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Batavia Downs Gaming is pleased to announce that Brittney Ohol will go to post as the new parade marshal for the upcoming harness racing summer-fall meet. Ohol grew up around harness racing while being raised by her grandparents (Mike and Brenda Ohol) who both competed on the western New York circuit for over 30 years. The 21-year-old Lockport (NY) High School graduate attended Medaille College for vet tech before deciding to return to harness racing as a full-time career. After getting her trainer's and qualifying driver's licenses, Ohol started her own stable and now owns and races three horses. Besides conventional competition, she has also been involved with racing under saddle (RUS) in New York State. Ohol started to learn the art of outriding from Wendy Ross at Tioga Downs in 2011 and has now worked with her on and off for over four years. In 2014, Ohol took the position full time at Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland. But after the meet ended there, she returned home because it was too far away from family. When the job at Batavia Downs came available this year, the call went out to Brittney Ohol because she was a natural fit and the timing was right for her as well. "I love having the opportunity to take this position at Batavia Downs. It's close to my family and my home base where I know everybody so it makes it so much easier. I want to remain in the business as long as harness racing is around" said Ohol. "I have two good horses named Paco and Cody and they allow me to do my job as well as I can. I am really looking forward to the upcoming meet to get started." "Brittney Ohol has a harness racing pedigree and has been a part of the racing community here at the Downs since she was a child" said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. "Her abilities as a horsewoman combined with her passion for the sport makes her the perfect fit for this job and ensures high-quality assistance to all the horsemen who race here every night. We are very happy to have her on board." The 69th season of live harness racing at America's oldest lighted harness track begins on Monday, July 27 with a 6:35 post time. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Batavia, NY -- Horsemen should be advised that stall applications for the 69th season of live harness racing at Batavia Downs Gaming are now available at the track's website here or can be picked up in person at the second floor reception desk inside America's oldest lighted harness track. For the convenience of western New York horsemen who are currently racing at Buffalo Raceway, these applications are also available at the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association office located on the backstretch of that track. The 2015 Batavia Downs season features 70 race dates and includes eight matinee cards. The annual summer-fall meet commences on Monday, July 27 and concludes on Saturday, December 12. Live racing will be presented on a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night basis except for Saturday October 31 (Breeders Cup day) when racing will be conducted at 1:15 p.m. Aside from that three-day rotation, five Sunday afternoon programs will be held beginning on August 2 and continuing through the end of the month. Monday racing includes opening night and holiday programs on Labor Day and Columbus Day. Tuesday racing begins September 15. The season begins with evening post times of 6:35 p.m. and matinee post times of 1:15 p.m. New this year, Tuesday post time moves to 4:30 p.m. while beginning on October 21 all evening programs for the remainder of the season go off at 6:15 p.m., with an anticipated extra race each night being carded. Stall applications can be mailed to the race office at 8315 Park Road, Batavia, NY 14020, Attn: Joe Zambito or faxed to 585-343-2451. All stall requests must be received by July 10. The backstretch opens for tack on July 19. Horses may begin arriving in the barn area on July 21. For more information please contact Director/GM of Racing Todd Haight at 585-343-3750 ext. 322 Tim Bojarski

Batavia, NY --- Anthony Michael Strollo, 76, a longtime resident of Batavia, N.Y., died April 26, 2015, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease at the home of his daughter, son-in-law, and grandson in Manahawkin, N.J. Mr. Strollo was a retired Standardbred trainer and driver at Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Yonkers Raceway, The Meadowlands and Garden State Park. He campaigned the stakes filly The High Life p,3,1:52.3 ($148,808) and in Western New York conditioned Open trotter Barney Brookwood. His last drive came at the Meadowlands in 1996 and his last training start came at Batavia Downs in 2003. "Tony was one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet around a racetrack," said Todd Haight, Director/GM