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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Monroe County accused of trying to force OTB to accept new executive

post by Howard Owens in Batavia Downs, Western Regional OTB

An attempt to fill a long-vacant executive position at Western Regional OTB with a Monroe County politician with some baggage is meeting resistance locally.

Genesee County's representative on the OTB board, Richard Siebert, told the Democrat & Chronicle that Monroe County officials are trying to make the appointment without going through proper procedures.

James Smith is a former deputy executive for Monroe County who was charged -- and later acquitted -- of misdemeanors related to alleged misuse of county workers for non-county work.

Smith's nomination is supported by Dennis Bassett, who is Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy’s appointee to the board.

According to Siebert, there's been no interview process and no other candidates considered.

One subcommittee vote was a tie, effectively killing Smith's application.

However, Bassett is now reportedly trying to bring a vote on Smith to the entire board.

A meeting with this single item on the agenda is scheduled for Oct. 11.

From the D&C:

Siebert said Smith supporters are trying to push the appointment through without advertising the job. Smith lacks gaming experience and, while Smith was acquitted of criminal charges, the accusations against him did raise questions about his managerial work, Siebert said.

“They’re ramming it down our throats,” Siebert said.

Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 11:08 am

Driver suffers concussion in race at Batavia Downs

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

mug-jack_flannigan.jpgA popular Batavia Downs driver is expected to return to action in about a week after getting thrown from his seat in the clubhouse turn during a race last night and suffering a concussion.

Veteran Jack Flanigen, who missed the entire 2008 season because of an injury, came into the season with 188 career wins.

Driving Anabelle Jo, the 44-year-old reinsman said he wasn't really sure what happened.

“I sent her out of there and she just collapsed and we went down.”

Flanigen was transported to United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia where he received stitches for a facial cut.

Full press release after the jump:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Two Twentytwo scores fourth win of the season at Batavia

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

Press Release:

Batavia, NY --- The comeback Kid, Two Twentytwo, made it look easy when he notched his fourth win of the summer-fall meet in the $9,000 Preferred Handicap, Saturday night (Aug-25), at Batavia Downs Casino.

Leaving from post-position four with new pilot Jack Flanigen in the sulky, the 6-year-old chestnut son of Blissful Hall put up all the numbers, :27.4-:56.4-125.3 en route to a much the best two-length score in 1:53.4.

Pro Kid (Ray Fisher, Jr.), leaving from then rail got away second and finished second while former Downs track record holder Michael Scores (Tom Agosti), got away third and finished third.

“He’s a great horse to drive,” reinsman Jack Flanigen commented. “When I asked him for speed he exploded, I felt like I could have gone a lot more if I needed too.”

Two Twentytwo ($2.60) is owned by Dominic Colarusso, Jr. and trained by Richie Mays. Saturday nights win was his 8th of season in only 14 starts; he’s earned over $220,000 lifetime.

Two Twentytwo was a multiple Stakes winning freshman pacer before an injury sidelined him for more than a year.

Kevin Cummings is quickly approaching milestone win 2,000. The 40-year-old Cummings begins the new race week with 1989 career wins. The red-hot catch driver has driven home 11 winners the last four racing nights.

The 64th season of live harness racing at America’s oldest lighted harness track resumes on Tuesday. Post time is 6:40pm.

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Ken Holliday gets 5,000 career win

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

Ken “Doc” Holliday drove the 5,000th winner of his career on Wednesday night (Sept. 22) when he guided CC Dreamer to a nose victory in race 12 at Batavia Downs Casino.
 
Holliday’s special evening started early in the program when he set a new track record for older mares with Artistry In Rhythm in the featured $9,000 Mares Open.
 
The 46-year-old Holliday began his driving career in 1982 when he won three times in 46 starts. His best season came in 1998 when he made 466 winner's circle visits. His drives have earned over $20 million in purses throughout his career.
 
Holliday’s milestone win was decided after a long photo finish. He was surrounded by family and friends in the winner's circle.
 
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Holliday said. “I was hoping to hit it quicker but I’ve been banged up the last couple years. I’m happy it came with one of the horses my wife trains. It also helps to have a great set of owners.”
 
Career win 4,999 came in the very first race with the razor-sharp mare Artistry In Rhythm.
 
The 8-year-old Real Artist-Romantic Music distaffer would establish the new mark when she paced to a powerful 1:54 score, lowering the previous record of 1:54.4 set in 2005 by Magic Sugar and equaled by Rakalees N in 2008.
 
Heavy favorite Allamerican Tout was sent right to the front by Kevin Cummings, rolling along to fractions of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:25. But “Doc” Holliday was able to make another house call, as Artistry In Rhythm paced right on by down the stretch to pull the 28-1 upset for trainer Sherri Holliday and owner Betty Tauber.
 
The win puts Artistry In Rhythm just shy of $70,000 in seasonal earnings; she's approaching $300,000 in lifetime earnings.
 
“We got down to the half quick and I got a really good trip, she’s just a really good mare, Sherri’s done a great good job with her. I’m happy we set the record with one of Mrs. Tauber's horses,” Holliday commented about the new track record holder.

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Two Twentytwo scores fourth win of the season at Batavia

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

Here's a news release from Todd Haight at Batavia Downs.

"The Comeback Kid" -- Two Twentytwo --  made it look easy when he notched his fourth win of the summer-fall meet in the $9,000 Preferred Handicap, Saturday night (Sept. 25), at Batavia Downs Casino.

Leaving from post-position four with new pilot Jack Flanigen in the sulky, the 6-year-old chestnut son of Blissful Hall put up all the numbers, :27.4-:56.4-125.3 en route to a much the best two-length score in 1:53.4.

Pro Kid (Ray Fisher Jr.), leaving from then rail got away second and finished second while former Down' track-record holder Michael Scores (Tom Agosti), got away third and finished third.

“He’s a great horse to drive,” reinsman Flanigen commented. “When I asked him for speed he exploded, I felt like I could have gone a lot more if I needed to.”

Two Twentytwo ($2.60) is owned by Dominic Colarusso Jr. and trained by Richie Mays. Saturday nights win was his 8th of season in only 14 starts; he’s earned over $220,000 lifetime.

Two Twentytwo was a multiple Stakes winning freshman pacer before an injury sidelined him for more than a year.

In other harness racing news, Kevin Cummings is quickly approaching milestone win 2,000. The 40-year-old Cummings begins the new race week with 1,989 career wins. The red-hot catch driver has driven home 11 winners the last four racing nights.

The 64th season of live harness racing at America’s oldest lighted harness track resumes on Tuesday. Post time is 6:40 p.m.

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Scorpion Moon earns hard-fought win at Batavia

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

Here's a news release from Todd Haight at Batavia Downs Casino.

Scorpion Moon made his return to Batavia Downs Casino a winning one when he scored a hard-fought victory in the featured $9,000 Preferred trot, Friday night (Sept. 24), at Batavia Downs Casino.
 
Sent off as a prohibitive 1-2 betting favorite, Scorpion Moon, with Josh Marks in town to drive left from his assigned outside post, was able to find the pylons getting away third.
 
Rounding the clubhouse turn on the payoff half, Marks pulled the classy son of Armbro Scorpion first over and they were quickly up to challenge the front running Hello Carlo and Downs' dashing leading reinsman Jack Flanigen.
 
Around the final turn the weekly trotting feature became a match race as Hello Carlo and Scorpion Moon separated themselves from the rest of the field.
 
Down the lane Hello Carlo was gamely digging in but a relentless Scorpion Moon was able to edge on by late to score his 14th win of the season, by a half-length, in 1:57.4. It was 6-lengths back to the third place finisher Fifty Two Finn.
 
The win put the 9-year-old gelding over the $211,000 mark in seasonal earnings for owners Andrew Herzog and Tracy Brainard, who also trains.
 
Stephen Oldford wins Billings
The Billings amateur driving series returned to America’s oldest lighted harness racetrack on Friday night and it Steve “You’re Never Too” Oldford who guided Another Traveller to victory.
 
Oldford sent Another Traveller right to the lead when the gates opened and they never had an anxious moment, scoring by 6-lengths over Guest Host with Anthony “the Capo” Verruso, while Rock Hard Ten with “Gentleman Jamie” Marra wound up a fast-closing third.
 
Two Billings trots are slated as non-wagering events at Vernon Downs on Saturday night and will be contested at 6:10 p.m. prior to the betting card getting under way.
 
Racing resumes on Saturday night post time is 6:40pm. The Downs will simulcast the rich New York Night of Champions from Yonkers Raceway. Yonkers programs will be free.
 
Batavia Downs is currently racing Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. The 64th racing season concludes on Dec. 4. For more information please visit <http://www.bataviadownscasino.com/>.

Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Florence Ferrando wins Handicapping Contest at Batavia Downs

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

Here's a news release from Todd Haight at Batavia Downs.

Congratulations to Florence Ferrando, of Churchville, the winner of the Sept. 18 Batavia Downs Casino $1,000 Handicapping Contest.

She bested 312 other contestants with a top score of 47 points to claim the $500 top prize.

Frank Camiola, of East Rochester, took home $250 for finishing second via the tiebreaker over Dan Dickens, of Batavia. Each finished with 46 points but Camiola’s tiebreaker total of $92.40 was well ahead of Dickens, who received $125.

Six contestants finished with 44 points. Once again the tiebreaker -- $2 to win on every winner selected -- helped vault Jeff Grabowski into the fourth place and William Park into fifth. Grabowski’s tiebreaker total of $32.30 was good enough to win $75 while Park’s $27.30 tiebreaker total earned him $50.

All prize money can be picked up beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22 at Players Club. The final free handicapping contest of the season takes place Oct. 9.

Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Jezzy raises her record to a perfect 10 in NYSS at Batavia Downs

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

Here's a news release from Todd Haight at Batavia Downs.

The 2010 New York Sire Stakes season ended with a bang on Saturday night with a pair of track records set and another impressive appearance by Jezzy, now a perfect 10 for 10 lifetime.

The evening featured four divisions of 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters and three events for 2-year-old trotting fillies. More than $275,000 in stakes money was offered.

The Credit Winner colt, Stimulus, started the fireworks when he trotted to a new track record for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings in the very first race.

Leaving from the rail, Stimulus with Marcus Johansson in the bike, sat the two-hole until the top of the stretch and roared out of the pocket to a 1:57.3 score, lowering Russell Hill’s record, set last season, by a fifth of a second.

Stimulus is owned by the contingent of Christina Takter, John Fielding and Falkbolagen Ab. Jimmy Takter is the conditioner.

However Stimulus’s name didn’t stay in the record books long, as another son of Credit Winner, Whata Winner, would annihilate that standard later in the evening.

Leaving from the rail with Hall of Famer Jim Doherty in the sulky, Whata Winner was sent right to the front and never looked back, turning back heavily favored Blacktuxwhitesox’s (Jeff Gregory) stretch bid to notch his name in the record books with a 1:56.2 clocking.

His time was just two-fifths of a second off Earl’s all-age record. The fractions were :28-:58-1:26.2. Whata Winner is trained and co-owned by Jim Doherty along with Thomas Dillon and Terrax, Inc. Whata Winner scored his eight win of the campaign and raised his 2010 earnings to more $247,000.

The much heralded trotting sensation Jezzy had no problem remaining unbeaten heading to next Saturday's Yonkers Night of Champion finals for 2-year-old trotting fillies when she cruised to the best 6-1/2 length score in 2:03 for trainer/driver Ray Schnittker. Not that she needed any help, but five early breakers made her appearance basically a training mile.

Ray Schnittker, Jerry Silva, Jeffrey Gural and Theodore Gewertz own the Credit Winner-Ladylind freshman. Gural’s Little E farm bred Jezzy who has earned over $222,000 for her connections.

Dreamy Dawn become the new track record holder for 2-year-old trotting fillies at the Downs when she easily lowered Princess Maddie’s (2:00.4) record by almost two seconds.

Sent right to the top from post-two by reinsman Jeff Gregory, Dreamy Dawn put up all the numbers en route to 4-1/2 length, 1:59 victory to establish the mark. The fractions were :29-:59-1:29. The quickly improving Dream Vacation - Divine Eos juvenile is owned/trained and was bred by Ed Lohmeyer.

“What a fantastic New York Sire Stakes season we’ve had,” Mike Kane, vice president of Live Racing said. “We had six track records set and the fans came out to watch. Our on-track handle was up 16 percent tonight thanks to a great racing card.”
 
The final NYSS late closers of the season take place when racing resumes on Tuesday night. Two-year-old colt and gelding trotters compete in four divisions worth $13,200 each. Two of the late closers will be raced as non-wagering events starting at 6 p.m.
 
Veteran reinsman Ken Holliday starts the new race week just two wins shy of career milestone 5,000. Post time for the first of 12 is 6:40 p.m.

Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Batavia student wins first scholarship race at Batavia Downs

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

downsscholar09aa.jpg

A Batavia High student has $3,000 more toward her college education after driving a harness racehorse to victory Saturday night at Batavia Downs.

Kaley Falkowski, paired with professional driver Jim Mulcahy, bested four other high school students racing in Batavia Downs first-ever scholarship challenge. A total of $7,500 was awarded to the students.

Taking second was Eric Harrower (Batavia High School) with Ron Beback Jr., earning $2,000. Tyler Pingrey (Notre Dame High School) with Jim Graham earned a $1,200. Mike Norway (Oakfield-Alabama High School) with Michael Baumeister finished fourth and earned an $800 scholarship, while Emily Sallome (Batavia High School) and Mike Pokornowski finished fifth and will receive a $500 scholarship.

downsscholar10a.jpg

More pictures related to the scholarship race and other scenes on Saturday at Batavia Downs after the jump:

Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm

BATAVIA DOWNS CASINO TO TELEVISE 2010 RACE SCHEDULE

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

Press Release:

(Batavia NY) --- Most race cards for the remainder of the 2010 Batavia Downs Casino harness meet will now be available to television viewers in both the Rochester and Buffalo regions, it was announced today by Michael D Kane, Vice President, Operations and Live Racing.

In the Rochester area, races will continue to be featured on Channel 98 on Time-Warner’s basic digital package. The coverage area includes all or parts of Genesee, Orleans, Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, Yates and Steuben Counties.

In the Buffalo area, racing will be carried on Channel 114 on Time-Warner (Channel 111 in Olean), WGRZ Digital Channel 2-2 and Verizon Fios Channel 460. The coverage area includes all or parts of Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties.

Nightly race programming will begin at 6:30 p.m. and complete at about 10:00 p.m., according to Kane. Racing analyst Todd Haight returns for his 8th year and track announcer Joe Zambito for his 6th as co-hosts of the simulcast show.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Batavia Downs to showcase its live racing product to our two largest markets. It’s a nice attraction for new customers and provides our long-time racing fans with the nightly races in the comfort of their homes,” Kane said.

Kane reminds harness fans that OTB provides telephone betting through its Dial-A-Bet service. Patrons may phone 1-800-724-4000 to establish an account.

Batavia Downs Casino is owned and operated by Western Regional Off-Track Betting, a public benefit corporation. In addition to being America’s Oldest Lighted Harness Track, the facility at 8315 Park Road is home to over 600 of the most popular slots and Grandstands Bar & Grille.

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