Batavia, NY - For the second week in a row, an outside invader laid claim to the top pacing prize for fillies and mares in the distaff Open at Batavia Downs. Little Santamonica has been freelancing about New York State for most of the year and has recently chalked up top-class victories at Saratoga and Yonkers Raceway as well as Tioga Downs where she set her lifetime mark of 1:52 on May 16. Tonight she made her first start at Batavia and put another notch on her belt. Starting from post two in the short field of five, even money favorite Little Santamonica (Truman Gale) got away second behind It's De lovely (Drew Monti) and took the pocket trip through fractions of :29.2, :59 and 1:26.4. At that point Gale used the right line and pulled the mare going into the last turn. The team continued to gain ground on the leader before pulling away halfway down the stretch to win by a length over a fast-closing V 'la Faire (Ron Beback Jr.) in 1:55.1. The victory was the tenth in 21 starts for the 6-year-old mare and pushed her lifetime earnings to $228,041. Little Santamonica who returned $4.40, is owned by Kelly Dawn Hope of Vernon, NY and is trained by Jordan Hope. Wednesday night, NFL hall of famer and former Buffalo Bill Thurman Thomas was on hand as a guest bartender for the night at the races to benefit the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, NY. Each race on the card was sponsored by different groups who made donations to this very worthy cause and those gifts, combined with contributions by fans and horsemen alike throughout the night, amounted to over $7,500. The Downs would like to thank all those who came out to participate and to everyone who made donations to this very worthy cause. Racing resumes Friday night at Batavia Downs at 6:35 p.m. The New York Sire Stakes will be back in town with two divisions for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY - Three divisions of the New York Sire Stake for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings highlighted the Sunday afternoon card and it didn't take long for the youngsters to impress the crowd. Prohibitive post time favorite All Bets Off put on a clinic in winning the first division of the $116,900 sophomore stake and rewrote the record book in the process. Leaving from post five, All Bets Off went right to the front and was never headed. In fact, for most of the mile no one could keep up with him. Driver Matt Kakaley set fractions of :27.3, :56.2 and 1:24.1 as he sped for the last turn. At that point All Bets Off found a new gear and pulled away to an unprompted eight-length victory in 1:51.2, which set a new track record for a 3-year-old colt and was only one-fifth shy of tying the all-age track record of 1:51.1 set by Aracache Hanover in 2011. All Bets Off, who returned $2.60 for the win, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, the Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell and is trained by Ron Burke. The win was his sixth of the year and raised his lifetime earnings to $497,842. The second division looked like it might break the record just set. After settling in second off the gate, 3-5 favorite Winds Of Change (Jim Morrill Jr.) bolted from the hole and shot to the top with a 6 length advantage at the quarter in :26.4. He was in command at the half in 54.1 with a gapped 10 length lead but the pack started reeling him in at the three-quarters. After the leader hit that post in 1:22.4, Forty Five Red (Matt Kakaley) who had come first-over caught the leader by the top of the turn, but Moliere Hanover (Jason Bartlett) was right on his back and it became a two horse race all the way down the stretch. After a hard fought duel, Moliere Hanover won a neck decision over Forty Five Red in 1:53.3 The time was a new lifetime mark for Moliere Hanover who was overlooked by the betting public and returned $24.20. Moliere Hanover is owned by Baymond Racing LLC and is trained by P.J. Fraley. The final split was won by Big Boy Dreams (Jason Bartlett) who presented his best outing of the year. Leaving from post five, Big Boy Dreams immediately took the lead and was never headed. After getting to the three-quarters in 1:25, Bartlett stretched out in the bike and simply urged the colt along with a few taps down the lane where the others attempt to catch him became futile. The mile time of 1:52.4 was a seasonal mark for Big Boy Dreams who returned $3.60 as the favorite. Big Boy Dreams is owned by Dominick Rosato and is trained by Tracy Brainard. There were also two divisions of the $12,600 Excelsior A series on the undercard. The first was won by Murder He Wrote, driven by Jim Morrill Jr. in a time of 1:55.2 for owner Camelot Stable and trainer Linda Toscano. Murder He wrote returned $3.80. The second division went to Archetto Hanover who was driven by Brent Holland in 1:54.2 for owner Paymaq Racing, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger. Erv Miller trains Archetto Hanover who paid $7.60. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. continued his driving domination as he registered five wins and two seconds on the 12 race card. Morrill is by far the top driver in the New York Sire Stake series and on the year as a whole, sports a gaudy .406 UDR. Racing resumes Wednesday evening (7-30) at Batavia Downs with a 6:35 post time. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia downs