of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. "One of few just left handed drivers on the Western New York circuit; he was notorious for bringing home some long priced winners." He was a graduate of Notre Dame High School in Batavia, was a U.S. Army veteran and a member of the former St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Parish in Batavia. He was the son of the late Michael and Ann (Torcello) of Batavia. Mr. Strollo is survived by his daughters, Christine (James) Kearns and Andrea (Jason) Stanaway; grandsons, Vincent, Michael Stanaway, Christopher Stanaway, Anthony Stanaway and Joseph Stanaway; sister, Ann Marie (Dr. Paul) Caste; aunts and uncles, Ralph Torcello, Patricia Torcello, Rose, Albert and Anthony (Jean); and several cousins. Visitation will be held from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Thursday (April 30) at the Dangler Funeral Home of West Orange, 340 Main St., West Orange. Then to Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 1 Eagle Rock Ave., West Orange, for the Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Cremation will be private. Letters of condolence may be posted at   Normand Fluet Sr., 59, dies Normand Richard (Norm) Fluet Sr., 59, of Aberdeen, N.C., died April 24, 2015. Mr. Fluet died in his home, surrounded by family, while fighting a terminal illness. He was born in Sherbrooke, Canada on April 14, 1956, to Yolande Perreault of Boucherville, Canada and the late Jean-Noel Fluet. He had lived and raised his family in the United States for the past 45 years. Mr. Fluet discovered his passion for the horses at an early age through his father who enjoyed Standardbred racing. His love for Standardbreds found him establishing his own stable where he trained, drove and owned many horses over the years. He had a natural gift when working with trotters and breaking babies in preparation for handling and racing. In 2007 Mr. Fluet stopped driving as he passed the reins to his son, Phillip, who was beginning his career in the business. Norm, Phillip and Lori worked closely together preparing yearlings down south and racing them in the northeast. Although horse racing is competitive, many who knew Mr. Fluet would agree that he was always willing to give a helping hand to his opponents. He notched 913 wins as a driver with earnings of $4.4 million. As a conditioner he won 280 races with purse earnings of $2.3 million. Bruce Tubin, president of the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association, said, "Normand began working for me when he was 21 years old. He was as dedicated, hard working, knowledgeable, and trustworthy a person as you could ever find. He loved working with our young horses and was fabulous at getting them to the races. He eventually established a stable of his own as he was way too talented to remain a second trainer. We had many great years together that I will never forget." He was a devoted horseman known for his honesty, integrity and consideration of others. He was a proud member of the United States Trotting Association, the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association, the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association. Mr. Fluet is survived by his wife of 30 years, Lori Ann (Finch) Fluet; children, Normand Jr., Phillip (fiance, Abbey Westbrook), Alan, Julie (Michael) Kukenberger, Shane and Kasey; mother, Yolande Perreault; grandchildren, Kalie, Chantelle, Lily, Jamison, Ava and Sophie; brother, Serge; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Andrew and Gloria Finch; and several nieces and nephews. Per his wishes cremation took place on April 27, 2015, in North Carolina and will be followed by a mid-June memorial service in Batavia, where family and friends will gather to celebrate his life. Any and all who knew Norm will miss him dearly and forever keep him in their hearts. Batavia Downs Media Relations  

Batavia, NY --- For the second year in a row, Batavia Downs will be conducting the Genesee County fair races, which feature the New York Sire Stakes fair series. This special day of harness racing is slated for July 16 with post time for the first race set at 1:15 p.m. The race secretary for this event is Donna Kerr and she can be reached via phone at 716-338-5387. The entry box closes July 13 at 10 a.m. but entries can be made in advance of that date. The 2015 live meet at the oldest lighted harness track in America kicks off on Monday, July 27 and will continue through Saturday, December 12. Questions concerning any event of the upcoming racing season should be directed to Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing, at 585-343-3750. Tim Bojarski

