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Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Notre Dame student wins Batavia Downs scholarship race

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, Notre Dame

Press release:

In the third $7,500 "Dash for Cash," Lindsay Hilburger -- representing Notre Dame of Batavia High School with professional driver Dave McNeight III alongside -- led all the way to take the first-place scholarship check of $3,000.

The one-mile harness race for area high school seniors racing for college scholarship funds took place Saturday night (Sept 15.), at Batavia Downs Racetrack & Casino.

Sonia Nevinger (Alexander) took second place and a $2,000 scholarship check; Leanne King (Pembroke) was third and earned a $1,200 scholarship; Jessica Levins (Batavia High School) took the fourth-place spot and $800 in scholarship funds, while Jamie Marshall (Elba) was fifth and received a $500 check.

The final time of 2:08.2 was by far the fastest running time of any of the scholarship races.

“It was nice to see such a large turnout,” said Todd Haight, general manager of Live Racing.

The track apron was packed with fans of all ages as they came out to cheer on their classmates and favorite schools.

The scholarship race is a partnership of the New York Sire Stakes, the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association, Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs.

Photo: Jamie Marshall, Jessica Levins, Leanne King, Sonia Nevinger, Lindsay Hilburger (courtesy of Paul White).

Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm

'Gordon' earns title of fastest wiener dog in Batavia

post 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.

Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 10:48 am

Batavia Downs offering pieces of old neon sign to public

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

Press release:

With the construction of Batavia Downs Casino’s new LED sign, pieces of the old neon sign are now available to interested parties. Batavia Downs Casino has already given two letters to representatives of the Holland Land Office Museum of Batavia, but other letters still remain.

Interested persons should contact Tom Balk, director of Building and Grounds for information on obtaining remaining pieces. It should be noted that the letters are over 7 feet tall and in various states of disrepair having been on the roof for so long. Mr. Balk can be reached at (585) 343-3750, ext. 312.

Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Batavia Downs is going "Crazy Cheap" for Old Fashioned Night

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

Press Release:

Batavia, NY – Old Fashioned Night returns to Batavia Downs Casino and Racetrack this Saturday night (August 11) for the first time during the 2012 racing season, but with a twist.

Historically, Old Fashion night prices include 50-cent Sahlen’s hot dogs, sodas and racing programs, however this year the nation’s oldest lighted half-mile harness racetrack is going "Crazy Cheap."

Thanks to sponsorship of the evening by Crazy Cheap Cars of Oakfield, Sahlen’s hot dogs will be just 3 for $1 in the paddock room beginning at 5pm. First race post time is 6:25 p.m.  Guests wanting to take advantage of the reduced price simply need to ask for the “Crazy Cheap Price.”

“We’re proud to be working with the folks at Batavia Downs on the Crazy Cheap night promotion,” Mike Ognibene, owner of Crazy Cheap Cars of Oakfield said. “We’re looking forward to a great evening at the track.”

“The first Old Fashioned night of the season is usually our biggest night of the year,” said Batavia Downs General Manager Todd Haight.  “Not only does it bring out a great crowd which enhances the on-track excitement but it creates larger betting pools for our racing customers. We want to thank Mike for partnering with us on this promotion.”

One day later another top promotion takes place at the Genesee County oval, Super Seniors Day.  Beginning at 12-noon in the clubhouse and running until 2:30 p.m., all seniors 55 or older that purchase the Sunday lunch buffet at the regular price of $8.95 will receive a racing program and $10 in casino free play. It's like dining for free. Sunday reservations are strongly recommended. To make a clubhouse reservations, please call 585-343-3750.

“It’s a great way to thank all our seniors for their many years of supporting Batavia Downs,” Haight added.

A complete list of all the 2012 racing promotions can be found at www.bataviadownscasino.com 
 

Friday, August 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Sunday afternoon racing returns to Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

Beginning Aug. 5, racing at the nation’s oldest lighted harness track moves to a schedule of Sunday afternoons, and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Sunday's program features 13 exciting races, including the $9,000 featured Open Trot and $7,600 Open II Trot. Sundays with Ashley Parade Marshal and outrider Ashley Holliday will be available for pictures every Sunday trackside in Downs Winner Circle from 12 to 12:45 p.m. Don’t forget to bring your camera for family photos with Ashley and her horse “Jake.”

The matinee post time is 1:15 p.m. Sunday food and drink specials include $1 Sahlen's hot dogs, sodas and draft beer served from 12 to 4 p.m. in the Paddock Room.

On Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, post time is 6:25.

In addition simulcast wagering will be available from some of North America’s top tracks including Saratoga racecourse. Admission and parking is always free. For more information please visit http://www.bataviadownscasino.com

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 11:56 am

Freshman pacers in NYSS action on Wednesday at Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

Press release:

Possible stars of the future -- 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers -- converge on Batavia Downs Casino when New York Sire Stakes action continues on Wednesday night (Aug. 1).

Wednesday's 13-race program, which gets under way at 6:25 p.m., features three NYSS legs worth more than $36,000 each and five divisions of the Excelsior series worth more than $12,000 each.

Flipper J’s freshman 1:54.4 track record set in 2010 and tied by Forever Just in 2011, both with Jason Bartlett in the bike, could be in jeopardy. Cowgirl Hall lowered the benchmark for 3-year-old trotting fillies (1:57.2) when the New York Sire Stakes made its first local start of the season here this past Saturday night.

The NYSS kicks off in race two when a short but select field of New York breds square off for purse money of $36,900. Drawing post five is the Artiscape-Lo Gophobia colt, Framed Art. He comes off a 1:53.4 track record performance at Saratoga Raceway with Mark MacDonald at the controls. Trainer Andrew Stafford gives MacDonald the return call.

Installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite is the Art Major-Classical Yankee colt, Doctor Butch. He comes in off a 1:54 score at Saratoga with Tim Tetrick in the sulky. Doctor Butch briefly held the record at Saratoga until it was broken later on the program by Framed Art. Trainer Linda Toscano hands over the lines to Jim Morrill Jr.

Goshen track record holder (1:56.3), Thirty Two Red, was a prohibitive favorite in his Saratoga leg but he made a costly break at the start and was eliminated. That was the son of Bettor’s Delight-Sakura Hanover’s first defeat after NYSS wins at Monticello and Buffalo. Ray Schnittker is the trainer/driver.

The field also includes Dealmaker, second to Framed Art at Saratoga, and the Ron Burke trainee Royce Blue Chip.

NYSS action continues in race five, when a field of six will line-up for $37,600 in purse money. The Bettor’s Delight-Flibbertigibbet colt, Swift As A Shadow, who drew the rail, starts out as the 5-2 favorite. Once again trainer Linda Toscano will call on the services of Jim Morrill Jr. Swift As A Shadow’s lone career win came at Monticello when he paced his back half in :56.1, to score in 1:56.4, in his first New York Sire Stakes engagement.

Three colts and three geldings do battle in the third and final $37,600 NYSS division, carded as race seven. This could be a race handicappers may be shopping for some value. I’m Banksy (Art Major-Delightfully Yours) begins as the 2-1 favorite. He ships in off a 1:53.4 score at Pocono but has never raced on a half-mile racetrack. Jim Morrill Jr. drives for trainer Fred Grant. Trainer/driver Patrick Lachance sends out a very dangerous colt in Sir Cary’s Z Tam.

The son of Bettor’s Delight -Yankee Celebration had the misfortune of coming first over against the talented Doctor Butch at Saratoga and before that, finished behind the same rival and another top colt, Thirty Two Red, at Monticello.

The five Excelsior races go off as races one, three, eight, 10 and 12. Racing fans unable to attend the races can watch all the action from Batavia Downs via streaming video at www.bataviadownscasino.com <http://www.bataviadownscasino.com/> . Simply click on the “Live Racing” section and then on the “Video” link.

Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm

'Current Ca Ching' won the Open Trot at Batavia Downs on Friday

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

Press release:

Current Ca Ching went gate-to-wire and held off the challenges of Go Jesse Go and the favored Kash N Credit to win the $9,000 Open Trot at Batavia Downs Friday night.

Leaving off the two-hole, Current Ca Ching ($7.40) went the mile in 1:59.1 after posting fractions of :28.3, :57.4 and 1:28 for winning driver Keith Kash Jr.

It was a blanket finish as Current Ca Ching was able to hold off the late charge of pocket sitting Go Jesse Go, who was beaten by quarter of a length at the wire. Kash N Credit, who was parked the entire mile, lost by just a length and a quarter.

It was the seventh win of the season of Current Ca Ching and second in his last three starts. Current Ca Ching is owned by Rocco Stebbins, of Rochester, and trained by Ron Stebbins.

Shawn Gray notched a three-bagger on the night while four drivers all scored doubles, Kevin Cummings, Ray Fisher Jr., Jim McNeight and Keith Kash Jr.

Darrin Monti and Bob Gruber III each had a double on the training side.

Tonight's the kick-off of the 2012 Batavia Downs stakes season when three-year-old trotting fillies taking center stage in three divisions of the New York Sires Stakes. Post is 6:25 p.m. for the 14-race program.

Also carded this evening are five divisions of th Excelsior Series, with each worth more than $12,000.

Racing fans unable to attend the races can watch the all the action from Batavia Downs via streaming video at www.bataviadownscasino.com. Simply click on the “Live Racing” section and then on the “Video” link.

Friday, July 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm

New York Sire Stakes kick off Saturday night at Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

Press release:

Three-year-old trotting fillies will square off in three divisions to open the local New York Sire Stake season on Saturday night, July 28 at Batavia Downs Casino. Post time will be at 6:25 p.m.

The first Saturday night of the annual summer-fall meet will also feature five Excelsior Series divisions, with each division worth more than $12,000.

The New York Sire Stakes will begins in race two, in which $43,980 will be up for grabs. The Credit Winner--Pacific Legacy filly Lima Playmate will start at 5-2 on the morning line for the connections of Ray Schnittker and Lima Playmate Stables.

Lima Playmate ($225,891) will get the services of Steve Smith. Regular driver Ray Schnittker will be at bit tied up, he’s will be at The Meadowlands preparing his world champion filly Check Me Out for the Hambletonian Oaks Eliminations.

New York Sire Stakes action will then move to race four, in which $44,780 will be on the line. The much-improved Kristens Victory (Cash Hall--Treasured Victory), who overcame post seven at Tioga Downs to score at odds of 29-1 in a division of the Tompkins-Geers, might be the filly to beat in this one.

The Karen Garland trainee has really picked up her game since going on Lasix. Owner Steve Smith, who drove her to second place finishes in New York Sire Stakes races at Monticello Raceway and Yonkers Raceway will be back in the sulky.

The last but certainly not least $43.980 New York Sire Stakes division was carded as race eight. As far as being continuous, it really doesn’t get any better with two of the top sophomore trotting fillies in the New York Sire Stakes drawing into the same division.

The Credit Winner--Meadowbranch Mary filly Fortunista will open as the favorite on the morning line at 5-2, basically due to post position; she drew the rail for owner-trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera and Barbara and Donald Arnstine.

Fortunista ships to Western New York on quite a form spree, having won her last four starts including New York Sire Stakes legs at Buffalo Raceway, Yonkers Raceway and Monticello Raceway. She sports season’s earnings of $172,001.

The talented Cowgirl Hall (Cash Hall--Britt’s Spirit) won’t go down without a fight. In her nine starts in 2012 she’s won five and has been second in three of them for trainer-driver “Gates” Brunet. She’s earned $144,955 this season for owners Ted Gewertz, M. H. Rosenthal and Jean and Debbie Brunet.

The Excelsior series races were carded as race one, six, 10, 11 and 12.

Racing fans unable to attend the races can watch the all the action from Batavia Downs via streaming video at www.bataviadownscasino.com <http://www.bataviadownscasino.com/> . Simply click on the “Live Racing” section and then on the “Video” link.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 9:22 am

Photos: Opening night, 2012, at Batavia Downs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

And they're off ... for the 66th season, there is live harness racing at Batavia Downs.

More than 3,000 racing fans turned out for opening night and they witnessed Shawn Gray, who captured Buffalo's 2012 driving title, notch three wins.

Two other of the nation's top drivers, Dan Noble and Jim Morrill Jr., were also featured on the night.

Friday, July 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Batavia Downs opens 66th season on Monday

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

Press Release:

A bigger signature race, a new first race post time and Sunday afternoon racing in August are just some of the changes in store when racing returns for the 66th season on Monday (July 23) at Batavia Downs Casino. The pacers and trotters will meet at America’s oldest lighted harness track for 72 exciting race dates.

The Robert J. Kane Memorial Invitational Pace, the track's signature event, will now offer a $50,000 purse. This year’s Kane Memorial is slated for October 6. Last year, Aracache Hanover with Trevor Henry in the bike, lowered the Downs all-age record when he paced to victory in 1:51.1. Aracache Hanover is locally owned by William Switala and James Martin.

Racing fans will need to arrive 15 minutes earlier with first race post for all evening racing programs now slated for 6:25 p.m. Racing gates open at 5 p.m. with the exception of August 11 and September 15, when racing gates open for Old Fashioned night at 4:30 p.m.

A total of six matinees will be offered, including all four Sundays in August. The other two afternoon race cards are Labor Day and Columbus Day. Post time for all matinees remains at 1:15 p.m. with racing gates opening at 12 p.m.

Racing will be conducted on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Saturday night basis for the first two weeks of the annual Summer-Fall meet with Sundays replacing Mondays in August. Twelve races will be carded nightly except on Saturdays when the Genesee County racetrack will host 13-race programs.

A complete racing calendar is available for download at www.batavia-downs.com.

Changes were made to the wagering menu, with the major change being the minimum on trifecta wagering has been lowered to 50 cents. However a $1 wager is required. One dollar daily double wagering is also being offered.

Superfecta wagering is now offered on all races with the exception of races one and seven. The Pick-4 has been moved to the third race and the late-late double moves to the last two races nightly. The popular Pick-6, which paid $10,000 to one lucky ticket holder last season, begins on race seven.

North America’s leading dash winning harness racing driver in 2011, Dan Noble, will make his Batavia Downs debut on opening night. Noble led all drivers last year with 773 wins. He currently sits fourth this year with 320 wins.

Shawn Gray, currently the leading driver at Buffalo Raceway, will also be racing at Batavia Downs for the first time. The Maine native shipped to Buffalo in January and has notched 185 wins so far this season there.

Jim Morrill Jr., who recently won the $445,594 Yonkers Trot with Archangel, makes a special appearance on Monday night. Morrill established records for most wins and earnings in a single season at the Downs in 2006.

Again this season all racing programs will contain $2 free play coupons that can be redeemed at Players Club. The cost to purchase a program remains at $2, however on opening night and on July 28, the first New York Sire Stakes event of the season, racing programs will be free.

Player’s Club members dining in the track's historic clubhouse will receive $5 in Casino free play with the purchase of a buffet. On Sunday afternoon, the cost of the lunch buffet minus the free play coupon is just $3.95.

The entire racing season will be broadcast via live streaming video at www.batavia-downs.com. Race replays are available at the same web address.

The 2012 season features a variety of promotions, including two old fashioned nights, the biggest free handicapping contest ever and the annual family fun day at the races featuring the hilarious wiener dog races.

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