• Batavia Downs concludes their platinum season

    December 22, 2016
    Batavia, NY — On Saturday (Dec. 17), the curtain came down on the 70th anniversary season of racing at Batavia Downs. America’s oldest lighted harness track’s meet that began on Monday (July 25), ran two days longer than originally scheduled after racing was extended for an extra weekend.

    As usual, the stake season was highlighted by eight divisions of the New York Sire Stake series which featured the best state bred horses and Grand Circuit horsemen. The series featured visits from the likes of John Campbell and Andy Miller and produced two new track records.

    On Saturday (Sept. 3) Pointomygranson (Marcus Miller) toured the facility in 1:53.2 and set a new standard for 2-year-old pacing geldings and on Wednesday (Sept. 14) Zack’s Zoomer (Marcus Miller) trotted a mile in 1:58.1 and established a new track record for 2-year-old trotting colts.

    Racing under saddle (RUS) made its debut at the Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 7) and that produced a new track record as well. Admirable Hanover who was ridden by Vanessa Karlewicz won the $4,000 event in 2:03.4.

    On Saturday (Oct. 9), Batavia Downs signature stake, the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial trot saw the $7 million man, Foiled Again (Kevin Cummings) come from well off the pace to win by a length in 1:52.2 on the strength of an exciting stretch drive at 9-1. That win marked the 90th trip to the winner’s circle for the richest standardbred in the history of the sport.

    For the first time ever, Batavia Downs offered a new claiming series that ran throughout the whole meet. Claimers of both gaits accrued points month to month in order to make finals worth between $15,000 and $20,000. On Saturday (Nov. 13) trotters Love U Forever and Chrome Finish, and pacers Outoftexas, War Front, Vals Jett, Big Unit and Can U Be Fun won the finals in their respective divisions.

    In September, Batavia Downs hosted a new owner’s seminar in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association and the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State. 26 people took part in the workshop that took them from the classroom to the paddock and provided them with everything they needed to learn in order to make informed decisions about Standardbred ownership.

    On the track, one of the best driving colonies in some time put on quite a show. Perennial local favorite Jim Morrill Jr. put in another stellar effort that was highlighted by a seven-win night, two six-win nights and four five-win nights.

    But it was 22-year-old Drew Monti who eventually won the dash driving title with 116 wins for the meet. Monti also registered a seven-win night and two five-win efforts as well. It was the first ever driving title won by Monti.

    Jim Morrill Jr. did set a new single meet earnings record at the Downs after he banked $849,024 in purses from July to December.

    JD Perrin “three-peated” his training crown, finishing first again this year with 47 wins. Perrin’s meet started off strong before many of his horses fell ill. But after a trying middle stretch, the stable got back on track over the last month and Perrin was able to defend his title again.

    The winningest post position was post one with 231 wins followed by post two (151), post four (138) and post three (126). Post one also made the board 63% of the time.

    Also, the favorites won the race 46% of the time during the course of the meet.

    “We had a very exciting year at Batavia Downs this year. The product on the track was very competitive and having drivers like Jim Morrill Jr., Drew Monti, Shawn Gray and newcomer Larry Stalbaum joining the fray, the competition was fierce every night” said Todd Haight, GM/Director of Live Racing. “Despite our handle being down 5% for the meet, we paid out a record $5.9 million in purse money and we look forward to doing that again next year.”

    Pending approval from the New York State Gaming Commission, the 2017 live racing meet at Batavia Downs will start on Wednesday (July 26).

    The management and horsemen of Batavia Downs would like to wish everyone in the industry a very Happy Holiday season and the best of luck in the upcoming new year.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Shady City closes out the meet with feature win at Batavia Downs

    December 18, 2016
    Batavia, NY — Shady City stuck to script with a strong come from behind effort to win the $9,500 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 17).

    Foreign Officer (Shawn Gray) shot out for the lead quickly and gained that position without any opposition. Once there, he led the group in single file to the half in :57.2. When the race advanced past five-eighths, Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) pulled first up and brought Warrawee Qually (Kevin Cummings) with him as they proceeded to advance toward the leader.

    Those positions remained unchanged around the far turn, but at the head of the stretch, Shady City put on another of his furious closing brushes. He went by the fading Foreign Officer, as well as Western Expression (Mike Whelan) who had tripped-out and snuck up the rail, to win by a head in 1:54.4.

    It was the sixth win of the year for Shady City ($4.10) who has now earned $68,332 for 2016. The 6-year-old gelded son of Metropolitan is owned by his driver, Larry Stalbaum and is trained by Kim Asher.

    In the $9,000 co-featured Open II pace, Rock The Dream (Ray Fisher Jr.) came from last at the half to go three-wide at three-quarters and win a narrow decision over Private Equity (Todd Cummings) in 1:55.1. It was the fourth win in five starts for Rock The Dream ($7.90) who is owned by Tessa Roland and trained by the Downs leading trainer, JD Perrin.

    Ray Fisher Jr. had a driving grand slam while Larry Stalbaum got the hat trick and Shawn Gray doubled up. Trainer Kim Asher also had three wins on the night followed by JD Perrin with two.

    As the 2016 meet came to a close, the leading driver and trainer were welcomed in front of the grandstand and presented with their winning hardware. Drew Monti was the leading dash driver with 116 wins and trainer JD Perrin was the top conditioner for the third straight year at the Batavia summer/fall meet with 47 wins.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Wanna Rock N Roll goes coast to coast in Batavia Downs feature

    December 18, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Wanna Rock N Roll continued her late season dominance of the best local mares as she fended off challenges the entire race to take the $9,000 Mares Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 16).

    Wanna Rock N Roll (Drew Monti) left like a freight train and took a lead she would never relinquish. But her journey was not without pressure. Scarlet N Silk (Ray Fisher Jr.) also left from post eight and acted like a prompter in a time trial for three-quarters of a mile.

    After recording stiff fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:27.1 on a frigid night, Wanna Rock N Roll put away Scarlet N Silk, but then face an onslaught of horses swinging four-wide around the parking ticket recipient.

    The Filly Princess (Kevin Cummings), Aritiza Hanover (Ben McNeil) and Tymal Luckynpink (Shawn Gray) were bearing down on the leader around the last turn and inching closer with every stride. But Monti started urging and his mare, who responded in kind, and Wanna Rock N Roll paced away to a length victory in 1:56.3.

    It was the third straight victory in the top distaff class at Batavia Downs for Wanna Rock N Roll ($2.70) and tenth overall for the year. She has now earned $71,220 in 2016 for owner Rose Campbell. The 5-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover is trained by Steve Kiblen.

    Shawn Gray registered a driving triple on Friday while Drew Monti, Shawn McDonough and Ray Fisher Jr. each had a double.

    The final card of racing for the 2016 season is Saturday (Dec. 17) at a special post time of 5 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • UNY-USHWA to honor top horses at Batavia Downs

    December 16, 2016
    Batavia, NY—The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has named their divisional winning horses of the meet for Batavia Downs, whose live racing season comes to a close on Saturday (Dec. 17). The connections of these horses will be honored and presented trophies in the Purple Haze winner’s circle on Friday night (Dec. 16).

    Male Pacer of the Meet
    Thunderbolt Jaxon 18-8-2-4 $41,100 1:53.3
    Owner: Michael L. Torcello
    Trainer: Gerry Sarama
    Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. and Ray Fisher Jr.

    Male Trotter of the Meet
    Kahoku 15-4-4-1 $34,005 1:56.3
    Owner: Colleen Girdlestone
    Trainer: Mark Laidlaw
    Driver: Ron Beback Jr. and Kevin Cummings

    Female Pacer of the Meet
    My Tallia Ideal 16-5-3-4 $38,061 1:53.4
    Owner: Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney McNeight
    Trainer: Dave McNeight Jr.
    Driver: Dave McNeight III

    Female Trotter of the Meet
    Love U Forever 17-6-5-2 $37,680 1:58.3
    Owner: Michael L. Torcello and Samuel Smith
    Trainer: David Weston and Gerry Sarama
    Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. and Dave McNeight III

    Claimer of the Meet
    Charmschooldropout 17-8-3-1 $27,394 1:56.4
    Owner: Priscilla Mooney and Edward Belica
    Trainer: Priscilla Mooney
    Driver: Jim Morrill Jr., Kevin Cummings and Ray Fisher Jr.

    By Tim Bojarski, for USHWA
    (Photos courtesy of Paul White)


  • Armbro Casino to be retired at Batavia Downs Friday From Batavia Downs Media Relations

    December 16, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Not too many Standardbreds are tough enough to make it through their 14th year and still be on the track winning races. Former Open trotter Armbro Casino is one and he will lead the post parade for the Open trot on Friday night (Dec. 16) at Batavia Downs and then circle back to the winner’s circle where he will be officially retired.

    Whereas some horses make a lot of money in a short period of time winning stake races, it takes a special kind of horse to be competitive night after night, year after year and accumulate over a half-million dollars in the process. Armbro Casino has done just that.

    Armbro Casino is by Striking Sahbra out of the Pine Chip mare Chiptease. He was bred by the Armstrong Brothers of Brampton, Ontario and as a yearling, sold at Lexington as hip number 189 for $25,000.

    He didn’t race as a 2-year-old and then his first four years at the races after that were at best, inauspicious. He didn’t even make enough to cover costs. Between dealing with issues that racehorses do, his starts were limited and the quality of those were as well. But he always showed promise and glimpses of what he really was.

    Armbro Casino’s first really good year was in 2009 when he competed in upper level condition races at major east coast tracks under the tutelage of Shaun Vallee. Over the next five years, Vallee and Armbro Casino would be household names at those venues as they would go on to accrue 26 wins, a mark of 1:55.4 and $439,845 in purses during that time.

    Even at the end of that run, the then 12-year-old gelding was far from done. On September 5, 2014, the venerable trotter set a new lifetime mark at Harrah’s Philly when he went wire to wire in 1:53.3 by a gapped six-lengths while the rest of the field could only watch.

    During his career, Armbro Casino raced at 17 different tracks in 9 different states. He had 305 starts, 55 wins, 38 second, 41 thirds and made $600,188 in purses. That’s an average of just under $2,000 per start, all in overnight races.

    For the last two years, Armbro Casino has raced under the ownership of USHWA president Tim Bojarski and Tony Gruppo. They have arranged for him to go to New Vocations in Laurelville, Ohio to be retrained for life after racing and eventually, re-homed with his new skills.

    New Vocations is one of the premier racehorse retraining facilities and has a program that their horses go through which is designed with the best interests of the horse in mind. The Laurelville location is run by Jennifer Daniels.

    “The first week he’ll settle in and start acclimating to our barn routine and being turned out. By the end of the week he will likely be paired with one or two paddock mates. If he needs a bit of a rest we’ll let him vacation for a while. But if he’s ready to go back to work, we’ll start with longeing and groundwork in the first part of week two” said Daniels.

    Week two is when their horses are evaluated for temperament, aptitude and soundness. After a couple days of in-hand work and longeing, they put a rider up with a third line. Usually after five or 10 minutes of learning leg and seat aids, they come off the line and are being ridden solo.  From there it’s just a matter of putting quiet saddle time in.

    “We want to give each horse the best possible chance to succeed in their new home– we want them to be relaxed and happy in their job so we take things slow and instill solid basics.  It will be an adopter’s job to finish their training. Our job is to prep them for that and figure out who the horse is as an individual, the type of rider they will need and the lifestyle they’re best suited for” said Daniels.

    Once they feel they’ve got a good handle on who the horse is, New Vocations then takes photos and video and posts their profile to their website (newvocations.org).  Then carefully screened and approved adopters will reach out when they see a horse they’re interested in.

    New Vocations

    newvocations.org

    Check out the latest from the NV Blog! New Vocations & 2017 Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover. New Vocations is happy to assist any …

    “We evaluate their application carefully and set up an interview time– it’s really important to make a good match.  We are a service for the horse first and foremost; the successful adopter will be one that’s the best fit for that individual horse.  Typically every horse will get 20-40 inquiries and our job is to find the best match” Daniels summarized.

    Winnie Morgan Nemeth is the Standardbred Program Director at New Vocations. She was raised in the Standardbred business and is passionate about the breed and promoting them beyond the race track.

    “Having a retirement ceremony like this (for Armbro Casino) brings so much awareness to our great horses and lets our audience know how much the racing connections care about their them. I think it is a very fitting tribute for him as well. We are excited to have him come to New Vocations!” said Morgan Nemeth.


  • Rich Mays and Jim McNeight Jr. to be honored by UNY-USHWA

    December 15, 2016
    Batavia, NY—As the 2016 live racing season comes to a close at Batavia Downs, the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association annually recognizes the top horses and horsemen who put on the show for the racing fans during the meet.

    This year the Chapter will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Rich Mays and the Award of Valor to Jim McNeight Jr.

    Richie Mays got his start in harness racing by working for his father, Frank Mays, who was a respected longtime horseman in western New York. They were stabled at the Butternut Farm which was a training facility they owned in Silver Creek, NY.

    At a young age, Mays, along with his brothers Frank Jr, Tom and Terry, were taking care of outstanding horses like Mighty Tar Heel, a local legend that his father trained. Richie perfected his skills from the ground up and was eventually driving by the 1970’s. Getting good mounts from the family stable gave Mays notoriety and it didn’t take long before he became a very popular catch driver.

    Through the 1970’s and 80’s, Mays was one of the top drivers on the Batavia-Buffalo circuit and the horses that he and his family campaigned dotted the top classes for many of those years.

    Magician, Lyron Hanover, May O Neighs, Avon Sweet Song, Suspense, Elmo Hanover, Sam Fella, R L Lobell, Family Fortune, Spooky Doyle, Mountain Pam, Karen’s Joy, Diesel Duke, Two Twenty Two and Serious George are just a small sampling of names that Mays brought to the winner’s circle in a career that spans over five decades and is still going strong.

    Mays has logged career numbers as both a driver and trainer. Driving he has 1,638 wins and $4.22 million in earnings. As a conditioner he shows another 273 wins and $1.2 million in purses.

    Successful and professional could be used when discussing Richie Mays. But liked and respected by all who know him is what everyone would tell you first.

    On June 1 of this year, longtime western New York driver Jim McNeight went down in a three-horse accident at Buffalo Raceway and seriously injured his back. Being immediately sideline from doing any training or driving, and with a quick come back not a consideration, the day to day operation of the stable was seriously in jeopardy.

    Jimmy’s son, 19-year-old Jim Jr., had been grooming horses for a little over a year before getting his “Q” license. He had only driven 20 qualifiers in 2015 and 14 more in 2016. He was given his “P” license and made his first pari-mutuel start on May 6 of this year. 17 professional drives into his career, his father went down and it was time for him to step up. And step up is exactly what he did.

    It’s not easy to fill the shoes of a horseman who has 3,578 wins and $13 million earned driving and another 974 wins and $3.3 million training. But the young McNeight answered the bell and put up impressive numbers despite taking on his father’s training and driving responsibilities of a 10-horse stable with little experience.

    McNeight Jr. had a lot to learn. He had never even driven a truck and trailer before. But with the help of Michelle Gramza and Bradley Jackson who would help him train, Bill Weigand who helped him jog, and Bruce Scheffler, Dale Donovan and Mike Kwoka who helped with barn work, the young McNeight eventually got a handle on the day to day operation and fell into a groove that helped his family keep the business running smoothly.

    Two days after McNeight Jr. took over the barn, he scored his first ever win behind their good trotter, Jim Dandy in 2:00 flat. For the remainder of the Buffalo meet he added 4 more wins, 8 seconds and 14 thirds out of 71 starts and earned $37,544 in purses.

    During the current Batavia Downs meet, McNeight Jr. has 12 wins, 10 seconds and 15 thirds with $94,224 in earnings.

    In the face of adversity and under a tremendous amount of pressure, Jim McNeight Jr. has put together a year he can be proud of. He registered 208 starts with 17 wins, 18 seconds and 29 thirds with $102,975 in purse money.

    He also gained a wealth of experience through sweat equity, all with helping his family in mind.

    Rich Mays and Jim McNeight Jr. will receive their awards in the Purple Haze Winners’ Circle at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 16).

    By Tim Bojarski, president of USHWA


  • Drew Monti and JD Perrin named top horsemen at Batavia Downs

    December 15, 2016
    Batavia, NY—With only two nights of racing left in the 2016 season at Batavia Downs, the competition for top horsemen of the meet has been decided.

    Drew Monti is the dash winning driver of the meet and JD Perrin is the dash winning trainer of the meet.

    Drew Monti currently has 114 wins at Batavia Downs and is two ahead of Jim Morrill Jr., who began his winter break a short while ago. He also has 89 seconds and 79 thirds with $621,716 in earnings. For the year, Monti has won 217 races and earned a single year career best $1.2 million in purses.

    This is the first ever driving title won by Monti and at just 22 years of age, makes him one of the youngest drivers ever to accomplish this in western New York.

    Monti has been driving full time for the last four years while attending Canisius College to attain his degree in economics. Despite the long hours required for these endeavors, Monti excelled both in school and at the track.

    His four-year career totals to date show 688 wins, 644 seconds and 694 thirds on the strength of 4,885 starts and just under $3.7 million in purses.

    JD Perrin has now won the training crown for a third straight year at Batavia Downs. Perrin sent 44 horses to the winner’s circle, six more than Maria Rice who did not enter any horses at Batavia this weekend. Perrin also had 44 seconds and 34 thirds. These efforts helped his students put $255,338 in the bank this meet.

    Overall in 2016, Perrin has won 151 races with 103 seconds and 83 thirds with $716,319 in purses. It’s also interesting to note that his starts, wins and purses won were all career high numbers.

    Although Perrin doesn’t drive much anymore since turning his attention to training full time upon arriving in western New York in 2012, he did manage to get eight starts in the bike this year with one win for his efforts.

    Perrin’s career training numbers show 723 wins, 561 seconds and 460 third out of 3,377 starts and $3.1 million in earnings.

    Monti and Perrin will be honored in a winner’s circle presentation at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 17) during the races.

    Here are the current top five drivers and trainers of the 2016 Batavia Downs meet:

    Drivers
    Drew Monti 114 wins
    Jim Morrill Jr. 112 wins
    Ray Fisher Jr. 92 wins
    Kevin Cummings 75 wins
    Dave McNeight III 67 wins

    Trainers
    JD Perrin 44
    Maria Rice 38
    Gerry Sarama 34
    Dave McNeight Jr. 30
    Priscilla Mooney 24

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Shady City charges to Open win at Batavia Downs

    December 11, 2016
    Batavia, NY—The public was heavily backing Thunderbolt Jaxon after he won the top class the last three weeks, but Shady City ($9.40) had other ideas as he fired late to a photo win in the $9,500 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 10).

    Three horses bolted from the gate and argued for the front before Thunderbolt Jaxon (Ray Fisher Jr.) took control as they12-10-shady-city passed the quarter pole. Things settled down until the half when Brees Creek (Drew Monti) pulled first over bringing an outer flow that had the race in two rows; three in and three out.

    Heading towards three-quarters, Thunderbolt Jaxon had gapped Brees Creek and he went back to the pylons. This left China Dream (Shawn Gray) and Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) outside on the chase around the last turn. China Dream and Thunderbolt Jaxon then went stride for stride to the top of the lane and it looked like it was one of theirs for the taking. But three-lengths behind them, Stalbaum cranked up Shady City who then paced furiously down the lane. He gobbled up ground all the way to the wire and headed China Dream for the win in 1:55. Thunderbolt Jaxon hung on for third.

    It was Shady City’s second win at Batavia Downs and fifth overall for the year and it increased his earnings to $63,582. Larry Stalbaum owns the 6-year-old son of Metropolitan who is trained by Kimberly Asher.

    The Stalbaum-Asher combination also took the co-featured $8,600 Open II-III pace when Itsonlyrocknroll A went wire to wire in 1:54.1 to score his third win in his last four starts and ninth win of the year. Stalbaum also owns Itsonlyrocknroll A who now has earned $49,454 in 2016.

    Several horse people had multiple win performances on Saturday night. Drew Monti and Larry Stalbaum both had the driving hat trick while Shawn Gray scored a double. Trainer Kim Asher sent three winners to post and JD Perrin sent two.

    With two nights of racing left in the 2016 meet, Drew Monti is the dash driving leader with 114 wins and trainer JD Perrin leads in his category with 44 wins.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 16) with post time for the first race at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Wanna Rock N Roll Takes Top Mares at Batavia Downs

    December 9, 2016
    Batavia, NY—As squalls streamed off of Lake Ontario, it was like racing in a snow globe at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 9). But despite the inclement weather, Wanna Rock N Roll delivered like the mailman and won the featured $9,500 mares Open pace as a result.

    Wanna Rock N Roll (Drew Monti) took a quick early lead before releasing that spot to the charging Aritzia Hanover (Ben McNeil) at the quarter. The field remained in single-file style to the half when Susie’s Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) pulled first-over with Who Says That (Shawn Gray) on her tail.

    Racing up the backstretch, McNeil popped the plugs on Aritzia Hanover and accelerated the pace, causing the outer flow to stall as they passed three-quarters in 1:26.4. That uncovered the pocket-sitting Wanna Rock N Roll who was primed to strike at the top of the lane, and that’s just what she did. Monti tugged the right line and began methodical urging and the mare responded in kind, pacing right by Aritzia Hanover in 1:55.4 while Monti tucked the whip.12-9-wanna-rock-n-roll

    It was the second straight top distaff class victory for Wanna Rock N Roll ($5.20) and her ninth win overall in 2016 and it inflated her earnings for the year to $66,720. Rose Campbell owns the 5-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover who is trained by Steve Kiblin.

    In the co-featured $8,500 Open trot, Kahoku ($9.00) overcame the dreaded eight-hole to gain an easy coast to coast victory in 1:58.2 with Ron Beback Jr. in the bike. Kahoku now has 13 wins this year and $82,415 in earnings for owner Colleen Girdlestone and trainer Mark Laidlaw.

    Drew Monti had hot hands on the cold Friday night, winning three races on the card. After that, doubles were the norm. Shawn Gray and Ray Fisher Jr. both had two driving wins while Steve Kiblin and Jeff Amann each watched two of their students get pictures taken.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 10) with post time for the first race set at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Tis the season for promotions at Batavia Downs

    December 9, 2016
    Batavia, NY—The 2016 live harness racing meet may be coming to a close at Batavia Downs next week, but there are still plenty of promotions left on the slate before the final race goes off.

    A free $500 Pick-6 contest will be held on Saturday (Dec. 10), Friday (Dec. 16) and Saturday (Dec. 17). Players must pick all six winners to win on December 10 or December 16. If that is not done, the December 17 prize increases to $1,000 and is a mandatory payout. So if no one picks all six winners, those who select the most will get paid, as the pool will be divided equally.

    The Pick-6 starts on race four and runs through race nine. Players can pick up their entries at Player’s Club beginning at 5:00 p.m. each night. Entries can then be deposited until start of 4th race. Because of the earlier 5 p.m. post time on Saturday (Dec. 17), the sign up for the Pick-6 will commence at 3:30 p.m. There is a limit of one entry per person.

    Friday (Dec. 16) is also Customer Appreciation Day at Batavia Downs. After the fourth race, live racing fans can celebrate with free sandwiches from Subway of Batavia, free cake from BJ’s Wholesale of Batavia and coffee courtesy of Batavia Downs. All are while supplies last. It’s Batavia Downs way of saying “Thank You” to all our loyal customers.

    Then on Saturday (Dec. 17), there will be a free “all-age” Holiday concert by country music recording artist Ricky Lee in the Paddock Room from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. He will perform many seasonal favorites along with some of his original hits.

    The clubhouse is completely sold out for Saturday (Dec. 17) so this Saturday (Dec. 10) will be the last night to dine on the Downs famous prime rib, crab leg and shrimp buffet.
    Finally, simulcast wagering returns to Batavia Downs 7 days a week starting on Sunday (Dec. 18) in the simulcast center.

    There are only four cards of racing left in the 2016 season: Friday (Dec. 9), Saturday (Dec. 10), Friday (Dec. 16) and Saturday (Dec. 17). Post time is 6:15 p.m. each night except for Saturday (Dec. 17), when post time will be 5:00 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Closing week draw schedule at Batavia Downs

    December 8, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Horsemen racing at Batavia Downs are reminded of draw schedule changes for the final week of the meet.

    A double draw will take place on Tuesday (Dec. 13) for race cards to be held on Friday (Dec. 16) and Saturday (Dec. 17). The entry box will close at the normal time of 9 a.m.

    All program information including driver changes must be submitted to the judges by 10 a.m. on Wednesday December 14.

    There are only 4 race cards remaining in the 2016 season that concludes on Saturday (Dec. 17).

    Post time for all remaining cards will be 6:15 p.m. with the exception of closing night (Dec. 17) when the races will kick off at 5:00 p.m.

    For more information please visit the horsemen’s link at www.bataviadownsgaming.com.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Thunderbolt Jaxon’s third strike at Batavia Downs

    December 4, 2016
    Batavia, NY—In what could only be described as the claim of the year in western New York, Thunderbolt Jaxon who was taken for $12,500 on October 1, has now won his third straight $9,500 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec.3).

    Thunderbolt Jaxon (Ray Fisher Jr.) left sharply and eventually took the lead after being parked out by Inthenameofjames (Drew Monti) to the quarter. When the field settled in,12-4-thunderbolt they stayed single file to the half when Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) pulled and started an outer flow with Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) on his heels.

    Feeling the heat, Fisher let his charge out a notch up the backside and put some space between him and the attackers as they sped by three-quarters in 1:26.1. At the head of the stretch, Inthenameofjames popped out of the two-hole and took a quick shot at the leader. But that challenge was swiftly turned away as Fisher rocked and knocked in perfect timing and Thunderbolt Jaxon sped away to an easy two-length victory in 1:55.1.

    It was the sixth win in nine starts since being claimed, and 10th win of the year for Thunderbolt Jaxon ($10.80). He has now accrued $53,846 in annual earnings, the bulk of which has benefited his current owner Mike Torcello. The 4-year-old gelded son of Mach Three is trained by Gerry Sarama.

    In the co-featured $8,600 Open II pace, P H Hellcat (Shawn Gray) led from the quarter pole until about 200 feet from the wire; that’s when the pocket-sitting Brees Creek (Drew Monti) paced on by him to win by a neck in 1:56. Brees Creek ($8.70) is owned by the Resilient Racing Stable and trained by Rose Russo.