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 16, 2015—The respective harness racing ADW platforms of Yonkers Raceway (Empire City Bets), Batavia Downs (Batavia Bets) and Saratoga Raceway (SaratogaBets) have combined to created “SHOWtime”. It’s a free-to-play, weekly contest beginning this Friday, March 20, open to all ADW members of the participating tracks who have actively wagered on the day(s) of the contest. All current are asked to choose an entry that they feel shall finish in the money in six (6) corresponding Friday races from Yonkers, Buffalo (the currently-racing western New York harness track) and Saratoga Raceways. Players who choose a successful show finisher(s) in all six races then qualify for a share of the 1st place ($400), 2nd place ($250) or 3rd place ($100) prize purse. The top cumulative show pricing decides the winners. If no player select all six “show finishers”, that week’s prizes are carried over to the next week’s contest for a doubled ($1,500) pool, with prize breakdowns of $800/$500/$200. For further information, as well as complete rules and regulations, please visit Customers for SaratogaBets and BataviaBets should visit those sites. Frank Drucker

Harness racing driver Kevin Cummings enjoyed a career year in 2014 and shows no signs of slowing down this season as he approaches a milestone win total. The 44-year-old Cummings set lifetime bests with 334 wins and $1.55 million in purses last year and won the driving titles at both Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway. He has won multiple driving championships at each track, but 2014 marked the first time he captured both titles in the same year. So far this year, Cummings has 23 wins in 75 starts and leads the Buffalo Raceway standings by two victories over Billy Dobson. Cummings needs only seven victories to reach 3,000 for his career. A lifelong resident of Hamburg, N.Y., Cummings races exclusively at his hometown Buffalo Raceway and nearby Batavia Downs. He followed his father, trainer John Cummings Sr., into harness racing, as did his brothers John Jr., Anthony and Todd. Cummings recently took time to talk with Harness Racing Communications’ Ken Weingartner about his career, future and culinary talents. KW: Congratulations on all your success last year.  KC: Thank you. KW: What was the key to having such a big year? KC: I think driving live horses. I got off to a good start, and when you start out hot, people start putting you down (to drive). And it just stayed that way. I’ve never had a year like that. Three-hundred and 34 wins was a lot for as many drives as I had. I had a great year. KW: You race exclusively at Batavia and Buffalo. Have you considered going anywhere else? KC: I haven’t. I own a bunch of horses and I help train them. I have a family here (wife Rhonda and daughters Kristy, Kara, Kandice and Kali) and it’s hectic enough even with just these two places. I just don’t want to take that time away from family. For me, it just doesn’t seem like it’s worth it. If you go somewhere else, you have to break in. It would be harder for me to do that, I think. I don’t want to take that time away to try to establish something that I can’t really stay with anyway. KW: You’re seven wins from 3,000. What does that milestone mean to you? KC: It’s nice. I come from a family of drivers. My three brothers drove; two of them are still driving and the other one (Anthony) is just training. Me being the youngest and having the most wins, I kind of like that. It kind of gives me bragging rights at Thanksgiving and Christmas. KW: Do you make sure to bring it up? KC: Oh, yeah, absolutely. They don’t want to hear it, but I’m going to bring it up anyway. (Laughs.) When I was younger, they always brought stuff up to me, but now they don’t want to hear it. KW: Is driving something you always wanted to do? KC: Yeah. My dad got us all into it. It’s definitely what I wanted to do. I was probably 8 or 9 when I jogged a horse. I remember the first time I trained a horse to the bike I was 10. I went a mile in 2:09. I trained with my brother Todd, he’s a year older than I am, so it was pretty fun. KW: Do you remember your first win? KC: Yeah, it was with Orlando Otto in 1989. I had two (horses) in. My brother Anthony trained and drove those horses, but he put me on them. He was out of town. The one had the eight-hole and was like 80-1 and I finished second with him. He paid $77.20 to place; I remember that. The other one won and paid like $10 to win. Those were my second and third drives of my life. The first one I didn’t do any good with. KW: What do you most enjoy about driving? What keeps you going? KC: It’s still fun for me, even though I’ve been doing it for so long. I like the competition. I like the time with my dad, we talk about racing afterwards. It’s just in me. KW: Did you play other sports when you were growing up? KC: Baseball. I was a pretty good baseball player. I was a pretty good hitter. I played in high school and on rec teams. I’ve always been competitive. KW: You and your brothers opened a restaurant years ago. Do you still have it? KC: John and Tony originally