Batavia, NY - A solid field of seven Open pacers went postward in Batavia Downs feature race Saturday night and the result was a double-digit payout for the savvy bettors. Western Alumni (Western Hanover-Countryview Miss) was the 4-1 morning line third choice and was coming off an Open class victory just last week at Buffalo Raceway. In fact he has two wins and two seconds in that class in his last four starts. Yet the 6-year-old gelding was allowed to go off as a 12-1 overlay. As the gate set the field free, Little Man Cam (Michael Whelan) opened up a quick six-length lead that left the rest of the field following in post-position order. After a :28 quarter, Best Ears (Shawn McDonough) pulled and heavily favored Spender Hanover (Drew Monti) followed as they hit the half in 57.1. Driver Jim McNeight still had Western Alumni seventh at the wood, saving ground around turn three. When they straightened out up the backside, McNeight got Western Alumni in gear and followed the live outer flow, third-over in a crisp 1:26 clip to the three-quarters. From that point McNeight tipped three-deep around the turn and fanned four wide in the stretch to out-battle the leaders and beat a fast closing Salazar (Ron Beback Jr.) by a neck in 1:55.2. Best Ears hung on to be third. Western Alumni paid $27.60 as he registered his sixth win of the year and the victory pushed his 2014 earnings total to $48,370. North Creek Racing LLC of East Amherst, NY own Western Alumni and he is trained by Jerry Nugent Jr. Racing resumes tomorrow afternoon at the Downs with three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes and two divisions of the Excelsior series for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Post time is 1:15. For more racing information from Batavia Downs or to watch race replays as soon as they are declared official, logon to www.bataviadonwsgaming.com. Or if you would like to bet online and watch live streaming coverage of the races as they occur, logon to www.bataviabets.com and open an account. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY - The first of eight visits by the lucrative New York Sire Stakes takes place Sunday afternoon at Batavia Downs and for the local fans it's a chance to see some of the biggest names in harness racing. The 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers will be on hand and that means some very exciting action. There will be three legs of the NYSS and two of the Excelsior series and the entrants will be competing for combined purses in excess of $140,000. The first division goes for $39,200 and looks to be the main event as it is loaded with talent and speed. Perennial training leader Ron Burke will start 3-5 morning line favorite All Bets Off, who ships in with some impressive credentials. He won the $300,000 Art Rooney pace at Yonkers Raceway in May and after winning his elimination heat in 1:48.3, finished third in the $500,000 Hempt final at Pocono Downs behind McWicked last month. In that race, McWicked set a new world record for 3-year-old colts on a five-eighths mile track (1:47.3). This will be the third start in the NYSS for All Bets Off this year who won at Vernon Downs in 1:50.2 and just ten days ago finished second at Yonkers in 1:52.4 to Capital Account, who looks to be his toughest competition in today's race. He has earnings of $291,575 already this year. All Bets Off, who starts from post five and will be driven by Matt Kakaley, is part of an entry that includes stablemate Keystone Honor. Capital Account has competed in some high-profile stakes already but without positive results. He drew post eight in both the $69,000 Somebeachsomewhere and $45,500 North America Cup elimination at Mohawk and finished well beaten in both. But even though he does not sport the gaudy numbers of the morning line favorite, he certainly has beaten him. In his last start at Yonkers in NYSS action, Capital Account was pulled third over up the backside before tipping four-deep around the leader All Bets Off at the top of the stretch. He then outpaced the 1-5 favorite to the wire to win by a half-length. The 16-1 shot was overlooked last week but certainly won't be in here. Capital Account is trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter and will start from post three for leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. The second $39,200 division is headed by Canadian conditioner Cassie Coleman's Twin B Tenacious. After getting 2014 off to an inauspicious start, Twin B Tenacious has now strung together four straight wins (the last a NYSS event at Yonkers) and registered a 1:50.3 lifetime mark at the Meadowlands in the process. Steve Smith, who has been at the helm for all four victories, will once again be in the bike and start from post four. Forty Five Red, who is another entry from the powerful Burke stable, comes in off two consecutive wins at Yonkers Raceway which includes his seasonal mark of 1:52.3 in his last outing. Although he hasn't missed a check all year, his most recent outings have probably been his best to date and indicate he will be a legitimate threat to the favorite. The third division is worth $38,500 and looks to be a wide-open affair. Stay Up Late has been made the morning line favorite but has yet to win in stake action at three. He has gone off the favorite in his last three starts but his sole victory this year came in an overnight event at Yonkers Raceway on July 8 in 1:53.3. He gets Jim Morrill Jr. up for the first time this year and starts from post four Neat draws the rail for trainer Erv Miller and is coming in off three very impressive starts. After just getting beat in 1:53.4 in a NYSS race at Buffalo on June 27, Neat finished second in an overnight at Pocono Downs in 1:50.1 over a sloppy track the following week. He was then back in Sire Stake action at Yonkers his last start where he got away sixth and chased a :56 flat last half parked out to finish third in 1:52.3. Neat is rated at 5-2 for driver Brent Holland. 