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Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Batavia Downs hosts NYSS 2-year-old trotting colts Wednesday

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

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

On Wednesday night (Aug. 20) at Batavia Downs $110,000 is up for grabs in two divisions of New York Sire Stake action for freshman trotting colts and geldings.

The fourth race has seven horses going postward in the first division for $54,500 in purse money.

Royal Deceptor (RC Royalty-Art Of Deception) went wire to wire in his career debut at Buffalo Raceway in a sparkling time of 1:59.3, which set a new track record. That win at Buffalo makes him one of only two horses in the race to be victorious over a half-mile track. He then won at Tioga before finishing third at Yonkers. After being scratched sick on Aug. 2, driver Michael Mc Givern elected to race the colt from behind rather than on the point like had all year. Assuming he needed that start after his 17 day layoff, Royal Deceptor has a great chance to rebound here with his early speed from post five for trainer Cheryl Mc Givern.

Wings Of Royalty (RC Royalty-Sparkling Cider) has been spectacular on bigger tracks this year for trainer George Ducharme, but has had his challenges over the half-mile ovals. In his last four starts he has set two consecutive lifetime marks at Tioga Downs (1:57.4) and Vernon Downs (1:56) but in between has made breaks off the gate at Yonkers and Monticello Raceway. Regular driver Chris Lems will try to make him behave from the rail to get his third victory of the year.

Pier Ho Exotic (Conway Hall-Rose Run Exotic) has had just the opposite history. He made breaks at Tioga and Vernon but has a win at Buffalo Raceway in 2:01, a second at Yonkers and a fifth at Monticello after being parked out most of the mile. Pier Ho Exotic is the other horse in the race to win over a half-mile track and John Cummings Jr. will once again be on board from post two for trainer Megan Wilson.

The second $55,500 division is carded as race eight and has eight starters. It also features a battle between the top point’s leaders for this sex and gait.

Gabe The Bear Dean (Lucky Chucky-Madam Hooch) had a flawless performance last week at Monticello Raceway when he went gate to wire in 1:58.4. The four and three-quarter length victory was his fourth in six starts and boosted his earnings to $74,119 for the year. Trainer/driver Ray Schnittker will have to overcome post six in the full field of eight but has the gate speed to do it.

Mambo Blue Chip (Lucky Chucky-Flirty Two) has been nearly flawless for trainer Linda Toscano his last four starts, winning three and finishing second by only half a length. Those victories helped bank his $68,169 for the year and leave him tied with Gabe The Bear Dean atop the NYSS leaderboard for 2-year-old trotting colts with 183 points. Mambo Blue Chip has Jeff Gregory aboard from the rail and that puts him in the perfect spot for his stalking style.

Insomniac (Crazed-Catch Some Z’s) has a win and two seconds since coming into the Paul Kelley stable on July 19 and that includes a 1:56.4 lifetime mark at Vernon Downs. In his other two starts he was narrowly defeated by today’s favorites, Gabe The Bear Dean at Yonkers in 1:58.3 and Mambo Blue Chip at Monticello in 1:59.3. Jason Bartlett who has driven Insomniac for most of the year is aboard again, looking to avenge those defeats.

There are also three divisions of the Excelsior series on the card with total purses amounting to $38,000.

The most closely contested of those is the tenth race where Crashana (Crazed-Keystone Shana) is coming off back-to-back three length victories and is set to go against Lucky Budd (Lucky Chucky-Britt’s Spirit) who also has back-to-back victories going into tonight. Both horses scored their wins on the same nights at the same tracks, but raced in different divisions. They also both sport 1:57.3 lifetime marks at Vernon Downs.

Looking to play spoiler is Titanium (Conway Hall-Classic Yankee) who dropped into Excelsior action from the NYSS last week to collar his first win of the year at Monticello in 2:01.2, the same night Crashana and Lucky Budd raced and won. Facing these two for the first time and drawing inside them, Titanium will look to become the dominant trotter in this series tonight.

Post time for the first race is 6:35.

Monday, August 18, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Barn Doll leads quartet of frosh fillies in NYSS at Batavia Downs

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

(Barn Doll)

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Barn Doll got off to a slow start but she finished first and fastest of four divisions of New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Batavia Downs.

After getting away a gapped fourth, Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) and driver Jeff Gregory watched as Jim Morrill Jr.’s Pig Hunt cut out speedy fractions of :29 and :59.3, while pulling just before that second station. After starting the outer flow, Barn Doll slowly advance towards the leader as they hit the three-quarters in 1:30 flat. Once being eased around the last turn, Gregory got the filly in gear and she simply out-motored the rest to win in an impressive 1:59.4. Summers Windsong (Ray Schnittker) who followed Pig Hunt the whole race was second and My Lucky Word (Mark MacDonald) closed outside to be third. The winner paid $4.70.

This was the fifth win in seven starts for the Steve Pratt trained Barn Doll who has now earned $70,712 on the year for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt and the Purple Haze Stable. She is the current point’s leader in the NYSS standings for her gait and sex.

(Nunkeri)

Nunkeri (Lucky Chucky-Laverne Lavec) won the second fastest division, going wire-to-wire in 2:01. After leaving hard to grab the lead, Mark MacDonald then grabbed leather to perfectly rate the game trotter through fractions of :30.1, 1:01.1, 1:31.4 before flying home in a brisk :29.1 to register the win. Betcha (Dan Daley) was second and Northern Obsession (Ray Schnittker) was third. Nunkeri paid $3.50.

Nunkeri is owned by Millstream, Inc., and the Nunkeri Stable and is trained by Jonas Czernyson. This was her second win in five starts in 2014 and brings her bank up to $49,825.

(Kaliska)

Kaliska (Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian) also won her division in 2:01 but had to do it amidst an overabundance of road trouble. At the start of the race, Duolectra (Mark MacDonald) made a break which allowed Kaliska to inherit a quick lead. That lead was subsequently challenged by Summer Scent (Dan Daley) to the quarter in :30.2. Once she cleared, Kaliska and Ray Schnittker followed close behind while watching Concentration (Chris Lems), Frou Frou (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Spell That (Sam Schillaci) make breaks at various points of the mile. Once pulled, Kaliska out-dueled Summer Scent to the wire to win by almost two lengths. Kaliska returned $15 to win.

The victory was the second of the year for Kaliska and pushed her earnings to $44,957 for owners Tom Spatorico, the Pepin Stable, Farm Alber Horse Racing LLC and Ray Schnittker, who is also her trainer.

(Zanna Blu)

In the fourth split, Zanna Blu (RC Royalty-Zann’s Fan) proved dominant in what became a very short field very fast. With an early scratch and Miss B’ville J (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Hot Start (Mark MacDonald) making breaks before the eighth pole, Zanna Blu found herself with a commanding lead and only three contenders behind her. Driver Gates Brunet took her through fractions of :30.3, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1 with a five-length lead, before shutting her down with a line-drive to a length and three-quarter win in 2:01.1. She returned $6.90 to her backers.

This was the third win in six starts for Zanna Blu and her owners Albert Crawford, Michelle Crawford and James Crawford. The winners share pushed the Gates Brunet trained filly’s cash total to $47,176 for 2014.

There were also two divisions of the Excelsior series on the card. Meshugana Miss (Crazed-Darling Marissa) who was driven by Mark MacDonald won the first $12,600 division in 2:00.4 for owner/trainer Janice Conner. Long Summer (Prayer I Am-Summer Ran) driven by Jeff Gregory won the second $12,700 split in 2:04.2 for owner Roy Dobbins and trainer Andrew Byler. And Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) was driven by Mark MacDonald and won the last $12,700 session in 2:02.4 for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt. Barn Girl is trained by Howard Okusko.

Driver Jim Morrill Jr. registered his 6,000 career driving victory in a non-betting Excelsior B race with Ron’s Coren in 2:04.1. Along with the wins, Morrill has pocketed purses totaling $87,659,175 during his career and annually remains one of the highest UDR reinsmen in the sport.

Drivers Jeff Gregory and Mark MacDonald both scored driving triples on the card.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 20) with post time at 6:35. The card features two divisions of the $110,000 New York Sires Stakes for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Fireyourguns goes ballistic in Batavia Downs feature

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

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

After being parked three-deep through the first turn and never seeing the rail until hitting the quarter in :27.2, Fireyourguns led the rest of the field on a tour of the property as he was never headed en route to capturing  the featured Open pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Aug. 16).

Leaving from post seven in a full field of eight, driver Mike Caprio shot Fireyourguns off the gate and circled Western Alumni (Jim McNeight) and Best Ears (Jack Flanigen) who also rushed for the front. Those two seated by the eighth pole and Fireyourguns continued to overtake the early leader Art Two D Two (Don Rothfuss) to take command.

After hitting the half in :55.3 and the three-quarters in 1:24, Best Ears popped out of third to try and challenge the leader, but after a valiant effort through the stretch the attempt came up short. Fireyourguns hung on for a three-quarter length victory in 1:53.1. Best Ears was second and a very fast-closing Rock N Roll Legend (Drew Monti) rallied from seventh to catch third.

The victory was the tenth of the year for Fireyourguns and it brought his annual income up to $76,020 for owners Jennifer and Robert Lowe and Terrance McClory, who also trains the horse.

Batavia Downs held their first free handicapping contest Saturday that offered those who entered a chance to win their share of $1,500 in prize money. A total of 225 people competed and after all the points were tallied, Nick Stranges, of Lockport, won first place and $700. The other four winners were: second place ($400) William Smith, of Corfu, third place ($250) Fred Gundell, of Pavilion, fourth place ($100), Linda Marfione, of Churchville, and fifth place ($50) Larry Hughson Jr., of Albion.

Batavia Downs would like to congratulations to all the winners and thank all who participated. The next free handicapping challenge is on Saturday, Sept. 20.

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Avalicious, Driving Miss Crazy victorious in NYSS at Batavia Downs

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

Written by Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

The weather was far from perfect for the Batavia Downs leg of the New York Sire Stake 3-year-old trotting fillies on Wednesday (Aug. 13) as premature autumnal conditions presented cold temperatures, rain and a track rated as “good.” But the tough got going and in one race, a major upset was the result.

In the first $59,100 NYSS division, Avalicious (RC Royalty-Say Your Prayers) was sent off as the even-money favorite and proved her backers correct as she made a big move at the half and cruised home victorious.

Off the gate, L Dees Scripture (Chris Lems) left for the lead and quickly faced a strong challenge from Oh Sweet Penelope (Dan Daley) up the backside. But just before the quarter that challenger made a break so Lems then guided L Dees Scripture unabated to the half in 1:01.

At that point Avalicious was out and rolling from fourth with Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines to push the issue before swooping by the leader to take command at the three-quarters in 1:30.3. Once they cleared, Morrill gave the filly her head and she trotted away in easy fashion to win in 2:00.4.

Beauty Of Gray (Jim Meittinis) shook loose for second and Lindys Crazy Dolly (Jeff Gregory) who was aired out hung on for third.

Avalicious paid $4.30 to win for owners Michelle Crawford, Albert Crawford and Patricia Crawford.

This was her fourth win in 11 starts this year and it pushed her earnings to $148,640 for trainer Ron Burke.

The second $59,100 split saw a major upset occur when 1-9 favorite Market Rally made a break attempting to take an early lead.

When the car pulled away to start the race, Driving Miss Crazy (Gates Brunet) and Gammy’s Girl (Jim Meittinis) both left and got away 1-2 as they straightened out up the backstretch. Market Rally (Jim Morrill Jr.) had tucked fourth off the wings to let the field settle, but then was pulled and started rolling past the eighth pole.

As they passed the quarter in :30 flat, Market Rally got ahead of the front runner to take the lead. But just as soon as she crossed over she made a break and ended up last, spotting the new leader about 10 lengths. That leader (Driving Miss Crazy) tended to her task, carrying the field to the half in 1:01.1 and the three-quarters in 1:30.4.

After a dull outer-flow offered no challenge through the middle fractions, Annie’s List (Tyler Buter) managed to overtake second and a still last Market Rally then tipped three-high around fading horses to start making up ground. As they straightened out for the stretch drive, Brunet was working Driving Miss Crazy to stay alert on the lead, Buter was urging Annie’s List to catch her and Morrill was working Market Rally to make up lost ground. After a good stretch drive, the trio hit the wire a length apart from each other with Driving Miss Crazy victorious in 2:00.4.

In a tight photo for place, Market Rally did in fact rally for second and Annie’s List was third.

In the shadow of the overwhelming favorite, Driving Miss Crazy was let go at 10-1 and paid $22.60 to those who supported her.

This was the sixth win in 13 starts for Driving Miss Crazy (Crazed-Schare Hall) who has now earned $124,017 in 2014 for trainer Gates Brunet and owners Theodore Gewertz, Y Jean Brunet and Deborah Brunet.

There were also two divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card and chalk bettors were in heaven as favorites dominated both races.

Right after the $12,600 first division started, Little Baby Peanut (Jeff Gregory) and Twist Of Faith (Tyler Buter) both made breaks as the group motored into the first turn. That left Classic Belisima (Gates Brunet) on a loose lead with Do You Believe (Jim Morrill Jr.) getting the trip as the group went single-file to the quarter in :30.4 and the half in 1:02.2.

Past the five-eighths Morrill pulled the pocket sitter and drew even with Classic Belisima and the two went stride for stride around the entire last turn. When they straightened out, Do You Believe proved to be the better horse as she pulled away to a two-length victory in 2:01.4.

Classic Belisima hung on for second and Ginny And Tonic (Ray Fisher Jr.) got up for third.

Do You Believe paid $2.30 as the heavy favorite for owners Brian Doolittle and Leigh Raymer, who also trains the filly.

In the second $12,700 division, Dreamsteeler (Cash Hall-Dream Street) turned in the fastest time of any of the stake races during the night, be they NYSS or Excelsior, in a dominating performance for trainer Tracy Brainard.

Driver Jim Morrill Jr. eased Dreamsteeler out of the gate and took his time getting to the front. But once they got there the filly was brave and Morrill had his hands full rating the mile. However he did a perfect job as they scooted through even fractions of :30, 1:00 and 1:30. Down the lane, Morrill sat chilly as Dreamsteeler just jogged home in 1.59.4.

How Bout Cash (Chris Lems) and Slice Slice Baby (Tyler Buter) completed the top three finishers in that order.

Dreamsteeler went off 1-9 and paid $2.20 to win. It was her sixth win in seven starts and brought the 2014 Excelsior points leading filly's coffers up to $34,950.

Driver Jim Morrill Jr. brought home four winners on the night and Gates Brunet and Tyler Buter both piloted doubles.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 15) with a 6:35 post.

Monday, August 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm

BZ Glide is best in Batavia Open

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

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

After Saturday night's cancellation due to poor weather conditions, the horses went back to work Sunday only to be greeted by more rain and a track rated “good." But that didn't keep BZ Glide from going worst to first in the Open trotting feature on Aug. 3.

As soon as the gate pulled away from the six-horse field, I’m The Cash Man (Drew Monti) crossed over from post two and had the lead before they hit the turn. The remainder of the field followed in drawn order until just before the half when Studio City (Ron Beback Jr.) pulled first over from third to challenge the leader.

By the time the group passed the half in 59.4 and headed to the three-quarters, a full outer flow had developed when Serious George (Jack Flanigen) and 1-2 betting favorite BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) came out to join the fray. At the top of the final turn, Serious George tipped three-deep and BZ Glide fanned four-wide as they motored toward the payoff. It was at that point that BZ Glide appeared to have a gas pedal as he easily sped away from the pack to win by a widening two-length margin. The betting choice paid $3.10 for the win.

The victory timed in 1:59.1 was the third of the year for BZ Glide and brought his seasonal earnings up to $32,120. The 5-year-old gelded son of Yankee Glide-Bloomer Zoomer is both owned and trained by his driver, Mike Caprio.

Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. had four winners on the card and that effort put him in a tie with Aaron Merriman for the North American dash-winning driver title with 453 victories each. Wrenn won with Bailey’s Magic ($5.90), Launching Tonight ($13.00), Ol’ Man River ($7.50) and Four Starz Credit ($3.00).

Live racing resumes on Wednesday evening at Batavia Downs with a 6:35 post time. Also please remember that all Back to the Track activities originally scheduled for Aug. 2 have been moved to next Saturday (Aug. 9) do to the weather-related cancellation.

Friday, August 1, 2014 at 11:24 am

Gural Hanover featured on NYSS card at Batavia Downs

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

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

When the 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters go postward Friday (8-1) to chase their cut of the $116,000 up for grabs in the two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes, the track record for this category is in danger of falling and its demise could come at the hooves of Gural Hanover.

Since arriving at the Ron Burke Stable, Gural Hanover has been almost perfect; stringing four consecutive victories most recently. Included in those wins were an all-age track record of 1:56.1 at Buffalo Raceway and an all-age track record of 1:55.2 at Monticello Raceway. This week he is singularly focused on Batavia Downs.

The track handicapper has installed the gelded son of Crazed as the 1-5 choice and due to the short field of five there will be win and exacta betting only. And 1-5 might be a windfall for bettors considering Gural Hanover is the NYSS point leader of his class and he has leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. navigating once again.

With his front-running style, current form and penchant for half-mile tracks, Gural Hanover definitely has the ability to erase the 1:54.3 mark set by Archangel in 2012.

Whereas this division looks to have an overwhelming favorite, the first division has the makings of a real solid horse race.

Flyhawk El Durado, Cash Me Out and Zoey De Vie are as even a group of trotters that could be put together in a race. All three have beaten each other at some point this year and the group looks resigned to banging heads for the remainder of the season.

Flyhawk El Durado (Conway Hall-El Paso Girl) was the NYSS 2-year-old trotting colt champion in 2013. He was six out of nine last year and finished his campaign in strong fashion. Since starting back this year for trainer Mark Ford, he faced some stiff Grand Circuit competition early finishing third behind 2014 Hambletonian starter Trixton in the Simpson Stake at the Meadowlands in May. In this series so far he has two wins, a second and two thirds and is coming off the best last outing (a 1:55.3 win at Yonkers Raceway) of anyone in this race.

With the exception of an early season break at Saratoga, the Cheryl Mc Givern trained Cash Me Out (Cash Hall-China Victory) has been no worse than second all year posting four wins and five seconds in 10 starts. He is the second richest starter in this field with $130,575 on the card for this year and just finished second to Gural Hanover last week. Michael Mc Givern is at the helm once again.

Zoey De Vie (Conway Hall-Paul’s Wink) made his stake debut this year in the Excelsior series victory before stepping up to the top level in June. Since then he has a win and three seconds in four NYSS starts. Last week he sat on the back of Flyhawk El Durado the entire mile at Yonkers but couldn’t get by him in the lane. However the trainer/driver duo of Heidi Rohr and Jim Morrill Jr. will look to avenge that defeat in this leg tonight.

The talented trotting trio of Cash Me Out (4-5), Flyhawk El Durado (3-1) and Zoey De Vie (8-5) is currently ranked second, third and fourth respectively on the NYSS leader board.

The undercard features two divisions of the $25,500 Excelsior Series A and two divisions of the $13,400 Excelsior Series B series races.

Post time for the 12-race card is 6:35 p.m.

Monday, July 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Track record smashed at Batavia Downs

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

All Bets Off with driver Matt Kakaley

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Three divisions of the New York Sire Stake for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings highlighted the Sunday afternoon card and it didn't take long for the youngsters to impress the crowd.
Prohibitive post-time favorite All Bets Off put on a clinic in winning the first division of the $116,900 sophomore stake and rewrote the record book in the process.

Leaving from post five, All Bets Off went right to the front and was never headed. In fact, for most of the mile no one could keep up with him. Driver Matt Kakaley set fractions of :27.3, :56.2 and 1:24.1 as he sped for the last turn. At that point All Bets Off found a new gear and pulled away to an unprompted eight-length victory in 1:51.2, which set a new track record for a 3-year-old colt and was only one-fifth shy of tying the all-age track record of 1:51.1 set by Aracache Hanover in 2011.

All Bets Off, who returned $2.60 for the win, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, the Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell and is trained by Ron Burke. The win was his sixth of the year and raised his lifetime earnings to $497,842.

The second division looked like it might break the record just set. After settling in second off the gate,  3-5 favorite Winds Of Change (Jim Morrill Jr.) bolted from the hole and shot to the top with a 6 length advantage at the quarter in :26.4. He was in command at the half in 54.1 with a gapped 10 length lead but the pack started reeling him in at the three-quarters.

After the leader hit that post in 1:22.4, Forty Five Red (Matt Kakaley) who had come first-over caught the leader by the top of the turn, but Moliere Hanover (Jason Bartlett) was right on his back and it became a two horse race all the way down the stretch. After a hard fought duel, Moliere Hanover won a neck decision over Forty Five Red in 1:53.3.

The time was a new lifetime mark for Moliere Hanover who was overlooked by the betting public and returned $24.20.

Moliere Hanover is owned by Baymond Racing LLC and is trained by P.J. Fraley.

The final split was won by Big Boy Dreams (Jason Bartlett) who presented his best outing of the year. Leaving from post five, Big Boy Dreams immediately took the lead and was never headed. After getting to the three-quarters in 1:25, Bartlett stretched out in the bike and simply urged the colt along with a few taps down the lane where the others attempt to catch him became futile. The mile time of 1:52.4 was a seasonal mark for Big Boy Dreams who returned $3.60 as the favorite.

Big Boy Dreams is owned by Dominick Rosato and is trained by Tracy Brainard.

There were also two divisions of the $12,600 Excelsior A series on the undercard.

The first was won by Murder He Wrote, driven by Jim Morrill Jr. in a time of 1:55.2 for owner Camelot Stable and trainer Linda Toscano. Murder He Wrote returned $3.80.

The second division went to Archetto Hanover who was driven by Brent Holland in 1:54.2 for owner Paymaq Racing, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger. Erv Miller trains Archetto Hanover who paid $7.60.

Driver Jim Morrill Jr. continued his driving domination as he registered five wins and two seconds on the 12-race card. Morrill is by far the top driver in the New York Sire Stake series and on the year as a whole, sports a gaudy .406 UDR.

Racing resumes Wednesday evening (7-30) at Batavia Downs with a 6:35 post time.

Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Top trainers, big stakes at Batavia Downs on Sunday

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

Press release:

The first of eight visits by the lucrative New York Sire Stakes takes place Sunday afternoon, July 27, at Batavia Downs and for the local fans it’s a chance to see some of the biggest names in harness racing.

Post time for the first race is 1:15.

The 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers will be on hand and that means some very exciting action.

There will be three legs of the NYSS and two of the Excelsior series and the entrants will be competing for combined purses in excess of $140,000.

The first division goes for $39,200 and looks to be the main event as it is loaded with talent and speed.

Perennial training leader Ron Burke will start 3-5 morning line favorite All Bets Off, who ships in with some impressive credentials. He won the $300,000 Art Rooney pace at Yonkers Raceway in May and after winning his elimination heat in 1:48.3, finished third in the $500,000 Hempt final at Pocono Downs behind McWicked last month. In that race, McWicked set a new world record for 3-year-old colts on a five-eighths mile track (1:47.3).

This will be the third start in the NYSS for All Bets Off this year who won at Vernon Downs in 1:50.2 and just 10 days ago finished second at Yonkers in 1:52.4 to Capital Account, who looks to be his toughest competition in today’s race. He has earnings of $291,575 already this year.

All Bets Off, who starts from post five and will be driven by Matt Kakaley, is part of an entry that includes stablemate Keystone Honor.

Capital Account has competed in some high-profile stakes already but without positive results. He drew post eight in both the $69,000 Somebeachsomewhere and $45,500 North America Cup elimination at Mohawk and finished well beaten in both. But even though he does not sport the gaudy numbers of the morning line favorite, he certainly has beaten him.

In his last start at Yonkers in NYSS action, Capital Account was pulled third over up the backside before tipping four-deep around the leader All Bets Off at the top of the stretch. He then outpaced the 1-5 favorite to the wire to win by a half-length. The 16-1 shot was overlooked last week but certainly won’t be in here.

Capital Account is trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter and will start from post three for leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr.

The second $39,200 division is headed by Canadian conditioner Cassie Coleman’s Twin B Tenacious. After getting 2014 off to an inauspicious start, Twin B Tenacious has now strung together four straight wins (the last a NYSS event at Yonkers) and registered a 1:50.3 lifetime mark at the Meadowlands in the process. Steve Smith, who has been at the helm for all four victories, will once again be in the bike and start from post four.

Forty Five Red, who is another entry from the powerful Burke stable, comes in off two consecutive wins at Yonkers Raceway which includes his seasonal mark of 1:52.3 in his last outing. Although he hasn’t missed a check all year, his most recent outings have probably been his best to date and indicate he will be a legitimate threat to the favorite.

The third division is worth $38,500 and looks to be a wide-open affair.

Stay Up Late has been made the morning line favorite but has yet to win in stake action at three. He has gone off the favorite in his last three starts but his sole victory this year came in an overnight event at Yonkers Raceway on July 8 in 1:53.3. He gets Jim Morrill Jr. up for the first time this year and starts from post four.

Neat draws the rail for trainer Erv Miller and is coming in off three very impressive starts. After just getting beat in 1:53.4 in a NYSS race at Buffalo on June 27, Neat finished second in an overnight at Pocono Downs in 1:50.1 over a sloppy track the following week. He was then back in Sire Stake action at Yonkers his last start where he got away sixth and chased a :56 flat last half parked out to finish third in 1:52.3.

Neat is rated at 5-2 for driver Brent Holland.

3-1 third choice Sir Sam’s Z Tam has the fastest seasonal mark and the most money earned of any other horse in this race, but also has the only NYSS victory this year. After hitting the board four consecutive times, he found himself parked out in a fast last half at Yonkers before finishing fifth.

Sam’s Z Tam will start from post three for trainer/driver the Pat Lachance.

The undercard features two divisions of the Excelsior series and they are slated to go as race seven and 10.

The first split goes for $12,600 and has two horses that have dominated the class; Cabbie’s Delight and Murder He Wrote.

8-5 favorite Cabbie’s Delight has not been worse than second in six Excelsior starts. In fact he is the point’s leader to date in the series. He won four straight out of the gate before finishing two close seconds in his most recent starts.

Trainer Sam Serianni has Jason Bartlett in the bike this week as he looks to get back in the winner’s circle.

9-5 co-favorite Murder He Wrote has won his last two starts, including a NYSS event at Buffalo Raceway where he blew up the tote board at 45-1. The roan gelding drew immediate respect after that when he went off the prohibitive favorite the following week at Yonkers where he won wire to wire in 1:54.1.

Jim Morrill Jr. will drive Murder He Wrote and starts from post five for conditioner Linda Toscano.

The final $12,600 Excelsior contest is headlined by 2-1 choice Believeinthespirit. After having negligible success in four straight NYSS races, trainer Ed Lohmeyer reclassified his charge to the Excelsior and the change has proven fruitful. Believeinthespirit has won his last two starts in convincing fashion and looks to continue the streak from post two.

5-2 second choice Archetto Hanover is the second highest point getter in the Excelsior series behind Cabbie’s Delight and has three wins and two seconds to show for his efforts. Trainer Erv Miller has Brent Holland up for this trip and will depart from post five.

For more racing information or to watch race replays as soon as they are declared official, logon to www.bataviadonwsgaming.com <http://www.bataviadonwsgaming.com/> .  Or if you would like to bet online and watch live streaming coverage of the races as they occur, logon to www.bataviabets.com <http://www.bataviabets.com/>  and open an account.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 8:35 am

Live harness racing returns to Batavia Downs in new season

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

Press release:

An enthusiastic crowd lined the fence to welcome back live harness racing at the oldest lighted harness track in North America and their zeal was rewarded with a great slate of exciting contests on a warm summer night.

The feature race was the $9,500 Mares Open Pace where newcomer Bazooka Terror established her status the first start out of the box as she soundly defeated her competition in 1:55.4.

Bazooka Terror is owned by her trainer, Leonard Segall of Clearwater, Fla. This was her sixth win of the year and it pushed her bankroll to $43,904 for 2014. She returned $6.20 for the win.

In the co-featured $7,500 Open Mares Trot, Love Me Do took a huge step in class and thought nothing of it as she cruised to a five-length victory in a seasonal best time of 1:59.

Love Me Do was claimed last week for $8,000 after winning that race from post seven in 2:00.1. Apparently liking what he bought, trainer Alex Giuliani wasted no time in promoting her to the top level for her sex and gait this week and the move paid off.

Love Me Do left and tucked third as 3-2 favorite Fiorentina (John Cummings Jr.) took the front and began to cut the mile. After a 29 second quarter and 59 second half, Love Me Do tipped at the five-eighths and took the lead past the three-quarters in 1:28.4. When she got the lead she got away from the pack and scored an easy five-length victory, her sixth of the year.

The time of 1:59 was a seasonal mark for Love Me Do and the winners share raised the annual earnings to $31,397. She paid $10.20 to win.

Love Me Do is owned by Mark Jakubik of West Seneca.

Reinsman Kevin Cummings carried his hot hand over from the recently concluded Buffalo meet winning four times on opening night while 2013 Batavia leading dash driver Shawn Mcdonough notched a triple.

Batavia Downs returns live this Friday night (July 25) with 12 races on the card. For more racing information, a list of racing promotions, or to watch race replays as soon as they are declared official, log on to www.bataviadonwsgaming.com. Or if you would like to bet online and watch live streaming coverage of the races as they occur, log on to www.bataviabets.com and open an account.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm

NY Sire Stakes to be held in Genesee County for the first time tomorrow night at Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, NY Sire Stakes, sports

Press release:

On Thursday, July 10, Batavia Downs will become the newest stop on the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) fair circuit when the Genesee County leg of that series convenes for the first time.

It's been a long and circuitious route for this to occur.

The Genesee County Agricultural Society has held an annual fair in Batavia, NY, since 1839. And from 1890 through 1946 they called the current site of Batavia Downs their home. The track was known as Exposition Park and every year harness racing was one of the most anticipated events on the fair schedule.

But in 1947 when Batavia Downs founder Pat Provenzano bought the property he had originally leased from the society to expand his growing pari-mutuel empire, the fair relocated to another site and fair racing in Genesee County ceased.

Since the inception of the New York Sire Stake in 1961, there has never been a fair date contest in Genesee County until now and the addition became a reality because of a natural disaster that occurred last year.

Todd Haight, Batavia Downs director/general manager of live racing said “Last year we held the Caledonia Fair races at Batavia Downs when their track in Livingston County was washed out by heavy rain. And it was a great success. We had a large crowd here and the racing was great. So we thought, why not host fair racing here every year?”

Haight contacted the NYSS and the Genesee County Agricultural Society and the groups came together with a plan. The result of that collaboration is the return of fair racing to the track they left  seven decades ago.

“We’re happy to be partnering with the Genesee County Fair folks on hosting the races and all the activities that go along with them. I see no reason why the fair races couldn’t become an annual event here at Batavia Downs,” Haight concluded.

Nick O'Geen, Genesee County Agricultural Society Board member said “This is a unique opportunity for the Genesee County Fair to partner with Batavia Downs to bring harness racing to back the fair.”

Post time for the first race is 1:15 p.m.

In addition to the races, there will be events for the whole family on the track apron including carnival games, a bounce house, a juggler and a balloon artist. Also available will be a $3 lunch special for kids 12 and younger as well as $1 ice cream cones, snow cones and cotton candy. Fair events at Batavia Downs run from 11 until 4.

Batavia Downs will also be offering discounted advance sale tickets for other fair events and with the purchase of any ticket, will provide a $10 free-play voucher redeemable on their gaming floor.

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