opened it, then me and Tony owned it, then I owned it myself, and now Tony owns it with someone else. I had brought in a partner because I started getting back into the horses when the slots came into town and made the money better. I ended up selling the half that I owned back to Tony. KW: What type of restaurant is it? KC: Pizzeria. KW: Which is harder, working in the restaurant or working with horses? KC: Well, I like working with horses. I worked (at the restaurant) and I didn’t mind it. It wasn’t that bad. Obviously the restaurant is always nicer in the winter where I am. But in the summer you can’t beat jogging horses and racing horses. That’s ideal. KW: Are you a good cook? KC: I can cook a pizza for sure. KW: I think two of the most difficult things you can do are run a restaurant and run a stable, and you’ve done both. KC: They’re both time consuming. And it’s nonstop. The pizzeria closes only two or three days a year. Other than that, you’re married to it. When the opportunity came up to get back into the horses I jumped at it because my dad was still doing it. He was getting older and I wanted to help him. They say 10 years is about the limit for a guy in a pizzeria, and I was there 11 or 12 years. I was ready to move on. KW: What’s been the highlight of your career so far? KC: I would have to say, a few years back me and my dad owned an open horse together (named Arm And A Leg). For like three years he was like the best horse at the track. We had a lot of good memories from that horse. When I look back, I think of him. Also maybe the night I won the (2006) Kane Memorial with Michael Scores. He was a really good horse. KW: What do you see for the future? KC: I don’t plan on going anywhere. I don’t think the driving can get much better because I’m doing well right now. I’m happy with that because I know the business is up and down. It’s tough. You will have your downside so you’ve got to enjoy it while you’re there. The only thing that could get better is my stable of (eight) horses, but I had a decent year with them. You just have to take it all in stride. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Batavia, NY---The live racing season at Batavia Downs ended on Saturday (Dec. 6) in front of a completely sold out clubhouse and robust grandstand crowd. This was more the rule than the exception this year at the oldest lighted harness track in North America and was due to a great live product on the track and one of the most aggressive slates of promotions ever presented in western New York. On the racing side, Kevin Cummings was a runaway winner of the dash driving title registering 163 wins, $718,148 in purses and a UDR of .385. Cummings 163 wins was the second highest win total ever recorded for a meet at Batavia Downs behind Jim Morrill Jr.'s 177 victories set back in 2006. Drew Monti finished second with 83 wins and Shawn McDonough was third with 76 victories. Jim Morrill Jr. led all drivers in UDR with a phenomenal .479, hitting the board 123 times in 192 starts. He amassed $485,172 in winnings along the way. Morrill also posted a six-win night on Oct. 24 while along with Kevin Cummings and Drew Monti, also had multiple five-win nights throughout the meet. Trainer J.D. Perrin led all local conditioners with 48 wins, $221,599 in purses and a UTR of .353, which was also the highest UTR of all trainers with at least 100 starts at the meet. Local legend Gerry Sarama was second with 41 tallies and Alex Giuliani finished the meet very strong to be third with 39 first place finishes. The horses provided great races to watch and wager on all year and produced some memorable moments that included five new track records. The first of three track records that occurred in New York Sire Stake action happened on Jul. 28 when All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) lowered the standard for 3-year-old pacing colts when he scored an eight length victory in 1:51.2. That time was only one-fifth of a second shy of the all-time track record set by Aracache Hanover in 2011. Then on Aug. 20, Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer) set a new mark for 2-year-old trotting geldings when he toured the facility in 1:58 flat in an unchallenged romp. The final was registered on Aug. 27 when Sassa Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) rewrote the 2-year-old filly pacer mark with a 1:54.2 victory in a more than convincing style. In the aged horse category, Lutetium (Jul. 27) and Second Hand News (Aug. 10) both broke the mark for older gelding trotters when they each stopped the timer in 1:56 in their respective races. The $50,000 Robert J. Kane Pace, Batavia Downs signature stake, was held on Oct. 18 and it provided one of the most exciting finishes of the year. After current track record holder Aracache Hanover (Kevin Cummings) went to the front and tried to best his own mark, eventual winner Bolt The