3-1 third choice Sir Sam's Z Tam has the fastest seasonal mark and the most money earned of any other horse in this race, but also has the only NYSS victory this year. After hitting the board four consecutive times, he found himself parked out in a fast last half at Yonkers before finishing fifth. Sam's Z Tam will start from post three for trainer/driver the Pat Lachance. The undercard features two divisions of the Excelsior series and they are slated to go as race seven and ten. The first split goes for $12,600 and has two horses that have dominated the class; Cabbie's Delight and Murder He Wrote. 8-5 favorite Cabbie's Delight has not been worse than second in six Excelsior starts. In fact he is the point's leader to date in the series. He won four straight out of the gate before finishing two close seconds in his most recent starts. Trainer Sam Serianni has Jason Bartlett in the bike this week as he looks to get back in the winner's circle. 9-5 co-favorite Murder He Wrote has won his last two starts, including a NYSS event at Buffalo Raceway where he blew up the tote board at 45-1. The roan gelding drew immediate respect after that when he went off the prohibitive favorite the following week at Yonkers where he won wire to wire in 1:54.1. Jim Morrill Jr. will drive Murder He Wrote and starts from post five for conditioner Linda Toscano. The final $12,600 Excelsior contest is headlined by 2-1 choice Believeinthespirit. After having negligible success in four straight NYSS races, trainer Ed Lohmeyer reclassified his charge to the Excelsior and the change has proven fruitful. Believeinthespirit has won his last two starts in convincing fashion and looks to continue the streak from post two. 5-2 second choice Archetto Hanover is the second highest point getter in the Excelsior series behind Cabbie's Delight and has three wins and two seconds to show for his efforts. Trainer Erv Miller has Brent Holland up for this trip and will depart from post five. Post time for the first race is 1:15. For more racing information or to watch race replays as soon as they are declared official, logon to www.bataviadonwsgaming.com. Or if you would like to bet online and watch live streaming coverage of the races as they occur, logon to www.bataviabets.com and open an account. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY - An enthusiastic crowd lined the fence to welcome back live harness racing at the oldest lighted harness track in North America and their zeal was rewarded with a great slate of exciting contests on a warm summer night. The feature race was the $9,500 mares Open pace where newcomer Bazooka Terror established her status the first start out of the box as she soundly defeated her competition in 1:55.4. Bazooka Terror got away fourth as Case Solved (John Cummings Jr.) and Mondatta (Ron Beback Jr.) argued for the lead in 28 seconds flat. But just before they hit the half, Shawn McDonough pulled the mare first-over where she seemed to hang a bit before getting in gear. By the time they hit the three-quarters in 1:26.2, Bazooka Terror found her stride and motored around Case Solved as they skated through the turn. When they hit the top of the stretch, McDonough was rocking and knocking and Bazooka Terror responded to pull away to a widening two-length victory. Bazooka Terror is owned by her trainer, Leonard Segall of Clearwater, Florida. This was her sixth win of the year and it pushed her bankroll to $43,904 for 2014.She returned $6.20 for the win. In the co-featured$7,500 Open mares trot, Love Me Do took a huge step in class and thought nothing of it as she cruised to a five-length victory in a seasonal best time of 1:59. Love Me Do was claimed last week for $8,000 after winning that race from post seven in 2:00.1. Apparently liking what he bought, trainer Alex Giuliani wasted no time in promoting her to the top level for her sex and gait this week and the move paid off. Love Me Do left and tucked third as 3-2 favorite Fiorentina (John Cummings Jr.) took the front and began to cut the mile. After a 29 second quarter and 59 second half, Love Me Do tipped at the five-eighths and took the lead past the three-quarters in 1:28.4. When she got the lead she got away from the pack and scored an easy five length victory, her sixth of the year. The time of 1:59 was a seasonal mark for Love Me Do and the winners share raised he annual earnings to $31,397. She paid $10.20 to win. Love Me Do is owned by Mark Jakubik of West Seneca, NY. Reinsman Kevin Cummings carried his hot hand over from the recently concluded Buffalo meet winning four times on opening night while 2013 Batavia leading dash driver Shawn McDonough notched a triple. Batavia Downs returns live this Friday night (July 25) with 12 races on the card. For more racing information, a list of racing promotions or to watch race replays as soon as they are declared official, logon to www.bataviadonwsgaming.com. Or if you would like to bet online and watch live streaming coverage of the races as they occur, logon to www.bataviabets.com and open an account. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY- As Batavia Downs kicks off its 2014 live racing season tonight, the best of the resident distaff congregation takes main stage as both feature races focus on the best local mares from both gaits. The evening's first race is a $7,500 mares Open trot that has seven going postward. The 2-1 morning line favorite is Fiorentina. This 5-year-old Angus Hall mare has been facing the boys each week in Open company at the recently concluded Buffalo Raceway meet and has been no worse than third in her four most recent starts. However you have to go back to February 28 to find the last time she has won a race. That said, competing within her peer group tonight will provide some welcomed class relief for this outing. Fiorentina, who is conditioned by the Downs defending training champion John Mungillo, has three wins in 12 starts for the year with a mark of 1:58.3 at Buffalo. She drew post two and has Truman Gale in the bike. Stormont O My has the rail and a 3-1 second choice designation. This classy 10-year-old has been racing mostly in claiming races this year, winning her last start handily in 1:59.4 with a $12,500 price tag. She has raced in Open class company twice at Buffalo and faced Fiorentina both times. On April 18 Stormont O My was second, finishing ahead of Fiorentina who was third and on January 23 she was also second, only behind Fiorentina who won that race. Stormont O My is trained by Darrin Monti and is co-owned and driven by Drew Monti. She has four wins in 15 starts this year with her best winning effort of 2014 coming just last week. In the night's featured sixth race, seven starters will line up in the mares Open pace to compete for the winner's share of $9,500. The 5-2 odds maker's choice is Bazooka Terror, who hails from the barn of local newcomer Leonard Segall. This 5-year-old Western Terror has been competing most recently at Scarborough Downs in Maine and had a 1:56.2 win in the top mares class there three starts ago. After finishing second at that level once again, she was dropped to a lower condition where she dominated the field and registered a 1:54.2, nine-length victory over the half-mile track. She took her lifetime mark of 1:52.1 at Tioga Downs on June 6 of this year and has registered three wins in her last five starts. Bazooka Terror has been overcoming outside posts in seven of her last eight starts and gets some inside relief tonight from post three. She also gets the services of defending Batavia Downs dash winning driver Shawn McDonough. Her main rival in the race is the 3-1 second choice, Case Solved. This recent addition to the Adam Short stable has been impressive locally since coming in from Hoosier Park in Indiana. After winning her initial start at Buffalo for her new connections in an uncontested 1:54.2 wire-to-wire romp, Case Solved moved into the mares Open ranks and finished a narrowly beaten second two consecutive times. Driver Ray Fisher Jr. will pick up the lines once again and look to allay those back to back defeats this week. Post time for the 12 race card is 6:35. Opening night will also feature two giveaways for the fans on hand. Free Batavia Downs racing programs and magnetic schedules with be distributed to all in attendance, as long as supplies last. For more racing information or to watch race replays as soon as they are declared official, logon towww.bataviadonwsgaming.com. Or if you would like to bet online and watch live streaming coverage of the races as they occur, logon towww.bataviabets.comand open an account. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY - As the 68th season of live harness racing gets underway at Batavia Downs this Wednesday evening (July 23), fans will be welcomed back with an aggressive schedule of racing and promotions that will run through December 6. Racing will be conducted on a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday schedule from opening night through Labor Day, when the racing schedule changes to a Tuesday Wednesday, Friday, Saturday format. Post time is 6:35 except for Sundays, which will convene at 1:15. There are also two special matinee cards slated for Labor Day (Sept. 1) and Columbus Day (Oct. 13) that will also have a 1:15 post. Todd Haight, Batavia Downs Director/Manager of live racing said "We're extremely happy to begin the new meet with increased purses as this year we'll payout an additional $200,000. Although our main lobby entrance is still under construction, many other areas of our remodel are complete. Customers will find the new Paddock Room betting area a great place to spend the night as it features new flat screen TV's." A plentitude of wagers that carry low minimum investments are available this year. There are four $1 Daily Double wagers; early (races1-2), mid (races 4-5), late (races 8-9) and late-late (races 11-12). A $1 exacta and 50-cent trifecta is offered in every race as well as a 10-cent superfecta in all races except races one and seven. Lastly there is a 50-cent pick-4 in race 3, a 50-cent pick-5 in race 5, a $2 pick-6 in race 7 and a $.50 pick-3 in race 10. Every Wednesday beginning July 30, Batavia Downs racing will be broadcast live on Time-Warner cable channel 98 in Rochester. Tuesdays will be added