    Several horse people had multiple win performances on Saturday night, led by Drew Monti who had a driving triple. Shawn Gray had a driving double while Sean McDonough was victorious with two horses he both drove and trained. And trainers Rose Russo and JD Perrin each sent two students to the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle for pictures.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Dec. 7) with  post time at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Wanna Rock N Roll Emerges Victorious at Batavia Downs

    December 3, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Wanna Rock N Roll had an impressive first part of 2016, racing at Yonkers Raceway and Vernon Downs. But after making four starts at Batavia in the distaff Open, the mare was turned out in August. Now in only her second start back from the layoff, Wanna Rock N Roll was victorious in the $9,500 mares Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 2).

    Even-money favorite My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) left and became the early race commander, taking the abbreviated field of five through their paces in post-position order in :28.3 and :59.3. When the group passed the five-eighths pole, Looney Dune (Ben McNeil) and Susie’s Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) both came off the rail and went nowhere, but the move allowed Kruella (Shawn McDonough) to shoot up the pylons from last to third behind the pocket sitting Wanna Rock N Roll (Drew Monti).

    As the girls came off the last turn, Wanna Rock N Roll tipped out and started pacing by the tiring My Tallia Ideal while Kruella ducked to the passing lane and did the same. But Wanna Rock N Roll had the jump and cruised to an easy length victory in 1:57.12-3-wanna-rock-n-roll

    This was the eighth win of the year for Wanna Rock N Roll ($14.80) and the purse increased her earnings to $61,970. Rose Campbell owns the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover that is trained by Steve Kiblin.

    In the co-featured $9,000 Open trot, Noble Legend (Shawn Gray) followed Kahoku (Ron Beback Jr.) for 7/8th’s of a mile before pulling pocket and out-brushing the leader to the wire by a nose to win in 1:58.3. The ninth win of the year raised Noble Legends bank to $68,138 for owners Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner.

    Drew Monti scored a driving triple on the card and that pushed him to 102 wins for the meet. Shawn Gray and Larry Stalbaum both had driving doubles while Steve Kiblin also had a training double.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 3) with post time at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Larry Stalbaum is right at home at Batavia Downs

    11-30-larry-stalbaumNovember 30, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Larry Stalbaum has been a regular competitor at Yonkers Raceway and Pocono Downs for many years now. But much like Jim Morrill Jr. before him, the small-town feel of western New York has drawn Stalbaum from the major circuits and he couldn’t be happier about the move.

    Stalbaum made his first start of the year at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Nov. 5) and has since been one of the hottest drivers at the track. In only 10 nights of racing his own stable of 16 along with catch drives, Stalbaum has had 79 starts with 20 wins, 12 seconds and 10 thirds. That amounts to a 22% win and 54% in the money percentage, a .329 UDR and $100,570 in purse earnings in very short order.  

    Stalbaum was born in Valparaiso, Indiana and started racing ponies at age seven. He went to work with standardbreds after graduating from high school and has been doing it ever since. Through his early years he worked for many horsemen, but credits Frank O’Mara for teaching him all he knows about harness racing.

    “I started grooming in Louisville at Latonia and eventually made my first career driving start at Brandywine Raceway in 1986” said Stalbaum. “Since them I have raced just about everywhere, even tracks that most people have never heard of.”

    Racing everywhere has taken Stalbaum 29 years and the numbers that he has accrued in that time are pretty impressive to see; 5,378 wins and over $37 million in purses.

    Stalbaum lives in Matamoris, PA, which is just across the Delaware River from Port Jervis, NY. He races off his 152-acre farm there and makes the 560 mile, 9-hour round trip to Batavia every race night.

    His whole operation is family based. Stalbaum’s wife, Kimberly Asher, is the trainer and his four children Riley, Kiley, Hawk and Sky jog, train and groom the stock.

    “My four children are all involved in racing and our business. They all do the horses, they all like the horses and they all want to drive eventually” said Stalbaum. “My oldest daughter Riley just passed her test and got her qualifying license and will start driving very soon. And my other kids will follow along one by one as they get old enough. I don’t have any help in my stable right now other than my wife and kids. They do it all.”

    With having much success at bigger tracks that were closer to his home, Stalbaum still made the decision to race at Batavia Downs.

    “I’m getting a little older and I wanted to slow down a bit. That’s part of the reason I was racing at Monticello recently; it was close to home” said Stalbaum. “But the money isn’t quite as good there as it is here. What I really wanted to do is just get away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger tracks.”

    “I’m tired of shipping three to this track and four to that track and being on the road every night. I would much rather just ship the whole stable over three days and get them all raced and spend more time at home” Stalbaum concluded.

    After having raced at Batavia for almost a month now, Stalbaum has become quite comfortable in his new environment. The local racing community has embraced him and he is happy to be competing there.

    “I like western New York. It’s got a lot of farm country like where I was raised and many of the people who race there come from families that have been racing locally for generations, and I like that” said Stalbaum. “I tell people all the time about it and when you tell them about being in New York, they think New York City. Because if you’re not from upstate New York, you don’t know any better.”

    After the Batavia meet ends, the plan is to move the stock to Buffalo Raceway and stable at the track.

    “When I go to Buffalo, Kim and the kids aren’t coming and that’s going to be hard for me because I’ve never been away from them. But because of the winter, I can’t ship like I do right now but also can’t move the family up here at this point. But that’s what we have to do and we’ll see how it goes” said Stalbaum.

    “If everything goes right, we are planning on moving up here permanently. We’ll sell the farm in PA and buy some land in western New York and settle down here and race this circuit”.

    With four children aspiring to make harness racing their livelihood, Stalbaum appreciates the atmosphere in western New York for both raising a family and racing for a living.

    “The future of this sport is young people and all my kids are interested in it now. I let them choose what they want to do with their lives and they all want to race and that makes me happy. I can’t make them a doctor or a lawyer, but I can teach them how to be a solid trainer and driver. I just hope the sport is still here for them” Stalbaum said. 

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Thunderbolt Jaxon narrowly takes Batavia Downs feature

    November 27, 2016
    Batavia, NY—With another dark and stormy night as the backdrop, Thunderbolt Jaxon didn’t despair over the wet track; he reveled in it as he won his second straight $10,500 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 26).

    It was basically a two-horse race from the word go. Thunderbolt Jaxon (Ray Fisher Jr.) left and 11-27-thundernoltparked Sam Hill (Kevin Cummings) to the quarter in :27.3 before letting him overtake. Once settled in, Sam Hill looked strong on the front and took the group to the half in :56.3.

    With Thunderbolt Jaxon safely tucked in second, Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) came first over past the half and tried to mount a challenge. He did draw alongside the leading pair at three quarters but faded from contention by the top of the lane. There, Thunderbolt Jaxon shot into the passing lane and began eroding Sam Hill’s lead with each stride, eventually sneaking by him at the wire by a short neck in 1:55.4.

    It was the ninth win of the year for Thunderbolt Jaxon ($15.00), five of which were accomplished for owner Mike Torcello who claimed the 4-year-old gelded son of Mach Three on October 1. Gerry Sarama trains the winner.

    In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, Southwind Torque ($7.80) made a four-wide move around the last turn to nose out the front running Bakken (Ray Fisher Jr.) at the wire in 1:57.3. It was a four-horse photo finish that saw six horses within one length of each other at the wire. Southwind Torque is owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice and is trained by Maria Rice.

    Shawn Gray and Larry Stalbaum both had the hat trick on Saturday while Ray Fisher Jr. settled for a pair. On the training side, Kim Asher and Maria Rice both sent two horses for pictures.

    The early Pick-5, which was part of the USTA’s Strategic Wagering program on Saturday paid $4,365 for the 1-1-3-5-8 combination.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Nov. 30) at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • It was an Encore Performance for Perfect Rendition at Batavia Downs

    November 26, 2016
    Batavia, NY—For the second week in a row, Perfect Rendition stalked quick early fractions before gearing up in the payoff half to win the $10,000 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 25).

    When the gate released the short but classy field of six trotters, Noble Legend (Shawn Gray) went for the early lead, seating Jim Dandy (Jim McNeight Jr.) and Perfect Rendition (Larry Stalbaum) in the process. The leader then proceeded to cut quarters of :28.2 and :58 and did it unchallenged as the trailing drivers were content to sit in.

    The situation remained unchanged until just before three-quarters when Perfect Rendition pulled and started to advance. By the time they hit that panel in 1:27.3, Perfect Rendition was matching strides with Noble Legend and a battle ensued around the final turn. When the pair straightened out at the head of the lane, Perfect Rendition got a slight advantage under Stalbaum’s urging and as a result, ended up the best of the bunch as he trotted to victory in 1:57.2 over the rain-soaked track.11-26-perfect-rendition

    It was the fourth win of the year for Perfect Rendition ($19.40), half of which were registered at Batavia Downs the last two weeks. The 10-year-old son of Perfectly who is trained by Kimberly Asher has now bankrolled annual earnings to $29,763 for owner-driver Larry Stalbaum.

    In the co-featured $9,000 filly and mares Open pace, Kruella ($8.60) scored her third win in a row, coming from second-over in the outer flow to tip three-wide at the head of the lane and brush by to a slick 1:56.4 win for driver Shawn McDonough. Kruella is trained by Jineen Simone who co-owns the mare with Bonnie Kowalcyk.

    Ray Fisher Jr. had a grand slam Friday night, including a natural hat-trick in races four through six. He won with Wicked Elphaba ($6.50), Southern Palms ($11.20), Rock The Dream ($9.60) and Babes Chip ($2.60).

    Shawn Gray and Larry Stalbaum both registered driving triples on the evening while trainer Kim Asher sent two of her students to the winner’s circle.
    Racing resumes on Saturday night (Nov. 26) with first race post time set at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Batavia Downs extends 2016 meet

    November 22, 2016
    Batavia, NY—The New York State Gaming Commission has approved a request from Western Regional Off Track Betting (WROTB) to extend the current Batavia Downs meet by two days: Friday (Dec. 16) and Saturday (Dec. 17) will be added to the current schedule.

    Post time for Friday (Dec. 16) will be 6:15 p.m. and Saturday (Dec. 17) will be 5:00 p.m.

    “WROTB asked for the additional days to make up for the first Sunday of the current meet that was cancelled due to a shortage in the box and also to accommodate the large number of Christmas parties looking to book the clubhouse during live racing” said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. “It will also shorten the amount of down time for our horsemen between when our meet ends and Buffalo Raceway starts back up.”

    Please note; there will be a double-draw on Tuesday (Dec. 13) for both Friday and Saturday of that final week.

    For more, information log onto www.bataviadownsgaimng.com and click on the “live racing” tab.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Thunderbolt Jaxon splashes to victory in Batavia Downs feature

    November 20, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Old man winter reared his ugly head on Saturday night (Nov. 19) as high winds and driving rain greeted the night’s competitors. However the extremely sloppy conditions couldn’t dissuade Thunderbolt Jaxon from his best effort as he splashed to a gate to wire victory in the $10,500 Open pace at Batavia Downs.

    Thunderbolt Jaxon (Jim Morrill Jr.) left and took the front by the quarter as the rest of the field 11-20-thunderboltducked for cover. The leader and a close-following Spender Hanover (Drew Monti) led pedestrian fractions of :29.2 and :59.1 as an outer flow started to chase. Shady City (Larry Stalbaum), who had been parked out from the start and Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) constituted that bid but neither could sustain up the backside. Around the last turn, it was Thunderbolt Jaxon who could sense the win as he strode out and paced away from Spender Hanover down the lane and crossed the wire well in hand in 1:57.2.

    It was the first Open class win for Thunderbolt Jaxon ($5.60) at Batavia Downs since being claimed on October 10, and his eighth overall win of the year. He has now earned $43,846 in 2016. The 4-year-old gelded son of Mach Three is owned by Mike Torcello and is trained by Gerry Sarama.

    Since Larry Stalbaum started racing regularly at Batavia Downs, he’s been winning races at a hurried pace. That trend continued Saturday as he scored a grand slam on the card. And the winning horses gave Kim Asher the training grand slam as well. The two teamed up in the winner’s circle with Story Book ($5.30), Itsonlyrocknroll A ($2.50), Steuben Patriot ($31.20) and Box Car Johnnie ($3.50).

    Jim Morrill Jr. had another three-win night to remain the Downs leading dash driver, now with 112 wins.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Nov. 23) with post time at 6:15 p.m.

    Please note that a double draw will take place on Tuesday (Nov. 22) for race cards to be held on Friday (Nov. 25) and Saturday (Nov. 26). The entry box will close at the normal time of 9:00 a.m. For more information please visit the horsemen’s link at www.bataviadownsgaming.com.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Perfect Rendition Delivers in Batavia Downs Feature

    November 18, 2016
    Batavia, NY—After three outside draws in lower class, Perfect Rendition (Larry Stalbaum) moved into the top class and took advantage of post one to rebuff six challengers in the $10,000 Open trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 18).11-18-perfect-rendition

    Noble Legend (Shawn Gray) left and took a hard fought lead at the quarter in :28.1. But as soon as he crossed over, Perfect Rendition pulled and retook the lead. From there he dictated a :58 half and a 1:27.2 third panel. During that stretch, The Bronx Bumper (Jim Morrill Jr.) came first over to challenge but never got closer than third. At the head of the stretch The Bronx Bumper challenge had ended, but then Nobel Legend popped the two-hole and drew a bead on the leader. Noble Legend gained ground with every stride but he ran out of stretch before they hit the wire and Perfect Rendition won by a head in 1:57.2.

    It was the third win of the year for Perfect Rendition ($6.70) and it pushed his earnings to $24,763. Larry Stalbaum owns the 10-year-old gelded son of Perfectly who is trained by Kim Asher.

    Jim Morrill Jr. won three more races on Friday while Shawn McDonough, Ray Fisher Jr. and Larry Stalbaum each won two.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 19) with post time set at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Thanksgiving week draw schedule at Batavia Downs

    November 18, 2016
    Batavia, NY — Horsemen racing at Batavia Downs are reminded of draw schedule changes for Thanksgiving week.

    A double draw will take place on Tuesday (Nov. 22) for race cards to be held on Friday (Nov. 25) and Saturday (Nov. 26). The entry box will close at the normal time of 9 a.m.

    All program information, including driver changes for Friday’s card, must be submitted to the judges by 1 p.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 22). Saturday’s program changes must be received by the Judges no later than 9:30 a.m. Wednesday (Nov. 23).

    Qualifying races will remain at the regular time of 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 23).

    Entries for Wednesday (Nov. 23) qualifiers must be received by 10 a.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 22).

    There are 13 more race cards remaining in the 2016 season that has been extended through Dec. 17. Post time for all remaining cards will be 6:15 p.m. with the exception of closing night when the races will kick off at 5:00 p.m.

    For more information please visit the horsemen’s link at www.bataviadownsgaming.com.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Claiming Champions Divide $125,000 at Batavia Downs

    November 13, 201611-13-pic-1
    Batavia, NY—With $125,000 up for grabs to the “blue-collar” horses of western New York, the local racing scene became decidedly more interesting on Saturday night (Nov. 12). The 2016 Batavia Downs Claiming Championship Series culminated with lots of action on the track, a clubhouse full of owners and a very bettable card of races for the gamblers.
    11-13-pic-2

    In the $20,000 final for $7,500-$10,000 claiming trotters, Love U Forever (Jim Morrill Jr.) tracked a fast first half before pulling first-over at the five-eighths. When he
    cleared at the top of the stretch, he pulled away into a stiff headwind to take a length victory in 1:59.1. It was the 11th win of the year for Love U Forever ($3.30) and his 2016 earnings are now $59,802 for owners Mike Torcello and Sam Smith. Dave Weston trains the winner.

    The $20,000 final for $8,000 to $10,000 claiming pacers went to Outoftexas (Jim Morrill Jr.) on the strength of an overpowering performance. Leaving from post five, Outoftexas went right to the front and never looked back, winning by three lengths in 1:55. It was the 10th win if the year for Outoftexas ($4.40) and it inflated his earnings to $53,223 for the year. The 11-year-old Camluck gelding is owned by Dan Antocicco and is trained by Steve Kiblin.11-13-pic-3

    The $20,000 final for $5,000 to $6,000 claiming horse and gelding pacers went to War Front (Jim Morrill Jr.).  War Front ($3.00) got away mid-pack and pulled at three-eighths with cover. Morrill tipped him three deep at the three-quarter pole and they flew by the field around the last turn before cruising to an easy three-length win in 1:57. Owner-trainer Lee Dahn saw his winner’s bankroll increase to $30,308 on the strength of his sixth win this year.

    11-13-pic-4The $20,000 final for $5,000 to $6,000 claiming filly and mare pacers was won in commanding fashion by Vals Jett (Ray Fisher Jr.). Taking the lead from post one, Vals Jett was heavily pressured from the half all the way to the wire and refused to let anyone get by her to win by two-lengths in 1:58. Vals Jett ($3.00) has now earned $31,914 and six wins this year for owner-trainer Dave Dylo Jr.

    The $15,000 final for $4,000 to $5,000 claiming trotters was won by Chrome Finish (Shawn Gray). Gray fired Chrome Finish off the gate like a rocket and led the whole race.
    He set blistering early fractions of :28, :57.2 and 1:28 before closing it out on top by two in 2:00.2. It was the seventh win of the year for Chrome Finish ($4.60) and it raised his annual earnings to $30,934 for owner Mary Warriner. Ryan Swift trains the winner.11-13-pic-5

    The $15,000 final for $4,000 claiming horse and gelding pacers was won by Big Unit (Drew Monti). Monti pulled Big Unit second-over before the half and followed that cover to the head of the lane. When he hit the stretch, he found another gear and motored to the front and pulled away by a length in 1:57.3. It was the third consecutive win for Big Unit ($3.60) and fourth of the year and the purse increased his 2016 earnings to $17,634 for owners Carl and Darrin Monti; the latter also trains him.

    11-13-pic-6And finally, the $15,000 final for $4,000 claiming filly and mare pacers was won by Can U Be Fun (Shawn McDonough). Can U Be Fun tucked in second and sat a perfect two-hole trip for the whole mile to the head of the lane. There, McDonough shook her loose and she paced away to an impressive four-length win in 1:57.3, which was a new seasonal mark for her. It was the fourth win of the year and it boosted her bankroll to $21,306 for owner Kathleen Lauer. Shawn McDonough also trains Can U Be Fun.

    Jim Morrill Jr. Wins Five More Races at Batavia Downs

    Jim Morrill Jr likes winning in bunches and his penchant to do so was quenched again on Saturday night (Nov. 12). After he scored five wins this past Wednesday and five on Friday, he got five more horses across Saturday to end the week with an exclamation point.11-13-pic-7

    Morrill won with Love U Forever ($3.30), War Front ($3.00), Mobil Big John ($6.00), Outoftexas ($4.40) and Littlebitaclass ($3.70).

    Morrill now has 104 wins during the meet and leads all other horsemen in that category by at least 14 wins.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • BZ Glide takes feature; Morrill wins five at Batavia Downs

    November 12, 2016
    Batavia, NY—BZ Glide drew the outside for the fourth consecutive week, but also found himself in lower company. So he used his class to overcome post eight and win the $8,500 Open II trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 11).

    Mike Caprio hustled BZ Glide off the gate and took a lead he would never relinquish. He tripped the timers in :28.2, :59 and 1:28.2 while his seven opponents struck several formations of chase behind him. But it didn’t matter who was in and who was out on Friday night as BZ Glide kept his mind on his business, while Caprio kept his whip on his shoulder, and trotted home confidently to win in 1:58.2.

    It was the fourth win in 17 starts this year for BZ Glide ($7.10) and it pushed his earnings to $33,630 for the Caprio Stable LLC. The 7-year-old Yankee Glide gelding is trained by Alana Caprio.

    Jim Morrill Jr. kept up his torrid winning pace as he scored five more wins during the night. He visited the Purple Haze Winner’s circle with Justgottogetthere ($2.90, 2:00), Caliber Seelster ($10.40, 1:57), Zipnthruthehall ($7.10, 1:56.3), Bags Of Money ($2.80, 1:55.4) and Medolandcampbell E ($8.30, 1:56.4).

    The quintuple pushed Morrill’s win total for the meet to 94, now 10 ahead of second place Drew Monti, who was blanked on the evening. Kevin Cummings moved into third place on the strength of one win Friday, now sporting 69 victories which is one ahead of Ray Fisher Jr. at 68.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Nov. 12), featuring seven divisional finals of the Batavia Downs Claiming Championship Series with purses totaling $125,000. Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m. 

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • $125,000 series finals at Batavia Downs Saturday

    November 11, 2016
    Batavia, NY—The seven divisional finals of the 2016 Batavia Downs Claiming Championship Series will be contested this Saturday (Nov. 12) and the participants will be vying for purses totaling $125,000.

    The claiming series was point-based and broken down by gait and claiming price and the accrual of points was on a monthly basis. Divisions included $4,000, $5,000-$6,000 and $8,000-$10,000 claimers on the pace and $4,000-$5,000 and $7,500-$10,000 claimers on the trot. Points were awarded to the top-five finishers of each race and accrued monthly.

    The eight horses from each class category that made final were comprised of the top three point earners from August, (July 25-August 31) and September (September 1-30), and the top two point earners in October (October 1-31).

    In the finals, the $4,000-$5,000 categories will compete for $15,000 and all other categories will vie for $20,000.

    “This is the biggest non-stakes event ever held at Batavia Downs” said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. “The $125,000 being offered in these events will be competed for and won by our resident horsemen and that is good for the local racing scene.”

    The top two events are the $7,500-$10,000 claiming trot and the $8,000-$10,000 claiming pace, both going for a purse of $20,000.

    In the $20,000 trot, 10-time 2016 winner Love U Forever has been made the early 8-5 choice. The 4-year-old Andover Hall mare has most recently won in Open III condition company in 1:59.3 after getting away poorly with interference. She has won three out of her last five starts and her only bad outing during that time was over a sloppy track.

    Love U Forever’s regular driver, Jim Morrill Jr., will again steer in this event from post three for trainer David Weston.

    Socks N Shuzy is the 5-2 second choice and was a beaten favorite in her last race at the $10,000 claiming level. She got away poorly from post 6 and was 13-lengths off the leader at the quarter. But after fading to last before the last turn, Socks N Shuzy brushed home sharply and was only three-lengths shy of the winner in a 1:59.1 mile.

    Starting from post four, Ray Fisher Jr. drives for trainer Priscilla Mooney.

    In the $20,000 pace, Bazooka drew post one and was made the 5-2 favorite by the track handicapper. Although he only won two races all year, they came in succession just three weeks ago and his form has been maintained ever since. After competing in $10,000 and $15,000 claimers the last three weeks, he comes in here sharp and ready.

    Bradley Jackson drives and trains the 6-year-old Sportsmaster gelding.

    The 3-1 second choice is Cheyenne Louie who is taking a major class drop for this event. His last two starts were in $20,000 claiming races where he drew consecutive outside posts. And before that at the $15,000 claiming level, he won over a sloppy track in 1:54.4 handily, going wire to wire. That clocking was also his seasonal best time.

    John Cummings Jr., who drove him to that win, is aboard again for trainer JD Perrin.

    The claiming series divisions are carded as race one, two, three, four, six, 11 and 12. Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m. 

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Morrill and Monti in heavyweight battle Wednesday at Batavia Downs

    November 10, 2016
    Batavia, NY — The dash driving lead has been a hotly contested issue this meet at Batavia Downs and the lead has changed hands several times. But recently, Jim Morrill Jr. and Drew Monti have separated themselves from the pack and have been pulling away nightly.

    That rivalry continued on Wednesday (Nov. 9) as Jim Morrill Jr. won five races on the card while Drew Monti won four. And the wins could have gone either way during the night as the two finished a close one-two in races one, three, seven and 12.

    Morrill won with American Anthem ($6.50, 1:57.1), Connery Blue Chip ($5.90, 1:59), Weapon To Win ($5.70, 1:58.3), Olivia’s Z Tam ($5.10, 1:58.3) and Charmschooldropout ($2.30, 1:58.3).

    Monti won with Niche Blue Chip ($6.20, 1:59.3), Jimi Wind Ricks ($9.50, 1:59.4), Court’s N Session ($22.40, 1:59.3) and Don’t Sweat My Swag ($17.80, 1:59).

    Besides winning at a remarkable rate over the last several weeks, both drivers have also exhibited a lofty UDR during that time as well. Wednesday night, with each driving in 11 out of the 12 races on the card, they both hit the board nine times. Morrill’s UDR was .616 and Monti’s was .576.

    After Wednesday’s action, Morrill is the current dash leader with 94 wins, five ahead of Monti who is sitting in second with 89. Kevin Cummings and Ray Fisher Jr. are tied for a distant third with 68 victories to their credit.

    With 16 nights of racing remaining in the 2016 season, the all-time track record of 177 wins during the meet set by Morrill in 2006 looks safe. However the heated competition between these top two titans for this year’s laurels will more than likely go down to the final night.

    Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Nov. 11) with post time at 6:15 p.m. There is a $550 carryover for the early Pick-5 on Friday (races one through five) and that pool will be guaranteed at $1,500.

    By Tim Bojarski


  • Saturday’s draw postponed until Thursday at Batavia Downs

    November 10, 2016
    Batavia, NY — Horseman please be advised that the draw for Saturday (Nov. 12) will be conducted at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday (Nov. 10).

    The entry box is closed and program changes will take place shortly after the draw has been completed.

    Saturday’s program features the $125,000 Claiming Championship Finals. Seven divisions will be contested with purse money ranging from $15,000 to $20,000.  

    For more information please call the race office at 585-344-6161.

     By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Shady City Circles the Wagons in Batavia Downs Feature

    November 9, 2016
    Batavia, NY — Yonkers Raceway invader Shady City got away last before sweeping the field around the last turn to pull away and win the $10,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 5).