Duer and local driving favorite John Cummings Jr. saved ground at the rail to the top of the stretch when he came up the inside in a four-horse scramble down the lane to win in 1:53.4. BZ Glide was named Trotter of the Meet, Fireyourguns was named Pacer of the Meet and Bazooka Terror was named the Pacing Mare of the Meet. Inclement weather hindered the proceedings five times this year at the Downs when everything from wind to rain to snow caused one cancellation in August and four in November. That was the largest number of cancelled racing dates in one year in the history of the track. At the windows, the Downs held their own and saw a slight increase in handle. The on-track was virtually unchanged from last year, actually ending up $7 a night. And after back to back years of significant growth in the export handle, this year saw an increase of 6%. The total handle was up 1.1%. Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing said "The meet had its ups and downs but for the most part the season went well. We regretted the five cancellations but circumstances dictated they were necessary and we did end up recouping some of those dates." "We will go back to drawing board now to look at what worked and what could be improved and try to please the fans with new promotions. Next year we will be adding some more afternoon programs including Halloween, which is also Breeder's Cup day. And we are also evaluating our post times and may make some adjustments there as well." Haight concluded "I would like to thank all our horsemen for all their hard work and effort and our fans who came out in solid numbers all year. " Pending approval from the New York State Gaming Commission, Batavia Downs will resume live racing on July 27 and will run through December 12. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---With the horses that finished 1-2 in last week's top pace going off co-favorites, newcomer No Real Surprise (who won the Open II last week in a faster mile) was overlooked. But when he came away with the victory in the $11,000 Open pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 6), it was no real surprise to his connections. The gate released a cavalry charge as Just Frank (Rock C. Vinci) parked out Union Man Hanover (Kevin Cummings) and Youwillwishyouhad (John Cummings Jr.) who was bound and determined to take the front. As the three-pack hit the quarter in :27.1, Cummings Jr. got his way and drifted down to the pylons to lead the field. However no sooner did that occur that the eventual winner, No Real Surprise (Shawn McDonough), came first over and refused to give Youwillwishyouhad a breather. When the pair drew even at the three-quarters in 1:26.2, they paced in tandem from there in what simply became a match race. With whips and lines raised, Cummings Jr. and McDonough's charges went stride for stride around the far turn and halfway down the stretch. At that point No Real Surprise got a slight advantage that he held to the wire, winning by a half length in 1:58. Youwillwishyouhad gallantly hung on for second and What The Sheik (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) was much the best of the rest. It was the eleventh win in 31 starts for No Real Surprise ($12.80) who was a recent acquisition from Yonkers Raceway for owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable. The winner's share of the purse raised his 2014 earnings to $69,509. No Real Surprise is trainer by Ron Van Wagoner. Driver John Cummings Jr. had the hot hand winning three races on the night with Drew Monti and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. both registered driving doubles. With the conclusion of Saturday night's card, the Batavia Downs summer-fall meet came to a close. Live racing will resume at the track on July 14, 2015, pending date approval from the New York Gaming Commission. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---After taking the top mares trot just seven days ago, Fiorentina came right back and forced her hand again while winning the $9,000 Batavia Downs harness racing feature on Friday night (Dec. 5). At the start of the race as Fiorentina (Kevin Cummings) was going to the front, Iza Bella (Shawn McDonough) made a break and scattered the field. So when Fiorentina hit the quarter in :28.4, the five horses behind her were spread out 12 lengths apart. As the race progressed with Fiorentina calling the shots, the group tightened up behind her and by the three-quarter pole, the five were double-decked and within three lengths of each other. But they were arguing for minor spoils as Fiorentina was trotting with desire and was not about to be denied. The 5-year-old Angus Hall mare won in 1:59.3 by two and one-half lengths. Dayplanner (Dave McNeight III) was second and Iza Bella recovered from her break to finish third. It was the seventh win in 22 starts this year for Fiorentina ($5.30) and it raised her earnings total to $49,380 for owners Frank Lamacchia and Guy Polillo. John Mungillo trains the winner. Drivers Kevin Cummings, Drew Monti and Dave McNeight III all scored driving doubles on the night. The 2014 Batavia Downs meet has come down to its final 24 races and the action begins on Saturday (Dec. 6) at 12:15 when the first half of a closing day double-header kicks off. The nightcap begins at 6:35 and both cards feature 12 races. The Pick-6 carryover in $9,034 and it will be paid out tomorrow.   Tim Bojarski