after Labor Day. Race analyst Ashley Holliday will return as host and be seen in seven western and central New York counties throughout the meet. This year's racing schedule will be highlighted by eight divisions of the lucrative New York Sire Stake (NYSS) series that will bring with it some of the finest standardbreds in North America. Both the NYSS and Excelsior series will be contested on July 27, August 1-13-17-20-27-31 and September 6. Then on October 18, the tracks' signature event, the12th annual (est. $50,000) Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace will attract some of the best Open class pacers from the U.S. and Canada to vie for the top prize. This race has featured top horses like Foiled Again over the years and was responsible for lowering the all-time track record in 2011 when Aracache Hanover blistered the course in 1:51.1. Last year's leading driver Shawn McDonough and top trainer John Mungillo will both be back to defend their titles. But there will be stiff competition from their local peers and some new stables taking up residency on the grounds. Race secretary Joe Zambito commented "We have a few new trainers shipping in including Leonard Segall from Florida and Dave Wackford from Iowa. We will also have several stables shipping in to race from other tracks and have already received entries from them." "This year we added a new fillies and mares Open trot to the condition sheet and it has been well received by the horsemen. That race, along with the regular Open trot, will be written on Sunday for the duration of those afternoon dates" Zambito also noted. Fans will be treated to a seemingly endless list of events and giveaways throughout the meet. A total of 23 special promotions are slated for the 72 date meet, starting with opening night when free racing programs and magnet racing schedules will be distributed. July 27 is Thurman Thomas bobble-head night. The former Buffalo Bill great and NFL Hall of Famer is the official spokesman for Batavia Downs Gaming. Thomas will be at Batavia Downs in person on July 30 as a guest bartender for the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester benefit night at the races. He will be in the clubhouse and that presents a great opportunity to get your bobble-head signed by the man himself. In conjunction with the United States Trotting Association, the "Back to the Track" 2014 tour makes a stop at the Genesee County oval on August 2 and brings with it a list of activities. Harness racing bingo will provide 5 full card bingo winners that will receive a $100 betting voucher each. Other giveaways will include Back to the Track T-shirts and assorted driver bobble-heads. August 24 is the most popular all-age race day of the year. The wiener dog races will highlight Family Fun Day at the Downs. Ten heats of eight wiener dogs each will go postward to compete for cash prizes and bragging rights. Family events will start during the live harness races and include free pony rides, face painting, and a clown and caricature artist. With the New York Sire Stake in town on August 31, there will be a free NYSS baseball cap giveaway. Fans will receive a ticket throughout the course of the day that can be redeemed as long as supplies last. And Labor Day features the annual driver's bike race. Local reinsmen show they are comfortable in more than one kind of "bike" as they tour the Downs oval on ten-speeds. After the winner is crowned, the eight bikes will be given away to fans in random drawings. For more information on all the events at Batavia Downs this year, logon to www.bataviadownsgaming.com . There you can get full race schedules, entries, results and you can watch all the race replays immediately after every race has been declared official. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY --- Condition sheets for the first week of racing at Batavia Downs Gaming, America's oldest lighted harness track, located in Western New York, are now available online at... http://www.bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing/racinginfo/condition/. Simply click on "Live Racing" and then the "Horsemen" tab. Batavia Downs is the latest racetrack to participate in the United States Trotting Association's Online Entry Program. Trainers will be able to enter their horses online, effective Wednesday July 16, 2014, according to Batavia's longtime racing secretary Joe Zambito. Even though the track remains under construction, purses will be increased by $200,000 this season. "Our purse account is in much better shape than in recent years and despite our ongoing construction project we're happy to be able to raise purses," said Todd Haight, Director/GM of live racing. "I wouldn't be surprised once we get back to normal and our front entrance reopens that we could be looking at another increase." The 2014 season gets underway on July 23. Horses may begin arriving on July 17. The 68th racing season at Batavia Downs features 72 race dates. There will be a total of eight matinees, six Sundays, (the last Sunday in July and all five in August) and the extremely popular Labor Day and Columbus Day matinees. Evening post time is 6:350 p.m. while afternoon post time is 1:15 p.m. New York Sire Stakes season, featuring the glamour division, the three-year-old colt pacers, kicks off the July 27. For more information please call the race office at 585-344-6161. From Batavia Downs Media Relations.
