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Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs has announced that they have retained the services of Heather Wilder and Peter Kleinhans as their on-air personalities for the broadcast of the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) Night of Champions which will be held at the track on Saturday (Sept. 14). Wilder will be doing pre and post-race interviews and Kleinhans will provide analysis and handicapping insight. Heather Wilder grew up with solid roots in harness racing being the daughter of Dan and Ruth Altmeyer and later marrying Meadows leading driver Mike Wilder. Her knowledge of every aspect of the sport is extensive as is her relationships with all its participants. Besides being actively involved in racing everyday, Wilder currently handles talent management for the Delaware County Fair during the live TV broadcast of the Little Brown Jug. She has also been a regular part of the United States Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) Dan Patch Awards Banquet both as an onstage host and Facebook live interviewer and producer for many years. While she worked as public relations and marketing director for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) she became a pioneer of reporting on racing on Facebook Live and coordinated the promotion of countless on-track events. In recognition of her fine work she was the recipient of USHWA's Lew Barasch Memorial Breakthrough Award for industry career achievements in 2013. Wilder's lifelong involvement with the sport and its players will make for interesting trackside and winner's circle interviews throughout the night. Peter Kleinhans started going to Roosevelt Raceway as a teenager and his passion for the sport grew from there. Eventually he started training and driving his own stable and reached the top of the game. Peter Kleinhans            --photo Meadowlands Kleinhans was training a stable of 20 horses led by Enough Talk who was the first trotter in the world to break the 1:50 barrier when he won by over eight lengths in 1:49.3 at Colonial Downs in 2008. Enough Talk also won the Breeders Crown in 2010 and received the Dan Patch older trotter of the year trophy from USHWA in each of those two seasons. Although he still competes as an amateur driver, Kleinhans has expanded his role in the sport to announcer, analyst and host and has recently filled in at the Meadowlands in those capacities. His knowledge and expertise of the sport and articulate delivery of same will provide an informative and entertaining look at the night's races for all who are watching. "We are very excited to add such accomplished and professional talents to our production of the Night of Champions" said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. "Heather and Peter have performed at the highest levels of the sport both on and off the track and will bring a unique perspective to the show for our fans." The Batavia Downs live racing meet kicks off on Wednesday (July 24) and runs through Saturday (Dec. 14). For more information on the upcoming racing season log on to www.bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing.   By Tim Bojarski  for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- Representatives from Western Regional Off-Track Betting (WROTB) reported Monday (May 6) that a record $2,039,088.30 was wagered on the Kentucky Derby through their outlets including BataviaBets.com, OTB Branches and EZ Bet Locations. In particular the Empire branch in Rochester, NY saw significant growth, up 27% from the previous year. And wagering was also very strong at Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel, up 7% there. Batavia Downs hosted three separate parties with a full house of happy, gambling revelers enjoying the Run for the Roses. The Park Place Party served an all-time high 751 dinners; well eclipsing the 605 meals sold last year. Thurman Thomas' Sports Bar "34 Rush" had their highest single day total for sales. Down on the gaming floor, $4 million credits were played which was the second highest in their history. The week ending Saturday saw the highest credits played total of all time, with $18.3 Million in Credits Played, beating the previous best seven-day period of $17.4 Million. The results of the 145th Kentucky Derby may have been controversial with the subsequent disqualification of Maximum Security, who was first under the wire, but according to Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of WROTB, Derby Day 2019 was unbelievable all the way around. "The wagering, party and gaming numbers are a continuation and reflection of the solid year Batavia Downs has been experiencing," said Wojtaszek, "We could not have pulled this off if it wasn't for our dedicated OTB branch and Batavia Downs staff, who worked tirelessly on Derby Day. We appreciate the solid support from our loyal customer base." WROTB is already gearing up for the second jewel of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown to be held on May 18 at Pimlico racetrack. Among the events scheduled for Preakness is the $15 Trifecta special that will take place in the Park Place Event Center at Batavia Downs from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Live harness racing return to Batavia Downs on Wednesday (July 24) for the meet that will run through Saturday (Dec 14).   By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs Gaming

Batavia, NY --- Even though live harness racing at Batavia Downs doesn't begin for another three months, track officials have announced that when the summer/fall meet begins on Wednesday (July 24) it will be the most lucrative session of Standardbred competition ever offered in Western New York. With the equine competition once again highlighted by eight legs of the lucrative New York Sire Stakes (NYSS), this year Batavia Downs will also be host to the $1.8 million NYSS Night of Champions finals and $50,000 Kane Memorial Pace that will both be held on Saturday (Sept. 14). And where the stake action garners most of the attention, the overnight races make up the bulk of the meet. And that is where good news for horsemen choosing to race at Batavia Downs this year comes in. Track officials have announced that purses will be raised 10 percent across the board on opening night and remain that way for the duration of the meet. With the increases in place, the Open I events on both gaits (with a minimum of six starters) will compete for $12,500, Open II for $11,000 and Open III for $10,000. Claiming races will be positively affected as well and at all levels. For example, a $25,000 claimer will go for a $10,500 purse, a $10,000 claimer will go for $8,500 and a $5,000 claimer will go for $5,700. As a result, Batavia Downs will pay out over $8 million in prize money during the 65-night meeting. "This is big news, make no mistake about it. Racing in Western New York has never been better and this will be the year to compete at Batavia" said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Racing at Batavia Downs. "We are already making preparations to get the meet underway and are looking forward to having the best horses in the state competing here all year." Haight explained the bigger purses are a result of fewer races last year and a robust gaming floor feeding the purse account. "We simply weren't able to card as many races as we had hoped in 2018 and as a result, all the money sitting in the purse account was not paid out. Plus the Batavia Downs Gaming floor has been registering record numbers all winter and is coming off the best month we have ever had. That translates to a very healthy purse account that we will be distributing to everyone participating at the meet this year," said Haight. This is the second purse increase at Batavia Downs since October of 2018 when they were also raised by 10 percent. There are several things to note for horsemen who plan to race at Batavia this year. Management has hired track consultant Kim Crawford to oversee a complete resurfacing of the Batavia oval, including freshly banking the turns. This will ensure a fast and safe racing surface that will provide more competitive races and much sounder horses. As a result of polling local horsemen, the track will once again offer a traditional condition sheet and will not utilize the ABC System. Trainers will enter their horses by earnings or for a claiming price, and will be classified as such. The track has also announced there will be another claiming series this year with several legs for both gaits and a final for the top finishers. More details about this will be available closer to the meet. Batavia Downs will also switch to the USTA Electronic Draw System to determine post position this year. "The 2019 championship meet at Batavia Downs is a great opportunity for overnight horsemen to join the racing colony here and take advantage of everything we have to offer. Stall applications will be available on the Batavia Downs website on Saturday (June 1) and we would love to see new stables ship in for the meet," Haight concluded. For more information about racing at Batavia Downs in 2019, log onto www.bataviadownsgaming.com and access the live racing link.   