 Batavia, NY --- The curtain comes down on another racing season at Batavia Downs Saturday night (Dec. 6), but the three remaining cards truly offer something for everyone. Friday night (Dec. 5) features the biggest Pick-6 carryover of the season, $6,640, and there is also a free $1,000 Pick-6 contest that night as well. In order to be eligible for the contest you must sign-up at the Players Club before 5:00 when the contest begins. The contest Pick-6 begins on race four; the wagering Pick-6 begins on race seven. Also on Friday night, it's Customer Appreciation Night. $1 racing programs begin at 5:00 at the program stand and Subway sampler subs along with cake and coffee will be served in the enclosed Grandstand after the fourth race. Patrons dining in the Clubhouse will receive $10 back in gaming free-play when purchasing the prime rib, shrimp and crab leg buffet. A reservation is reccomended as we are expecting to sell out. Then Saturday afternoon features another 12 race program with Post time set at 12:15. Saturday afternoon features an amazing clubhouse buffet deal; when you purchase the buffet for $10.95, you get $10 back in gaming free play after earning one point on the gaming floor. That's lunch for less than a buck and free money for the gaming floor. This offer is available from noon until 3 only. Saturday evening is closing night and features our popular Quinella match play promotion, the final $1,000 Pick-6 contest ($500 if won on Friday night) in which players only have to pick the most winners to win. And it's also the Upstate New York Chapter of USHWA's annual Night of Distinction where awards will be distributed to both human and equine performance leaders throughout the evening. Post time is 6:35. The Paddock room will remain open for simulcast wagering from 11:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. on Saturday. "I think we're going out with a bang," Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing said. "With all the activities going on, I'm confident we will draw nice crowds to end the meet. I would also like to thanks everyone for their support this racing season." By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---As the 2014 racing season winds to a close at Batavia Downs, the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association would like to recognize the top equine athletes who competed there this year. BZ Glide was named Trotter of the Meet, Fireyourguns was the Pacer of the Meet and Bazooka Terror was named the Outstanding Distaff Performer of either gait. BZ Glide (1:56.4H $116,957) was dominant in the Open trot class this year, winning seven times at the top level. In his 14 starts at the meet he earned $40,582 and tied his lifetime mark of 1:56.4. BZ Glide likes to come from behind and he plied his trademark move in every victory this year, providing local fans with many exciting finishes. The 5-year-old son of Yankee Glide-Bloomer Zoomer is owned by Mike Caprio who also drove him in every start. Caprio's wife Alana trains BZ Glide. Fireyourguns (1:48.0S $220,121)garnered the most Open pace victories and sported a gaudy win percentage in the process. In only eight Batavia starts, Fireyourguns won five times (.625) with a best win time of 1:53.1 in those starts. Mike Caprio also drove Fireyourguns in each one of his local efforts for trainer Terrence McClory, who owns the 5-year-old son of American Ideal-Villa Hanover with Jennifer and Robert Lowe. Fireyourguns was also named Pacer of the Meet at Batavia Downs in 2013. Bazooka Terror (1:52.1F $147,007)lived up to her name this year, terrorizing the local pacing mares on the track since she arrived. She hit the board 13 times out of 16 starts with five wins, six seconds and two thirds, amassing $40,582 in purses all in the Open mare's class. She had a best local clocking of 1:53.4 and was teamed each week by her regular driver, the Downs leader Kevin Cummings, for owner Leonard Segall. During the meet, the 5-year-old daughter of Western Terror-Lucky Liz was trained by both Leonard Segall and James Clouser Jr. The connections of all three horses will receive their awards in the winner's circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 6) during the UNY-USHWA Night of Distinction. By Tim Bojarski, for UNY-USHWA