    Last week’s Open pace winner, China Dream (Shawn Gray), tried to repeat his effort by going to the front in a quick :26.4 quarter. After he settled, the field of six rounded the turn before splitting into two-rows as they motored to the half. Thunderbolt Jaxon (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled first up in the outer flow with Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) and Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) following right behind him.11-9-shady-city

    The group remained three in and three out past the five-eighths when Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) swung three-deep as the leader tripped the third panel in 1:25.2 with a two-length lead. Shady City seemed to stall by the head of the stretch and China Dream was looking like a winner. But Stalbaum went to the stick in the lane and with his tail flagging and ears perked, Shady City made up three lengths and strode by China Dream like an easy day at the office to win in 1:54.1.
    It was the fourth win of 2016 for Shady City ($9.60) and it pushed him to $53,882 in earnings for the year. Stalbaum owns the 6-year-old son of Metropolitan who is trained by Kimberly Asher.

    In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, Lucky King (Ron Beback Jr.) took the long way home, coming from seventh and parked out from just past the quarter, to swing five-deep in the stretch and win by one and one-half lengths in 1:56. It was the fifth win of the year for Lucky King who is owned by Keith Pinkowski and trained by Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. The grossly overlooked winner returned a healthy $77.00.

    Drew Monti had a four-win night while visiting reinsman Larry Stalbaum copped three. Shawn Gray and Ron Beback Jr. both took two races apiece. On the conditioning side, Kimberly Asher had the training hat-trick.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Nov. 9) with a guaranteed Pick-5 pool of $3,500. Post time is 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Dontch Remember gets brave in mares pacing feature at Batavia Downs

    November 5, 2016
    Batavia, NY — For the second time in four weeks, Dontch Remember ($3.80) defeated the best resident pacing mares on Friday night (Nov. 4) in the $10,000 distaff Open at Batavia Downs.

    Dontch Remember (Jim Morrill Jr.) got away third as Kaitlyn Akeeper (Kevin Cummings) and V’la Faire Wade Tomaszewski) took the top two spots through the first turn. But not happy with that position, Morrill pulled before the quarter and took the top just after that station in :28. Positions remained unchanged until Who Says That (Shawn Gray) pulled first-over just passed the three-eighths and 11-5-dontchstarted a slow grind up the outside.

    Making up ground with every stride, Who Says That got even with the leader at the three-quarters in 1:26.4, then eventually took the lead from Dontch Remember as they headed around the final turn. But just before they straightened out for the stretch drive, Dontch Remember regained her advantage and surged along the pylons. She held off a stubborn Who Says That and a late surging Kaitlyn Akeeper to win the race by a length in 1:55.3.

    It was the ninth win of the year for Dontch Remember and the winner’s share boosted her earnings to a career one-year high $53,805 for owner Mike Torcello. Gerry Sarama trains the winner.

    Jim Morrill Jr. padded his dash driving lead by winning four consecutive races on Friday’s card, bringing his total for the meet to 86. Shawn Gray got a driving hat trick and Ray Fisher Jr. scored a double. Trainers Mike Carrubba and Maria Rice each sent to winners to post.

    Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 5) with an early 3:30 p.m. post time for a special Breeders Cup day presentation.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Batavia Downs to host Breeder’s Cup party

    November 3, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Two racing worlds will meld on Saturday (Nov. 5) as the trotting capital of western New York, Batavia Downs will host a throng of Thoroughbred fans at its annual Breeder’s Cup party which will be held in the clubhouse.

    The doors open at 2pm and the party will run until after the last Breeder’s Cup Race. Post time for the first Breeder’s Cup race is 3:05 p.m. Live harness racing will be comingled between the Breeder’s Cup races and the first live harness post time is 3:30 p.m. Approximately two live harness races will be run between each televised Breeder’s Cup race.

    The $20 package deal includes a special Italian buffet (served from 3-7 p.m.) that includes chicken parmesan, chicken piccata, greens and beans, eggplant parmesan, beef tips in burgundy sauce, Italian sausage with peppers and onions, baked ziti, tossed salad, a dessert bar and coffee or soda. It also includes a Breeder’s Cup program, a live Batavia Downs program (which contains $5 in free-play) and $10 in free-play on the gaming floor. (You must earn one base point to redeem)

    This is a $37 value. Must be 18-years-old to play video gaming machines or to wager on horses.

    Reservations are recommended by calling 585-343-3750. Walk-ups are welcome but will be subject to availability.

    Batavia Downs is also introducing another clubhouse promotion this week, that will run through the month of November in celebration of their 70th anniversary of live harness racing.
    It’s the “Friday Four-Pack”. For $70 (plus tax and gratuity) you get four buffet dinners, four Batavia Downs live racing programs (each contains $5 in free-play) and four $15 free-play vouchers for the gaming floor. This is the best deal in town; it’s like getting money and eating free!

    You must make your reservations three days prior to the Friday you want and use “Promo Code 70” to receive the full offer. Call 585-343-3750 to make your reservation.
    Live racing continues three days a week at Batavia Downs, now through Saturday (Dec. 10).

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Jim Morrill Jr. scores a six pack at Batavia Downs

    November 3, 2016
    Batavia, NY—The steady rain that diminished track conditions couldn’t dampen the performance put on by driver Jim Morrill Jr. on Wednesday night (Nov. 2) as the high-percentage reinsman turned away the weather, along with his competition, to visit the Purple Haze winner’s circle six times during the evening.

    Victorious horses that Morrill piloted included Charmschooldropout ($3.70, 1:57.1), Release The Terror ($3.70, 1:57.3), Weapon To Win ($2.20, 1:59.1), Sunland Dakota ($7.50, 2:02.2), Iaquinta ($4.10, 1:57.1) and Safe Bet Hanover ($2.70, 2:00.2).

    Besides his six wins, Morrill also had three seconds and a third among his 10 drives and that gave him an eye-popping .800 UDR for the night.

    Morrill currently sits fourth in North America in UDR for 2016 with a .421. Overall for the year he has 334 wins, 233 seconds and 158 thirds from 1,227 drives. Morrill has also bankrolled $3.8 million in purses as a result.
    Morrill is also currently in first place among dash winning drivers at Batavia Downs with 82 wins. Drew Monti, who scored a driving triple on Wednesday, sits right behind him in second with 78 wins and Kevin Cummings remains in third place with 68 tallies.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 4) with a 6:15 p.m. post time.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • China Dream much the best in Batavia Downs feature

    October 31, 2016
    Batavia, NY—A scratch-shortened field of six top class pacers became a mere group of spectators who watched China Dream command their fate from the start of the race as he won the $10,500 Open feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 29).

    China Dream (Shawn Gray) left sharply and crossed over10-31-china-dream-01 to the pylons before the field rounded the first turn and then opened up a gapped advantage he would maintain for the remainder of the race. After Gray hit the brakes with a :29.3 second quarter, Littlebitaclass (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled first up in an attempt to advance to the front with Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) right on his back. But after hearing the footsteps, Gray asked his charge for more and more is what he got. China Dream pulled away in a quick :28 third panel and found himself leading by seven lengths at the top of the stretch. He continued his momentum all the way to the wire and cruised to a wrapped-up 1:54.4 victory.

    It was the tenth win of the year for China Dream ($4.40) and it inflated his one-year earnings to $77,680 for owners Jack and Maria Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner.

    In the co-featured $9,000 Open II, Thunderbolt Jaxon (Jim Morrill Jr.) took the lead just past the quarter and cruised to an easy three-length win in 1:54.1. It was the third straight win for Thunderbolt Jaxon ($5.00) and seventh of the season. Mike Torcello owns the winner who is trained by Gerry Sarama.

    Jim Morrill Jr. led all drivers on Saturday night with four wins while Drew Monti, Jim McNeight Jr. and Ray Fisher Jr. all scored doubles. Trainers Gerry Sarama, Jim McNeight and Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. each sent two winners for pictures.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Nov. 2) with a 6:15 p.m. post.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • My Tallia Ideal Scores a Measured Victory in Batavia Downs Feature

    October 28, 2016
    Batavia, NY—My Tallia Ideal followed live cover that she eventually overtook to win the $10,000 Open mares pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Oct. 28).

    Leaving from post six, My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) got away last and trailed as Kaitlyn Akeeper (Kevin Cummings) led the field through quarters of :28.3 and :58.3. Who Says That (Shawn Gray) pulled first-up at the half and My Tallia Ideal traveled second over as the two advanced and eventually drew even with the leader by three-quarters in 1:27.4.

    Who Says That took the lead from Kaitlyn Akeeper when they turned for home, but My Tallia Ideal then tipped outside of her to challenge immediately. With more than a length to make up, My Tallia Ideal dug in and methodically closed in with every stride, eventually getting up to win by a head in 1:56.3.10-28-my-tallia

    It was the eighth win of the year for My Tallia Ideal ($9.00) and the purse increased her 2016 earnings to $63,410 for owners Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney McNeight. Dave McNeight Jr. trains the winner.

    In the co-featured $9,000 Open I-II trot, Kahoku ($13.80) regained his early season form when he went wire to wire in unfettered fashion to win by two lengths in 1:57. Ron Beback Jr. drove for owner Colleen Girdlestone. Mark Laidlaw trains Kahoku.

    It was bombs away in the ninth race as Jim Dandy (Jim McNeight Jr.) rallied from seventh at the half to pull the upset of the meet when he trotted away by two lengths at 48-1. The winner returned $99.50 to win and spurred a $660.00 exacta (7-4) and $1,829.00 late Double (5-7).

    The first race kicks off the Pick-5 which has a guaranteed pool of $2,500.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 29) with post time at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • It was the Drew Monti show at Batavia Downs Wednesday

    October 27, 2016
    Batavia, NY—On a night when he could seemingly do nothing wrong, Drew Monti put on a driving clinic Wednesday (Oct. 26) at Batavia Downs, winning seven of the ten races he competed in. And among his drives, he also scored a second and a third and posted a lofty .788 UDR for the evening.

    Track photographer Paul White spent some quality time with Monti in the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle as he took his picture with Jimi 10-26-drews-second-winWind Ricks ($5.00, 1:59.1), Wild Ride ($4.60, 2:01.4), Hustleonhome ($14.60, 1:57.4), Heavenly Way ($4.80, 1:57), Springhouse Star ($10.00, 1:56.3), Girls Luv Diamonds ($3.50, 1:56.2) and Always An Optimist ($4.20, 1:56.4).
    By the end of the year, Monti has a chance to eclipse his career best numbers for wins and money earned that he set in 2015. In his short four-year career, the 22-year-old Monti has won 649 races and has bankrolled just under $3.5 million in purses.

    With his two closest competitors for the dash driving title not in action on Wednesday, Monti jumped into a two-win lead as a result of his efforts. He now sits alone atop the standings with 75 wins, ahead of Jim Morrill Jr. who is second with 73 and Kevin Cummings who is third with 68.

    With 20 nights of racing remaining in the meet, it will most likely be a battle to the last race on the final night to decide this year’s driving winner.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 28) with the first race post time set at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Jim Morrill Jr. Wins Seven at Batavia Downs

    October 23, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Jim Morrill Jr. was on fire at Batavia Downs Saturday night (Oct. 22) as he won seven of the 13 races carded and vaulted himself into the dash driving lead for the meet.

    Morrill started early and was relentless as the night went on. He scored with Thunderbolt Jaxon ($4.80, 1:56.3), Outoftexas ($5.50, 1:55.3), Green Olives ($3.30, 1:56.2), Dodger Hanover ($2.80, 1:57.3), Littlebitaclass ($7.00, 1:54.2), Adversary Seelster ($3.50, 1:57.1) and Zipnthruthehall ($2.90, 1:57).

    The current record for wins on one card at Batavia Downs is eight, set by Jim Morrill Jr. in 2005 and matched by John Cummings Jr. in 2006.

    Beside his septuple successes, Morrill also had three seconds and a third among his 12 drives for the night and that added up to a .750 UDR for the evening.

    Morrill is currently ranked third in North America for UDR in 2016, sporting a gaudy .415 for the year. He has amassed 322 wins in 1,197 starts and earned $3,776,654 as a result to this point.
    The fifth win of the night for Morrill was with Littlebitaclass who won the $10,000 Open pacing feature.10-23-close-race

    Claimed two weeks ago for $20,000 and victorious in each start since, Littlebitaclass left and out-legged China Dream (Shawn Gray) to the front shortly after they passed the quarter pole. From there, Morrill grabbed leather to settle the gelding until Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) drew alongside approaching three-quarters.

    When they tripped the timer in 1:25.2 at that station, Knocking Around took a half-length lead and appeared to have gotten the best of the leader. But Littlebitaclass gallantly fought back and regained a neck advantage by the head of the stretch. But Knocking Around would not go away and was joined in the fray by China Dream, who had gotten the trip and came up the passing lane. Flanked by adversaries on both sides, Littlebitaclass dug in hard and refused to lose, hitting the wire first by a mere head in 1:54.2.

    It was the ninth win of the year for Littlebitaclass and it boosted his earnings to $52,201 for 2016. The 5-year-old gelded son of Santana Blue Chip is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama.

    Trainer Alex Giuliani sent three winners postward while fellow conditioners Gerry Sarama and Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. each doubled up.

    As was previously mentioned, there is a new dash driving title leader at Batavia Downs in Jim Morrill Jr, who now tops everyone with 73 wins. Kevin Cummings, who was not in action Saturday, is tied for second with Drew Monti with 68 wins and Ray Fisher Jr. is a close fourth with 62.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 26) with post time at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Who Says That Sails to Victory in Batavia Downs Feature

    October 22, 2016
    Batavia, NY—On a night not fit for man nor beast, Shawn Gray and Who Says That overcame a day-long deluge of rain along with five fit female pacers to win the $9,500 Open mares featured pace at Batavia Downs on Friday evening (Oct. 21).

    Gray took Who Says That off the gate and tucked her in fifth along the pylons and was content to sit off the pace to the half as My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) smoked that fraction in :57.4 over the rain-soaked track. At that point, Who Says That pulled and coaxed cover in the outer flow from last week’s Open winner, Dontch Remember (Jim Morrill Jr.) as the field passed the five-eighths marker and motored up the backside.

    When it became evident that Dontch Remember would not pace on, Gray tipped Who Says That three deep and proceeded to advance expeditiously. Fourth, third, second and finally first at the head of the lane; Who Says That splashed away from the competition and opened up a five length lead before hitting the wire a wrapped-up winner in 1:57.
    My Tallia Ideal was second and the recently claimed Kaitlyn Akeeper (Kevin Cummings) brushed up to be third.10-22-who-says-that

    Although it was the first win for Who Says That ($10.60) since August 10, it was also her eleventh win of the year overall. The 5-year-old Badlands Hanover mare has now earned $57,557 in 2016 for owners Vogel & Wags Nags Stable, Chris Shambo and Jack Rice. The winner is trained by Maria Rice.

    Maria Rice had a very profitable night at Batavia Friday as she conditioned three winners on the card. Besides Who Says That, she also sent Southwind Serenity ($5.70) and Lucky Pablo ($3.50) to the winners circle. Shawn Gray scored a driving triple teaming all of Rice’s entries.

    Ray Fisher Jr. also drove three winners, two of which were trained by John Hallett, who scored a stable double.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 22) with the first post set at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • BJ’s Guy Swoops Foes in Batavia Downs Feature

    October 16, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Fresh off a win in the Yonkers preferred pace last week, BJ’s Guy shipped into Batavia Downs to take on the best local talent on Saturday night (Oct. 15) and went from worst to first in the $9,500 Open pacing feature.

    Normandy Invasion (Jim Morrill Jr.) took a methodical stroll to the front off the gate and eventually opened up a two-length lead at the quarter in :27.2. Positions remained unchanged to the half in :55.2, when BJ’s Guy (Drew Monti) started up on the outside from last and prompted Brees Creek (Kevin Cummings) and China Dream (Shawn Gray) to pull in front of him, establishing a three-horse outer flow going up the backside.10-16-bjs-guy-01

    When the group passed three-quarters, China Dream tipped three-deep and BJ’s Guy followed in step and they both began to chip away at Normandy Invasion’s lead. As they came off the turn and stormed down the lane, Normandy Invasion began to tire and China Dream got to the front, but BJ’s Guy brushed harder and overtook him in the middle of the track and got home first in 1:53.4. China Dream did hold on for second and Junior Pride (Ray Fisher Jr.) snuck up the passing lane to grab third.

    It was the ninth win of the season for BJ’s Guy ($7.70) who has now earned $91,902 during the year for owners Blindswitch Racing Stable, David Sebolsky and Stanley Yoskowitz. The 7-year-old gelded son of Towner’s Big Guy is trained by Jose Godinez.

    Jim Morrill Jr. won four more races on Saturday night and those wins pushed him into second place for the dash winning lead with 65 victories behind Kevin Cummings who has 68. The quadruple also gave him 12 wins in the last three nights of racing at Batavia.

    Also on Saturday, Shawn Gray scored a driving hat trick while Drew Monti doubled up on the card.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 19) with post time set at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Noble Legend Takes Batavia Downs Feature; Morrill Wins Five

    October 15, 2016
    Batavia, NY—After finishing second in the top local trot twice last month, Noble Legend ($25.40) blew up the tote board along with his rivals in winning the $10,500 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Oct. 14).

    After taking last week off, Noble Legend returned to the track with a new attitude and approach. Driver Shawn Gray sent Noble Legend right to the front and took no prisoners from there. He lead the troops by two open lengths through fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:26.2 while the trailers were struggling to keep up.

    At the top of the lane, Noble Legend was cruising under mild urging from Gray when Studio City (Dave McNeight III) who was second the whole mile, drifted off the pegs in an attempt to collar the leader. But all that did was allow BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) to slide up inside him and get into the action. Noble Legend trotted on to win in 1:56.4 by a length over the fast-closing BZ Glide and Studio City, who finished second and third respectively.10-14-noble-legend

    It was the eighth win of the season for Noble Legend who increased his 2016 bankroll to $55,983 for owners Vogel & Wags Nags and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the 4-year-old son of Kadabra.
    In the co-featured $10,000 Open mares pace, Dontch Remember ($26.20)
    off a two-month winless streak and led the ladies wire-to-wire by gapped lengths to win her eighth race of the year in a new lifetime mark of 1:54.4. Gerry Sarama trains the 6-year-old Western Terror mare for owner Mike Torcello.

    Driver Jim Morrill Jr. continued his torrid pace at the Downs, winning another five races on the card. He scored with Love U Forever ($3.70, 1:58.3), The Bronx Bumper ($7.10, 1:58.4), Keystone Wild Card ($4.10, 2:02), Dontch Remember ($26.20, 1:54.4) and Son Of Nordic ($9.90, 1:58.3). The five wins and one second in eight starts gave Morrill a .694 UDR for the night.

    Drew Monti had a driving double and Mike Ohol had two winners on the training side.

    The dash driving leader board continues to be tight. Kevin Cummings, despite not visiting the winner’s circle on Friday, remains on top with 67 wins. Drew Monti is second with 62 and Jim Morrill Jr. vaulted into third on the strength of his performance with 61 victories.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 15) at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Kaitlyn Akeeper double up in Batavia Downs feature

    October 13, 2016
    Batavia, NY—For the second week in a row, Kaitlyn Akeeper shown best in winning the $7,800 mares Open II/optional claiming feature race at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 12).

    Rather than bolt for the lead as he had done over the last three weeks, Jim Morrill Jr. took Kaitlyn Akeeper off the gate and allowed 10-13-kaitlyn-akeeperMondatta (Dave McNeight III) and Terrorcam (Wade Tomaszewski) to duke it out for the front. When they had finally settled, Morrill tipped Kaitlyn Akeeper early and took the lead from them before the three-eighths pole. From there the race was history.

    Kaitlyn Akeeper got to the half in :58.1 and three-quarters in 1:26.4, all the time with horses in two-rows behind her. With a gapped two-length lead going around the far turn, the win looked assured and the race would be for minor spoils. As they headed down the lane, Mayabelle (Kevin Cummings) shook loose from behind the fading Mondatta and made a run at the leader, but Kaitlyn Akeeper hung on to win in 1:55.4 by a diminishing two lengths.

    Mayabelle was second and Mondatta hung on for third.

    It was the seventh victory of the year for Kaitlyn Akeeper ($2.60) and it raised her purse total to $45,272 for owner Mike Torcello. The winner was trained by Gerry Sarama.

    Kaitlyn Akeeper was also claimed out of the race for $21,750 by Mark Jakubik.

    Jim Morrill Jr. scored a driving triple on Wednesday night while Kevin Cummings, Shawn Gray and Dave McNeight III all had two wins apiece. Trainer Dave McNeight Jr. also conditioned two winners on the card.

    Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 14) with post time at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Drew Monti wins five, and the cannolis at Batavia Downs

    October 11, 2016
    Batavia, NY—The temperature was cool for the final matinee card of racing at Batavia Downs for 2016 but Drew Monti was red hot, winning five races on Monday afternoon (Oct. 10) including the special Columbus Day featured $5,000 “Run for the Cannolis” Italian driver’s race.

    The Run for the Cannolis is an annual tradition at the Downs to honor the large Italian population in the city of Batavia. It was started decades ago and has continued each year on Columbus Day.

    In this year’s edition, Monti drove Beechwood Wayne to a three-length win in 1:58.1. After getting away second, Beechwood Wayne followed closely as Goddess’s Justin (at the pylons) and First Of Fun (outside) battled side-by-side for the lead for over a quarter mile. When First Of Fun finally failed, Beechwood Wayne popped the pocket at three-quarters and blew right by Goddess’s Justin.10-11-beechwood

    But the race wasn’t over.

    Rock C. Vinci, who has won this race for the last two years, had tracked Monti’s move around the far turn and was now breathing down Beechwood Wayne back at the head of the lane. As both drivers went to the stick in the dash to the wire, “Drivin’ Drew” had the jump and got Beechwood Wayne there first to claim the cannolis for 2016.

    It was the ninth win of the year for Beechwood Wayne ($3.60) and third in a row during his current streak. The 9-year-old gelded son of Western Terror is owned by Tessa Roland and trained by JD Perrin.
    Monti also won with Big unit ($7.50, 1:58), Quick Silver ($9.40, 1:58.4), Mystical Valentine ($4.00, 1:56.4) and Girls Luv Diamonds ($4.10, 1:57) to complete the five-bagger. His wins combined with a second and two thirds saw Monti’s UDR soar to .519 for the day.

    Ray Fisher Jr. had a driving triple on Monday and Kevin Cummings scored a double. And the wins recorded by all three drivers have made the dash competition at the meet extremely close. After Monday’s races, Cummings sits on top with 62 wins, Monti is second with 60 and Fisher is third with 56. With 28 racing days left, the driving crown is definitely up for grabs.

    Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (Oct. 12) with post time set for 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Foiled Again Wins the $50,000 Kane Memorial at Batavia Downs

    October 9, 2016
    Batavia, NYAlthough overlooked by many and sent off at a hearty 9-1, Foiled Again brought his A-game to Genesee County and exhibited the heart that has earned him over $7.4 million in lifetime earnings to win the 14th annual $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 8). 

    Off the gate, Scott Rocks (John Cummings Jr.) and Mel Mara (Jim Morrill Jr.) argued for the lead and registered a swift :26.4 quarter in the process before Mel Mara relented and tucked in second. With Scott Rocks now dictating the proceedings, the field stayed in single-file around the far turn before Polak A (Shawn Gray) pulled first-over at the three-eighths to start the outer flow.

    Polak A drew alongside Scott Rocks at the half, stalked him around the turn and then passed the tiring leader before crossing over at three-quarters in 1:22.4. At this point Foiled Again (Kevin Cummings) who had been tracking the race from fifth, tipped three-deep around Southwind Amazon (Shawn McDonough) and caught up to the leader by the top of the stretch. Then as they came down the lane, Foiled Again swelled up under mild urging from Cummings and paced right by Polak A to win by a length in 1:52.2.

    Polak A hung on for second and Mel Mara overcame road trouble to grab third.10-9-foiled-again

    It was the third time Foiled Again has won the Kane Memorial, having also scored victories in the 2009 and 2013 editions and the second time Kevin Cummings has won it after taking the 2006 race with Michael Scores.

    “He went real well tonight” said Cummings. “He was a little lazy early but he did a good job tracking the field. He knows his business and I was confident at the three-quarters that he could win this. It was great to win the Kane tonight.”

    It was the 90th career win for Foiled Again ($20.20) who now sits just $13,492 short of $7.5 million lifetime. The 12-year-old Ron Burke trainee is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and the JJK Stable.

    In the co-featured $15,000 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot, Serious George (Shawn Gray) got away fourth before pulling first-over at the half to pound out an arduous journey and overtake the front-running BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) to win in a new lifetime mark of 1:57.2. Serious George ($23.00) is owned by James Palladino and trained by Rich Mays.

    Driver Shawn Gray was red hot on Saturday, winning five races on the card. He scored with Studio City ($3.90, 1:58.1), Surfer’s Paradise ($8.60, 1:55.4), Serious George ($23.00, 1:57.2), Gallant Major ($5.40, 1:56.2) and Life’s Lessons ($4.40, 1:56.1).

    Kevin Cummings and Jim Morrill Jr. both had driving hat tricks and trainers Ron Burke and Gerry Sarama each claimed three wins apiece.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday afternoon (Oct. 10) for the last matinee card of the season. The Columbus Day special gets underway at 1:15 p.m. 

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • $50,000 Kane Memorial at Batavia Downs Saturday

    October 7, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Seven horses with a combined lifetime earnings of over $11 million comprise the field for the 14th annual $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace which will be contested at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 8).

    The Kane Memorial is dedicated to the former chairman of the board of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation (which owns and operates Batavia Downs), Robert J. Kane. Kane worked on the board for 26 years and had the vision to see the value in purchasing the track in 1998, that had been shuttered for three years after having its license revoked. The facility has gone through a complete turnaround since then and WROTB has developed the property into 10-7-luckbewithyouthe premier entertainment destination spot in Genesee County.

    The 2016 edition of the Kane (which goes as race seven) is also a homecoming of sorts for trainer Chris Oakes who is originally from nearby Akron, New York. He started his career at the Downs in the 1980’s and conditions two horses in this year’s Kane, with his stable star Luck Be Withyou installed as the 5-2 morning line choice.

    Luck Be Withyou has faced Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki many times this year and has always been formidable competition for those two dominant aged pacers. Luck Be Withyou took a lifetime mark of 1:47.4 at Pocono Downs on July 2 and has also been race-timed under 1:50 on seven other occasions this year. His best effort on a half-mile track was a 1:51.1 win at Saratoga Raceway in July, but he was race-timed in 1:50.3 at Harrington Raceway just two weeks ago.

    Leaving from post one, Luck Be Withyou will be driven by the Downs leading reignsman, Kevin Cummings.

    Mel Mara is the second choice at 7-2 and is one speedy pacer. On June 4 at the Meadowlands, he beat a very talented Open class field and equalled the all-time race record for an older pacing stallion on a mile track when he stopped the clock in 1:47. In his 21 starts this year, Mel Mara was race timed under 1:50 15 times and his best effort over a half-mile track was a 1:50.1 win at Harrington Raceway three starts ago.

    Jim Morrill Jr. takes the reigns for trainer Dylan Davis and starts from post three.

    Scott Rocks comes in sharp as a tack and knows this oval well. He just raced at Batavia Downs on September 24 and jogged in 1:52. He was a wrapped up winner with a lot left in the tank and he did it after being off for three weeks. He took a lifetime mark of 1:48 at Pocono Downs on May 28, but he also won in a phenomenal 1:49 clocking at Northfield Park on September 3.

    Leaving from post two, John Cummings Jr. will once again team Scott Rocks, who is the other entrant for trainer Chris Oakes.

    Southwind Amazon is fast on any surface. He took a lifetime mark of 1:49.2 at Pompano Park on March 13, but was also race timed in 1:49.2 at Northfield Park in a second place finish to Scott Rocks on September 3. He has also won in 1:50.3 at Northfield and 1:50.4 at Saratoga Raceway. Southwind Amazon is having a career year with 11 wins and $109,599 earned and looks to add to those numbers in this event.

    Shawn Mcdonough gets the nod from trainer Paul Holzman and will depart from post five.

    The entire field is as follows:

    1 Luck Be Withyou      Kevin Cummings         5-2

    2 Scott Rocks              John Cummings Jr.       5-1

    3 Mel Mara                  Jim Morrill Jr.                7-2

    4 Polak A                     Shawn Gray                    4-1

    5 Southwind Amazon  Shawn McDonough    9-2

    6 Foiled Again              Jack Flanigen                 8-1

    7 Rockin In Heaven      Drew Monti                  6-1

    The current all-time pacing track record at Batavia Downs is 1:51.1 set by Aracache Hanover in 2011 when he won the Kane Memorial that year. In recent weeks, the track at Batavia Downs has been lightning fast and with favorable weather forecast, this field has the ability to demolish that standard.

    There is also an outstanding undercard on Saturday night’s 11-race schedule and it includes the $15,000 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot, to go as race five.

    Local favorite BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) is the 5-2 pick to hit against Yonkers Raceway invaders Lady’s Dude (Kevin Cummings, 3-1) and Auspicious Hanover (John Cummings Jr., 4-1).

    Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • The box remains open for Wednesday at Batavia Downs

    October 6, 2016
    Batavia, NY—The draw for Wednesday (Oct. 12) which was originally scheduled for Friday (Oct. 7) has been postponed until Saturday morning (Oct. 8) at 9 a.m. The box will remain open for all classes until that time.

    If you have already entered your horse(s), they do not need to be re-entered.

    Also please note, as a result of this schedule change, horseman will have approximately one hour after the draw takes place on Saturday to make any program changes.

    If you have any questions, please contact the race office at 585-344-6161.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Kaitlyn Akeeper wins Batavia feature; Fisher wins four

    October 6, 2016
    Batavia, NY—After dropping down from Open company and back into the claiming ranks, Kaitlyn Akeeper ($4.10) hung on to win the $7,800 mares pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 5).

    Jim Morrill Jr. shot off the gate and put Kaitlyn Akeeper on the lead and set early fractions of :27.4 and :57. At the five-eighths pole, Mayabelle (Kevin 10-6-kaitlyn-akeeperCummings) pulled first over and applied pressure on the outside for the rest of the race. The group moved to three-quarters in 1:26.4 before rounding the turn and pacing down the lane. With just a length separating them, Mayabelle was outside, Kaitlyn Akeeper in the middle and Missevil (Shawn Gray) was on the pylons after getting the two-hole trip. But Kaitlyn Akeeper toughed it out and won by a neck over Missevil in 1:55. Mayabelle finished third.

    It was the sixth win in 2016 for Kaitlyn Akeeper and the purse boosted her annual earnings to $41,372 for owner Mike Torcello. The 4-year-old American Ideal mare is trained by Gerry Sarama.

    Ray Fisher Jr. had a big night, winning four races on the card; three of which provided substantial payoffs. He scored with Chrome finish ($14.00, 2:00), Sobhon Hanover ($26.00, 1:59.1), Twin B Sportsman ($3.90, 1:55) and Artistic Topaz ($28.20, 1:57.2).

    Jim Morrill Jr. had a driving triple and Shawn Gray doubled up for the night. Trainers Gerry Sarama and John Mungillo also both sent two winners for pictures.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 7) with post time at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Highview Conall N splashes to Open victory at Batavia Downs

    October 2, 2016
    Batavia, NY—An all-day rain left the track sloppy for the card at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 1), but some of the fastest times of the meet were recorded during the evening. None the least the one Highview Conall N registered while winning the $10,000 featured Open pace at the Genesee County oval.

    The red-hot Jim Morrill Jr. fired the New Zealand bred off the gate and to the lead as the rest of the field watched in single-file fashion. After fractions of :27.3 and :56.2, Highview Conall N and the second place Heaven Rocks (Kevin Cummings) had a two-horse breakaway in place as they opened up six-lengths on the rest of the field while motoring up the backside.10-2-highview-conall

    As those two continued to compete alone, Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) pulled from fourth and started to close the distance with the leader. Around the far turn, Highview Conall N was widening the gap between himself and Heaven Rocks as Knocking around was closing it from third. When they straightened out down the lane it was Highview Conall N pacing strong to the wire for a 1:53.2 win with Knocking Around closing well for second over Heaven Rocks.

    It was the eighth win of the year for Highview Conall N ($4.10) and it raised his annual income to $74,770. The 7-year-old son of Christian Cullen was a recent acquisition for owner/trainer Nick Gampietro Jr., who purchased him privately on September 26.

    For the second night in a row, John Cummings Jr. scored a driving grand slam. He returned to the Purple Haze winner’s circle with Cheyenne Louie ($6.70, 1:54.4), Normandy Invasion ($2.70, 1:54.4), Youwillwishyouhad ($63.00, 1:55.1) and Bags of Money ($6.00, 1:57.4).

    Jim Morrill Jr. was a close second with a triple and Drew Monti came through with two. Trained JD Perrin also conditioned two winners on the night.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 5) with the first post set at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Justgottogetthere Got There in Batavia Downs Top Trot

    September 30, 2016
    Batavia, NYJustgottogetthere was one of the best resident trotters in western New York last year, however 2016 has been a bit of a different story. But it was like old times for the gelding on Friday night (Sept.30) as he won the $10,500 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs.

     Justgottogetthere (Jim Morrill Jr.) went right to the front at the start of the race and remained there until the end. While setting early panels of :28.2 and :58.4, the only challenge the leader got came from Snapshot Springs (Drew Monti) who pulled near the half and tried to engage the front. But the closest he could get was a half-length from second seated Noble Legend (Shawn Gray) who was tracking there the whole mile. After they hit three-quarters in 1:27.2, Justgottogetthere got busy and extended his lead around the far turn and just trotted away in the lane to win by three in 1:57.1.

    Noble Legend was second and Snapshot Springs finished third.10-1-justgottogetthere

     It was the fourth win of the year and a seasonal mark for Justgottogetthere ($11.20), and the first trip to the winner’s circle with him for new owner Mike Torcello, who privately purchased the son of Valley Victor on September 3rd. Gerry Sarama trains Justgottogetthere.

     In the co-featured $8,500 Open II trot, Serious George ($5.50) came early to press the front running Socialdelight (Ray Fisher Jr.) before running her down to win in 1:57.4. Serious George is owned by James Palladino and is trained by Richard Mays.

    John Cummings Jr. won four races Friday night. He had pictures taken with Gun Show ($4.00, 1:56.2), Hez a Buckeye ($5.60, 1:59), V I P ($9.20, 2:02) and Northern Matador ($13.20, 1:59).

    Shawn Gray and Jim Morrill Jr. both chimed in with two wins apiece.

    The Batavia Downs early Pick-5 which on Friday was part of the USTA Strategic Wager with a guaranteed $4,000 pool, recorded the track’s largest handle ever by 50%. The 3-2-1-2-6 combination returned $202.00.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 1) with a guaranteed early Pick-5 pool of $1,500. Post time is 6:15 p.m. 

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Batavia Downs Joins the USTA Strategic Wager

    September 30, 2016
    Batavia, NYBatavia Downs Racetrack joins the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering program Friday night (Sept.30) with the early Pick-5 pool guaranteed at $4,000.

    The early Pick-5 which kicks off in race one, has an actual carryover of $2,422 and post time for that race is set at 6:15 p.m.

    The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager that includes races one through five during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff; meaning if no one selects all five winners, the entire pool moves to the late Pick-5 which begins with race 7.

    Program pages for the early Pick-5 races made available courtesy of Trackmaster can be found at http://handicapping.ustrotting.com

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • My Tallia Ideal takes top test at Batavia Downs

    September 29, 2016
    Batavia, NYWednesday night (Sept. 28) was a return to form for My Tallia Ideal when she came from off the pace to take the lead and fend off a late challenge to capture the featured $9,500 mares Open pace at Batavia Downs.

    Kaitlyn Akeeper (Jim Morrill Jr.) left for the lead around Memumsnotnice (Kevin Cummings) while My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) went from fifth to third and tucked. Positions remained unchanged through fractions of :27.2 and :56.2 when My Tallia Ideal pulled first over past the clubhouse with Who Says That (Shawn Gray) on her back.

    My Tallia Ideal eventually pulled alongside Kaitlyn Akeeper at the three-quarters before going right on by in the far turn. But just as it looked like she was going to pull away, Who Says That tipped around and came hard at her in the stretch. The two dueled head to head all the way down the lane and hit the wire near simultaneously, but the photo showed My Tallia Ideal was the victor by a nose in 1:54.1.

    The win was the seventh of the year for My Tallia Ideal ($2.80) and it pushed her earnings to $51,375 for owners Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney McNeight. The 8-year-old Western Ideal mare is trained by Dave McNeight Jr.

    Ray Fisher Jr. had a driving grand slam Wednesday, winning with Wicked Elphaba ($6.40), Purple N Gold ($17.40), Prince Jubilee ($10.80) and Val’s Jett ($2.60). Wade Tomaszewski and Jim Morrill Jr. both scored driving doubles.

    Trainers Richard Tomaszewski and Richard Lareau both sent two students to the winner’s enclosure.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 30) with the first post set for 6:15 p.m. On Friday, the early Pick-5 (Races 1 to 5) starts with a guaranteed pool of $4,000.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Scott Rocks rolls to victory at Batavia Downs

    September 25, 2016
    Batavia, NYIn the featured $10,000 Open pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 24), the only race was for second as the heavily favored invader, Scott Rocks led at all stations en route to registering the fastest pacing mile of the year at the Genesee County oval.

    John Cummings Jr. left with Scott Rocks and after easing him through a brutally sunlit first turn, got his horse in gear on the back straight and took the lead by the quarter in :27.4. As soon as he crossed over to the pylons, Cummings popped the plugs and took a reclined posture in the bike as he became a passenger for the rest of his ride.

    Scott Rocks was up by one and one-half lengths at the half in :56.2 and by two at three-quarters in 1:23.4. With the rest of the field scrambling to keep up at 9-25-scottrocksthat point, the leader opened up three lengths under mild urging from Cummings and won wrapped-up in 1:52.

    China Dream (Shawn Gray) closed strong to catch second and Heaven Rocks (Kevin Cummings), who followed the winner the entire mile, hung on for third.

    It was the ninth win of the year, including three straight most recently for Scott Rocks ($2.50) and the purse increased his 2016 bank to $133,374 for owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey. The 6-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover is trained by Chris Oakes.

    John Cummings Jr. had a driving grand slam on Saturday winning with Scott Rocks ($2.50, 1:52), Keystone Dalton ($3.10, 1:55), Foreign Officer ($4.30, 1:54.1) and Untouchable One ($3.40, 1:56).

    Drew Monti had a driving triple while Ray Fisher Jr. doubled up.

    Trainer JD Perrin conditioned three winning horses on the night.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 28) with the first post at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Snapshot Springs Convincing in Batavia Downs Open trot

    September 24, 2016
    Batavia, NYFresh off a solid win in Open II company last week, Snapshot Springs moved to the top class for resident trotters and took a new lifetime mark in winning the $10,500 Open at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 23).

    With three horses leaving off the gate, it took until the quarter for the favored Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) to clear in :28.1. He then proceeded to lead the pack in single-file order to the half in :57.4. At that station, Snapshot Springs (Drew Monti) pulled first-over from fourth and motored up on the outside.9-24-snapshot-springs

    Up the backside, Snapshot Springs pulled even with Kahoku and at that point, Monti popped the plugs before they hit the three-quarters in 1:27.1. From there he cleared and opened up a two-length lead around the last turn. Then with mild urging from Monti down the lane, Snapshot Springs coasted home to a fairly easy two-length win in 1:57.
    It was the seventh win of the year for Snapshot Springs ($8.40) and it enriched his 2016 earnings to $41,085 for owner/trainer Allan McCarty.

    Bob Davis won both $5,000 divisions of the C.K.G. Billings races. In the trotting leg he scored a wire to wire win with V I P ($15.80) and in the pacing division he went from worst to first with Helena’s Hope ($7.00).

    John Cummings Jr. had a driving triple while Drew Monti and Shawn Gray scored doubles. Trainers Edgar Clarke and Jeff Amann both sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 24) with a 6:15 post time.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Guaranteed $2,500 Pick-5 pool tonight at Batavia Downs

    September 23, 2016
    Batavia, NY When racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 23), the early Pick-5 pool will be guaranteed at $2,500. The early Pick-5 wager runs from race one through race five and is a 50-cent base wager.

    America’s oldest lighted harness racetrack currently races every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night with post time for the first race set at 6:15 p.m. The 2016 season continues through December 10.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Susie’s Delight impressive in feature win at Batavia Downs

    September 22, 2016
    Batavia, NYSusie’s Delight proved patience is a virtue as she laid in wait before pouncing on her foes in the $9,500 mares Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 21).

    Kaitlyn Akeeper (Jim Morrill Jr.) set the pace as the heavy post time favorite All Charged Up (John Macdonald) couldn’t get the front9-22-susies-delight and didn’t find a hole. That was the start of a long journey for her as she was parked the rest of the way. So with Memumsnotnice (Kevin Cummings) sitting second and All Charged Up hung out like laundry, Kaitlyn Akeeper cut fractions of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:25.2.

    At three-quarters, All Charged Up was making her way to the rear and that freed Susie’s Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) from her encumbered position in fourth and she began a run up to the leader. Coming out of the turn, Susie’s Delight drew even with Kaitlyn Akeeper and the mares battled into the stretch. Fisher began bouncing in the bike like he was sitting on a trampoline, urging his mare ahead. And ahead she forged to a half-length victory in 1:54.2.

    It was the fourth win of the year for the 6-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight ($13.00) and the time of 1:54.2 was a new seasonal mark for the winner. Susie’s Delight is owned by the Swift Racing Stable and trained by Ryan Swift.

    Drew Monti, Dave McNeight III and Ray Fisher Jr. all scored driving triples on the night while John Mungillo, Bradley Jackson and Dave McNeight Jr. conditioned two winners apiece.
    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 23) with post time for the first race set at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • China Dream toughs-out victory in Batavia Downs feature

    September 18, 2016
    Batavia, NYTrack conditions were sloppy at best after torrential downpours swept through Genesee County, but China Dream didn’t seem to mind the mud as he came first-over and put in a gutsy effort while winning the $10,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 17).

    From the pylons, Heaven Rocks (Kevin Cummings) took the lead by default as no one else in the field left. From there Cummings 9-18-chinadreamproceeded to cut pedestrian fractions for the class of :29.1 to the quarter and :59.1 to the half with his competitors following in post position order.

    Shortly past that station, China Dream (Shawn Gray) pulled first-up and drew alongside Heaven Rocks. The two matched strides up the backside and around the last turn. At the head of the lane, China Dream wore down Heaven Rocks, but met another challenge from Foreign Officer (John Cummings Jr.) who had tipped three wide and was driving. But China Dream was the better horse this night and held all comers at bay to win by length in 1:56.2.

    It was the ninth win of the year for China Dream ($10.80) and it raised his annual income to $65,055 for owners Jack and Maria Rice. China Dream is trained by Maria Rice.

    Shawn Gray posted four driving victories on the night while Ray Fisher Jr. won two. Trainers Maria Rice, Angelo Nappo and Richard Lareau all sent two winners postward.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. for the final twilight card of the year.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • BZ Glide Back on Track in Open Trot at Batavia Downs

    September 16, 2016
    Batavia, NYThe last time BZ Glide visited the winner’s circle was on May 27 of this year, but that absence was quelled when he got up late to win the $10,000 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 16).

    As the race got underway, habitual leaver Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) took a stay-at-home approach and let Studio City (Dave McNeight III), Noble Legend (Jack Flanigen) and Serendipitious (Ray Fisher Jr.) all go for the top. Those three battled three-wide to the quarter in :27.4 before Noble Legend finally cleared and then Serendipitious overtook from him. But the action was far from over before they reached the half as Studio City pulled first over with Kahoku shadowing the move. 9-16-bz-glide

    The field was in two rows at three-quarters in 1:27.3 when Cummings pulled Kahoku three-high around the far turn. Not to be outdone, Mike Caprio pulled BZ Glide from the back of the pack and swung four-wide at the head of the lane. With horses coming from everywhere, four had a shot in mid-stretch. But it was BZ Glide who brushed the best to win by a neck in 1:58.1.

    It was the second win of the year for BZ Glide ($4.30) who is just rounding into form after being off two months over the summer. So far in 2016, he has earned $18,625 for owner Caprio Stable LLC. BZ Glide is trained by Alana Caprio.

    The Downs leading driver, Kevin Cummings and Drew Monti both had triples on the card while Mike Caprio checked in with two winners.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 17) with the first post set at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • The box remains open for Wednesday at Batavia Downs

    September 16, 2016

    Batavia, NY—The draw for Wednesday (Sept. 21) which was originally scheduled for today has been postponed until Saturday morning (Sept. 17). The box remains open for all classes until tomorrow at 9 a.m. and if you have already entered, you do not need to re-enter. If you have any questions, please contact the race office at 585-344-6161.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Zack’s Zoomer breaks track record at Batavia Downs

    September 15, 2016
    Batavia, NYThe 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings who came to Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 14) to compete in the $107,000 New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) put on quite a show, but none more than Zack’s Zoomer, who set a new track record for age, gender and gait.

    Zack’s Zoomer (Deweycheatumnhowe-Passageway) had finished second to division leaders Devious Man and Money Macintosh racing from off the pace his last two starts, but tonight driver Marcus Miller took no prisoners and sent Zack’s Zoomer right to the front along with Neon Lights (Chris Lems) and Money Macintosh (Andy Miller) in the first $53,500 division . As they headed into the first turn, favorite Money Macintosh made a break and left Zack’s Zoomer to dictate the fractions with Neon Lights parked out right next to him.

    The two colts continued to battle; one in, one out, through fractions of :29, :58.2 and 1:28.4 before Neon Lights tired and Zack’s Zoomer found additional momentum. Rounding the final turn, Marcus Miller was just line driving his horse as they sped away and opened up a three length lead by mid-stretch. At the wire, Zack’s Zoomer was a wrapped-up winner in 1:58.1 by a comfortable two-9-15-zackzoomerlengths.

    The time of 1:58.1 was a new lifetime mark for Zack’s Zoomer ($5.40) as well as a new track record for 2-year-old trotting colts at Batavia Downs. The old record of 1:58.4 was set by Dejarmbro in 2010.

    “He has been drawing poorly, but he’s just been getting better and better. So when he got the rail, this is pretty much what I had planned tonight” said Marcus Miller. “I think he’s a very nice horse.”

    This was also the second track record Marcus Miller has set at Batavia Downs in just over a week. On Saturday (Sept. 3), Miller drove Pointomygranson to a five-length, 1:53.2 win to set a new standard for 2-year-old pacing geldings.

    This win was the second in six starts for Zack’s Zoomer and it pushed his earnings for the year to $71,265. The 50 points earned for the win, moved him up to fifth in the NYSS standings (155) and solidified his spot in the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 24).

    Zack’s Zoomer is owned by Ervin Miller Stable Inc. and Harvey Elsman and is trained by Erv Miller.

    In the first $53,500 split, Devious Man (Credit Winner-Miss Garland) displayed why he was sent off 2-5 as he overpowered the field from post six.

    Stick With Me Kid (Chris Lems), Volare (Mark Macdonald) and Devious Man (Andy Miller) all left the gate. Volare tucked in second behind the front running Stick With Me Kid while Devious Man floated in fourth. Just past the eighth pole, Stick With Me Kid made a break and simultaneously, Devious Man pulled and proceeded towards the front. That march was completed by the top of the far turn and from there, he took total control.

    Devious Man led the field to the half in 1:01.1 and then proceeded to close out the race. He opened up and immediate three-length lead and with Miller sitting chilly, hit the three-quarters in 1:31 before trotting home in :28.4 to be a gapped winner in 1:59.4.

    “I was a little worried about the six hole, but he just cruised around there; it didn’t really seem to matter” said Andy Miller. “After that horse made a break and he cleared the front, he was pretty much on his own from there.”

    It was the fifth win of the year for Devious Man ($2.90) and the fourth in a row during his current streak. The purse enhanced his coffers to $167,733, making him the richest 2-year-old trotting colt in the NYSS this year. The 50 points gained for the win also made him the highest point-earner (287) for his category.

    Devious Man, who is a three-quarter brother to 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo, is owned by Story Inc. and is trained by Julie Miller.

    There were also three divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior A series on the card.

    The first $15,000 division was won by American Cheque (Conway Hall-Cheque Lavec) who was driven by John Campbell in 2:00.3. American Cheque ($3.30) is trained by Linda Toscano for owner Michael Keeling.

    The second $15,000 leg went to Top Flight Angel (Archangel-Top Photo) who was driven by John Cummings Jr. in 1:58.4. Top Flight Angel ($8.60) is trained by Megan Wilson for Legendary Standardbred Farm.

    The final $15,000 split was won by Barn Winner (Credit Winner-Hallmarker) who was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Barn Winner ($4.50) is trained by Steve Pratt who also owns him along with Nancy Pratt and the Out In The Country Stable.

    Several horsemen had outstanding performances on Wednesday. John Cummings Jr. scored a driving triple while John Campbell, Marcus Miller and Jim Morrill Jr. all had doubles. Trainers Erv Miller and Jim Graham each sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure for portraits.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Team Orange Crush colts favored in NYSS at Batavia Downs

    September 13, 2016
    Batavia, NY — As the 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings mark the final New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) stop of the year at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 14), some of the entrants will be looking to solidify their spot in the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 24). But stablemates Devious Man and Money Macintosh from the Julie Miller stable have already advanced as the top two point-earners in the series and can concentrate solely on the $107,000 in purse money available this week.

    Devious Man (Credit Winner-Miss Garland) has won three consecutive NYSS events after making a break in the $294,450 Peter Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands on August 6. He won in the mud at both Yonkers Raceway and Tioga Downs, the latter setting his lifetime mark of 1:55.3. And then the following week won again back at Yonkers in 1:58.3. He’s a very handy horse winning from both the front end and from behind.

    In all, Devious Man has four wins this year, all in NYSS action and $140,983 in earnings. $125,397 of that total was made in the NYSS and makes him the highest money earner for his age, gait and gender. He is also the second highest point-earner (237) for his category.

    Andy Miller will make an infrequent stop at the Genesee County oval to drive Devious Man for his wife Julie Miller from post 6 and has been made the prohibitive morning line favorite at 1-1 in the first $53,500 division.

    Stick With Me Kid (Deweycheatumnhowe-Chelsea Hall) has only one win to his credit this year, but it was an impressive outing in the NYSS at Vernon Downs on July 21. He pulled from off the pace and trotted away to victory in 1:56.2, which was his career best. Chris Lems sat behind him for that start and trainer George Ducharme has him up again here.

    Looking to add to his $64,051 in earnings and points to his total for the final, Stick With Me Kid has drawn post one, is the second choice at 7-2 and looks to be the stiffest competition for the favorite.

    In the second $53,500 split, Julie Miller’s Money Macintosh (Credit Winner-Apple Plush) is almost a mirror image of Devious Man. He is coming in off two straight wins at Tioga and Yonkers and has four victories on the year, all in NYSS races. His lifetime mark of 1:56.2 was taken at Tioga Downs and he hasn’t missed the board all year.

    Money Macintosh has won $122,829 in 2016, all of which was made in NYSS races. That puts him second in that category behind Devious Man, although he tops the list for points earned (262) in his category.

    Andy Miller will also team Money Macintosh from post six and has been made the early choice at 2-1.

    Such An Angel (Credit Winner-Michelle’s Angel) sits third in points for the final and will no doubt use this start as a tune up. After winning three-straight NYSS events at Vernon Downs, Saratoga Raceway and Yonkers, Such An Angel encountered some road trouble in his last two and finished off the board. With an inside draw and his gate speed, this is a good spot for the colt to rebound.

    Trainer Paul Kelley again has the services of Hall of Fame driver John Campbell and will see Such An Angel depart from post three at 5-2.

    Zack’s Zoomer (Deweycheatumnhowe-Passageway) currently sits seventh in points and needs a good outing to seal the deal. Although he has only won one NYSS event this year, he has finished a solid second in his last two outings from post four and looks to be rounding into form at just the right time.

    Marcus Miller will steer Zack’s Zoomer for trainer Erv Miller and leave from post one at 3-1.

    There are also three $15,000 divisions of the Excel A series on the card that is slated to begin at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Morrill and Brainard sweep the NYSS at Batavia Downs

    September 11, 2016
    Batavia, NY — Horses trained by Tracy Brainard and driven by Jim Morrill Jr. have been tough to beat over the years and Saturday night (Sept. 10) at Batavia Downs was no exception. That dynamic duo swept both 3-year-old pacing filly divisions of the New York Sires Stakes and claimed the winner’s share of $119,300 in purses.

    In the first $60,200 division, Milky Way Rae (American Ideal-Aurora Borealus) was used early and late before grinding out a victory down the lane.

    Milky Way Rae left for the lead but was pursued from the outside by American Ivy (Dan Daley) through a :27.3 quarter. By the three-9-12-milkywayraeeighths America Ivy had taken a seat third allowing the leader a breather and a :56 half. But before Milky Way Rae could get too comfortable, No Clouds Bluechip (Kevin Cummings) had pulled from fourth with Dime A Dance (Drew Monti) right behind her.

    As the trio paced by three-quarters in 1:25, No Clouds Bluechip stalled and Dime A Dance went three-wide around her in the last turn. Starting with a two-length deficit at the top of the stretch, Dime A Dance put on a ferocious drive and took it to the leader, but Milky Way Rae fended off the challenge to win by a nose in 1:54.4.

    “The race shaped up good for her because she likes to rock on the front” said Morrill. “I thought she could go in 1:52 tonight on this track but it didn’t come to that.”

    It was the fifth win of the year for Milky Way Rae ($13.20) and it boosted her 2016 earnings to $86,674 for owner Fortunate One LLC.

    The second $59,100 leg saw Wishy Washy Girl (Roll With Joe-Wish All you Want) trip-out for the win and give the Morrill/Brainard team their second winner’s circle presentation.

    Wishy Washy Girl left and dropped in second behind Time On My Hands (Ray Fisher Jr.) who was 9-12-wishywashygirlrolling from the pylons. But despite the two being ahead of the field by a good ten lengths, Morrill pulled and tried to go to the front, cutting the quarter in :27. However Fisher would have none of that and he pushed his filly on and made Morrill see-saw his back into the hole.

    Between the half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:24.4, Art Critic (Drew Monti) pulled and drew alongside Wishy Washy Girl. At the same time, Fisher was highly animated in urging on the front-running Time On My Hands who was clearly running out of gas. This locked in Wishy Washy Girl who was raging with pace until the top of the lane. When the passing lane finally opened up, Morrill popped Wishy Washy Girl through the opening and sped to an instant two-length lead and won in 1:54.4.

    “She was good but she would have been a lot better if they went 1:22 to three-quarters” Morrill explained. “That’s why I came out of the two-hole at the quarter, because when they go too slow she’s tough to hold. She was crawling over that horse around the last turn; she was very good.”

    The win gave Wishy Washy Girl three for the year and the purse enriched her bank account to $82,328 for owners Michael Cimaglio and Stephen Demeter.

    There were also two divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior A series on the card.

    Ghost Runner (Art Major-Spirit Of The West) was an easy wire to wire winner in 1:54.1 for Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Erv Miller. Ghost runner ($2.30) is owned by Dr. Scott Leaf, Deborah Mackenzie, Gerald Fielding and Tom Jackson.

    The Morrill/Miller combo also took the second division with Rolling Going Gone (Roll With Joe-Long Gone) in 1:58, and once again wire to wire. Rolling Going Gone ($2.30) is owned by Ross Bonafield.

    Driver Jim Morrill Jr. ended the night winning five races.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Kahoku Delivers in Open Trot at Batavia Downs

    September 10, 2016
    Batavia, NY—
    In Hawaiian, Kahoku means “star” and Friday night (Sept. 9) at Batavia Downs, Kahoku ($4.30) lived up to his name as he shown bright on the front end in the $10,500 Open trotting feature.

    Driver Kevin Cummings left from post four with Kahoku and out-tussled Noble Legend (Jack Flanigen) for the lead past the quarter timed in :28.3. That would be the last lead change of the race. Kahoku trotted with a gapped lead and went to the half in :59.2 and three-quarters in 1:28.3. With the field unable to catch him up to that point, Kahoku strode away to an easy two-length victory in 1:58.

    Noble Legend followed him to the wire for second and B Z Glide (Mike Caprio) closed the best for show.9-12-kahoku

    It was the tenth win in 28 starts for Kahoku and it bumped his earnings up to $59,358 for the year. The 8-year-old altered son of SJ’s Caviar is owned by Colleen Girdlestone and Michael Gentner and is trained by Mark Laidlaw.

    In the co-featured $8,500 Open II trot, The Bronx Bumper ($7.60) stepped up from the claiming ranks to dominate some top-flight condition horses when he came from off the pace to win in 1:58.3. Dave McNeight III drove the winner to his fourth win of the year for trainer Gerry Sarama and owner Mike Torcello.

    Three drivers won 90% of the card on Friday as Kevin Cummings, John Cummings Jr. and Dave McNeight III all scored driving triples.

    Racing resumes on Saturday night (Sept. 10) at Batavia Downs with the first post set for 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • NYSS sophomore filly pacers at Batavia Downs Saturday

    September 9, 2016
    Batavia, NY—
    The seventh of eight sessions of the New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) stops at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 10) and this week it will be the 3-year-old pacing fillies who will participate in two divisions, going for $119,300 in available purses.

    This will be the last stop for the second-year distaff side-wheelers who are trying to position themselves for the NYSS Night of Champions finals at Yonkers Raceway on September 24.

    The first $60,200 division features No Clouds Bluechip (Roll With Joe-B J’s Sunshine) who comes in fresh off a big win in the $239,225 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) at Tioga Downs. After winning her elimination in 1:53 wire to wire, No Clouds Bluechip came from off the pace in the final to annihilate her competition, winning in 1:50.1 by five lengths.

    No Clouds Bluechip is a four-time winner this year and has amassed $233,208 in earnings for her efforts and currently sits sixth in points for the final.9-9-nocloudsbluechip

    Trainer John Berger has tabbed Batavia’s leading driver, Kevin Cummings to steer and has been named the 2-1 morning line favorite from post two.

    The race’s second choice, Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance Hanover) raced at Batavia Downs on one other occasion. Just short of a year ago, the filly scorched the Genesee County oval in 1:52.4 and set a new track and world record for 2-year-old pacing fillies over a half-mile track.

    This year, Dime A Dance has matched her wins from 2015 but not her mark or earnings. Most recently she won two straight NYSS events before qualifying for the EBC final at Tioga. Unfortunately in that race, she drew post nine and made an untimely break at the quarter and was never in contention after that.

    Dime A Dance has four wins on the year and $166,210 in the bank. She is also the top point earning filly in her division and is a lock for the NYSS final.

    Dime A Dance drew post five and has been made 7-2 on the early line. Trainer Ron Burke has called upon Drew Monti to sit in the bike for this event.

    In the second $59,100 split, Time On My Hands (American Ideal-Bewitching Jewell) looks like the one to beat on the strength of her body of work. She’s a three-time NYSS winner and took her lifetime mark of 1:53.2 in a leg at Saratoga Raceway.

    Her most recent outing was in the $109,050 Lady Maud at Yonkers where she got away last and was chasing a :56.2 closing half. She did finish fifth and paced home in a snappy :27.4 final quarter.

    In 2016, Time On My Hands has four wins and $146,893 in assets. She is currently second in points and has qualified for the final as well.

    Time On My Hands has drawn post one and will team with Ray Fisher Jr. for trainer Chris Ryder.

    Wishy Washy Girl (Roll With Joe-Wish All You Want) cut blazing fractions in the EBC but paid the price in the end. She finished sixth, but it was not unexpected with a 1:21.3 three-quarters. Prior to that under more moderate rating, she has been a handy filly since entering the Brainard stable.

    Although her lifetime mark is 1:54.1 at Pocono Downs, she just missed going wire to wire in 1:51.3 in the EBC elimination two starts back where she finished third by a half-length.

    Wishy Washy Girl has won two races this year but neither were in Sire Stake action.

    Jim Morrill Jr. picks up the lines for the fourth straight time behind Wishy Washy Girl as assigned by trainer Tracy Brainard and the pair will depart from post five listed at 7-2.

    There are also two divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior Series A races on the card that will go postward at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • All Charged Up Wins Back To Back Features At Batavia Downs

    September 8, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Vernon Downs invaders All Charged Up and her trainer/driver John MacDonald have made Batavia Downs their second home now that they’ve won their second straight $10,000 fillies and mares Open pace on Wednesday night (Sept. 7).9-7-allchargedup

    MacDonald fired right to the front when the gate released the field and All Charged Up took complete control of the race. With the field in single file behind her and no one pulling the right line, MacDonald was on top grabbing both as he slowed the pace to 1:00.1 at the half. From there the race was over.

    The Filly Princess (Kevin Cummings) eventually did come first over past the half and brought My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) with her in tow. They advanced towards the leader who had sped the third panel up to :28.1, but All Charged Up was steady and paced away in a :28 flat closing quarter to win by almost three lengths in 1:56.2.

    It was the tenth win of the year for All Charged Up ($4.30) and it padded her already stout bankroll to $79,144 for owner J P Stables.

    Mark Whitcroft won three races on the card while Chris Lems and Truman Gale won two apiece. Trainer Sally Cartier also sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 9) with the first post set for 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Admirable Hanover Wins RUS New York Championship At Batavia Downs

    September 8, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Wednesday night (Sept. 7) was historic for Batavia Downs as the first ever racing under saddle (RUS) contest was held at the oldest lighted harness track in America. And the show put on by the competitors in the $4,000 RUS New York championship race had the fans on their feet and cheering.9-7-ruswinphoto

    Five horses went postward before My Friend Charlie (Andrea Pratt) went right for the lead as the race began. But shortly after getting away second, Funny Photo (Sophie Engerran) came early, pulled alongside the leader and immediately pushed the issue.

    The two trotted side by side setting fractions of :30 and 1:00.3 to the half before Funny Photo made a break past the five-eighths pole. At that point My Friend Charlie was alone on top but Admirable Hanover (Vanessa Karlewicz), who inherited second after the break, was right on her tail. As the race moved off the last turn, Karlewicz pulled Admirable Hanover and drew alongside the leader. The pair trotted in step in a thrilling race to the wire before Admirable Hanover got a slight advantage and won by a neck in 2:03.4.

    My Friend Charlie was second and Jeanie Marie closed sharply for third after an early race miscue in the non-betting event.

    It was the third win in six starts under saddle for Admirable Hanover this year. This is the fourth year the 9-year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall has competed in RUS and the 2:03.4 clocking was a new lifetime mark under saddle for him.

    Admirable Hanover is owned by Peter Gerry and is trained by his rider, Vanessa Karlewicz.

    “The crowd loved this race” said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing. “They were on their feet at the rail cheering as the two horses battled down the stretch. The girls put on a great show and we hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of RUS at Batavia Downs.”

    Since this was the first ever RUS event at Batavia Downs, the winning time of 2:03.4 is a new track record.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • RUS New York Fair Series Final At Batavia Downs On Wednesday

    September 7, 2016
    Batavia, NY—The race that so many have been working all summer for is finally here. On Wednesday (Sept. 7) at Batavia Downs, horses and riders will be competing to capture the title of champion of the New York Racing Under Saddle Fair Series.

    Racing under saddle (RUS), also known as Monte racing in Europe, is where trotters are raced with riders on their back rather than with a sulky behind them like you normally see at Batavia Downs. Racing Under Saddle

    The RUS event is a non-wagering event that will be raced after race eight at about 8:50 p.m. This is the first time in the 70 history of Batavia Downs that racing under saddle will be conducted there.

    This marks the third year of the series, which included 12 races at nine fairs across the state and a race at Saratoga Raceway. Horses earned points during the series to determine final entries.

    In order to be eligible for the final, horses needed to compete and finish in any two races. Fifteen horses participated in the series with nine qualifying to race in the final. This year’s field will consist of five horses:

    Jeanie Marie: This is the first year Jeanie Marie has been used under saddle. The mare leads the group with 176 points. She has raced in five races, winning three. She was a close second to Funny Photo in Palmyra. Jeanie Marie’s worst finish was Tuesday in Saratoga where she placed eighth with a new rider. Jeanie Marie will be starting in post position four. She has mostly been ridden by Heather Reese and the two of them are a strong team.

    Funny Photo: Funny Photo Is second in points with 145, but could be considered a favorite because he and rider Sophie Engerran have shown good speed on the big and small tracks. Funny Photo won a race at Vernon Downs in a time of 1:59.1. The duo has captured three wins on fair tracks, only losing one when they were placed down for not losing ground when making a break. Engerran started racing under saddle in France in 2004. She raced there for 10 years. Funny Photo and Engerran were introduced last year when the horse was being trained by Andy Gardner at Vernon Downs. Engerran broke the dark chestnut to ride and had success on the track and decided to purchase him last November. According to Engerran, it was not planned to race at the fairs this year because Funny Photo is more comfortable on big tracks, but she said they gave it a try and the horse seems to enjoy it.

    Admirable Hanover: Is not far behind in points (138), but shows to be more of a threat on the fair tracks. Batavia may pose as a challenge for the 9-year-old gelding and his rider Vanessa Karlewicz. The duo, who will be starting on the rail, has shown improvement as the season has moved forward so don’t totally count them out. They captured victories in both Morris and Bath and finished mid-pack on the bigger Saratoga track. This marks Karlewicz’s second season with Admirable Hanover and her first year participating in RUS on a regular basis. The rider said she mostly used Admirable Hanover in the amateur driving series last year. “He’s a pretty handy horse on the fair tracks and I’ve been happy to have three wins with him this year,” she said.

    My Friend Charlie: Will be defending his title. This 5-year-old gelding and his rider, Andrea Pratt, were named the winners of last year’s fair final in Monticello. This duo has raced on three fair tracks this year, earning two seconds and a fourth. In July, Pratt rode My Friend Charlie to a second-place finish at Vernon Downs in a time of 2:02.1. The pair has a total of 59 points and placed sixth in the final race of the series in Saratoga. My Friend Charlie seems to like the bigger tracks better so having the final at a larger track may give this team an added edge. They will be starting in post position two.

    Kash Now: Is the longest shot on the board, so to speak, as there is no betting on RUS. This is the only horse that no longer races in harness. She was ridden by Michelle Miller in the first fair series where the two of them learned to race under saddle together. The duo didn’t make a comeback until mid-season in Morris as Miller was using another horse. The 12-year-old mare had not raced in almost two years, but was used to ride and keep Miller in shape. Kash Now has always struggled to finish strong, but has been getting stronger each outing. This duo will be starting in post position three and really have their work cut out for them. Kash Now and Miller have earned 50 points in four races.

    All participants will earn $800 for earning their way into the championship race. Batavia Downs is contributing $1,000 toward the final purse and the rest of the money comes from RUS NY sponsors and fundraising. The New York Sire Stakes is the series’ flagship sponsor and generously donates $5,000 as initial purse money.

    The winner will also receive a championship saddle pad donated by Everett Hopper of Advantage Edge Equine-Pro and a halter and lead line gifted by Divine Equine Custom Equipment.

    A High Point Rider Award will once again be presented at the final to the rider who has earned the most points, regardless of horse(s) ridden throughout the series. To be eligible for the award riders must participate in at least three races.

    Post time for the complete card of harness racing is 6:15 p.m.


  • Pointomygranson Sets A New Track Record At Batavia Downs

    September 4, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings went postward at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 3) to compete for their9-3-Americanfirewater
    share of the $110,000 purses up for grabs and one of the winners made track history.

    Pointomygranson (American Ideal-Sangaal) went to the front and took a lead he would never relinquish en route to a five-length victory in 1:53.2 in his $55,500 division. That time was a new track record for 2-year-old pacing geldings.

    Marcus Miller rushed Pointomygranson off the gate and set unchallenged fractional times of :28.2 and :58. At that point, Jim Morrill Jr. had the heavily favored Funknwaffles rolling up on the outside trying to catch the leader. But when Miller saw him coming past five-eighths, he asked his horse for more and then hung on as Pointomygranson accelerated.

    Pointomygranson would not let the challenger get anywhere close to him up the backside and when they hit the stretch, he was pulling away with every stride and Miller was sitting chilly behind him. He paced his last quarter in :27 flat under wraps.

    “He was real strong in the race, I couldn’t have been happier with him” said Marcus Miller. “It was the first time I drove him but they told me he would be good tonight and he was!”

    It was the second NYSS win of the year for Pointomygranson ($7.00) and it pushed his earnings to $63,229 for owner Gold Standard Equine LLC. The winner is trained by Chris Ryder.

    It was bombs a
    way in the first $55,500 split when 30-1 Americanfirewater (American Ideal-Lucky Turn) pulled a major upset.

    1-4 favorite Miso Fast (Jim Morrill Jr.) had things his own way on the front end with the field in single-file behind him, cutting even fractions of :28.2, :58.1 and 1:27.3. But just when things were looking anticlimactic, Drew Monti pulled Americanfirewater from the three hole and shot up alongside the leader in quick fashion.

    Miso Fast and Americanfirewater then tore around the far turn, matching strides as they went. At the top of the lane it was anyone’s race and after both colts were driven hard to the wire, Americanfirewater wanted it more and won by a length in 1:56.2, which was a new lifetime mark.

    “When he came out of the hole, I knew he had a real shot. He was super aggressive today and you could tell right away” said Drew Monti.

    It was the first lifetime win for Americanfirewater ($62.50) and the winner’s share boosted his annual income to $54,739 for owner Rock & Roll Stable Inc. Americanfirewater is trained by Rick Dane Jr.9-3-Pointomygrandson

    There were also two $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card.

    In the first division, Rollin About (Roll With Joe-Flitabout) was a wire to wire winner for driver Marcus Miller in 1:56.4 for owners Anthony Lombardi, D Van Witzenburg and George Golemes. The winner paid $8.20.

    The second division went to Percy’s Z Tam and Pat Lachance in 1:56.2 on the strength of a three-wide move at three-quarters. Percy’s Z Tam ($9.70) is owned by Z Tam Stable LLC, M & M Harness Racing LLC, Royal Flush Stable LLC and Pat LaChance, who also trains him.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday afternoon (Sept. 5) with a special Labor Day matinee card featuring the annual driver’s bike race, which will be held after the seventh race.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Drew Monti Wins Five, Both Features at Batavia Downs

    September 2, 2016
    Batavia, NY—Drew Monti put on a driving clinic at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 2) winning five races on the card that included both top trots of the week.

    In the featured $10,000 Open for the diagonal gaited, Winky’s Pride ($14.20) went gate to wire in unfettered style. After leaving from post four, Winky’s Pride was perfectly rated through fractions of :28.2, :58.2 and 1:28.2 when J A T O (Mike Caprio) sidled her at three-quarters. Monti glanced back and popped the plugs right after and the chestnut mare new to turn it up.

    After they circled the turn and headed down the lane, J A T O continued his assault from the outside and Studio City (Dave McNeight III) shot through the passing lane in pursuit as well. But Winky’s Pride would not relent and under mild urging, held off all challengers to the wire and won by a long neck in 1:57.4. Studio City was second and J A T O was third.

    It was the fifth win of the year for Winky’s Pride and the second consecutive week she beat the boys in the feature. With the winner’s share of the purse, her earnings rose to $46,039 in 2016 for owner-trainer Robert Hummel.

    In the co-featured $8,500 Open II trot, Monti scored with El Diablo Hall ($12.20) in his first local start after a private purchase. El Diablo Hall sat second behind BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) for the entire mile, before finding room in the passing lane. From there, he powered up the pylons to a half-length victory in 1:57.4.

    El Diablo Hall is owned by James Caradori and is trained by Darrin Monti.

    Rounding out Monti’s five winners were Chelsea’s Chance ($8.70), Tenor Duharas ($4.20) and Warhorse ($5.00). His UDR for the night was .593.

    There were other outstanding performances by several horsemen on Friday night as well. John Cummings Jr.’s Batavia homecoming saw him win three races during the night as did trainer Darrin Monti. And Kevin Cummings hit the winner’s circle twice along with trainer Mike Carrubba.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 3) with two main events. The New York Sires Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings rolls into town along with the $7.4 million dollar horse, Foiled Again, who will compete in the overnight featured $10,000 Open pace. Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs


  • Batavia Downs Driver’s Bike Race Set For Labor Day

    September 2
    Batavia, NY—A tradition that started in 1979 continues on Monday (Sept. 5) during the Labor Day matinee extravaganza at Batavia Downs and that is, the annual driver’s bike race. This “friendly” competition between the horsemen features eight local drivers who will line up at the quarter pole and make their way around the far turn and head for the wire.9-2 Mickey Holliday-01

    Last year’s winner was Mickey Holliday who won with a strong stretch drive. Holliday will be back to defend his title against some new faces as well as some cagey veterans. But the best part is the fans get to win the actual brand new bikes used in the race.

    You must sign-up in the Paddock Room between noon and 2:45 p.m to be eligible. Each patron can put their entry in one of eight boxes; each coinciding with a driver in the race. Then from the winning driver’s box, eight winners will be randomly drawn and each will be given one of the bikes the drivers used. The bike race will be held after the seventh harness race and the drawing for the bikes after the bike race has been declared official.

    There is no purchase necessary but you must be at least 18-years-old to enter and you mist be present to win.

    The bike race is sponsored by Crazy Cheap Cars of Oakfield, NY.

    Click this link for a video of last year’s race. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l_rbJ9yhR4 )

    Here is the line-up of drivers competing in the 2016 Invitational:

    Post -Driver

    1-Patrick Galbraith

    2-Rock Vinci

    3-JD Perrin

    4-Jimmy McNeight Jr.

    5-Mickey Holliday

    6-Brad Jackson

    7-Denny Bucceri

    8-Drew Monti

    Also featured on the Labor Day card are $1 Sahlen’s hot dogs, draft beer and soda on the track apron from noon to 4 p.m. And in the Clubhouse from noon-3:30 p.m. you can enjoy a $10.95 chicken bar-b-que provided by the Center Street Smoke House of Batavia. And with each dinner you buy you will receive $10 worth of free-play on the gaming floor, so it’s almost like eating for free!

    And of course there are 13 live harness races scheduled to start at 1:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs


  • NYSS Freshman Male Pacers At Batavia Downs

    September 2
    Batavia, NY—The top two point leaders for New York Sire Stake 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings will headline the 16 starters who will compete for $111,000 in two divisions at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 3)

    In the first $55,500 division, Miso Fast (Roll With Joe-Sakura Hanover) comes in leading all his peers with 205 NYSS points on the strength of four consecutive wins in that competition this year. In his last start at Yonkers, he got parked out the better part of the mile and ended up finishing fifth in 1:55.4. That event was on August 18 and he hasn’t raced since, so he comes in to this race off a 16 day layoff.

    This year, Miso Fast has a mark of 1:53.1 at Tioga Downs and has banked $79,636 in earnings.

    Trainer Ron Burke has retained the services of Jim Morrill Jr. to do the driving and Miso Fast will leave from post three as the 9-5 morning line favorite.

    Serious Major (Art Major-Seriously) will be strong competition as he moved into the NYSS level after winning three straight races at the Excelsior A level. Since making the jump he has won at Yonkers Raceway in 1:56.2 and finished second at Vernon Downs in 1:52.3 to Funknwaffles who will race in the other division here. For the year, Serious Major is five out of six in the win column.

    Serious Major  took a mark of 1:54.4 at Tioga Downs and has won $78,606 in purses.

    Ray Fisher Jr. will pick up the lines for trainer Chris Ryder and leave from post 5 as the 7-2 second choice.

    In the second $55,500 split, Funknwaffles (American Ideal-Hatsoff Hanover) is a perfect six for six on the year, leads all his NYSS competitors in earnings and currently sits second in points with 150. He started out in Excelsior A, winning three races there before moving up to NYSS action where he won three more.

    Funknwaffles just scored his lifetime mark at Vernon last week in 1:52.1 and has $106,439 in purses for his efforts.

    Jim Morrill Jr. will be in the bike for trainer John Butenschoen and is listed at 9-5 from post seven.

    Pointomygranson (American Ideal-Sangall) has only one NYSS win this year and would just make the final if today’s points were to decide it. But he’s been a solid competitor in every race he’s been in. He was second at Monticello Raceway in 1:56.1, coming home in :27.3. And last week at Mohawk Raceway in the Metro he closed sharply from seventh in :26.1 to finish fourth, beaten only a length and a half in a 1:51.3 mile.

    Pointomygranson has a mark of 1:55.1 at Saratoga Raceway and has earned $35,479 this year.

    Marcus Miller will be in the house to drive for trainer Chris Ryder and drew the invisible rail at 4-1.

    There are also two divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card that is slated to begin at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Richest Standardbred Ever Will Race At Batavia Downs Saturday

    September 2
    Batavia, NY—Foiled Again, who has won over $7.4 million and is the richest Standardbred ever of either gait, will be at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 3) to compete in the weekly featured $10,000 Open Handicap pace.9-2 Foiled Again-01

    Batavia Downs has hosted the elite of the sport over the 70 years it has been in existence including Proximity, Good Time, Bret Hanover, Albatross and Niatross. Foiled Again is in the same league as all those legends but has also surpassed every trotter or pacer that has ever competed in the sport for earnings.

    Foiled Again has won countless stakes and has been race-timed in 1:47.1. He has 88 wins, 61 seconds and 40 thirds in 263 lifetime starts and has earned $7,407,758 in purses. The United States Harness Writers Association named him Pacer of the Year in 2011, best older male pacer in three consecutive seasons (2011-2013) and he also was a two-time O’Brien Award winner as top older pacing horse in Canada (2011 and 2013).

    Foiled Again has competed at Batavia Downs twice before in his career, both times in the tracks signature race, the Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace. And Foiled Again won both times: in 2009 timed in 1:52.3 with Matt Kakaley driving and in 2013 timed in 1:52 with Brett Miller aboard.

    The all-time track record at Batavia Downs is 1:51.1 and that was set by Aracache Hanover in 2011. Given the great weather forecast and how the new racing surface has been setting up, there is a legitimate chance that standard could be in jeopardy.

    Saturday night’s card also features two divisions of the $111,000 New York Sires Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings that will feature the best freshman male pacers in the state.

    Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Dayson Dominates In NYSS; Morrill Wins Five At Batavia Downs

    August 31, 2016
    Batavia, NY—He’s diminutive in size but dominant on the track. Dayson ($2.20) came from off the pace and pulled away to a convincing victory in his division of the $119,300 New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 31).8-31-Dayson-Jim-Morrill-Jr

    Off the wings, Allerage Echo (Chris Lems) and The Royal Harry (Oskar Florhed) both left and battled old-school to the quarter in :28 flat before The Royal Harry finally took the lead. Meanwhile Dayson (Jim Morrill Jr.) relaxed in third about eight lengths behind, waiting for the dust to settle. The field remained unchanged to the half but became more closely grouped, nose to tail.

    At the five-eighths pole, Morrill tipped Dayson and asked for more, and more is what he got. He eased past Allerage Echo and snuck up on The Royal Harry as they circled the final turn. When they hit the top of the stretch, Dayson found another gear and he pulled away on his own. Morrill had the whip tucked and the lines in his lap as they crossed the wire a four-length winner in 1:57.3.

    “He was very good; nice and strong. He got around the track perfect tonight and didn’t do anything wrong” said winning driver Jim Morrill Jr. “I tipped him up the backside and was hand-wrapped to the wire.”

    It was the eighth win in 12 starts this year for Dayson (Conway Hall-Nervey’s Taurus) who now boasts $230,583 in 2016 earnings for owners Burke Racing Stables LLC, Our Horse Cents Stable, J&T Silva Stable LLC and Rossie Smith. In the other NYSS division, A Jersey Contract ($14.00) pulled the upset after a crafty drive by the Downs leading driver Kevin Cummings that gave him the home-field advantage.

    With the scratch of morning line favorite Smalltownthrowdown due to his participation in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot on Saturday, Sir Royson (Jim Marohn Jr.) became the favorite and went off at 1-1. However he also made a break before the gate opened and that immediately made the race interesting. Southern Palms (Jim Morrill Jr.) took full advantage off the gaffe and opened up a three-length lead over pocket-sitting A Jersey Contract going to the quarter.

    The field stood pat past the half when That’s A Bad Boy (Tyler Freese) pulled first over with Drazzmatazz (Mark Macdonald) on his helmet. The top four were then grouped two-by-two at three-quarters in 1:28.4. Around the last turn, Drazzmatazz tipped three-wide around That’s A Bad Boy trying to gain on the leader, but A Jersey Contract who had the perfect journey in second, shot up the pylons and collared Southern Palms by a neck in 1:57.4. The time was a new lifetime mark for the winner.

    “The race shaped up real well for us. We got a two-hole trip right to the wire and he had a lot of trot sitting in there” said his driver Kevin Cummings. “I knew when I got him in the passing lane he’d give me more.”

    It was the third win this season for A Jersey Contract (Lucky Chucky-Giza Dream) and it pushed his yearly earnings to $88,574 for owners Tom Vassiliou and Nicholas Tallarico. A Jersey Contract is trained by Maureen Salino.
    There were also two divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card.

    The first division was won by Credevi (Credit Winner-Fleur De Vie) in 1:58, which was a new lifetime mark. Credevi ($2.30) was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. for owner Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stable and trainer Trond Smedshammer.

    The second leg went to Royal Bachelor (RC Royalty-Becca J) in 1:57.4. Royal Bachelor is trained and driven by Dan Daley and is owned by Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford IV and Michael White. The winner returned $9.00.

    Jim Morrill Jr. is the leading driver on the New York Sire Stake circuit and also the third leading UDR driver in North America and he showed why on Wednesday as he won five races; three in stake races and two overnighters. His victories included Credevie ($2.30), Dayson ($2.20), Thanks for Playin ($2.60), Terrorcam ($5.10) and Purple N gold ($5.10).

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 2) with post time set for 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Dayson Headlines NYSS Trotters At Batavia Downs

    August 31, 20168-31-Dayson
    Batavia, NY – On Wednesday night (Aug. 31), the New York Sire Stake 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters will visit Batavia Downs to compete in
    two divisions for a total of $119,300 in purses and Dayson comes in ready after recent Grand Circuit competition.

    Dayson (Conway Hall-Nervey’s Taurus) took on the best male sophomore trotters in North America in his last start when he faced off against Hambletonian champion Marion Marauder and Southwind Frank in the $500,000 Colonial Stake at Pocono Downs. After being parked out half the mile, Dayson finished fifth behind winner Southwind Frank, beaten only three lengths in 1:52.4.

    Prior to that start, Dayson strung together three straight wins including a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 at the Meadowlands in the $50,000 Townsend Ackerman Stake. For the year, Dayson has seven wins in eleven starts and $201,033 in the bank. He currently sits second in the points standing for his sex, age and gait.

    Trainer Ron Burke has assigned leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. to steer Dayson in his $59,100 division and they will leave from post three as the prohibitive morning line 6-5 favorite.

    The Royal Harry (RC Royalty-Wilsonator) will be major competition for the favorite after he recently competed in the Hambletonian in August. The Royal Harry faced the best of his class in that race and acquitted himself well, trotting back to back heats race-timed in 1:53 and 1:53.3.

    In four NYSS starts this year The Royal Harry has posted two wins and two second place finishes and that ties him with Dayson for second in overall points. Those starts also helped pad his wallet this year to the tune of $136,283.

    Trainer Ake Svanstedt has listed Oskar Florhed to drive The Royal Harry and they will line up in post two as the 2-1 second choice.

    In the other $60,200 split, NYSS divisional point’s leader Smalltownthrowdown (Cash Hall-Ann’s Promise) comes into western New York red hot on the heels of two eye-popping victories.

    Last week he went wire to wire in 1:56.2 at Monticello Raceway to win by almost nine-lengths and two weeks before that, he won in similar style at Saratoga Raceway in 1:54.4 by five-lengths. That time was also a new lifetime mark. Smalltownthrowdown has five wins in 12 starts this year and $156,795 in earnings.

    Trainer/driver Dan Daley will be in his usual spot behind Smalltownthrowdown and depart from post five, listed at 7-5.

    Sir Royson (Crazed-Leibovitz Hanover) has had a mixed bag of racing luck of late. A nice 1:56.3 second place effort behind Dayson at Yonkers on July 14 was sandwiched between a break at Buffalo Raceway and one at Saratoga. But after a 10 day sabbatical, Sir Royson qualified in good form at Freehold in 1:59.2 and looks to build on that effort in here.

    Sir Royson has three 2016 wins, two in NYSS action and $94,928 in earnings. He took a mark of 1:54 at Tioga Downs back in May.

    Trainer Linda Toscano has Jim Marohn Jr. in the sulky and Sir Royson will leave from post two as the 4-1 second choice.

    There are also two $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the program that are carded as race one and two.

    Post time for Wednesday’s first race is 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Pablo Wins The “Dachshund Dash” At Batavia Downs

    August 29, 2016
    Batavia, NY—The centerpiece of Batavia Downs Family Fun Day on Sunday (Aug. 28) was the annual Wiener dog races and this year, 2,400 live patrons came o8-29-Pablout to

    watch a great program of live harness racing while anticipating the nine qualify in Weiner heats that followed.
    After the qualifying events were held and the final field was set, nine dogs went postward in the two-pylon sprint as the rail trackside was literally five-deep with spectators.

    Track announcer Joe Zambito gave the word and they released the hounds for the race. After the pack thundered down the stretch and the dust had settled, Pablo was a convincing winner with Nibbles beating out Minnie in a close photo for second.

    It was the third time Pablo had competed in this event and the third time was a charm for him and his owner. “He’s always been competitive and always done well in the race, but he never won it” said Pablo’s owner Adrienne Penders. “This year he finally got it done”

    Nibbles is owned by Tammy Anderson and Minnie is owned by Lori Laine.

    Last year’s champion Piglet, won his qualifying heat this afternoon but failed to hit the board in the final despite a hearty attempt.

    “Once again, Family Fun 8-29-CrowdDay was a great success” said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing. “The stands were full with kids of all ages and everyone had a great time at Batavia Downs. The Wiener dogs put on another great show and we would like to thank everyone who brought their dogs out to compete and to Genesee Feeds of Batavia who sponsors the event every year.”

    Each of the nine qualifying heat winners received a $25 free play voucher to Batavia Downs Gaming. The winning owner of the final was presented a $100 free play voucher, the second place finisher received $75 in free play, and the third place finisher will enjoy $50 in free play. All three owners will also get two complimentary buffets each in the Batavia Downs clubhouse.

    The 2-9-3 doggie-tri combination was reported to return 25 Milk-Bones among trackside punters.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Kevin Cummings Wins Five At Batavia Downs

    August 29, 2016
    Batavia, NY—The weather wasn’t the only thing that was hot at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 28), Kevin Cummings was as well. The Downs leading 8-29-Kevin-Cummingsdriver who is currently sporting 37 wins at the meet reached that total on the strength of today’s performance.

    Cummings won with Windemere Maggie ($4.20) and Ona Dream ($7.20) to complete the early Daily double ($24.60). After that, he finished the card scoring with Sea Deuce ($4.10), Lexis Amigo (5.40) and B Evas Lucky Lad ($8.60).
    Cummings third winner, Sea Deuce, took the afternoon’s $7,200 feature pace in 1:56.3. Sea Deuce went wire to wire in victory, coming home strong in :28.2 to hold of the pocket sitting Mystical Valentine (Jack Flanigen) in the process. It was the sixth win of the year for the 6-year-old gelded son of Armbro Deuce that is owned by Cummings and trained by Priscilla Mooney.

    Not to be outdone, Dave McNeight III (who is currently second is dash wins behind Cummings) and Ray Fisher Jr. also reached the winner’s enclosure twice.

    Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 31) at 6:15 p.m. and will feature two divisions of the New York Sires Stake 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings who will vie for $119,300 in purses.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Milliron Pete Wires Foes In Batavia Downs Pacing Feature

    August 28, 2016
    Batavia, NY— Milliron Pete made his local debut for new connections last week after 19 days off and experienced an off-track and road trouble for his effort. But the Northfield Park invader 8-27-Milliron-Petemore than made up for that outing on Saturday night (Aug. 27) when he won the $10,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs in convincing fashion.

    With the scratch of Heaven Rocks, the abbreviated field of five departed the gate with Milliron Pete (Ron Beback Jr.) scooting right to the front. Everyone stood pat until the three-eighths when the 2-5 favorite Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) pulled first up as they hit the half in a meager :58 flat.

    Positions remained unchanged as the group circled the final two turns with Knocking Around just outside the flank of the front-running Milliron Pete. And despite his best effort to collar the leader down the lane, Knocking Around could not as Milliron Pete held fast and paced home in :28.1 to win by a long-length in 1:54.4. Knocking around toughed out the place spot while China Dream (Jack Flanigen) came from mid-pack for third.

    It was the ninth win of the year for Milliron Pete ($20.40) and the winner’s share of the purse pushed his annual income to $60,315. Milliron Pete is owned Elm Racing and is trained by Ron Beback Jr.

    Saturday turned out to be long-shot night at the Downs led off by Green Olives ($53.00) winning the second race and triggering a $305 Exacta (8-5), $1,662 Trifecta (8-5-3) and $4,220.50 Super (8-5-3-2). Then in the third, Kashability ($21.00) spurred a $621 Exacta (3-8) and a $2,712 Trifecta (3-8-5).

    Ray Fisher Jr. scored three wins on the card while Kevin Cummings followed up with two.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 28) with post time set for 1:15 p.m. Sunday is Family Fun Day featuring the annual Wiener Dog races and a guaranteed Pick-5 pool of $1,500 starting in the first race.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Winky’s Pride Beats the Boys in Batavia Downs Open Trot

    August 26, 2016
    Batavia, NY—After back-to-back second place finishes to Serendipitious and Studio City in Open company races the last two weeks, Winky’s Pride got her revenge by beating them both, along with five other top-flight trotters in the $10,500 feature trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 26).
    As the starting car sped away, Serendipitious (Ray Fisher Jr.), WInky’s Pride (Drew Monti) and Kahoku (Ron Beback Jr.) all left as fast as the gate and then argued strongly for the lead. As they moved by the quarter in :28, Serendipitious took the front from the first seated Winky’s Pride and the two mares left Kahoku parked-out to dry.

    The field stayed pretty much unchanged to the half in :57.2 and three-quarters in 1:27.3 before Kahoku folded from taking air and Serendipitious started8-26-Winky to look like a winner. But Monti had other ideas as he tipped Winky’s Pride by the head of the stretch and under light urging, trotted away to a two-length victory in 1:57.2. Studio City (Dave McNeight III) snuck up the rail to be second and Serendipitious hung on for third.

    It was the fourth win in 26 starts this year for Winky’s Pride ($19.60) and the winner’s share pushed her earnings up to $41,039 for 2016. The time of 1:57.2 was a new seasonal mark for the 8-year-old chestnut daughter of Amigo Hall and only 2/5th’s of a second off her lifetime best.

    Winky’s Pride is owned and trained by Robert Hummel.

    Dave McNeight III and Ray Fisher Jr. both had driving doubles and trainer Lisa Mariacher conditioned two winners as well.
    Racing resumes at Batavia Down on Saturday night (Aug. 27) with post time set for 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Back To Back Open Wins For My Tallia Ideal At Batavia Downs

    August 25, 2016
    Batavia, NY—The $9,500 mares Open pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 24) was like “Groundhog Day” for the winner as My Tallia Ideal once again came from off the pace to dominate at the end and score consecutive victories in the Genesee County oval’s top distaff class.

    Looney Dune (Ben McNeil) took a slow slow methodic outside route to the lead after the small but select field of mares broke from the gate for race one. She cleared before the quarter in :27.3 and from that point, the trailing field followed her in post-position order until they straightened out for the half.

    At the head of the stretch, My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) pulled and began motoring up towards the leader followed by All Charged Up (John McDonald) and Who Says That (Drew Monti) in the outer flow. By the middle of the backstretch, My Tallia Ideal’s forward assault was complete when she cleared and tripped the three-quarter timer in 1:25. From there, the gauntlet was laid down as the daughter of Western Ideal opened up by two, then three and pulled away more to a 1:53.4 win over All Charged Up and Who Says That.

    It was the sixth win of the year for My Tallia Ideal ($5.90) including three out of four Batavia Downs starts, all being in the top class at the Downs. The win pushed her earnings for the year to $43,525 for owners Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney McNeight. My Tallia Ideal is trained by Dave McNeight Jr.

    Four drivers owned most of the card as Todd Cummings won three races and Kevin Cummings, Jack Flanigen and Dave McNeight III each won two. Trainer Dave McNeight Jr. also sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 26) with post time for the first race at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • New Owner Seminar To Be Held At Batavia Downs On September 10.

    August 24, 2016
    Batavia, NY—If you have ever attended live harness racing and realized you may be interested in becoming an active participant in America’s oldest organized sport, Batavia Downs in 70th year logoconjunction with the United States Trotting Association and the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State is offering a new owner seminar on Saturday (Sept. 10) at 3:00 p.m. in the Robert J. Kane board room located in the lower grandstand.

    The program will include a two and a half hour classroom presentation by representatives of the United States Trotting  Association (USTA) and the Harness Horse Breeders of New York (HHBNYS) and will include guest trainers, drivers, owners and management from Batavia Downs Race Track. Topics being discussed will be risk and reward, what it costs, choosing your horse, trainer and driver and will allow time for questions and answers throughout the evening.

    The package includes all needed classroom materials, a hands-on tour of the paddock as horses prepare for the nights action, reserved seating in the clubhouse, dinner at the prime rib, crab leg and shrimp buffet, a trip to the winner’s circle for a win picture after a race, membership to the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, $20 worth of free-play on the gaming floor and a free one-year subscription to the industry’s award winning publication, Hoof Beats Magazine.

    The cost is only $30 for a single and $50 for a couple. Reservations should be made in advance but payment will be made at the door. There are several ways to register. There are links on both USTA and Batavia Downs Facebook pages or go to shop.ustrotting.com and click Prospective Owners Events. You can also e-mail owners@ustrotting.com or call 877-800-8782 ext. 5555 or 585-343-375 ext. 6322.

    This is your opportunity to own your own sports franchise and go from the grandstand to the winner’s circle with your winning horse. Purses have never been higher at many tracks in North America and there has never been a better time to get involved in all the fun and excitement of harness racing ownership than right now.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Robin J Wins The $110,200 NYSS At Batavia Downs

    August 218-21 Robin J, 2016
    Batavia, NY— A heavy early rain dampened the track, but not the enthusiasm shown by the eight 2-year-old pacing fillies competing for one of the largest single purses ever offered at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 20). And when the all the moves were made, Robin J (Roll With Joe-Mommy Robin Q) saved her best one for last and captured the victory in the New York Sire Stake event.

    Artrageous (Jim Morrill Jr.) left sharply for the lead and Robin J (Jim Marohn Jr.) settled in behind her as the field moved to the quarter in :28.3. Shortly after they passed that marker the outer flow set up with American Cheer (Billy Davis Jr.) coming first over and Pleasant Roll (Chris Lems) and Roaring To go (Kevin Cummings) following right behind.
    At the three-quarter pole they fanned four across the track when Pleasant Roll tipped three wide and Roaring To Go went four abreast. Pleasant Roll took the lead from Artrageous by a half-length in the last turn, but Artrageous dug in and took it back before they hit the stretch. As they headed down the lane Artrageous was in the middle of the track trying to fight off Pleasant Roll when Marohn moved Robin J into the passing lane and powered by them both to take the win in 1:56.

    “She was real good tonight, but I couldn’t have asked for a better trip. The way it set up and the way the race went; it was all about the trip” said Marohn after the race.

    It was the fifth win in six lifetime starts for Robin J ($4.50) and the purse enhance her lifetime total to $131,605 for owner Ken Jacobs. Robin J is trained by Linda Toscano.

    There were also four $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the program.
    The first division was won by Megyn K (American Ideal-Fantasy Jet) in 1:58 for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Jean Drolet. Megyn K ($2.90) is owned by Stephen Schneider, William Siegel, Jay Lieberman and Karen Munk.
    The second division went to Bullvillestephanie (Roll With Joe-Bullville Ana) in 1:57.4 for driver Ray Schnittker and trainer Steve Crevani. Bullvillestephanie ($11.40) is owned by Crevani Farms.

    The third leg was won by Ann Hill (Rock N Roll Heaven-Taxi Fare Hanover) in 1:57.1 for driver Chris Lems and trainer Tony Alagna. Ann Hill ($3.30) is owned by Tom Hill.

    The final split was taken by Pirinea’s Princess (Roll With Joe-Chant-a-nuka) in 1:59.1 for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Dennis Laterza. Pirinea’s Princess ($3.00) is owned by Latz A Luck Stable.
    Jim Morrill Jr. scored four driving wins on the card that included three in stake action and one in the overnight featured $10,500 Open pace with Ron Burke’s multi-million dollar winner, Clear Vision (Western Hanover-Artistic Vision) in 1:53.4, wire to wire.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 21) with post time set at 1:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Bombs Away in the Top Trot at Batavia Downs

    August 19, 2016
    Batavia, NY —There were two mares against the boys in the $10,000 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 19) and girl-power prevailed as Serendipitous, who was overlooked at 9-1, pulled out a wire to wire victory in a lifetime best time of 1:57.1.

    Weekly leaver Lutetium (Todd Cummings) made a break off the gate which handed Serendipitous (Ray Fisher Jr.) the lead and with it, the mare took the field in post-position order to the half in :57.3. At the five-eighths, Noble Legend (Kevin Cummings) pulled first over and brought heavily favored J A T O (Mike Caprio) in tow and the pair motored up towards the front.
    That outer flow chased the leader to the three-quarter station in 1:27.1 without gaining much ground when J A T O pulled three wide in the last turn and started his solo assault. But when he actually drifted five-wide in the move, Serendipitous was able to maintain her lead in mid-stretch and fend off the pocket-sitting Winky’s Pride as well as the late rush by J A T O to win by a neck.
    Winky’s Pride (Drew Monti), who was the other mare in the race, finished second and J A T O settled for third.8-19-Serendipitous

    It was the sixth victory of the year for Serendipitous ($21.80) and the winner’s share of the purse padded her bank account to the tune of $33,267 for Guy Polillo Est. and trainer John Mungillo.
    The secondary feature carded as the $8,500 Open II saw Kahoku ($7.70) avoid some early road trouble and go wire to wire in a fast 1:56.3 for driver Ron Beback Jr. The 8-year-old gelded son of SJ’s Caviar is trained by Mark Laidlaw for owners Colleen Girdlestone and Michael Gentner.

    Batavia Downs leading dash driver Kevin Cummings had a driving triple on the night while Drew Monti doubled up.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 20) with the first post set for 6:15 p.m. Saturday’s card features the NYSS 2-year-old pacing fillies going for $110,200 in race four on the card.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • NYSS Pacing Fillies Ship Into Batavia Downs

    August 19, 2016
    Batavia, NY — There is $110,200 up for grabs in the 2-year-old pacing filly division of the New York Sire Stakes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 20) but it’s being competed for all in one race. In a rare instance, only eight of the 43 2-year-old pacing fillies that have started in NYSS competition this year have entered the top level this week and they will go postward in race four.

    The $110,200 one-race payoff is one of the most lucrative purses ever offered at Batavia Downs behind the all-time record of $286,756 that was distributed in the 1988 Breder’s Crown.8-19-Robin-J

    Robin J (Roll With Joe-Mommy Robin Q) has been made the prohibitive 8-5 morning line choice on the strength of four wins in five lifetime starts and all were in stake competition. Last week, Robin J went wire to wire in the Geers Stake at Tioga Downs and registered the victory in 1:54, with a last quarter in an eyepopping :26.3, and in doing so set a new lifetime mark. She can race on point or off the pace and that makes her a double threat.

    Jim Marohn Jr. makes an infrequent appearance at Batavia Downs to drive Robin J for trainer Linda Toscano and leaves from post two.

    Challenging will be Artrageous (Art Major-In Deep Thought) who is a two-time winner this year, most recently in NYSS action at Saratoga Raceway where she won cutting the mile in 1:55.4, her career best. It’s interesting to note Artrageous defeated Robin J in that contest. The filly was race timed in 1:52.4 at Vernon Downs last week in a third place finish and hasn’t been off the board this year in five tries.

    Jim Morrill Jr. takes the reins for trainer Andrew Stafford and departs the gate from post one.

    Pleasant Roll (Roll With Joe-Pleasant But Bad) has only one win this year but has shown tremendous growth over her last two starts. After dropping down to the Excelsior A level two weeks ago, Pleasant Roll destroyed her field and won by six lengths in a lifetime best 1:53.3. She then followed that effort up with a second place finish in 1:53 in the Geers Stake at Tioga after being parked out for a good part of the mile. Her division time and her personal clocking of 1:53.3 were both faster than Robin J’s race that day.

    Chris Lems is in the bike for trainer Julie Miller and will leave from post five.

    There are also four $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A Series on the card and they will provide some outstanding wagering opportunities.

    The first division (Race 2) has Megyn K (American Ideal-Fantasy Jet) listed as the 2-1 morning line choice from post five for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Jean Drolet.

    The second division (Race 3) features the Blake Macintosh-trained entry of Takeyourbreathaway (Rock N roll Heaven-Leave Em Gasping) with Billy Davis Jr. aboard from post two and Clear Idea (American Ideal-Glass Maker) with Drew Monti at the lines from post eight, pegged as the 5-2 handicappers selection.

    The third division (Race 6) has trainer Tony Alagna’s Ann Hill (Rock N Roll Heaven-Taxi Fare Hanover) listed at 5-2 for driver Chris Lems who will leave from post five.

    And the final division (Race 7) has seen Opaline Blue Chip named the 5-2 early favorite for trainer Richard Ringler and local driving favorite Kevin Cummings, who starts from post five.

    Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • My Tallia Ideal holds court in mares Open at Batavia Downs

    August 17, 2016
    Batavia, NY — My Tallia Ideal ($5.50) let her foes do the heavy lifting for the first half of the race and then proceeded to pick up the pieces for an easy victory in the $9,500 mares open pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 17).
    Wanna Rock N Roll (Todd Cummings), Jann Down (Jack Flanigen) and V’la Faire (Wade Tomaszewski) went three-wide around the first turn and then up the backside, scorching a :27.2 quarter in the process. V’la Faire finally claimed the lead and led the girls to the half.8-17-My-Tallia-Ideal

    My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) pulled first-over in advance of that station and floated outside the leader as they went around the clubhouse turn. When they straightened up the backside, McNeight let out the lines and his mare responded in kind. Clearing by the three-quarter pole in 1:26.3, My Tallia Ideal proceeded to stride away from the rest of the field and opened up a four-length lead by the time she stopped the timer in 1:54.3, pacing her last quarter in :28 flat.

    Who Says That (Drew Monti) rallied strong to be second and a very game V’la Faire hung on for third.

    It was the second win in three Batavia downs starts for My Tallia Ideal, both of which were in the top company. The 6-year-old daughter of Western Ideal has now earned $38,775 in 2016 for owners Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney McNeight. Dave McNeight Jr. does the training.

    Wins came in multiples for many horsemen on Wednesday night. Drivers Dave McNeight III and Ray Fisher Jr. both had triples while Drew Monti and Kevin Cummings chimed in with doubles. On the training side, Dave McNeight Jr. and Angelo Nappo each sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure for photos.

    Racing resumes on Friday night (Aug. 19) at Batavia Downs with the first post set for 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Goosebump Hanover, Non Stick Score In NYSS At Batavia Downs

    8-13-Goose-NonAugust 13, 2016
    Batavia, NY — Despite the oppressive humidity at post time, victory in the $119,300 New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies was no sweat for Goosebump Hanover and Non Stick at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 13).

    Goosebump Hanover (RC Royalty-Good Common Cents) took a wait-and-see approach in the first $59,100 division as Jim Morrill Jr. took back to last while Lindylicious (Kevin Cummings), Swinging Royalty (Chris Lems) and Earn Your Wings (Charlie Norris) accounted for three lead changes before the half that was reached in :58.2.

    At that station, Earn your Wings was on top by two when Morrill pulled Goosebump Hanover to follow the live cover of Lindylicious, who had made a move at five eighths. Morrill followed the outer flow until it stalled and then swung three-wide at the top of the far turn and started pouring on the speed. When they hit the straightaway, Goosebump Hanover was in full-stride and scored a one length victory in 1:58.

    After the race, driver Jim Morrill Jr. spoke glowingly of his filly. “The race set up perfectly for her with the fast half. But when I tipped her and asked her for more, she trotted strong to the wire.”

    Goosebump Hanover ($10.40) is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, J&T Silva Stables LLC, Crawford Farms LLC and Joseph DiScala Jr.
    In the second $60,200 leg, Non Stick (Lucky Chucky-Meucci Madness) took no prisoners as trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt left immediately and worked his way to the lead by the quarter in :29 flat. Open Access (Charlie Norris), who left behind Non Stick, was pressuring her on the outside at that point but made a break in the turn and that allowed the leader a :30.4 breather in the second panel.

    Approaching the five eighths pole, post time favorite Fad Finance (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled from third and drafted outside of Non Stick up the backside. But as soon as the pair hit the final turn, Morrill gave the filly her head and Fad finance surged a length ahead of Non Stick. However the tables turned quickly when they straightened out in the lane as Non Stick came back on and pulled away to an easy two-length win in 1:58.2.

    Non Stick ($5.60) is owned by Ake Svanstedt Inc. and Little E LLC.

    There were also three $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card and two of them showed up the headliners by just missing the track record for 3-year-old trotting fillies by a fifth of a second (Cowgirl Hall, Bouncing Bax-1:57.2).

    The first division8-13-Goose was won by Wendy’s Girl (Lucky Chucky-East Creek Wendy) who was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. in 1:57.3. Wendy’s Girl ($2.80) is trained by Tracy Brainard for owners Howard Taylor and Edwin Gold.

    The second leg was won by Dazzling Dollars (Cash Hall-Designed To Dazzle) who was also driven by Jim Morrill Jr. and was also timed in 1:57.3. Dazzling Dollars ($3.30) is trained by Trond Smedshammer for owner Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stable.

    The third split was captured by Hullaba Lulu (RC Royalty-Lulu Pernilla) who was teamed by his trainer, John Stark Jr. in 1:58.2. Hullaba Lulu ($16.20) is owned by the estate of Edmund Smith, Daniel Giannuzzi, James Giannuzzi and Carol Wink.

    Jim Morrill Jr. had a driving triple on the card while Dave McNeight III won with two.
    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 14) with the first post slated for 1:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • J A T O Flies Home in Batavia Downs Open Trot

    August 12, 2016
    Batavia, NY — J A T O is an acronym for jet-assisted take-off and given the style of his racing, there has probably never been a more aptly named horse. At Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 12), J A T O (Mike Caprio) turned on the jets from last and flew home to capture the $10,000 Open trotting feature in the fastest trotting mile of the meet.

    Lutetium (Todd Cummings) took his familiar position up front as he left from post six and dictated the fractions. He went to the half in :57.2 with a two length lead before anyone made a move. As they motored up the backside, Lutetium then opened up a four length lead and was beginning to look like a winner, but Mike Caprio pulled J A T O from last and made a very strong three-wide move.8-12-JATO

    When the field reached three quarters in 1:26.3, J A T O had moved into second and cut Lutetium’s lead in half and when they hit the top of the stretch, it was all over; J A T O simply trotted away to a length victory in 1:57.2. Lutetium hung on for second and Noble Legend (Kevin Cummings) closed well for third.

    It was the third win in nine starts for J A T O ($3.80) and it pushed the 4-year-old gelded son of Big Apple Deli’s bankroll to $35,075 for 2016. The time of 1:57.2 was a seasonal mark for the winner.

    J A T O is trained by Alana Caprio for owners Margaret Butler and Amy Butler.

    Kevin Cummings scored a driving triple and that pushed him into second place among the local driver colony for dash wins, now with 15. Drew Monti and Todd Cummings both had doubles on the card as well.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Aug. 13) with two legs of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies on the card. Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Non Stick, Swinging Royalty Favored In NYSS At Batavia Downs

    8-12-Non-StickAugust 12, 2016
    Batavia, NY — When the 3-year-old trotting filly division of the New York Sire Stakes rolls into Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 13), three of the top six richest distaff sophomore trotters of 2016 will be on hand to compete for the $119,300 in purses being offered.

    In the first $60,200 leg that is carded as race three, Non Stick (Lucky Chucky-Meucci Madness) comes in with $158,332 bankrolled this year on the strength of a win in the $225,000 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) at Vernon Downs on Sunday (June 19) in a career best 1:54 time. Those earnings rank her fourth among all 3-year-old trotting fillies in North America.

    Last week at Yonkers Raceway, Non Stick was a beaten 1-5 favorite after making an uncharacteristic break for driver Daniel Dube while on the lead in the last turn. But the filly drew well again here and will look to make amends this week.

    Non Stick is the 2-1 morning line favorite and will start from post two. Trainer Ake Svanstedt takes back the reins and will do the driving here.

    Fad Finance (Credit Winner-Armbro Vanity) is more than a formidable foe and comes in boasting three straight NYSS victories. On Sunday (July 24) Fad Finance finished third in the $140,000 Zweig Memorial trot at Vernon Downs, beaten by Flowers N Songs and Woman’s Will who both competed in the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations at the Meadowlands on Saturday (July 30).

    Fad Finance has four wins this year, is the leading point-getter in her division of the NYSS and has $141,806 banked, putting her sixth in North America in earnings for age, sex and gait. The filly is picked second and listed at 5-2 morning line and will once again get the services of Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike.

    Race four is the second $59,100 division and Swinging Royalty (RC Royalty-Swing Anna Cash) comes in with a very impressive resume. After finishing second to Non Stick in the EBC, Swinging Royalty scorched the Vernon Downs oval in an overnight event in 1:54.1, winning by 15 lengths and registering a new lifetime mark. The filly then backed that up with her first NYSS win the week after at Tioga Downs.

    Swinging Royalty is the third highest point-getter in her division and her $142,147 in earning this year has her ranked fifth among all 3-year-old trotting fillies in North America.

    Trainer George Ducharme has Chris Lems back in the bike after a two-week hiatus and he will leave from post six at 2-1. Lems has been aboard for all four lifetime wins by Swinging Royalty.

    Goosebump Hanover (RC Royalty-Good Common Cents) had a slow start this year before winning the $27,690 Tompkins trot at Tioga in July. However her subsequent two outings may have been considered less than expected. So trainer Ron Burke added Lasix for her last start at Yonkers and that could make a difference this week.

    Jim Morrill Jr. will steer again this week and leave from post 5 at 3-1

    Earn Your Wings (Credit Winner-Southwind Serena) put in a stellar effort at Yonkers last week, winning from post eight in 1:57. After leaving in :28.2, Earn your Wings yielded the lead to heavy favorite Non Stick and then sat in the pocket. Non Stick made a break before the stretch and Earn Your Wings took it from there, scoring a length victory at 30-1.

    With three wins this year and just under $100,000 accumulated, Earn Your Wings drew post two and trainer Annette Lorentzon has called on Mark MacDonald to pilot this week.

    There are also three divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior A series carded as races five through seven and all look like solid wagering opportunities.

    Wendy’s Girl (Lucky Chucky-East Creek Wendy) is the 8-5 choice in race five for trainer Tracy Brainard and driver Jim Morrill Jr., Winky’s Gal (RC Royalty-Tessel) is the 5-2 favorite in race six for driver Chris Lems and trainer James Weidman and Outsidecourt (Conway Court-Getaway Cheyenne) is the 2-1 morning line in race seven for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Gary Messenger.

    Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Who Says That collars foes in Batavia Downs feature

    August 11, 20168-11-R7-2
    Batavia, NY – After getting away fifth and chasing a stiff pace to the half, Who Says That ($11.00) followed live cover in a wily drive by Drew Monti to capture the $9,500 mares Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 10).

    My Tallia Ideal (Mike Caprio) left and got the lead in a speedy :27.1 first panel. But as soon as she settled in, Yes You Can (Todd Cummings) pulled and went right after her and in doing so, rang up a :55.2 half.

    Out of the third turn, My Tallia Ideal had pulled a full length ahead, but V’la Faire (Wade Tomaszewski) tipped three-deep around the now back-peddling Yes You Can and Who Says That pulled from fifth to follow that move. The three mares paced side-by-side around the far turn and into the stretch when Who Says That inflicted her will on the opponents and pulled away to a three-length victory in 1:54.

    It was the tenth win in 27 starts this year for Who Says That and it pushed her earnings total for 2016 to $44,162. The time of 1:54 was a new lifetime mark for the 5-year-old Badlands Hanover mare that is trained by Maria Rice for owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable, Christopher Shambo and Jack Rice.

    Todd Cummings and Ray Fisher Jr. both scored driving triples and Drew Monti had a double. Trainers Tony Cummings and Maria Rice both sent two winners postward.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 12) at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Roll Away Joe, Talk Show Dominate; Morrill Jr. Wins Six At Batavia Downs

    8-7-RollAwayJoeAugust 7, 2016
    Batavia, NY – Perfect summer weather enticed a large live crowd trackside to watch the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 7) and the horses did not disappoint.

    In the first $59,100 division, it was all about Roll Away Joe (Roll With Joe-Chatelaine) who left sharply to take a lead he would not relinquish. Jim Morrill Jr. led the field to a very soft :59 half as no one pulled to challenge the pacesetter to that point.

    When an outer flow finally did start to form, they couldn’t even get close to Roll Away Joe after Morrill gave him his head at the five-eighths pole and then sat as a passenger. They flew home in :56 flat, stopping the clock in 1:55 as a wrapped-up winner by two-lengths.

    After the race, Morrill said “It couldn’t have gone any easier. After a half in :59, it would take a pretty good horse to beat him. I just shut him down; it was kind of like a training mile for him.”

    Roll Away Joe ($2.40) is owned by Howard Taylor, Stephen Demeter and Thomas Lazzaro and is trained by Tracy Brainard.
    In the second $60,200 split, they were piled four-deep around the first turn with Talk Show, Acting Out, Ideal Son and Fine Diamond all gunning for the front. Talk Show (Jim Morrill Jr.) released Acting Out (Kevin Cummings) and Fine Diamond (Matt Kakaley) who then continued to battle to the quarter in :27.2. When Fine Diamond finally cleared in the turn, Morrill immediately pulled Talk Show at the three-eighths pole and was back on the pylons with the lead by the half.

    8-7-TalkShowUp the backside, Talk Show was holding a gapped lead with Beast Mode (Mike Whelan) outside at his flank when Artmagic (Billy Dobson) moved from fifth and swung three-deep to challenge at three-quarters in 1:25.1. But as soon as he got close, Morrill popped the plugs and Talk Show went into overdrive. He opened up an immediate three-length lead and then cruised down the lane, crushing the field by over five-lengths in 1:54.2.

    “That (first) quarter helped me. I just tried to keep him nice and quiet and those guys mixing it up made it easy for me to do that” said Morrill. “He had a ton left in the tank at the end of the mile; I shut him right down to a walk.”
    Talk Show (Art Major-Lush Limbaugh) is owned by Talk Show Partners LLC, Bradley Grant and Howard Taylor and is trained by Tracy Brainard. The winner paid $2.90.

    There were also two $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card.

    The first division was won by Dateline Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Don’t Deny Me) in 1:55.1, which was a new lifetime mark. Dateline Hanover ($8.60) was driven by Tyler Buter and trained by Mark Harder for owners Rick Phillips, Peter Venturini, Deena Frost and Mark Harder.

    The second leg saw Fresh Cut (American Ideal-Flip For Love) score in 1:54.4 for driver Kevin Cummings and trainer Erv Miller. Fresh Cut is owned by Bay Pond Racing Stable. The winner returned $7.50.

    Jim Morrill Jr. drove six winners on the card, surpassing his total of five taken during his last visit to the Downs this past Wednesday. He tallied with Americanation ($2.10), Roll Away Joe ($2.40), Talk Show ($2.90), Fashionable Apple ($5.50), Fast Fool ($5.90) and No Real Surprise ($5.50)

    Billy Dobson also had a driving double while trainer Dave McNeight Jr. sent three to the winner’s circle and Tracy Brainard guided two.
    Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 10) with first post set for 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs 


  • Brainard, Morrill Jr. Look To Dominate NYSS Sunday At Batavia Downs

    August 7, 2016
    Batavia, NY — The New York Sire Stake 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings come to Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 7) to compete for $119,300 in purses and the dynamic duo of trainer Tracy Brainard and driver Jim Morrill Jr. are heavily favored in both divisions. Given this team’s track record at the Downs, the competition will have to be on their toes.

    In the first $59,100 division, Roll Away Joe (Roll With Joe-Chatelaine) is on a streak right now, winning his last three NYSS outings and banking $142,989 so far this year. In his last start at Saratoga Raceway, he went wire to wire in the fastest division and took a new lifetime mark of 1:51.4 for his effort in the two-length victory. He is also the NYSS point’s leader and top money earner so far in 2016 for his age, sex and gait.

    Roll Away Joe is the morning line favorite at 8-5 from post 5 and trainer Tracy Brainard who has Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike.

    Stolen Glimpse (Art Major-Jated Love) had been racing primarily at the Meadowlands until July when he started his stake engagements. After finishing fourth in his only NYSS appearance to date, Stolen Glimpse just missed qualifying for the $400,000 Adios Pace final at the Meadows when he finished fifth, beaten only five lengths in 1:49.1

    Starting from post one at 5-2, trainer Ron Burke has assigned Matt Kakaley to drive for the third consecutive time.

    In the second $60,200 division, Talk Show (Art Major-Lush Limbaugh) has two starts in NYSS action this year, scoring a win in 1:53.3 at Monticello Raceway in June and finishing last after a break at Saratoga in his most recent outing. However just prior to that he faced off against Control The Moment and Racing Hill in the $730,000 Meadowlands Pace. Unfortunately he started from post 10 and finished eighth in the 1:48.2 mile.

    Making his first start for trainer Tracy Brainard, Talk Show drew post one and is the 2-1 morning line favorite with Jim Morrill Jr. aboard.

    Coupled in the betting with Talk Show is Ideal Son (American Ideal-Sunduel A). Unlike the rest of this field, Ideal Son was unraced at two and now only has 12 lifetime starts; 10 of which he hit the board. This three-time winner captured his first NYSS victory in his last outing when he went coast to coast in 1:54.4 at Saratoga.

    Trainer Tom Fanning starts Ideal Son from post four with Tyler Buter in the bike and he is also listed at 2-1.

    Artmagic (Art Major-Sammy’s Magic Girl) has been the picture of consistency this year, hitting the board six out of seven starts. His lone win was in NYSS action at Yonkers Raceway where he went in 1:55.1. But he did compete in the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace in May and he finished fourth to Missile J. In his two most recent starts he was up against Roll Away Joe and finished second and third. But he doesn’t have to worry about either of them today.

    Billy Dobson was assigned to drive by trainer Trond Smedshammer and will leave from post five at 5-2.

    Fine Diamond (Rock N Roll Heaven-Yellow Diamond) is the highest money winning horse in this race with $124,052 to his credit. He is a four-time winner and is nine out of 10 in the money for the year. He has a lifetime mark of 1:53.3 at Yonkers and has exhibited the ability to race either on the front or from behind.

    Matt Kakaley gets the nod in the bike once again from trainer Ron Burke and will leave from post seven at 3-1.

    Aside from the main events, there are two divisions of the Excelsior A Series on the card, each going for $15,000.

    Sunday is also the return of the wildly popular “Old Fashioned Day” at Batavia Downs. You can treat the whole family to 50-cent Sahlen’s hot dogs, draft beer and soft drinks from noon to 4 p.m. while you watch the best harness racing action in western New York.

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

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Sam Hill Dominates Locals In Batavia Downs Feature

    August 7, 2016
    Batavia, NY — Trainer John Sullivan is a regular at the Meadows Racetrack. But the Rochester, NY native visited his old stomping grounds on Saturday night (Aug. 6) and left with the winner’s share of the $10,000 purse after winning the Open pace at Batavia Downs with his classy veteran, Sam Hill.

    If the race were a fight, they would have called it early after Kevin Cummings left with Sam Hill and put local top side-wheeler Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) in his8-7-InvaderSamHill place when he tried to leave against him. From there, Sam Hill called all the shots.

    Sam Hill led and Fireyourguns was sitting second when they passed the half in :56.3, then Whosurpal (Todd Cummings) joined the party when he pulled from fifth and tried to challenge. But the best he could do was get within a loose length of the leader in the :28.3 third panel. From there Kevin Cummings gave Sam Hill his head and he powered away to an easy two-length victory in 1:53.3. The time was the fastest pace of the 2016 meet to date.

    It was the fifth win in 15 starts for Sam Hill ($5.10) and it pushed his earnings to $55,100 for the year. The 10-year-old Artsplace gelding now has 44 wins and $478,767 lifetime. Sam Hill is owned by Don Tiger.

    In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, the red hot Jim Graham Stable saw Closing Credits ($8.70) add to their win total as the 6-year-old Rambaran gelding went wire to wire in 1:54.3 for driver Dave McNeight III. Closing Credits is owned by his trainer and the Cybo Stable Inc.

    Drivers Dave McNeight III and Jack Flanigen both scored triples on the card, as did trainers Jim Graham and JD Perrin. Flanigen and Perrin teamed up to win the last three races of the night.

    Racing resumes on Sunday Afternoon (Aug. 7) at Batavia Downs at 1:15 p.m. when the NYSS 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings invade the Genesee County oval to compete for $119,300 in purses.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Noble Legend Scores in Batavia Downs Feature Trot

    August 6, 2016
    Batavia, NY —The quickest route between two points is a straight line and that was the game plan for Noble Legend to win the $10,500 Open trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 5).

    Leaving from post one, Noble Legend (Kevin Cummings) fired off the gate and went right to the lead with Lutetium (Todd Cummings) prompting him from the outside. After the field passed the quarter in :29, Lutetium finally found his way clear and took the lead. From there the group remained unchanged to the half in a pedestrian 1:00 clocking.

    As they headed into the clubhouse turn, Shawnee Magic (Ray Fisher Jr.) came first over and drew even with Lutetium, leaving Noble Legend in the pocket with perfect cover. The two trotted in tandem by three-quarters and around the far turn to the head of the stretch when Shawnee Magic faded, Lutetium bore out slightly and Noble Legend made a bee-line straight up the pylons to a two-length victory in 1:59.1.

    J A T O (Mike Caprio) finished second in a furious rush coming from last and Lutetium hung on for third.8-6-Noble-Legend

    It was the seventh win of the year for Noble Legend ($3.00) and it pushed his 2016 earnings to $43,238 for owners Vogel & Wags Nags and Jack Rice. The 4-year-old gelded son of Kadabra-Lovin It is trained by Maria Rice.

    Noble Legend was on of three winners that trainer Maria Rice sent postward on Friday. She also captured both halves of the early double with Pan Street USA ($3.60) and Schlim Schlamma ($7.80).

    Kevin Cummings and Jack Flanigen both had a driving triples on the night and trainer Mike Carrubba sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure for photographs.

    Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday evening (Aug. 6) with the first post set for 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • NYSS Glamour Division Rolls Into Batavia Downs on Sunday

    August 5, 2016
    Batavia, NY —It’s always a highly anticipated day at Batavia Downs when the New York Sire Stake 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings come to town and this year is no different. Two divisions comprised of some of the best sophomore male pacers in the State will vie for a total of $119,300 in purses and feature some recent Grand Circuit competitors.

    The first $59,100 division, Roll Away Joe (Roll With Joe-Chatelaine) is streaking right now, winning his last three NYSS outings and banking $142,989 so far this year. In his last start at Saratoga Raceway, he went wire to wire in the fastest division and took a new lifetime mark of 1:51.4 for his effort in the two-length victory. He is also the NYSS point’s leader and top money earner so far in 2016 for his age, sex and gait.

    Roll Away Joe is the morning line favorite at 8-5 from post 5 and trainer Tracy Brainard has once again secured the services of Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike.

    Stolen Glimpse (Art Major-Jated Love) had been racing primarily at the Meadowlands until July when he started his stake engagements. After finishing fourth in his only NYSS appearance to date, Stolen Glimpse just missed qualifying for the $400,000 Adios Pace final at the Meadows when he finished fifth, beaten only five lengths in 1:49.1

    Starting from post one at 5-2, trainer Ron Burke has assigned Matt Kakaley to drive for the third consecutive time.
    In the second $60,200 division, Talk Show (Art Major-Lush Limbaugh) has two starts in NYSS action this year, scoring a win in 1:53.3 at Monticello Raceway in June and finishing last after a break at Saratoga in his last outing. However just prior to that last outing he faced off against Control The Moment and Racing Hill in the $730,000 Meadowlands Pace. Unfortunately he started from post 10 and finished eighth in the 1:48.2 mile.

    Making his first start for trainer Tracy Brainard, Talk Show drew post one and is the 2-1 morning line favorite with Jim Morrill Jr. aboard.

    Coupled in the betting with Talk Show is Ideal Son (American Ideal-Sunduel A). Unlike the rest of this field, Ideal Son was unraced at two and now only has 12 lifetime starts; 10 of which he hit the board. This three-time winner captured his first NYSS win in his last outing when he went coast to coast in 1:54.4 at Saratoga.

    Trainer Tom Fanning starts Ideal Son from post four with Tyler Buter in the bike and he is also listed at 2-1.

    Artmagic (Art Major-Sammy’s Magic Girl) has been the picture of consistency this year, hitting the board six out of seven starts. His lone win was in NYSS action at Yonkers Raceway where he went in 1:55.1. But he did compete in the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace in May and he finished fourth to Missile J. In his two most recent starts he was up against Roll Away Joe and finished second and third. But he doesn’t have to worry about either of them in here.

    Billy Dobson was assigned to drive by trainer Trond Smedshammer and will leave from post five at 5-2.
    Fine Diamond (Rock N Roll Heaven-Yellow Diamond) is the highest money winning horse in this race with $124,052 to his credit. He is a four-time winner and is nine out of 10 in the money for the year. He has a lifetime mark of 1:53.3 at Yonkers and has exhibited the ability to race either on the front or from behind.

    Matt Kakaley gets the nod in the bike once again from trainer Ron Burke and will leave from post seven at 3-1.
    There are also two divisions of the Excelsior A Series on the card, each going for $15,000.

    Sunday is also the return of the wildly popular “Old Fashioned Day” at Batavia Downs. You can treat the whole family to 50-cent Sahlen’s hot dogs, draft beer and soft drinks from noon to 4 p.m. while you watch the best harness racing action in western New York.

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

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • My Tallia Ideal Trips To Victory In Batavia Feature

    August 4, 2016
    Batavia, NY — Making her local debut for new connections, My Tallia Ideal ($3.80) took a garden-spot trip and turned it into a victory in the $9,500 mares Open pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 3).

    When the gate closed, the field got away in post-position order and remained that way until the half. Wanna Rock N Roll (Todd Cummings) cut fractions of :29.2 and :59.2 while My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) sat in tow second.

    As the group passed the half, Who Says That (Drew Monti) pulled first over and prompted the sluggish pace to the three-quarters in 1:28.3. That bid took a toll on the leader as they headed down the stretch when My Tallia Ideal found the passing lane and drove right by her to win by two lengths in 1:57. Who Says That toughed it out for second and Wanna Rock N Roll hung on for third.

    It was the fourth win of the year for My Tallia Ideal and the purse raised her annual income to $33,265. The daughter of Western Ideal-Bolero Tallia is owned by Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney Wright and is now trained by Dave McNeight Jr.

    Jim Morrill Jr. took up residency in the winner’s circle as he registered five driving wins on the card.  He smiled for the camera with Springhouse Star ($8.70), Caddy Jeff ($4.20), Lake Shark ($6.70), Mr. Avalanche ($4.40) and Kaitlyn Akeeper ($3.10).

    Dave McNeight III also had a driving triple and trainer Jim Graham won two on the conditioning side.

    The Batavia Downs annual breast cancer awareness fundraiser, held in conjunction with the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester (BCCR), raised in excess of $7,000 for that organization. The BCCR provides support to those touched by a diagnosis of breast cancer, to make access to information and care a priority through education and advocacy, and to empower women and men to participate fully in decisions relating to breast cancer.

    Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 5) with the first post slated for 6:15 p.m.
    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Fireyourguns Is Best In Batavia Open

    July 31, 2016
    Batavia, NY — To say Fireyourguns is a local favorite would be an understatement, but the fans made it clear Saturday night (July 30) when they sent him off at 1-9 and then watched him re7-31-FireYourGunsply in kind by winning the $10,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs.

    Making his first start at the Downs this year, Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) took control of the race by the quarter after feeling some resistance from Instant Thrill (Jim Morrill Jr.) away from the gate. Caprio then led the short field of five through fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:25.3 and had a comfortable three-length advantage at the head of the stretch.

    As the leader paced for home, Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) and Whosurpal (Todd Cummings) rallied late to make it interesting but both came up short behind Fireyourguns, who won in 1:54.3 by one-half length.

    Fireyourguns ($2.10), a 7-year-old son of American Ideal-Villa Hanover, is owned by Jennifer and Robert Lowe and Terrence McClory, who also trains the gelding.

    In the co-featured $9,000 Open II, Beast Mode (Michael Whelan), who competed in the North American Cup in June, left for position and then pulled again before three-quarters to take the lead by the head of the stretch. From there he powered to an impressive three-length victory in 1:55.1.

    Beast Mode ($2.60) is owned by Christopher Nicol and is trained by Todd Clements.

    Jim Morrill Jr. won four races on the card while Dave McNeight III scored a double. JD Perrin had a training double as well.

    As was previously reported, the live racing card for Sunday (July 31) at Batavia Downs has been cancelled. Live racing will resume on Wednesday (Aug. 3) with the first post
    set for 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • JATO Flies to Victory in Batavia Downs Feature Trot

    July 30, 2016
    Batavia, NY —After taking a wait and see approach, JATO (Mike Caprio) mounted a furious closing brush to capture his foes along with the winner’s share of the $10,000 purse in the Open trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (July 29).

    With the morning line favorite Lutetium scratched, a short but select field of five lined up behind the gate. It was a three-horse blast to be front as Studio City (Dave McNeight III), Noble Legend (Kevin Cummings) and Lucid Thoughts (Shawn McDonough) were spread across the track. Noble Legend eventually won the argument and the field settled in for the journey.

    The leader cut fractional times of :28.2 and:58.1 before Red Clay (Drew Monti) pulled and advanced to second by the three quarters in 1:28.1. These two then trotted side by side, stride for stride around the far turn while JATO (Mike Caprio) was winding it up from last in overdrive and began gobbling up ground. Caprio tipped three-deep at the top of the stretch and simply trotted away from the field from there, winning by two lengths in 1:58.4.7-30-JATO

    It was the second win in only six starts this year for JATO ($6.00) who is owned by Margaret Butler and Amy Butler and is trained by Alana Caprio.

    In the co-featured $8,400 conditioned trot, Leave Your Mark (Todd Cummings) took a quick, early lead and dictated the first three quarters of the race. But around the last turn, Serious George (Kevin Cummings) tipped three-deep around Undercover Bro (Ray Fisher Jr.) and trotted his hips off down the lane to power by Leave Your Mark and win by one half-length in 1:59.2.

    It was the second win of the year for Serious George, who is owned by James Palladino and trained by Richard Mays.

    Drivers Kevin Cummings, Mike Caprio and Ray Fisher Jr. all had driving doubles and conditioner John Mungillo sent two winners to post.

    Racing resumes on Friday night (July 30) at Batavia Downs with the first post set for 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Batavia Downs Claiming Series Underway

    July 30, 2016
    Batavia, NY — If you have a horse in a claiming race at Batavia Downs, as of Monday (July 25) you are eligible to compete for up to $20,000 if it accumulates enough points to make the final for its respective gait and class. That’s because of the Batavia Downs Claiming Championship Series that is currently underway.

    The point-based competition will be broken down by gait and claiming price and the accrual of points will be on a monthly basis. There is no nomination or entry fee to participate and the event is being conducted under the rules and regulations of Batavia Downs Gaming, in conjunction with the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association.

    “If you predominantly race claimers, you may want to consider racing them at Batavia Downs” said Todd Haight, Director/GM of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. “The Downs is offering a great earnings opportunity and with the short fields we have seen, you have a chance to accumulate solid points early in the process.”

    Divisions will include $4,000, $5,000-$6,000 and $8,000-$10,000 claimers on the pace and $4,000-$5,000 and $7,500-$10,000 on the trot. Points will be awarded to the top-five finishers of each race and points will accrue monthly.

    The eight horses from each class category making the final will be comprised of the top three pointer earners in August, (July 25 – August 31) and September (September 1- 30) and the top two point earners in October, (October 1- 31). They will advance to the November 12 Claiming Championships Finals.

    Once a new month starts, all point earned towards the finals revert back to zero (with the exception of July, which will carry over into August).

    The $4,000 and $4,000-$5,000 categories will compete for $15,000 in the final and all other categories will vie for $20,000.

    Anyone interested in racing at Batavia Downs can contact our race secretary Joe Zambito, directly at 585-344-6161 for more information or to enter your horses.

    For complete rules log onto www.bataviadownsgaming.com and click the “Live Racing” tab and then the “Horsemen” tab.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • V’la Faire Scores Mares Open Win At Batavia Downs

    July 27, 2016
    Batavia, NY — Despite consistent performances most of the summer, V’la Faire was lightly regarded and sent off at 5-1 when the windows closed. But she made a believer of those who backed her as she came from off the pace to beat three others by a nose in the $9,500 mares Open pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (July 27).7-27-Vla-Faire-#3

    Princess Katie (Ray Fisher Jr.) left for the lead and got it by the quarter. From there, Fisher grabbed leather as he dictated an uncontested pace and got the field to three quarters in a stodgy 1:30. The action started there when V’la Faire (Wade Tomaszewski) pulled first over with Wanna Rock N Roll (Todd Cummings) on her back.

    When they hit the top of the lane, Ugly Betty (Kevin Cummings) slid-out around Princess Katie and V’la Faire and Wanna Rock N Roll fanned three and four deep. The cavalry then charged to the wire with V’la Faire getting the nod by a head in 2:00.1.

    It was the third win of the season for V’la Faire ($13.40) and it pushed her bankroll to $24,169 for 2016. The 9-year-old daughter of Village Jove-Trade Fair is owned by Oakhurst Farms and trained by Richard Tomaszewski.

    In the $8,000 co-featured mares Open II, Mach This Way (Todd Cummings) got away first in the short field of five and never yielded the lead. After leading the group through fractions of :28.1, :59.2 and 1:29.1, Mach This Way held off a mid-race challenge from Kaitlyn Akeeper (Dave McNeight III) and a late-race rush from Taboo Seelster (Shawn McDonough) to win by a decisive two-lengths in 2:00.

    Mach This Way ($3.50) is owned by William Emmons and trained by JD Perrin.

    Todd Cummings won four races on the card while Drew Monti had a double. On the conditioning side, Leonard Segall and JD Perrin both sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (July 29) at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Mamora Bay Wins Thriller in NYSS Action at Batavia Downs

    July 25, 2016
    Batavia, NY —Local racing fans turned out in healthy numbers on opening night at Batavia Downs on Monday (July 25) to watch three $37,267 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies and they were treated to some very exciting finishes.

    In what turned out to be a real heavyweight bout, Mamora Bay proved the best over Scarey Karie after a quarter-mile, two horse breakaway in the eighth race.

    Four horses left, with Scarey Karie (Phil Fluet) eventually getting the lead and going to the quarter in 30.3 while Mamora Bay (Sam Schillaci) hit the wood. Mamora Bay then pulled first-over from fifth going to the half and methodically worked her way up to the leader before they hit three quarters, and from there it was a two-horse race.

    With Scarey Karie on the rail and Mamora Bay on the outside, the two trotted stride for stride around the far turn and down the stretch. The battle continued all the way to the wire with Mamora Bay ultimately claiming victory by a head in 2:03.4.7-25-Mamora-Bay

    “She’s just been an incredible filly. She’s never been flashy since day one; to be honest with you we never thought she was this good. But from the first time she’s seen the starting gate she just loves what she does” said trainer/driver Sam Schillaci.

    Mamora Bay ($3.70) is owned by Peter Barbato.

    In the first division, prohibitive 1-2 favorite Might Surf (Kevin Cummings) went right to the front and opened up a quick three-length lead. As the field moved to the quarter, Barn Bella (Claude Huckabone Jr.) who was sitting second, made a break and that allowed Hotel Royale (Chris Lems) to then claim that spot.

    The field stayed pretty much the same through fractions of :30.2, 1:01.4 and 1:32.4 until just before the top of the stretch. Hotel Royale pulled and challenged the leader down the stretch, but Mighty Surf was just too tough and hung on to win by a length in 2:03.2.

    “She was good tonight, maybe a little bumpy in the turns. The track was a little deep but the race was never in doubt” driver Kevin Cummings said after the race.

    Mighty Surf ($3.00) is owned by Roy Dobbins and trained by Dennis Laterza.

    The second division saw Flyhawk Charm (Chris Lems) leave sharply to take an uncontested lead as Maewegonow (Charlie Norris) was content to sit second with the trip. The girls trotted to a pedestrian 1:03.1 half before Deli-Delite (John Campbell) pulled from fourth and moved into second on the outside by the three quarters.

    7-25-Mighty-SurfThat challenge lasted until the top of the stretch when Deli-Delite faded just as Maewegonow was moving up the rail to mount a rally against the leader. Maewegonow and Flyhawk Charm trotted side by side down the lane, with Flyhawk Charm proving to be the best and win by a nose in 2:04.

    “She’s great gaited, she gives you all’s she’s got, she’s just a nice filly. She likes horses around her and that’s why she responded so well down the stretch” commented driver Chris Lems.

    Flyhawk Charm ($20.20) is owned by Edward Flynn and Joe Flynn, who also trains her.

    There were also three divisions of the Excelsior A series that went for $15,000 each.

    Eternal Flame AS ($3.90) driven by Jim Morrill Jr. and trained by Annette Lorentzen won the first leg in 2:03.4 for owners Acl Stuteri Ab.

    Billie Blue ($16.00) driven by Chris Lems and trained by George Ducharme was victorious in the second division in 2:04.4 for owners George Ducharme Stable LLC, Paul Fontaine and Charles Iannazzo.

    Teasin N Pleasin ($5.10) driven by John Campbell and trained by Thomas Corelli wired the third heat field in 2:05.4 for owners Edward Reich, Thomas Corelli and Fred Corelli.

    John Campbell, Chris Lems and Jim Morrill Jr. all had driving doubles on the card.

    Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (July 27) at 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Campbell and Burke in NYSS Monday at Batavia Downs

    July 25, 2016
    Batavia, NY —The 2016 live harness racing season at Batavia Downs starts on Monday evening (July 25) and will do so in style as some of the biggest names in harness racing will be on hand to take part in three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies, vying for $111,801.7-25-John-Campbell

    John Campbell and Ron Burke are the all-time leading money earning driver and trainer (respectively) in the history of the sport and they will be racing some of the finest freshman fillies New York State has to offer this year.

    Campbell has competed at Batavia Downs a couple times over the past decade and while his appearances are infrequent, they are highly anticipated by the fans.

    Campbell has lifetime earnings of $297 million and a passion for young trotters. This past Friday night (July 22) at the Meadowlands in their Kindergarten series for 2-year-old trotters, Campbell had mounts in two of the divisions and pulled off major upsets in both.

    “I particularly follow the 2-year-old trotting fillies and colts and in New York, it was Batavia’s turn. It was good the way the schedule worked out and I was able to get up here to drive” said Campbell. “I like to stay on the same schedule they’re on because I have some decent rides with the colts. I may be back here again for the trotting colt divisions if there are no other conflicts at the time.”

    Whereas many times young horses train and race over mile tracks early in their careers, competing over a half can be challenging for these inexperienced starters. But Campbell treats it like a learning curve rather than an impediment.

    “Well certainly Batavia is a half mile track and it’s an adjustment for these trotting fillies. But Batavia is a little easier track to get around than Buffalo and these trotting fillies have already been to Buffalo and been to Monticello, so it gave them some experience and it makes it a little easier when it’s the third track in the order” Campbell concluded.

    Campbell will be driving a total of six on the card, three of which were tabbed as morning line favorites.

    Ron Burke is the all-time training leader including 7,133 wins and over $157 million in purse money. He will send forth three members of “The Burke Brigade” on Monday, all to be driven by Matt Kakaley.

    The first division has Mighty Surf (Prayer I Am-Big Surfer) installed as the prohibitive 2-1 morning line favorite after her overpowering win at Monticello Raceway last week. After sitting chilly in the two-hole to the half, driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. pulled and left the field in his dust as the filly trotted to a 10-length victory timed in 2:01.1, which was a lifetime best.

    Mighty Surf is a perfect two-for-two coming in for trainer Dennis Laterza and local driving favorite Kevin Cummings picks up the lines for this outing from post one. Cummings drove Mighty Surf to victory last month at Buffalo Raceway.

    Royal Pinot (RC Royalty-Graduation Party) is the Burke Stable representative and finished second and third in two NYSS starts this year. Last week she made a break just past the quarter but Kakaley was able to regain quick composure and maintain position to take place money, only beaten a length and a half.

    Kakaley is back up behind the 5-2 second choice and departs from post two.

    Cherry Royal Ruby (RC Royalty-Nowerland Kristen) won her first start of the year at Buffalo by six lengths in a very respectable 2:02.1 clocking. Last week she finished third after taking an early lead before yielding to Scarey Karie and Maewegonow who battled to the wire.

    Trainer/driver Dan Daley will guide Cherry Royal Ruby from post five at 7-2.

    In the second division, Maewegonow (Deweycheatumnhowe-Mauresmo) fell just short last week, finishing second at Monticello. The filly pulled first-over past the half and cleared, but was immediately pressured for the rest of the mile by Scary Karie, who trotted the back half in :59.4 and won by a half-length.

    Charlie Norris who trains, is again in charge of the lines as the 5-2 favorite from post 3.

    Heels On Wheels (Conway Hall-Go Go Dancer) puts her two-race winning streak on the line from post seven. Last week off the pylons, the filly got away third and stayed there until Kakaley pulled first at the five-eighths pole and put on a measured drive that garnered a length victory in 2:01.
    The Burke trained Heels On Wheels will have Matt Kakaley in tow once again at 3-1 from post seven.

    Flyhawk Charm (Deweycheatumnhowe-Final Time) won her first lifetime start in NYSS action last week but was aided by the entire field breaking by the quarter pole. The filly trotted on as the group trailed behind her, and registered a conservative 2:03 win.

    Chris Lems is once again up from post two, listed at 4-1 for trainer Joe Flynn.

    In the final split, Mamora Bay (Chapter Seven-Giulie Bi) is coming off her first lifetime win at Monticello last week and the 2:00.1 clocking just happened to be the fastest of all the heats. Moving from third towards three quarters, Mamora Bay out-trotted race leader Hotel Royale to the wire to win by a length.

    Former Batavia regular Sam Schillaci both trains and drives the 5-2 morning line choice and leaves from post two.

    Scarey Karie (Conway Hall-Alabama Hotel) has won two straight NYSS events, the last in 2:01 flat at Monticello. The filly has shown the ability to leave as well as come from behind, and she also possesses excellent closing speed.

    Phil Fluet both trains and drives and will begin from post eight at 7-2.

    There are also three divisions of the Excelsior Series that go for $15,000 each and two divisions of Excelsior B events that offer $6,600 respectively.

    Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Batavia Downs Kicks Off Its 70th Season On Monday

    July 21, 2016

    Batavia, NY— A new era gets underway at America’s oldest lighted harness track on Monday (July 25) when Batavia Downs raises the curtain on its 70th season of live harness racing action.

    Opening night features the $100,000 New York Sires Stakes division for 2-year-old trotting fillies along with free racing programs and magnetic racing schedules for the fans on track. Post time is set for 6:15 p.m.
    The 2016 season (that runs through December 10) features 70 race dates and includes seven matinees and three twilight programs.

    Live racing will be presented on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights to begin the season with a new post time of 6:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon will replace Monday night beginning on July 31.

    Holiday matinees include Labor Day (Sept. 5) and Columbus Day (Oct. 10). All matinee post times are 1:15 p.m. A special Breeders Cup program on Saturday (Nov. 5) begins at 3:30 p.m.

    The renaissance begins with the new “Hotel at Batavia Downs, which is located trackside between the grandstand and the paddock. Racing fans can check into this fantastic 82-room facility and access the track and the gaming floor for the duration of their stay without ever having to leave the premises.

    Half of the rooms in the hotel overlook the home stretch of the track and members of bataviabets.com can watch and wager from their room. There are even four balcony suites facing the track.
    The hotel is slated to open in September.

    Fans will see the best racing possible after the Downs invested $125,000 in racetrack improvements under the guidance of new track superintendent, Peter Arrigenna.

    Arrigenna designed and directed the re-banking of the turns, leveling of the straightaways and then topping it off with 5,000 tons of new surface material to provide the fastest and safest racing strip possible. Once the track sets up, the competition should produce record speeds all year.

    “These are very exciting times for Batavia Downs” said Todd Haight, Director/GM of Live Racing. “There has been a lot of money invested in the racing side of this facility this year between the new hotel and track improvements and the entire management and staff cannot wait for our customers to come out and enjoy them.”

    Over $1,000,000 in purse money will be up for grabs in stake races during the meet and that will draw some of the top horses and drivers in North America to the Genesee County oval.

    Eight divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) each going for an estimated $100,000, will highlight the best youthful performers in the Empire State this year and that should provide competition for the fans that is both exciting to watch and profitable to wager on.

    NYSS divisions by age, sex and gait will be at Batavia on Monday (July 25, opening night), August 7, 13, 20 and 31, and September 3, 10 and 14. And eight New York County Fair finals, each vying for $10,000, will be contested on Wednesday (Sept. 7).

    Batavia Downs signature stake, the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace, will be held on Saturday (Oct. 8) and will draw some of the top older Open pacers from the northeast. This race has become a highly anticipated event by the fans as it presents an opportunity to break the all-age track record each year.

    During the 70 cards of racing there will be 25 major promotions scattered throughout the year. Highlights of these special events include Sunday Dollar Days in August, the very popular wiener dog races and Family Fun Day, the first ever Racing Under Saddle (RUS) non-wagering exhibition at Batavia Downs (pending NYS Gaming approval), the Labor Day driver’s bike race, a Columbus Day Chicken BBQ and another “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” promotion, when the racetrack will be giving away a pair of diamond earrings valued at $4,000.

    There are buffet specials in the clubhouse every racing night all year, and the chef will once again be serving up his famous prime rib, crab leg, and shrimp buffet every Saturday night for the entire meet. All clubhouse buffet specials include gaming free play offers.

    “We have put together the most aggressive entertainment package possible and believe we offer something for every member of the family all year” Haight continued. “Between the caliber of horses that will compete over the new surface and the new amenities our customers will enjoy, we are looking for our seventieth year of racing to be the most memorable one yet.”

    For more information and updates as they happen, log onto the track’s website at www.bataviadownsgaming.com and click on “Live Racing” and follow us on Facebook as well.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Batavia Downs To Offer Claiming Series

    July 6, 2016
    Batavia, NY — The 2016 Batavia Downs season will feature a new earning incentive for horsemen when the Claiming Championship Series will make its debut in July.

    The point-based competition will be broken down by gait and claiming price and the accrual of points will be on a monthly basis. There is no nomination or entry fee to participate and the event will be conducted under the rules and regulations of the New York State Gaming Commission, the USTA and Batavia Downs.

    Divisions will include $4,000, $5,000-$6,000 and $8,000-$10,000 claimers on the pace and $4,000-$5,000 and $7,500-$10,000 claimers on the trot. Points will be awarded to the top-five finishers of each race.

    The top eight horses from each class category making the final will be comprised of the top three point earners in August, (July 25 – August 31) and September, (September 1- 30) and the top two point earners in October, (October 1- 31). They will advance to the Claiming Championship Finals on November 12.

    Once a new month starts, all the points earned will revert back to zero (with the exception of July, which will carry over into August).

    The $4,000 and $4,000-$5,000 categories will compete for $15,000 in the final and all other categories will vie for $20,000.

    As is the case with all horses racing at Batavia Downs, horses entered in these races must have a current negative Coggins test, current proof of a rabies vaccination and a current health certificate. All owners, trainers and drivers must also have a current membership with the USTA.

    Click here for complete rules or log onto www.bataviadownsgaming.com and click the “Live Racing” tab and then the “Horsemen” tab.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Batavia Downs Stall Applications Now Available

    June 17, 2016
    Batavia, NY — Stall applications for the 70th season of live harness racing at Batavia Downs Gaming are now available on the track’s website (www.bataviadownsgaming.com). Simply click on ‘Live Racing’ and then the ‘Horsemen’ tab.

    Stall applications are also available at the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association website (www.wnyhha.net ) or in person at the Buffalo Raceway race office.

    Stall applications must be received by Friday (July 8) according to Racing Secretary Joe Zambito.

    The 2016 season at America’s oldest lighted harness track features 70 race dates and includes six matinees and three twilight programs. The meet opens on Monday (July 25) and concludes on Saturday (Dec. 10).

    Live racing will be presented on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights to begin the season with a new post time of 6:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon will replace Monday night beginning on July 31.

    Holiday matinees include Labor Day (Sept. 5) and Columbus Day (Oct. 10). All matinee post times are 1:15 p.m. A special Breeders Cup program on Saturday (Nov. 5) begins at 3:30 p.m.

    The backstretch opens for tack on Sunday (July 17) at 8 a.m. Horses may begin arriving on Tuesday (July 19) also at 8 a.m.

    The draw for opening night, which features New York Sires Stake action, takes place on Thursday (July 21).

    Batavia Downs will also be featuring a claiming series this year which will begin in August. More details on that will be available when the meet begins.

    Anyone with questions should contact Todd Haight, Director/GM of Live Racing at 585-343-3750; extension 6322.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Arrigenna Named Batavia Downs Track Superintendent

    May 25, 20166-25 Peter Arrigenna
    Batavia, NY — Peter Arrigenna, a long time horseman who also serves as a trustee of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund and a Director of the Horse Harness Breeders of New York State, has been named the new track superintendent at Batavia Downs.

    Arrigenna will replace Ralph Horton, who has retired after working at the Downs for 14 years.

    Besides running a successful stable that produced 2012 Yonkers Trot champion, Archangel (Credit Winner-Michelle’s Angel 1:50 $1,140,972), Arrigenna also runs his own construction company. And it’s the combined experience from both fields that has provided him the insight and knowledge to design, construct and maintain very fast race tracks.

    Arrigenna has built many farm tracks from scratch, but he also resurfaced Buffalo Raceway in 2014 to the rave reviews of the horsemen and was hired this year as a consultant at Harrah’s Philadelphia.

    Although the meet doesn’t begin for another two months, Arrigenna’s duties will start immediately as his first order of business will be to rebuild the track.

    “We will be leveling and filling the existing track to the grade indicated from a survey done in 2009. It will entail filling the ditches where it washed out, banking the turns better and putting it back to the original grade” said Arrigenna. “Once that is complete, we will be putting a new surface on top of that which should make it much better for the horses competing there.”

    This will be the first time the track at Batavia has been resurfaced since 2010 and the $125,000 project will see the turns banked up to eight percent and over 5,000 tons of new material (a mixture of washed screenings and washed crushed stone) added to the surface.

    The project is scheduled to begin on Monday (June 6) and be completed by Friday (July 1), well in advance of opening night of live racing, which is Monday (July 25).

    “I look forward to starting at Batavia because it’s close to home and it’s a project I like to do” Said Arrigenna.

    Todd Haight is the Director/General Manager of live racing at the Downs and he has high praise for Arrigenna’s abilities.

    “We’re thrilled to have Peter as our Track superintendent” said Haight. “He knows what it takes to make a race track fair, but also safe, because he is a horseman as well as a contractor. His knowledge and experience will serve him well in his new position.”

    “I would also like to thank Ralph Horton for his many years of service to the track and wish him the best in his retirement” added Haight.

    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs


  • Batavia Downs 2015 Season a Positive One

    December 18, 2015
    Batavia, NY—‪The 69th live racing season at Batavia Downs wrapped up last Saturday (Dec. 12) much the same way it kicked off back in July; with a packed house of fans watching the best racing in Upstate New York.

    The stellar calendar of stake races provided those in attendance a great opportunity to see some of the best horses in New York State and a fair number of Grand Circuit players as well.

    The New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) produced three record performances. The first was on Sunday (Aug. 30) when 3-year-old pacing colt Betting Exchange (Bettor’s Delight-Cheeky Hanover) tied the track record of 1:51.2 for sex and gait in winning his division of the $120,400 NYSS event. This was the fastest pacing mile of the meet.

    Then on Wednesday (Sept. 16), Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance Hanover) took advantage of a lightning-fast track and 80 degree temperatures to set a new world’s record of 1:52.4 for 2-year-old pacing fillies in winning her division of the $109,000 NYSS race. It (obviously) was also a new track record for Batavia Downs, smashing the old standard of 1:54.2.

    The 13th renewal of Batavia Downs signature event, the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace, took place on Saturday (Oct. 3) and one of the winningest horses in North America added his name to the roster of champions of that race. 17 time winner in 2015, Atta Boy Dan (Western Terror-Dropitlikeitshot), paced his last quarter in :27.4 and pulled away to an easy win in 1:52.1.

    The all-time pacing track record of 1:51.1 was not broken in that race, however track trotting history was made instead in the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial the same night.

    Top local trotting star Lutetium destroyed the field, at one point opening up a gap of as much as 15 lengths, before scooting home to a six-length victory in 1:55.2. The winning time broke the existing track record of 1:56 for aged trotting geldings set in 2014. This race was also the fastest trotting mile of the meet.

    Kevin Cummings easily defended his driving title at the Downs by winning 134 times during the meet, far ahead of the rest of his competition. Those rounding oIut the top five included Dave McNeight III with 89 wins, Shawn McDonough with 82 wins, Jack Flanigen with 81 wins and Drew Monti with 73 wins.

    JD Perrin also defended his training title by sending 57 horses to the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle. The competition behind him was decidedly closer and included James Clouser Jr. with 45 wins, Dave McNeight Jr. with 41 wins, Maria Rice with 34 wins and Kirk Desmond with 32 wins.

    Cobble Beach (Artiscape-Mirmattculous 1:51.2 $176,867) was named pacer of the meet with six Open wins, $42,270 in earnings and a seasonal mark of 1:52.4.

    Lutetium (Credit Winner-Luby 1:52.4 $356,617) was the trotter of the meet with six Open wins, $37,750 in earnings and a new track record of 1:55.2.

    Memumsnotnice (Jereme’s Jet-Bunny Town 1:51.4 $308,343) was named distaff performer of the meet with four Mares Open wins, $32,942 in earnings and a personal season’s mark of 1:55.

    The top three winningest post positions for the meet were post 1 with 230 wins, post 2 with 131 wins and post four with 129 wins.

    In 2015, the on-track handle took a dip of 5.4%, or $1263 a night. But the export handle was up a substantial 21.2%, or $13,220 per night. Combined, the total handle was up a healthy 9.6 %, or $10,250 per night.

    Batavia Downs paid out $5,438,400 in purses this year, up $208,400 over 2014.

    There was no shortage of promotions for Batavia Downs customers this year as something special was going on during 31 nights of the season. Giveaways, contests and food specials dotted the schedule but the year featured four major happenings.

    In August the Downs hosted the annual wiener dog races, to the delight of thousands who gathered at the rail to see them. September included the Drew Monti bobblehead night, the annual Labor Day driver’s bike race and a special fund raiser for the family of Brad Hanners.

    Then on Sunday (Nov. 15), Batavia Downs hosted the USTA District 8 membership meeting, Director election and New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) year-end awards banquet, sponsored by the New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund.

    “We couldn’t be happier with the way things went this year” said Todd Haight, GM/Director of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. “We had outstanding weather the whole year; not one flake of snow. That facilitated many opportunities for our live crowd to come out and that they did.”

    “The product on the track was as good as it’s ever been and the export numbers confirm that. A lot of people were betting the action at Batavia Downs at all the  simulcast facilities that took our signal. The meet ended very strong.” Haight concluded.

    To watch video highlights of the 2015 racing season, click on this link. (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B54kiFXcdsHxM0kxcmQ1dVNxbGM/view?pli=1 )

    Live racing will resume at Batavia Downs in July of 2016; dates pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commision.

    By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations
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