John Guy Gilmour, a Monticello Raceway treasure for over 47 years, passed away on July 4th. He was 76 years old. Known to his family as Guy, Gilmour always spewed a "Howdy Sep" when greeting others. Gilmour was a consummate horsemen and an excellent race driver. His record speaks for itself. In his illustrious career which spanned six decades he finished with 4492 winners; in years when the racing seasons were short and two-tracks in one day driving wasn't an option. Ask Gilmour how many races he has won and you're apt to get an answer like "I don't know", or "I'm not sure", or maybe even "I don't keep track of those things". Statistics were really not important to him. Not one for pomp and fanfare, Gilmour just went about his work with a smile and a ragged cowboy hat taking care of his business. And he did it so long that it became second nature. Up every morning at the crack of dawn he headed to the raceway to jog, train and care for his stock. Then it was off to the paddock to don his driving colors and become one of the fiercest competitors anyone would ever have to race against. Over the years many a horsemen learned that you never try to wrest the lead from Gilmour when he's on the front-end. As a fellow driver once stated facetiously, "He'll let you go when his whip wears out!" Affectionately known as "Sep", John is one of the famous Gilmour Brothers, William (Buddy), George, and Lloyd who together accounted for more than 14,250 driving victories. For "Sep", Monticello Raceway had been home since the early 1960's although he began his career at Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs, two tracks near his hometown of Lucan, Ontario. In the mid 1960's, his brother Buddy, sent a contingent horses to race at Monticello Raceway with brother George in charge. John was second in command. Although John started slowly, once the local trainers got a glimpse of his abilities he became one of the most sought after catch-drivers. However, it wasn't until 1973 that John copped his first driving title. But from then on through the 1970's and into the early 1980's Gilmour's name was on or near the top of the driver's standings every season. During that period Gilmour won nine driving titles-during a few seasons there were both summer and winter meets-- and three times he established new track records for most driving victories in a single season. Although his reign ended when Zeke Parker called Monticello Raceway home in 1984 Gilmour still was among the leaders in races won every season right into the mid-1990's. As time went by Gilmour became more like a Damon Runyon character. Oh yes, his competitive spirit was still there but he mellowed with age. So much so, that there's hardly a sole on the backstretch-save a few guys he's "hung out to dry" recently-that has a bad word about him. Never one to complain, or even one to celebrate, John Gilmour's easy going ways and congeniality have endeared him to all who have the pleasure of knowing him. But in recent years Gilmour has been plagued with serious health problems, though if you ask him about them he'll shrug off his problems (prostate cancer and colon cancer) like a wet dog shrugs off water. He retired from driving in the fall of 2012. After his victory on November 28 with his beloved trotter My Buddy Chimo, Gilmour announced in the winner's circle that he was retiring from driving. Unbeknownst to nearly everyone, Gilmour sprung that on the world although he admitted he'll continue training his current five- horse stable. "Now I'll leave the driving to them young fellers." Asked why all of a sudden did he decided to retire the way he did, he simply said "I wanted to go out a winner." "It wasn't all of a sudden but I didn't want to say anything about it because I didn't know when it would happen. I don't drive that much anymore so it was hard for me to know exactly when I'd win my last race." Longtime friend, Betsy Phillips, for whom Gilmour drove her good trotting mare, Gettheflakout, sums up the feelings of all around the backstretch here when she said; "Everybody loves Sep". Make no mistake about it, John Gilmour was a treasure. He was a talented, hard-working, excellent horseman with a devil- may-care attitude. And he was an outstanding race driver." Details of his funeral services will be forth coming. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway
Batavia, NY --- Horsemen are reminded the entry box for the Genesee County fair races at Batavia Downs closes on Monday, July 7 at 10:00 a.m. Entries should be called into racing secretary Donna Kerr at 716-338-5387. Post time for the first fair race on July 10 is 1:15 pm. A charted line will be provided for all horses in action. From Batavia Downs Media Relations
