The winner’s total prize package including the gaming free play is valued at $200.

Dashing Dachshund owners wishing to participate should call Batavia Downs’ Wiener Dog Race coordinator Arna Tygart at 585-343-3750, ext. 6437, and leave a message. Staff will call back to confirm. The races are limited to the first 80 dogs that register. 

August 24, 2015 - 12:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Wiener Dog Race, Batavia Downs, sports.


Press release from Batavia Downs

The third time racing in the annual Batavia Downs Wiener Dog races sponsored by Genesee Feeds was the charm for Heidi Kaiser’s dachshund “Piglet." He cruised to a comfortable victory defeating nine other fleet-footed wiener dogs in the champion final.

Ten elimination heats were conducted to determine the final field.

Sarah Farley’s “Ruby” rallied on the far outside to out finish Adrienne Pender’s “Pablo” for second. "Pablo” was the most impressive heat winner and appeared to be the dachshund to beat.

The owners of top three finishers all received gaming free and Clubhouse buffets. All participants received a doggy bag from Genesee Feeds. 

The beautiful day included a first time ever visit by harness ambassador Sydney Weaver. The 15-year-old, known to everyone in North American harness racing, and her parents Lisa and Don Weaver were special guests of Batavia Downs.

Attendance for the dog races, the final piece of Fun Family Day was estimated at 3,200.

Photos by Howard Owens.




In the fourth race, the wiener dog "Wienie," owned by Debbie Odrobina and who relied on a wheeled cart for its hindquarters, was attacked by another competitor. The dogs were separated and put back in the race, but the other dog turned on "Wienie" again. "Wienie" was allowed to run again in a subsequent race, and was a clear crowd favorite, but he got a slow start the second time around and ambled up the track.






August 23, 2015 - 1:26am
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, events, Wiener Dog Race, family fun day.
Event Date and Time: 
August 23, 2015 - 2:00pm to 4:30pm

Sunday, Aug. 23, is Family Fun Day at Batavia Downs from 2 to 4 p.m. Tthere will be pony rides, face painting, sand art and other family activities. It's also the big race for little dachsunds. Wiener Dog Races will begin shortly after 4 o'clock. Each year 80 wiener dogs vie for glory after live racing is completed on Family Fun Day.

July 22, 2015 - 11:06am
posted by Billie Owens in Wiener Dog Race, Batavia Downs, sports.

Press release:

Registration begins today (July 22) for one of the most popular promotions of the season at Batavia Downs Gaming -- the annual dachshund or “wiener dog” races, which will be held on Sunday, Aug. 23.

Sponsored by Genesee Feeds of Batavia, a total of 10 heats will be contested with eight wiener dogs competing in each. The first race will begin after the last live harness race of the day, which will be approximately 4:20 p.m. The wiener dog races are the final feature of Family Fun Day at the races. The 2015 live harness racing season gets under way on Monday, July 27.

Last year, Kristy Drabek’s 2-year-old dachshund named Brinkley stormed down the stretch of America’s oldest lighted harness racetrack to win the championship final after competing for the first time ever. The official margin of victory was a half (dog) length. Six-year-old Pablo Penders, owned by Adrienne Penders, surged at the wire to nip 5-year-old early leader, Ruby, owned by Sarah Farley, for second.

The first 80 dogs entered will receive a canine gift bag courtesy of Genesee Feeds of Batavia. But the dogs won’t be the only winners here; their human counterparts are in line for a nice payoff as well. Each “puprietor” will be eligible to receive some nice prizes if their pet pooch proves prolific.

The owners of each heat winner (10 in all) will receive $25 in gaming free-play. And the winning, second and third place owner in the championship final will receive $100, $75 and $50 in gaming free-play respectively along with two complimentary clubhouse buffets each as well.

To register or for more information, all owners should call Arna Tygart at 585-343-3750, ext. 437, during regular business hours.

August 24, 2014 - 10:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports, Wiener Dog Race.

Photographer Amanda Earl covered the wiener dog race at Batavia Downs. 

Press release from Batavia Downs:

Kristy Drabek’s 2-year-old dachshund named Brinkley stormed down the stretch of America’s oldest lighted harness racetrack to win the championship final of the 2014 Genesee Feeds wiener dog races on Sunday afternoon at Batavia Downs Gaming.

The official margin of victory was a half a (dog) length.

Six-year Pablo Penders, owned by Adrienne Penders, surged at the wire to nip another 5-year-old, early leader Ruby, owned by Sarah Farley, for second.

Over 70 fleet-footed wiener dogs participated in the annual races that act as the final piece of Family Fun Day at the races.

Brinkey’s win was worth $100 in gaming free for his happy owners while second and third paid off $50 and $25 in free play, respectively.

Reigning champion Gordon, who has won the last three years, did not enter.

“It was a great crowd and a great day,” Todd Haight, Director/GM of live racing, said. “Our marketing department put together a plethora of activities and it certainly brought a huge crowd.

Batavia Downs video:


August 24, 2013 - 7:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports, Wiener Dog Race.

Press release:

Late August is considered the "Dog Days of Summer" and it also must mean it's time for the annual Petco Wiener Dog races. The popular event is once again part of "Family Fun Day" at the races, this Sunday afternoon (Aug. 25) at Batavia Downs with the dachshund race competition getting under way at approximately 4:15 p.m., after the completion of the live 11-race harness racing card.

Gordon, owned by Lindsay Ryan, is the two-time defending champion. He dead-heated with another wiener dog legend, Jake Arnold, in 2011 and then scored an extremely narrow win last year. He'll try to make wiener dog history by winning this event three consecutive years in a row.

There will be up to 10 heats with each winner scoring a $25 free play voucher to Batavia Downs Gaming. The heat winners then return for a championship race with the winning owner getting $100 in free play, second place gets $75 in free play while the third place finisher receives $50 in free play. The owners of the top three finishers will also get two complimentary buffets.

The first 70 entrants also receive doggie bags from the official sponsor of the Wiener Dog races, Petco of Batavia.

"It's a day we look forward to every year and judging by the size of the crowd we draw, so do our fans," said Batavia Downs General Manager of Live Racing Todd Haight.

Besides $1 Sahlen's hot dogs, soda, draft beer and snow cones, there will be free pony rides for the kids from 2-4 p.m. sponsored by Castilone Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep of Batavia, along with appearances by Pringles The Clown and Mr. Scribbles.

The live harness racing action begins at 1:15 p.m. Admission and parking is free.

August 26, 2012 - 11:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, Wiener Dog Race.

Press release:

For the second year in a row, Lindsay Ryan’s “Gordon” proved he’s still the fastest dachshund in Western New York, when he won Sunday’s Petco Wiener Dog Races at Batavia Downs.

In front of the largest crowd ever to witness the annual event, 75 dogs squared off in 10 elimination heats with each elimination heat winner returning for the championship final.

The fastest 10 dogs left their handlers and roared by the historic half-mile tracks home stretch and after videotape review it was determined that “Gordon” had indeed narrowly crossed the finish line first.

Tom Grimm’s “Isabella” was a very close second while Christopher Cummings “Max” finished right there in third.

“Gordon’s” accomplishments earned her owner $200 in casino free play. Second and third place was worth $100 and $50 in casino play for their respective owners.   

The wiener dog races are the final event of Family Fun Day at the races held each year on the last Sunday afternoon in August.

If you're unable to view the slide show below, click here. To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

August 29, 2011 - 5:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports, Wiener Dog Race.

It's official -- it's a tie.

Batavia Downs officials announced late this afternoon that, after spending hours reviewing all available pictures and video of the 2011 Wiener Dog Race, the final match ended in a dead heat.

Lindsay Ryan, owner of first-year runner Gordon, will receive $200 in free play at the casnio. 

After Sunday afternoon's race, when Jake Arnold, owned by Jane Smart, was declared the winner, Smart received the $200 in free play prize.

Hours after the race, evidence began to surface suggesting that Jake Arnold wasn't a clear-cut winner, leading Batavia Downs officials to delay certifying the race results.

A rematch is in the works, tentatively set for Sept. 24. Officials are waiting from confirmation from the Jake Arnold camp.

“It’s simply too close to call," said Todd Haight, general manager of live racing. “I know there is video out on the Internet that appears to show Gordon in front, but our official photo-finish camera shows both dogs hitting the line simultaneously. So in all fairness a dead heat was the right way to go.”

The rookie Gordon came a breath away from upsetting defending champion Jake Arnold.

In a statement released by Batavia Downs, Lindsay Ryan said, "We came to the dog races because we wanted to get my friend's mom, who has cancer, out of the house. We knew Gordon would run his heart out for her and he did. She had so much fun. I am so happy with how things turned out." 

August 28, 2011 - 11:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, Wiener Dog Race.

Officials are reviewing the photo finish of the Wiener Dog Race at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon.

The official results will be announced Monday morning, according to Todd Haight, general manager of live racing.

Haight said he wants to review the photos more closely and talk with officials who were in the upstairs booth to better understand what they saw.

A handful of people on the ground after the race thought Gordon won, but a ruling came from the upstairs booth that Jake Arnold had pulled out another victory.

Haight released photos of the finish that seem to show Gordon, owned by Lindsay Ryan, beating odds-on favorite Jake Arnold (wearing pink and #7) by a head. Jake Arnoald is owned by Jane Smart.

"I feel bad for Jane and Jake Arnold, but as of right now it appears Gordon won by a head," Haight said.

If the results are overturned, Arnold will have failed at his try at a threepeat. If Gordon is declared the winner it will be a major upset for the first-time competitor.

Photo below: Gordon and Lindsay Ryan.

Previously: Wiener Dog Races: Jake Arnold does it again

Subscribe to The Batavian - Local Matters

Copyright © 2008-2022 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button

News Break