BATAVIA, N.Y. --- The fourth annual 'Dash for Cash', a scholarship harness race for local high school seniors, will be held Saturday night (Sept. 14) at Batavia Downs with $7,500 in scholarship money up for grabs. The scholarship race is a partnership between the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association, Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs.
"This is such a great event," Batavia Downs' General Manager of Live Racing Todd Haight said. "Not only do the kids get quite an equine experience but with the help of our partners, some serious scholarship money is on the line."
Since the beginning of August, the five high school seniors have been working hard for their big night. They are getting a crash course in learning the total equine experience associated with driving and caring for the standardbred horses that race at Batavia Downs, North America's oldest lighted harness track.
On Saturday night, their hard work and dedication will be put to the test as they get their 'real chance' at racing and some big scholarship money. They'll be riding along side a professional driver in a two-seated cart with the winner getting $3,000 in scholarship money, second place $2,000, third place $1,200, fourth place $800 and fifth place receives $500. Race time is approximately 7:45 p.m.
There's always a big turnout for the event as the participants from Batavia-area schools can expect their classmates, friends and family to be on hand to root them on.
The competitors this year are Kelsey Bezon from Elba Central School who is paired with driver Ray Fisher Jr.; Brian Berkholder of Oakfield-Alabama who has Jim Graham as his mentor; Nate Cornell of Batavia gets the services of Ron Beback Jr.; Dylan Scharlu of Alexander Central School will be with Shawn McDonough while Dylan Cory of Notre Dame of Batavia rounds out the field of five high school seniors as he joins Mike Baumeister in the sulky.
It will also be 'Dollar Night' with $1 Sahlen's hot dogs and soda served throughout the evening in the Paddock room.
Besides the 'Dash for Cash', there's a great 13-race card on tap with New York Sire Stakes action taking to the half-mile oval with some hard-knocking 3-year-old pacing colts battling for over $120,000 in purse money along with Excelsior Series races. First race post time is 6:30 p.m.on Saturday night.
Here is the official line up for the 'Dash for Cash' scholarship race.
Post-Horse Student Professional High School
1-Lady Lancer Kelsey Bezon Ray Fisher Jr. Elba
2-Buzzin’ Around Brian Borkholder Jim Graham Oakfield-Alabama
3-Nate Lobell Nate Cornell Ron Beback Jr. Batavia
4-Trojan Horse Dylan Scharlau Shawn McDonough Alexander
5-Luck of the Irish Dylan Cory Mike Baumeister Notre Dame of Batavia
by Brian J. Mazurek for Batavia Downs