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Friday, July 27, 2012 at 1:11 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 10:22 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 6:37 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.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 8:05 am

Batavia Downs announces increase in revenue going to education

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

Press release:

Batavia Downs Casino generated more than $11.5 million for education during the first two fiscal quarters of 2012 (January - June), according to the recently released data by the Division of Lottery. As part of Batavia Downs Casino’s ongoing support of New York’s education, 51 percent of Batavia Downs Casino net win is given to the New York Lottery.

“We’re proud to our contributions to New York State Education, year after year," said Mike Kane, president and CEO of Batavia Downs Casino.  “Compared with the revenue generated last year in the same time period, we’re looking at major growth.”

Batavia Downs’ contributions from January – June in 2011 were 9.86 million dollars, making this year’s contribution a 17-percent increase from last year.  Since opening in 2005, Batavia Downs Casino has generated more than $120 million in education funding for New York.

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 12:27 am

Photo: New Batavia Downs sign lit for the first time

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

The new LCD-based sign, replacing the old neon sign, atop Batavia Downs was illuminated for the first time Thursday evening.

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Photos: Out with the old, in with the new for landmark Batavia Downs sign

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

Workers this morning carefully dismantled the landmark Batavia Downs sign atop the roof of the grandstand of the legendary racetrack.

The neon sign is being replaced with a more energy efficient and less costly LCD sign that has been fabricated to exactly match the lettering of the old sign.

Ryan Hasenauer, marketing director for Western Regional OTB, said officials plan to keep the B and the D from the old sign and display them in some manner on the property, but the future of the remaining letters of the sign has yet to be determined.

Bottom photo: The first two letters of the new sign, time permitting, will be fitted into place some time today.

Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 6:59 am

Students selected to participate in 2102 Batavia Downs Scholarship Race

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

Press release:

Batavia Downs officials have announced the names of the five students selected by their high schools to participate in the 2012 college scholarship race.

They are: Lindsay Hilburger -- Notre Dame of Batavia; Sonia Nevinger -- Alexander; Jessica Levins -- Batavia; Jamie Marshall -- Elba; and Leanne King -- Pembroke.

The race will be held on Sept. 15, between the fifth and sixth live harness races at Batavia Downs. Approximate post time for the scholarship race is 7:45 p.m.

A total of $7,500 in college scholarship funds will be given to each high school student in the dash for cash. The race will be conducted at one mile -- two laps around Batavia Downs' historic half-mile oval.

“We're thrilled to provide additional scholarship funds to area high school students,” said Todd Haight, general manager of Batavia Downs. “This coincides with the contributions made daily by Batavia Downs Casino to the New York state lottery for education.”

All students are required to practice at least five times during the month of August with the driver/trainer they will be teamed up with. This exposes the student to the full equine experience associated with the racing industry.

Scholarship breakdowns are as follows: $3,000 to the winner; $2,000 for second; $1,200 for third; $800 for fourth; and $500 for fifth. Scholarships are not equine specific and can be used for any higher education.

The event is a partnership of Batavia Downs Casino, Buffalo Raceway, Harness Horse Breeders of New York and the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association.

The 66th season at America’s oldest lighted harness track gets under way on July 23 with a new post time of 6:25 p.m.

Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Photos: Sneak peek at new Batavia Downs signs

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

Officials with Western Regional OTB, Batavia Downs and invited guests were in Rochester today for a ribbon cutting and unveiling of the work done so far on the new marquee signs for Batavia Downs.

The work is being completed by Premier Sign Systems.

Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs, provided the pictures.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Batavia Downs announces online bets for harness racing

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

Press release:

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation, owner of Batavia Downs Casino, has today announced a strategic partnership of services with Saratoga Casino and Raceway and ebet Technologies, LLC. Subject to approval of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, these two prominent New York State racing entities will be partnering in the launch of the new advance deposit internet wagering platform, www.BataviaBets.com.

“We felt very strongly that we should partner with a proven organization within New York State such as Saratoga,” said Michael Kane, CEO of Western OTB/ Batavia Downs. “This will work towards the betterment of wagering for our customers and be a great example on how we can work together within New York State to strengthen the horse-racing industry.”

Kane also added that support was acquired for SaratogaBets because of the platform’s proven success.

Western OTB’s unprecedented alliance with Saratoga Casino and Raceway is part of an effort amongst New York State racing entities to work together to create cost-effective revenue opportunities in today’s highly competitive pari-mutuel environment.

“We have experienced great success with www.SaratogaBets.com, our advance deposit wagering platform,” said Jamie Hartman, COO and executive vice president of Saratoga Casino and Raceway. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with eBet and Batavia Downs to institute this exciting wagering option in Western New York and to further promote increased support and interest in New York racing.”

BataviaBets is a free service allowing customers who sign up for an account to wager on pari-mutuel events via the internet in addition to wagering via the telephone. Focused on servicing local residents and guests who support Batavia Downs and the Western Regional OTB network, this convenient option gives access to customers who would like to place a wager, watch the races, or check results.

“We are excited to work with an organization like Batavia Downs to extend their brand while maintaining access and control of their customer base,” said Mark Gregory, chairman of eBet. "We’re focused on delivering new channels and incremental revenues for regional racetracks like Batavia.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Wagering at Batavia Downs on Belmont Stakes was third-best ever

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, horseracing, sports

Press release:

Officials at Western Regional Off-Track Betting (WROTB), the owner of Batavia Downs Casino, announced today wagering handle on the Belmont Stakes was the public benefit corporation’s third-best ever totaling more than $856,000. This is a 12-percent increase over last year. WROTB saw a 16-percent increase on the Kentucky Derby and a 3-percent increase on the Preakness from last year.

“The anticipation leading up to the race was the best in years,” said Todd Haight, OTB’s handicapper and the GM of Batavia Downs Racetrack. “Despite I’ll Have Another‘s late scratch on Friday afternoon, the publicity surrounding the race was enough to pique the public’s interest.”

The race was won by Union Rags, who ran down Paynter in the final furlong of the race. Union Rags will race next in the Travers’ Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse on Aug. 25.

Batavia Downs in owned and operated by Western Regional Off-Track Betting, a public benefit corporation. Municipalities that own Batavia Downs Casino include the 15 counties of Western New York as well as the cities of Buffalo and Rochester. The track is also home to Batavia Downs Casino, featuring 640 video slot machines. Batavia Downs Casino is located less than one mile from Thruway Exit 48 and is open daily from 8 to 4 a.m.

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