By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel have announced their plans for a second Kentucky Derby party to be held on Saturday (May 4). A total of three parties will take place onsite. The party announced today will run from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the new Batavia Downs Gaming Park Place Event Center (formerly known as the Paddock Room). This party has seen over 600 attendees for the past several years and looks to grow that number in May with the new Superfecta Deal. Patrons will receive their choice of a variety of meals, $15 in Free Play on the gaming floor (once one point is earned), a $5 wager on the Derby, a program and a commemorative Kentucky Derby glass. The package price is just $20. There will be $5 Mint Julep specials that include a Derby glass as well as samplings from Black Button Distilling and Angry Orchard. Many big screen televisions will show the races and there will be mutuel clerks available to take wagers. The 2nd Annual Derby Gala (which was announced last month) will take place in the Batavia Downs Gaming Grandstands Banquet Room on the second floor. Tickets went on sale in February for that event at Bataviaconcerts.com and at the Lucky Treasures Gift Shop at the entrance of the gaming floor and half of those tickets have already been sold. Admission for the Derby Gala at the Downs is $75 per person and proper attire is required. Patrons will receive an open bar from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and admission includes grazing stations, a $10 wager on the Derby, $25 in Free Play and a Free Derby Program. The Gala also includes a best dressed contest and best hat contest which will take place and offer prizes from the Hotel at Batavia Downs and Four Roses Bourbon. The third party, taking place inside of "34 Rush" will offer samplings from Woodford Reserve Bourbon and Blue Moon. Patrons may place Derby wagers using self-service terminals located there. The $5 Mint Julep/commemorative Derby glass special will also be available. The Downs Simulcast Center located on the second floor will also be available for wagering. Prize drawings for Derby T-shirts and glasses will take place there beginning at 10:00 a.m. Rooms at the Hotel at Batavia Downs are already sold out, but other local hotels have availability and a shuttle will be running that day to take patrons from those venues to Batavia Downs beginning at 3p.m. instead of the usual 5 p.m. "We're looking forward to another great day of parties surrounding our Kentucky Derby events," said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Racing at Batavia Downs Gaming. "The success of the Derby Gala last year adds to the already tremendous day of wagering and entertainment that our guests have come to expect at Batavia Downs. Based on the recent Kentucky Derby prep-races, this year's Run for the Roses seems more wide open than ever." For questions and inquiries regarding additional information please contact Ryan Hasenauer, Batavia Downs Gaming Public Relations, at 585-343-3750 ex 6308.     Tim Bojarski   COB - United States Harness Writers Association Hoof Beats Magazine Columnist Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts Publicist Plainridge Park Publicist Batavia Downs Publicist and Track Handicapper  

Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel announced part of their onsite plans for the upcoming Kentucky Derby on Saturday (May 4) as multiple events will take place. The 2nd Annual Derby Gala at Batavia Downs Gaming will be held in Grandstands Banquet Room on the second floor. Admission for the Gala is $75 per person and proper attire is required. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to attend. Guests will receive an open bar from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Grazing stations, a $10 wager on the Derby, $25 in Free Play and a free Derby program are also included. There will be televisions showing the days' races and mutuel clerks will be available for patrons to place wagers. There will also be a best dressed contest and best hat contest with prizes provided by the Hotel at Batavia Downs and Four Roses Bourbon. Tickets will go on sale Wednesday (Feb. 20) at 10 a.m. on Bataviaconcerts.com and at the Lucky Treasures Gift Shop located at the entrance to the gaming floor. Tickets are very limited. The hotel at Batavia Downs will be offering a special VIP rate for those who wish to add an overnight stay to their Derby experience. Use promo code KD5419 to get the special rate. Tickets to the event and a hotel room are to be purchased separately. "We're looking forward to another great day of events surrounding the Run for the Roses, "said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming. "The success of the Derby Gala last year adds to the already tremendous day of wagering and entertainment that our guests have come to expect from Batavia Downs." Details on the other two, non-ticketed parties on Derby day will be announced at a later time. From Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- On a night when Drew Monti was to be honored as the top driver of the 2018 Batavia Downs harness racing meet, he put on a clinic and showed why he toted home the hardware again as he won seven races on Saturday night (Dec. 15). Also it was no surprise that trainer JD Perrin, who Monti regularly drives for and was also honored as the top conditioner of the session, sent out six winners of his own. Those winning connections put the exclamation point on their stellar season as they watched Cheyenne Louie cruise to the easiest of victories in the $20,000 Dash for the Holiday Cash late closer final, which was the feature race of the night. Cheyenne Louie (Drew Monti) left strong and grabbed the lead past the eighth pole and from there the race was history. Cruising along in level fractions of :28.2, :58.2 and 1:27.4, Monti had the field stacked up behind as he sat chilly in the bike. At the top of the stretch several horses fanned wide to try and close the gap but Cheyenne Louie was four-lengths gone and under wraps when he hit the wire first in 1:57. It was the seventh win of the year for Cheyenne Louie ($3.20) whose share of the purse pushed him to $26,983 for 2018. Cheryle Perrin owns the winner that is trained by JD Perrin. Then the same driver/trainer pair hooked up to win the $11,000 overnight featured Open Handicap pace with Lucky McTrucky. Getting away fifth in the short field of five, Lucky McTrucky tracked the early pace before pulling past the half, tipping three deep at three-quarters and clearing the front at the top of the lane to win by three in 1:55.2. It was the 56th career win and 14th tally of the year for Lucky McTrucky ($5.70) who is now only $1,095 shy of $100,000 in earnings for 2018. Tessa Roland owns the 9-year-old Mcardle gelding. Other winners Monti steered besides the aforementioned Cheyenne Louie and Lucky McTrucky were with Cobble Beach (1:57.2, $4.70), Rock To Glory (1:56.4, $3.10), RM Hawk (1:55.3, $4.10), Heaven Rocks (1:56.3, $3.70) and OK Galahad (1:57, $4.10). Perrin's training double Hat Trick consisted of five that Monti drove (Cheyenne Louie, Lucky McTrucky, Rock To Glory, RM Hawk and Heaven Rocks) along with Foreign Officer (1:56.4, $7.70) who was driven by Ray Fisher Jr. After the 11th race this dynamic duo was named top driver and trainer of the Batavia Downs meet by the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA). This is the second driving title for Drew Monti at Batavia Downs and third overall of his career. The 24-year-old Monti put together another stellar year in the bike; to date starting 572 times, winning 122 races, finishing second 90 times and third 72 times. Those starts earned his connections $724,805 in purses and earned himself a Universal Driver Rating (UDR) of .337. JD Perrin won the training title at the Downs three straight years from 2014-2016 making this his fourth title at the track. With 208 starts, Perrin trainees have won 61 times with 31 seconds and 19 thirds giving him a Universal Trainer Rating (UTR) of .409. His stable banked $333,648 for the session. Batavia Downs will resume live racing in 2019 on Wednesday (July 24) and is the host track of the New York SIre Stakes (NYSS) Night Of Champions which will be held on Saturday (Sept. 14). By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Akron, NY --- The final weekend of harness racing at Batavia Downs kicks off on Friday (Dec. 14) and although 26 more races are yet to be contested, there are two that have already been settled. The dash winning driver and trainer for the 2018 meet are Drew Monti and JD Perrin. This is the second driving title for Drew Monti at Batavia Downs and third overall of his career. The 24-year-old Monti put together another stellar year in the bike; to date starting 560 times, winning 115 races, finishing second 89 times and third 72 times. Those starts earned his connections $686,305 in purses and earned himself a Universal Driver Rating (UDR) of .337. Those numbers were solid additions to Monti's overall figures for the year where he has 252 wins, 194 seconds and 174 thirds out of 1,260 starts with over $1.52 million in earnings and a UDR of .332. JD Perrin won the training title at the Downs three straight years from 2014-2016 making this his fourth title at the track. With 192 starts, Perrin trainees have won 55 times with 31 seconds and 19 thirds giving him a Universal Trainer Rating (UTR) of .409. His stable banked $298,248 for the session. Perrin's annual numbers show 442 starts yielding 126 wins, 68 seconds and 51 thirds earning his group $633,623. Also, Perrin currently ranks fourth in North America for UTR among trainers with less than 500 starts this year. Drew Monti and JD Perrin will receive their trophies in the Purple Haze Winner's Circle at Batavia Downs after the 12th race on Saturday night (Dec. 15). Please note that post time for Saturday's card is early at 4:45 p.m. Also on Saturday night, there are many opportunities for the fans to take advantage of before the lights go off for the last time this year. The $20,000 final of the Dash for the Holiday Cash series is the feature event and goes as the sixth race. There is a free Pick-6 contest with a mandatory payoff of $1,000. The Pick-6 starts in race four and runs through race nine. Entry blanks can be picked up at Players Club and can be deposited with your selections prior to the start of the fourth race. Entries are limited to one per person. The Pick-6 is co-sponsored by the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association. Then there will be a random drawing from all the Pick-6 entries to win 10 "Driver of the Meet" Drew Monti bobble heads and 10 official Dan Patch Awards baseball caps. 10 winners will be drawn and each will receive both prizes. The bobble head and baseball cap give away is sponsored by the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) and TAG Jewelers. Friday night (Dec. 14) is the UNY USHWA Night of Distinction awards presentations at Batavia Downs that will take place in the winner's circle between races. Post time on Friday is 6 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, president, UNY USHWA  

Akron, NY --- With the Batavia Downs harness racing meet coming to a close this Saturday (Dec. 15) the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has announced their horses of the meet. Horse of the Meet-In Runaway Bay N In Runaway Bay N (Mach Three-Pullover Brown) raced in the top pacing class at Batavia Downs 13 times in 2018, more than any other horse at the meet. From 17 total starts he won five, finished second twice and third five more times and earned $39,455. That total surpassed any other male pacer this season. He also defeated the legendary Foiled Again on Saturday (Sept. 21) in that great horse's last career appearance at the Downs. In Runaway Bay N is owned by Mark Jakubik, trained by Angelo Nappo and driven primarily by Kevin Cummings. Mare of the Meet-Sportsmuffler Sportsmuffler (Sportsmaster-Whatifthere'smore) competed in 14 Mares Open paces at Batavia Downs this year and won six of them. And when she won she did it with an exclamation point. In her 16 total starts this meet she also had three seconds and three thirds giving her an earnings total of $42,363 collected at the Downs. Sportsmuffler is owned by Rose Campbell, trained by Steve Kiblin and driven primarily by Billy Davis Jr. Trotter of the Meet-Lougazi Lougazi (Lou's Legacy-Winning Blade) had a rough start to the meet, making breaks with frequency. But in mid-September everything seemed to click and he turned into a monster. Making his way up through the classes, he hit the Open I and looked unbeatable there for a month. He won three in a row and four out of six and took a lifetime mark of 1:56.3 in the process. When the dust settled he had 14 starts with six wins, three seconds and one third and earned $38,231. Lougazi is owned by Mary Warriner, trained by Ryan Swift and driven by Ray Fisher Jr. Iron horse of the Meet-Empire Earl N Empire Earl N (Earl-Santa Nita) is a 10-year-old trotter who came to North America from the New Zealand in 2016. In the little over two years he's been racing here he has more than doubled his previous lifetime bank and almost tripled his wins as well. His steady work continued at Batavia Downs this meet where he raced 19 times, won four times, finished second six times and third four more. These efforts earned him $43,736 in purses. Empire Earl N is owned by Kim Asher, trained by the 2018 Rising Star Award winner Riley Asher-Stalbaum and driven primarily by Drew Monti. The connections of all four horses will receive their trophies in the Purple Haze Winner's Circle during the Night of Distinction at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 14). By Tim Bojarski, president, UNY USHWA

Akron, NY --- She was born to harness racing and hit the ground running this, her first year of training. And hard work and perseverance has paid instant dividends for Riley Asher-Stalbaum and that is why she was named the 2018 Rising Star at Batavia Downs by the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Asher-Stalbaum was brought up in the business, the daughter of accomplished trainer Kim Asher and longtime driver Larry Stalbaum. And having them first as parents and then as tutors have helped her to become very successful in life as a young lady and also in harness racing in her first venture as a full-time conditioner. This year, Asher-Stalbaum has raced a small but powerful stable that featured win-machines Quicksilvercandy A, Kaitlyn Rae and Empire Earl N who combined have a total of 38 victories and $231,488 in purses earned in 2018. At Batavia Downs her numbers showed 124 starts with 17 wins, 15 seconds and 17 thirds and $133,409 in earnings. All those statistics are very impressive for a first year trainer only 11 days removed from her 19th birthday. Asher-Stalbaum aspires to make a living doing what she loves and follow in the footsteps of her parents. And if the results of her first year are any indication, the business better take notice of the girl in the red and white silks in the coming years. Riley Asher-Stalbaum will receive her trophy in the Purple Haze Winner's Circle during the Night of Distinction at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 14). by Tim Bojarski, for UNY USHWA Chapter    

Batavia, NY --- After being involved in harness racing accident at Batavia Downs late last week, perennial western New York driving leader Kevin Cummings will not return to action until next year. While driving in the first race on Friday night (Dec. 7) Cummings horse made a break causing the horse directly behind to collide into him, hitting Cummings on the left-side back at full speed. The two horses became entangled but were brought to a stop in the clubhouse turn just past the half. Cummings and the driver of the other horse, Mike Caprio (who also became unseated), were evaluated on site immediately after the track was cleared. Caprio returned to drive the remainder of the night however Cummings was sent for further medical evaluation. After being examined in the hospital it was determined that Cummings had three broken ribs, torn cartilage and internal bleeding. He was sent home and is in the process of healing under the care of his personal physician. Given the severity of his injuries, Cummings estimated his time away from the sulky to be two to three months. "I always wear my safety vest under my colors. It's paid off in the past and it certainly paid of Friday. If I didn't have that thing on I would have crushed my entire rib cage and had extensive organ damage," said Cummings. "I always tell the young guys to make sure they use theirs because you never know when you are going down." Cummings, who is a four-time dash champion at Batavia Downs, is currently second in the standings this year with 102 wins and had a legitimate shot at taking a fifth title. This season saw him earn over $1.2 million in purses which is the tenth straight year he has gone over the million-dollar mark. For his career Cummings has won 3,820 races and over $17 million in earnings. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Akron, NY --- The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has announced that Steve Pratt will receive their Lifetime Achievement Award during the Night of Distinction at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 14). Pratt first got his grooms license in 1970 and from there has been involved in harness racing ever since. He has been training and racing horses in western New York since the late seventies when the star of his barn was an Open trotter named Willow Hill Boy who under the reinsmanship of the legendary Gaston Guindon, won 42 races in only five years against the best horses on the grounds at the time. Pratt moved on from racing overnights to concentrate on breaking and developing young horses. He became a presence on the New York county fair circuit but made the move to the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) in the mid-nineties. There he found early success with horses like Sal The Barber (1:58.2, $114,887) and Choyote's Miss (1:59.1, $121,785). But he really got on a successful roll in the NYSS starting in 2012. For the last seven years Pratt has been a trotting force in the state-bred series with a string of "Barn" named horses that have competed in the NYSS, the Excel series and also at the county fairs. The parade of his champions is led most prominently by Barn Doll (1:52.1, $874,083), Barn Bella (1:51.3, $742,350), Barn Girl (1:52.3, $734,668), Barn Babe (1:54.2, $350,463) and Barn Winner (1:56, $165,273). During those seven years Pratt-trained horses have earned over $2 million in only 227 starts, winning 97 races which gave him a phenomenal 42% win percentage. Pratt's Universal Trainer Rating (UTR) for that same period is a stellar .558 and all this was accomplished racing primarily in stake competition. Steve Pratt will receive his trophy in the Purple Haze Winner's Circle between races during the live card. By Tim Bojarski, president, Upstate New York USHWA

Batavia, NY --- Lucky McTrucky got back to his winning ways taking the $11,500 Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec.8). The feature field got away in post position order leaving Cultural Paradise (Jim McNeight Jr.) on top calling the shots and with no pressure to the half, it was a soft fraction of :58 flat. However that would soon change when In Runaway Bay N (Truman Gale) came calling first-up on the outside where the race began to get interesting. In Runaway Bay N paced along with Cultural Paradise up the backstretch in a quick :28.3 third panel and while that was going on, Lucky McTrucky (Drew Monti) joined the party late but came with lots of pace. Halfway through the turn Monti tipped Lucky McTrucky three-deep and caught the leaders by the top of the stretch and then went right by in the lane to win by two-lengths in 1:55.4. It was the 55th lifetime win and 13th of the season for Lucky McTrucky ($10.60) who now has earned $93,405 in 2018 for owner Tessa Roland. JD Perrin trains the winner. The $9,900 Open II pace saw Western Rockstar A (Shawn McDonough) close sharply after chasing an early speed battle between Linkjack Hanover (Bob Verney) and Littlebitofabrat (Ray Fisher Jr.) to pull the upset in 1:56.2. Western Rockstar A ($24.00) captured his fifth win of the year for owner Super Mile LLC. Angelo Nappo is the trainer. Three drivers won 10 of the 12 races on Saturday evening. Drew Monti was the big dog copping a Grand Slam of wins. Then Shawn McDonough and Denny Bucceri were right behind, each having a triple on the card. Next week is the final week of racing at Batavia Downs and it starts on Friday night (Dec. 14) with post time set at 6 p.m. There is no racing on Wednesday (Dec. 12) next week. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs      

Batavia, NY --- After going winless since September 7 when he trotted a season's best 1:56.3, Empire Earl N has regained early season form winning two consecutive harness racing top-class races at Batavia Downs. The second score came on Friday night (Dec.7) when he captured the $11,000 Open Handicap trot. Empire Earl N (Drew Monti) got away third as Crystal Sphere (Billy Davis Jr.) made a beeline for the lead and when he got there, backed off the proceedings. After a leisurely stroll to the half in 1:01.2, Davis hit the gas, opened up a five-length advantage and tried to put the swoop to the group. Motoring along well on the point, Crystal Sphere looked very much the best, however there was a lot of race left. As the group moved from the five-eighths to the three-quarters, Monti tipped Empire Earl N and started chipping away at Crystal Sphere's lead. Around the last turn he was on his back and at the head of the stretch he drew even on the outside and from there, Empire Earl N got stout and trotted away under mild urging from Monti to win by a length in 1:59.3. Empire Earl N ($4.70) reached double-digit wins for 2018, scoring his 10th of the year for owner Kim Asher. He has also earned $90,354 this year which has been his career best under the tutelage of trainer Riley Asher-Stalbaum. In the $8,800 Open II trot Labatt Hanover (Shawn McDonough) made easy work of five foes, posting even fractions en route to a three-length victory in 1:59.3. Labatt Hanover ($8.70) scored his sixth victory of 2018 for owners Gary and Cynthia Saj. His driver McDonough also does the conditioning. Aside from capturing the feature race, driver Drew Monti also had two other wins giving him a Hat Trick on the night. Billy Davis Jr. and Mike Caprio also had driving doubles during the nine-race card. There was no winner of the early Pick-5 on Friday and as a result, there is a $534 carry-over and a guaranteed pool of $1,500 for the early Pick-5 when racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday. Post time for the first race at 6 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- Horsemen racing at Batavia Downs should take note of the draw schedule for the final week of harness racing for 2018. There will be a double draw held on Tuesday (Dec. 11) for Friday (Dec. 14) and Saturday (Dec. 15) with the box closing at 9 a.m. After the draw, the judges will also close both programs on Tuesday (Dec. 11). Also please note that post time for Friday (Dec. 14) is 6 p.m. while post time for Saturday (Dec. 15) is early at 4:45 p.m. For any inquiries about conditions or to call your entries in, please contact Race Secretary Joe Zambito at 585-344-6304. The complete condition sheet for racing at Batavia Downs is available on the Batavia Downs website (www.bataviadownsgaming.com) under Live Racing>Horsemen>Condition Sheet and also on the USTA website (www.ustrotting.com) by clicking Horsemen>Condition Sheets.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- As the weather gets colder, she keeps getting bolder. Sportsmuffler continued to dominate the local harness racing distaff colony by winning the $10,400 fillies and mares Open handicap pace with little effort on a cold night at Batavia Downs on Monday (Dec.5). Driver Billy Davis Jr. left three-wide with the 1-5 Sportsmuffler and out-dueled Kaitlyn Rae (Mike Caprio) to the catbird seat from where she dictated the rest of the race this night. With no challengers for three-quarters of the mile, Sportsmuffler got to that station in 1:26.4 when Caprio pulled the pocket-sitting Kaitlyn Rae to take their best shot. But try as they might, their best was no match for the streaking Sportsmuffler who after a tap and a swish from Davis, paced away to a two-length victory in 1:55.4. Sportsmuffler ($2.40) has now won five out of the last eight top class mares races in as many starts at Batavia. She has also matched her 2017 career-best total of wins, scoring her 11th this year and has reached a new single-season high for earnings of $74,506 for owner Rose Campbell. Steve Kiblin is the trainer of the Sportsmaster progeny. Davis had a stellar night in the bike besides winning the feature. He also won two other races on the card of eight giving him a Hat Trick for the evening. Davis has been on a roll the past couple of weeks and as such, is now in the conversation for leading dash driver of the meet. With Wednesday's three wins Davis now has 97 for the session, only 10 behind the leading Drew Monti (107) and five behind second place Kevin Cummings (102). With four nights left in the meet, Davis has a legitimate shot of making up the shortfall and taking the 2018 driver race to a photo finish. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 7) with post time set for 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) hosted its Annual Awards Banquet December 2 at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel, honoring the top horses, trainers, drivers, owners and breeders of the 2018 harness racing season. Awards were given to the 2 and 3-year old champions across the three racings series: the New York Sire Stakes, the Excelsior Series and the County Fair Series. This season's NYSS "Night of Champions" was held at the Yonkers Raceway on September 22. Taking home a combined $1.8 million in purses were champions Winndevie (Credit Winner-Vida De Vie), Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows), Money Shot Hanover (Art Major-Marinade Hanover), Reigning Deo (Rock N Roll Heaven-Little Miss K), Plunge Blue Chip (Muscle Mass-Dunk The Donato), Helpisontheway (Chapter Seven-Porque), Wisdom Tree (Betterthancheddar-Wisdom), and Rockapelo (Rock N Roll Heaven-Capelo Rose). The title of Leading Breeder went to Winbak Farm, Linda Toscano took home Leading Trainer and Jim Morrill Jr. was honored with Leading Driver of 2018. The 2019 Night of Champions' date was unveiled during the awards banquet. New York's richest night of racing will be held on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at Batavia Downs. The evening honored the NYSS Excelsior Champions, who took home $55,000 each at Saratoga Casino Hotel on September 23. The 2018 champions are Lifetime Credit (Credit Winner-Mariah De Vie), Labadee As (Conway Hall-Smith Hall), Heavens Challenge (Rock N Roll Heaven-Challenge Accepted), Cal (American Ideal-Hula's Z Tam), Michando (Muscle Mass-Haul'n Fanny), Nows The Moment (Credit Winner-Glide By), Special Kay Deo (American Ideal-Little Miss K), and Thor De Vie (So Surreal-Pebblebeach De Vie). The evening also celebrated the NYSS County Fair Champions, crowned at Monticello Raceway on September 6, following two months of racing at 20 county fairs across New York State. Each final carried a purse of $10,000, collected by Golden Gypsy (Ulay Boko-Uffra Girl), Hereyago (Muscle Mass-End of Innocence), Lily Hammer (So Surreal-Jens Underdog), Cal (Roll With Joe-Crystal De Vie), Good Luck Ginny (Lucky Chucky-Classical Ginny), Royal Bahama (RC Royalty - Becca J), Heaven's Diva (Rock N Roll Heaven-Village Bolero), and Super Roll (Roll With Joe-Calista). Joseph Chinado Sr. took home Leading Trainer, and his son, Joseph Chindano Jr. took home the title of Leading Driver of 2018. "It's always a special evening to be able to reflect on the past season and relive so many of the impressive moments from the New York Sire Stakes," said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. "We want to thank Batavia Downs for their incredible hospitality and we look forward to being back here next fall for the 2019 Night of Champions." The USTA District 8 Champions recognized at the banquet included Winndevie, Thunder (Conway Hall-Cr Oh Suzanna), Brooklyn Lilacs (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sombodythatiustono), Hickfromfrenchlick (So Surreal-My Girl's A Star), Atlanta (Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip), Perlucky (Lucky Chucky-Paper Girl), Alexis Faith (American Ideal-Cannae Cammie), and Trump Nation (Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N). Atlanta took home the coveted title of Horse of the Year, while Toscano was named as Trainer of the Year, Morrill Jr. as Pari-Mutuel Driver of the Year and Chindano Jr. as County Fair Driver of The Year. The Bruce Hamilton Memorial Medal was awarded to longtime NYSS supporter and Standardbred owner, Kenneth Jacobs. The medal is presented annually by Harness Horse Breeders of New York State in recognition of outstanding contributions to harness horse racing and the improvement of breeding Standardbred horses in New York. About the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund: The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund (the Fund) is a public benefit corporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of Standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the state. To carry out its legislative mission, the Fund administers the New York Sire Stakes races, Excelsior/State Fair Series races, and County Fair Races. Jason Politi | Baker Public Relations

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