Batavia, NY --- The Genesee County Agricultural Society has held an annual fair in Batavia, New York since 1839. And from 1890 through 1946 they called the current site of Batavia Downs their home. The track was known as Exposition Park and every year harness racing was one of the most anticipated events on their schedule. But in 1947 when Batavia Downs founder Pat Provenzano bought the property he had originally leased from the society to expand his growing pari-mutuel empire, the fair relocated to another site and fair racing in Genesee County ceased. Until now. On Thursday, July 10, Batavia Downs will become the newest stop on the New York Sire Stake (NYSS) fair circuit when the Genesee County leg of that series convenes for the first time. Since the inception of the NYSS in 1961, there has never been a fair date contested in Genesee County until now and the addition became a reality because of a natural disaster that occurred last year. Todd Haight, Batavia Downs Director/General Manager of live racing said "Last year we held the Caledonia Fair races at Batavia Downs when their track in Livingston County was washed out by heavy rain. And it was a Great Success. We had a large crowd here and the racing was great. So we thought, why not host fair racing here every year?" Haight contacted the NYSS and the Genesee County Agricultural Society and the groups came together with a plan. The result of that collaboration was the fair races will return the track they left for the first time in seven decades. "We're happy to be partnering with the Genesee County Fair folks on hosting the races and all the activities that go along with them. I see no reason why the fair races couldn't become an annual event here at Batavia Downs" Haight concluded. Nick O'Geen, Genesee County Agricultural Society Board Member said "This is a unique opportunity for the Genesee County Fair to partner with Batavia Downs to bring harness racing to back the fair." Post time for the first race is 1:15. The race secretary for the Genesee County fair races is Donna Kerr and entries can be made by calling 716-338-5387. The entry box closes July 7 at 10 am. In addition to the races, there will be events for the whole family on the track apron including carnival games, a bounce house, a juggler and a balloon artist. Also available will be a $3 lunch special for kids 12 and younger as well as $1 Ice cream cones, snow cones and cotton candy. Fair events run from 11 until 4. Batavia Downs will also be offering discounted advance sale tickets for other fair events and with the purchase of any ticket, will provide a $10 free-play voucher redeemable on their gaming floor. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY---Batavia Downs has named Ralph Horton as their new track superintendent today, replacing Fran Mruczek who retired from that position at the end of the 2013 meeting. Horton has been a regular at the Downs since the late 1960's when he started out as an owner-driver. In 1986 he left the sulky to work full time for Genesee Monroe Racing as a member of the track crew.When Western OTB purchased the racetrack in 1998, Horton was retained and has had track maintenance responsibilities ever since.Horton will take over the top spot immediately. After learning of the promotion Horton said "I'm excited about the new position and I want to thank everyone involved for the opportunity." Batavia's half-mile oval has long been known as one of the finest in the country. Its wide banked turns continually produce fast miles while keeping horses sound in the process. "Horsemen rave about our racing surface and I'm confident Ralph's many years of experience working at Batavia Downs will bode well for us as he moves into his new position" commented Todd Haight, Director /General Manager of Live Racing. The 2014 racing season at America's oldest lighted harness track gets underway on July23 with a new post time of 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY -- Batavia Downs is pleased to announce that national harness writer Tim Bojarski has joined their staff as a media correspondent of racing information. Bojarski is a 36 year veteran of harness racing and has actively participated in all aspects of the sport during that time. He currently writes a monthly column and periodic feature articles for the award winning Hoof Beats magazine, is a content contributor for the United States Trotting Association website and serves as the national vice-president of the United States Harness Writers Association. He has also reported as a live blogger covering every major stake including the Hambletonian, Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown. Todd Haight, General Manager of live racing at Batavia Downs said "I received numerous e-mails about the job opening from some amazing talents in this business for which I am greatly appreciative. But in the end my choice was relatively easy." "Tim's knowledge of harness racing, Batavia Downs and his tremendous writing skills made him the right person for the position. Batavia Downs has worked closely with Tim in the past and we look forward to taking that relationship to the next level this season." Tim Bojarski will start his position immediately, preparing for the upcoming racing season which begins on July 23. Batavia Downs Media Relations Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:15:45 -0400 Subject: Press release From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Obviously, make any changes you like. Thanks -- Tim Bojarski Hoof Beats Magazine Columnist National Vice-President United States Harness Writers Assn President-Upstate NY Chapter www.ushwa.org, www.upstatenyushwa.com 716-572-1801 "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is try to do as much as you can in the time that you have."
Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs, America's oldest lighted harness racetrack seeks a harness racing writer for the upcoming 2014 season that begins on July 23. Relevant experience or knowledge of the harness racing industry is required. This position, which is of an independent contractor, includes writing both preview stories and racing recaps. "We thank Brian (Mazurek) for his fine work the last couple years but unfortunately we weren't able to get a deal done this year." Todd Haight, Director/GM of Live Racing said. "We wish Brian well in his future endeavors in harness racing." For more information interested candidates should e-mail; email@example.com. From Batavia Downs Media Relations
Batavia, NY --- Stall applications for the 68th season of live harness racing at Batavia Downs Gaming, located in Western New York, are now available on the track's website, http://www.bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing/ or in the in track's temporary entrance. Stall applications are also available at the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association website, http://wnyhha.net/ or the Western New York Harness Horsemen's office beginning Saturday (June 21). The 2014 season at America's oldest lighted harness track features 72 race dates. The annual summer-fall meet opens on July 23 and concludes on December 6. Live racing will be presented on a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon schedule in July and August. After Labor Day (Sept-1), Tuesday night racing will replace Sunday. Evening post time moves to 6:35 p.m. for the upcoming season while matinee post time remains at 1:15 p.m. Stall applications must be received by the race office by July 7. The backstretch opens for tack on July 15. Horses may begin arriving on July 17. "It's certainly excited times here at Batavia Downs with the renovations of our new facility in the homestretch and the return of live racing just around the corner," said Todd Haight, Director/GM of Live Racing of Live Racing. From Batavia Downs Media Relations
Batavia, NY --- As the opening night of July 23 nears at America’s oldest lighted harness plant, Batavia Downs, several racetrack and facility improvements continue. "To say it has been a hectic off season would be an understatement," said Todd Haight, director/general manager of live racing. "We currently have several projects going on and all are ahead of schedule. "The first change our customers will see is a temporary entrance. Racing fans and gaming customers will both use the same North entrance. The new front lobby atrium is scheduled to be completed Nov. 1. Access to the historic clubhouse will be through the enclosed grandstand or from the elevator at the valet entrance." Purple Haze Winner's Circle Batavia Downs will have a brand new winner's circle when the 68th season begins, thanks to a donation by Wanda Polisseni of the Purple Haze Stables. The Purple Haze Winner's Circle will be seven feet wider and be level with the racing surface. "Material on the racetrack has built up over time and there was quite a dip from the racetrack to the winner's circle, so much so we really haven’t been able to use the winner's circle the last few years," Haight said. "First and foremost the new winner's circle will provide equine safety for all horses heading back to get their picture taken. Additionally, all patrons going out to get their picture taken won’t have to walk on the racetrack any longer, which was a problem, especially on nights the racetrack was sloppy. "Thanks to Wanda, our winner's circle issue has been solved. We are proud to call our winner's circle, the Purple Haze Winner's Circle." Open Grandstand Renovation efforts continue to the open grandstand. Work completed so far includes a new section of painted seating and the entire grandstand is now completely paneled in. Work has also begun on the once popular lower bowl seating area. Those seats, once filled on a nightly basis, haven’t been used since racing returned to Batavia Downs in 2002. “The lower bowl seating project won’t be completed until November, which given our Western New York weather might be a bit late for this season, but for years to come our customers should find the lower bowl a preferred area to view the races," Haight said. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs