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Monday, July 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Today entry begins for the Wiener Dog Races at Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports

Press release:

One of the biggest events on the promotional calendar at Batavia Downs every season is the Wiener Dog Races and 2013 will be no exception as the dachshunds take to the track during this year's Family Fun Day at the races, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 25.

Entry into the races begins today, July 8. To enter your dachshund, call event coordinator Arna Tygart at 585-343-3750, ext. 437.

There is an 80-dog limit and an also-eligible list will be started if needed. The first 70 dogs entered will receive a "Doggie Gift Bag" courtesy of the race sponsor -- Petco of Batavia.

The fleet-footed dachshund named Gordon, owned by Lindsay Ryan, of Lancaster, will be looking to three-peat in this year’s event. He dead-heated with another wiener dog legend, Jake Arnold, and then scored a very narrow victory last year.

A total of 10 heats will be contested this year with eight wiener dogs in each race.

The winners of each qualifying heat will receive $25 in free play at Batavia Downs Gaming. The winners of each heat will advance to the finals with the champion getting $100 of free play for the gaming machines.

The second- and third-place finishers will also receive free play. The wiener dog competition, a dash down the homestretch of Batavia Downs, will begin after the last live harness race, at approximately 4:20 p.m.

"This is one of our biggest days of the year and it definitely brings out one our largest crowds of the season," said Batavia Downs' General Manager of Live Racing Todd Haight. “We'll get dogs coming in from all around New York State. In fact, we have heard some are already in training."

Besides the wiener dog races, other highlights of the Family Fun Day will include free pony rides from 2 until 4 p.m. sponsored by Castilone Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep of Batavia.

The day will also see appearances by the ever popular Pringles the Clown and Mr. Scribbles. There will be $1 Salhen’s hot dogs and $1 sodas available from noon until 4.

A 12-race card of afternoon harness racing is scheduled on Family Fun Day with first post slated for 1:15 p.m. Admission and parking is free.

Batavia Downs, the oldest lighted harness track, will kick off its 67th season on Monday, July 22.

Friday, June 21, 2013 at 9:35 am

Batavia Downs announces support for new gaming legislation

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

Press release:

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation (WROTBC), owner/operator of Batavia Downs has pledged its support of the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act and the referendum that will be put to the citizens of New York State in November.

“This legislation keeps Batavia Downs Gaming as a vital partner to state and local governments,” said Michael Kane, president and CEO of WROTBC and Batavia Downs Gaming. “This act will allow us to continue providing good paying jobs and generating significant funding for schools and our municipalities. Governor Cuomo and the legislature recognize the significant contributions made by racetrack casinos in Western New York to state education funding and job creation.”

Monday, June 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm

'Batavia Downs Live' TV broadcast returns July 24

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

Press release:

"Batavia Downs Live,” the popular three-and-a-half hour television broadcast of the harness races from Batavia Downs, returns on July 24, the second racing night of the 2013 season, at the historic track located in Genesee County.

A total of 20 race cards will be televised in the Time-Warner Rochester region on digital cable Channel 98. The coverage area includes Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, and Seneca counties.

The broadcast beings at 6:30 p.m. and will conclude at 10 p.m.

Ashley Holliday, who currently serves as the Downs parade marshal, will now double as TV host and racing analyst on all Time Warner broadcasts, while continuing her duties as parade marshal on other race nights. She’ll co-host the broadcast with longtime track announcer Joe Zambito.

“Bringing Ashley aboard will add another dimension to our broadcast,” said Todd Haight, general manager of live racing. “Throughout the years she's gained a tremendous knowledge of harness racing and will do a great job of conveying that to our viewers.

"It only made sense to bring back the TV broadcast now that OTB offers online wagering at Bataviabets.com. I expect some real growth once the season begins.”

Western Regional Off-Track Betting, the owner of Batavia Downs, also provides telephone betting through its Dial-A-Bet service. Patrons may phone 1.800.724.4000 to establish an account or for more information on how to open a Batavia Bets account.

Friday, June 14, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Batavia Downs not terribly hurt by Cuomo's deal with Senecas, but just don't call it a casino

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

We're not supposed to call it Batavia Downs Casino anymore, but beyond that, officials are still sorting out what a new compact between New York and the Seneca Nation means for Western Regional OTB.

In exchange for resuming long-overdue payments, at a reduced rate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has granted the Senecas exclusive rights to casino operations in WNY.

Exactly what "exclusivity" means hasn't been entirely spelled out, said Michael Kane, president of the Western Regional OTB.

Dick Siebert said he's worried the governor has given away Rochester to the Senecas after promising that Batavia Downs would be the only gaming facility in the region.

Dropping "casino" from the name isn't too troubling, nor is the requirement to stop calling video terminal games "slots," and even the loss of electronic table games isn't crippling, but there needs to be some compensation to WROTB for the deal cut with the Senecas.

The Senecas had their taxes reduced, Siebert said, so should Batavia Downs.

"They got what they wanted and we’re just looking for a little relief ourselves since they took the table games away from us," he said.

WROTB is lobbying for a 15-percent reduction in the amount of money it sends to New York, Siebert said.

"We need concessions to be able to provide more for our local counties," Siebert said.

Batavia Downs is undergoing a $27-million renovation downstairs and space was being set aside for electronic table games. That space will just now be used for something else, Siebert said.

"We can survive without them (the table games), that's for sure," Siebert said.

Kane agreed.

"We still think our customers will be very happy with the expansion," Kane said.

Related link: The Buffalo News.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm

World Harness Handicapping Championship qualifier is March 22 at Batavia Downs

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

Western Regional Off-Track Betting and Batavia Downs Casino are pleased to announce they will be hosting a World Harness Handicapping Championship qualifier at the historic harness track on Friday night, March 22.

Entry fee is $10 and two entries are permitted. The initial entry fee includes $5 returned in Casino slot play. The contest is limited to 150 entries.

The qualifier will consist of races 1 – 10 at Buffalo Raceway and races 1 – 8 at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Contestants are required to make a total of nine mythical win-place wagers on the 18 designated contest races of which at least five contest wagers must be made on Buffalo Raceway. The remaining four wagers can be made on either Buffalo Raceway or the Meadowlands. Only one mythical wager is allowed per designated contest race.

Each contest wager will consist of a mythical $10 win-place wager. No best bet selection is required.

The “Win” mutuel will be capped at $40. The “Place” mutuel will be capped at $20 Therefore, the most a contestant can win in any given contest race is $300.

The Grand prize is a trip to compete in the $100,000 World Harness Handicapping Championship to be held on April 13 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The winner will also receive hotel accommodations for two nights and $500 in expense money. The package is valued at $1,750. The top 10 finishers receive prize money.

Advance payments are being accepted by mailing a check or mail order to Batavia Downs Casino, 8315 Park Road, Batavia NY 14020, Attn: Todd H.

Walk-ups the night of the contest can also enter with the amount of open seats available determined by the number of advance entries.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 1:05 pm

New sports bar at Batavia Downs to be called '34 Rush'

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

Press release:

The staff of Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas have released the name and logo of their new bar and restaurant to be built inside Batavia Downs Casino. After receiving hundreds of entries via a naming contest, run through Twitter, the name chosen by staff and Mr. Thomas is “34 Rush."

The logo of the new sports bar includes Thurman’s signature and the phrase “34 Rush” with a slightly pitched block font and the words sports bar underneath. Fans who wish to follow “34 Rush” may do so at facebook.com/34rush as well as twitter.com/34rush.

“We give thanks to the many fans that submitted names over the course of last week," said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “The name of the bar correlates to Mr. Thomas’ position and his number. The bar name is not one of a typical sports bar. It’s unique, just like Thurman.”

Batavia Downs Casino is in the process of reaching out to the Twitter commenters that helped contribute to the naming of the bar. Those persons will enjoy a dinner with Mr. Thomas as well as prizes from the casino.  The facility’s $28 million dollar expansion begins on Feb. 4 and will conclude some time in the fall.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 1:44 am

Batavia Downs announces contest to name new Thurman Thomas sports bar

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

Press release:

The staff of Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas are now accepting entries to name the Hall of Famer’s new restaurant on site at Batavia Downs Casino.

The facility’s $28 Million dollar expansion begins within a month and includes construction of a new Thurman Thomas sports bar. Customers may tweet a suggestion for the Sports Bar’s name on Twitter by tweeting from their account and including the name of the Sports Bar with the tag @BataviaDowns. The contest will end at Noon on Friday, Jan. 18.

Staff from Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas will review the entries and declare a winner before the end of January.

The person that submits the winning name will win dinner for two inside the new sports bar with Thurman Thomas and Batavia Downs Staff when the new facility opens sometime in the fall. The winner shall also receive a Batavia Downs Casino Prize Pack valued at more than $250.

If more than one person suggests the winning name, then one person shall be randomly chosen from those who suggested that name. Winner will be notified via twitter that they have won. Full rules can be found on Batavia Downs Casino’s Web site at www.bataviadownscasino.com.

“Thurman’s new sports bar will offer great food, a stage for live entertainment on weekends, and many large flat screen TVs where our patrons can enjoy all their favorite sporting events,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “It will also feature various pieces of football and Thurman Thomas memorabilia.”

Monday, January 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Batavia Downs announces record year for 2012

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

Press release:

Batavia Downs Casino has closed the books on another record year, with a casino expansion starting in less than one month and the possibility of enhanced gaming on the horizon. The facility has enjoyed at least 4-percent growth every year since opening in 2005.

The 640 video lottery terminals at the track’s gaming parlor generated $45.1 million last year in net winnings, according to the NY Lottery. This figure is up 13.38 percent from 2011’s $39.78 million. Earnings in 2011 were 5.53 percent over what was earned in 2010.

“As one of the nine New York State Racetrack Casinos, we are giving back to the State of New York via our daily contributions to the New York State Lottery, and our distributions to our member municipalities,” said Michael Kane, CEO and president for Batavia Downs Casino.

Batavia Downs in owned and operated by Western Regional Off-Track Betting, a public benefit corporation. Municipalities that own Batavia Downs Casino include: the cities of Buffalo and Rochester, and the counties of Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Wyoming.

“As a public benefit corporation, all revenues net expenses are distributed to the fifteen counties and two cities of Western New York,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “People know that when they come here for entertainment, their money is going to New York State, either via the lottery for education or to the counties that they live and work in. We’re happy to give back.”

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Tonight is Customer Appreciation Night at the Downs, season closes Saturday

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

Tonight is Customer Appreciation Night at Batavia Downs. After the fourth race in the enclosed grandstand, Subway subs and cake and coffee will be served while supplies last. Racing programs will be $1; coffee in the paddock room will be just 50 cents beginning at 5 p.m.

The free Pick-6 contest continues. Another $500 will be up for grabs for anyone that can pick all six winners on contest races four-nine. Sign up to play begins at 5 p.m. at Players Club and all Pick-6 forms must be returned to Players Club by the start of the fourth race. In the event there is more than one winner, the prize money is divided equally.

Then on Saturday night, the 2012 season comes to a close. Members of the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association will be trackside as part of the fifth annual “Night of Distinction” awards presentation.

Also on Saturday there will be a mandatory pay-out in the free Pick-6 contest. Either $500 or $1,000 will be paid out. If the Pick-6 contest is not won on Friday (Dec. 7), then the pool increases to $1,000 on Saturday night. If won on Friday, then the Saturday contest pool will be $500. Since it's closing night all monies must be paid out to whoever picks the most winners. In the event of a tie, all prize money will be divided equally. Contest races are four-nine. Sign up to play begins at 5 p.m. at Players Club and all Pick-6 forms must be returned to Players Club by the start of the fourth race. No purchase is necessary, must be a Batavia Players Club member to participate.

The Pick-6 contest is sponsored by the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association.

Simulcast wagering returns back to a seven day a week schedule beginning Dec. 9 at both the Downs and ITW simulcast center located across the street.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Equine vet Peter Kanter to be honored Dec. 8 at Batavia Downs

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

Press release:

Each year, the members of the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association look to recognize a member of the racing community who has selflessly given of their time and effort for the betterment of the sport and its horses.

This year, the organization will honor a man who has been doing it for more than three decades. Peter Kanter, D.V.M., Ph.D., has been practicing equine medicine in Western New York since 1973, after graduating from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. While servicing the needs of horsemen in the morning, he has also been the paddock vet at both Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway each night since 1979.

But this is only part of the story. Besides caring for his four legged patients, Dr. Kanter was also working to defeat a human disease that has touched everyone’s life at some point. From 1973 until 2008, Dr. Kanter served as a director in the Division of Drug and Treatment Development as well as being in charge of the Department of Comparative Surgery at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. Among his many accomplishments there, he was responsible for bringing a plethora of treatment drugs to market and also helped develop the techniques of what is now commonly known as minimally invasive surgery.

At the track, his commitment to the sport and its participants has been unparalleled and his many clients are a testament to that. He has made an uncountable number of horses better through his work and he continues to be there to address their needs before or after the races. While at Roswell Park, his work was responsible for helping to ease the pain and suffering of thousands of people while aiding the fight to a cure.

It is for his life’s work to improve the lives of both man and beast that Dr. Peter Kanter was chosen the 2012 UNY USHWA Unsung Hero. Dr. Kanter will receive his award trackside at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 8) during the fifth annual “Night of Distinction” awards presentation, where all the best equine and human performances of the current Batavia meet, as well as the best in Western New York for the entire year, will be feted.

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