Batavia, NY---Robert J. Kane was the chairman of the board of Western Regional Off Track Betting (WROTB) for 26 years, but he was also a huge fan of harness racing. When a longtime local racetrack went out of business in Batavia, it looked like an economic blow to many horsemen as well as the community it resided in. But Kane didn't see a failed busoness, he saw an opportunity for a rebirth. After Batavia Downs became insolvent in the late 1990's, New York State pulled their racing license from its former owners and the one time giant of the sport was relegated to an abandoned relic of the past. In 1998, Kane saw the opportunity for WROTB to keep harness racing alive in Western New York and convinced his group to purchase the shuttered track. But reopening it was going to take a lot more than just writing the check. WROTB is a public benefit corporation and the state had never granted a pari-mutual license to such an owner before. In order to have legislation changed to facilitate getting this done, Kane worked diligently for four years to obtain a racing license from New York State in order to reopen the track in 2002. When video gaming machines were legalized and came online at race tracks throughout New York State, purse accounts swelled and more racing opportunities were presented through additional race dates and Batavia Downs was a big part of that renaissance. And since that time, a sport that was once on shaky ground in this area has now been solidly anchored at this track. Had Kane not pushed to rebuild the track and position it for the future, Batavia Downs would now more than likely be a parking lot for the shopping corridor that borders it to the north. In a sad twist of fate, Robert J. Kane died two weeks before the first live race was scheduled to be held at the newly opened track in 2002, so he never got to see the fruits of his labor. But in the years since, the improvement of the live racing product and the multiple expansions of the gaming floor turned what was once was an empty building into the preeminent attraction in all of Genesee County. That has secured harness racing in this area for the foreseeable future and that is due to the vision of Robert J. Kane. This award will be presented posthumously in the winner's circle at Batavia Downs during Upstate New York USHWA's night of Distinction on Saturday, December 6. By Tim Bojarski, for Upstate New York USHWA

Batavia, NY---Jami Chatt is a fourth generation horsewoman and the granddaughter of longtime western New York driving favorite Fred Haslip. She has been around the WNY racing colony all her life and is currently one of two outriders who ply their trade at Batavia Downs. She is there on race nights to help the horses on the track, but when one horseman was seriously injured last November she took her assistance to a another level. When Anthony Coletta went down in a wreck at Harrah's Philadelphia in 2013, the burden of his medical bills became onerous in a time when his family needed to concentrate on his recovery. Many horsemen across North America held fundraisers and made donations to help offset those costs and without hesitation, Chatt became one such champion of the cause. Chatt started the "Stay Strong Anthony Coletta Fund Drive" which ran for several weeks. She made contact with all local owners and horsemen both in person and via social media to solicit as many contributions as she could. She sold wrist bands, held silent auctions, got donations of purse percentages from drivers and trainers as well as donations from Batavia Downs staff and fans in the stands through collections at the track. When the appeal was completed, Chatt had collected a total of $12,835, all of which was donated directly to Anthony Coletta. Her efforts left a lasting impression on the Coletta family as well as everyone involved in the sport in western New York. It was for her selfless determination to make someone else's misfortune just a little bit easier to deal with that Jamie Chatt has been named the 2014 Unsung Hero at Batavia Downs. Jamie Chatt will be honored in the winner's circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday, December 6, during the Upstate New York USHWA Night of Distinction. By Tim Bojarski, for Upstate NY USHWA

Batavia, NY---After a late scratch contracted an already short field, Youwillwishyouhad went from worst to first to capture the $11,000 Open pace feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov.29). What The Sheik (Dave McNeight III) left from the pylons and parked American Bull (Kevin Cummings) past the eighth pole before he eventually cleared on the backstretch. McNeight then immediately completed the give-and-go as he retook by the quarter. At the half, Southwind Whiski (Drew Monti) pulled to advance and had Youwillwishyouhad (John Cummings Jr.) drafting behind him in the outer flow. As the tight group passed the three-quarters and headed into the last turn, Cummings Jr. pulled Youwillwishyouhad three-deep and circled the leading pair down the lane to win in 1:57.2. What The Sheik was second and Southwind Whiski hung on for third. It was the fifth win in the last six starts at Batavia Downs for Youwillwishyouhad ($10.80) and his eleventh victory overall for the year. The 3-year-old Artiscape gelding has pocketed $52,562 for 2014 for owner Leonard Segall. Youwillwishyouhad is trained by James Clouser Jr. There was an accident in the eleventh race of the evening card that involved three horses at the back of the pack. Vital Speed (Ray Fisher Jr.) got away fifth and was gapping the field bad at the three eighths pole when he made a break and went down, causing Box You In (Shawn McDonough) and Corwhiny (Truman Gale) to pile-up behind him and dump their drivers. Vital Speed was gathered up on the infield by his driver and the loose horse was caught by outrider Ashley Holliday. Drivers Ray Fisher and Truman Gale came away unscathed but Sean McDonough suffered an ankle injury and was treated and released by the ambulance crew on-site. The horses Box You In and Corwhiny both suffered abrasions but were expected to be alright. Vital Speed had a serious shoulder injury and possible nerve damage and is under a veterinarian's care. Kevin Cummings, Sean McDonough, John Cummings Jr. and Jim McNeight all scored driving doubles Saturday night. During the Saturday afternoon card, Kevin Cummings had four wins, Drew Monti had three and John Cummings Jr. had two. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Dec. 3) with post time at 6:35. There is a large Pick-6 carry over pool of $5,100 available that night with a mandatory payout on the final night of racing (Dec. 6) if no one wins it by then. There are only three cards of racing remaining in the 2014 season. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY-- An abbreviated field of five turned into a two horse race in Batavia Downs $11,000 Open trot on Friday night (Nov. 28) and for the fifth time of the harness racing meet, Lutetium prevailed. Driver Kevin Cummings utilized a very unconventional strategy with the front-running Lutetium, letting Second Hand News (Shawn McDonough) cut the mile and then taking a two-hole trip. Second Hand News proceeded to dictate the pace with fractions of :28.2, 1:00 and 1:29.4 through the cold night air while Lutetium followed snug in second and the rest of the field watched from behind. At the top of the stretch Cummings pulled the pocket and Lutetium brought game while methodically running down the race-long leader to the wire, eventually winning by a head in 1:59. Second Hand News was second and Absolutely Certain (Ron Beback Jr.) finished third. The victory was number 16 overall for the year for Lutetium ($5.30) and pushed his earnings to $90,190 for owner Colleen Girdlestone. The 7-year-old Credit Winner gelding is trained by Mark Laidlaw. Drivers Kevin Cummings and Dave McNeight III had outstanding nights in the bike as they both won four races on the card. Ron Beback Jr. also registered a driving double. Lofty superfecta payoffs continued in race 12 at Batavia as the 4-5-6-7 combination returned $7,647. Live racing resumes on Saturday (Nov. 29) at Batavia Downs with the first of two double header cards being presented on the last two Saturdays of the meet. Post times are set for 12:15 and 6:35. Tim Bojarski

Batavia, NY---It was business as usual at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Nov. 26) after a week long hiatus due to inclement weather. Although several feet of snow from the storm had already dissipated, a 32-degree temperature and flurries greeted the horses as they hit the track with mud-gear employed. The night's feature race hosted the top seven distaff pacers on the grounds in the $9,600 mares Open and when the slush had settled, Seascape Hanover had bagged her eighth win of the year. When the starter released the field, the group settled into post-position order for the first half of the mile. Rail rider Memumsnotnice (Kevin Cummings) cut the fractions through that segment before Mondatta (Jim McNeight) came first-over into the third turn. With those two carrying the mail, Seascape Hanover (Ron Beback Jr.) sat chilly in the garden spot just waiting to make her move. That time came at the head of the stretch when the passing lane opened up and Seascape Hanover made her move and paced right by Memumsnotnice to notch the 1:59 victory. Mondatta hung on for third. Seascape Hanover ($4.60) is owned by Tessa Roland and Mark Jakubik and is trained by J.D. Perrin. The win boosted her 2014 earnings to $43,877 and now the 8-year-old Camluck mare is just shy of a quarter-million dollars earned lifetime. Driver Ron Beback Jr. scored a driving hat trick on the night while Drew Monti, Ray Fisher Jr. and Jimmy Whittemore all doubled up. Superfecta players had a heyday Wednesday night as six races returned boxcar payouts. The 4-1-6-3 combination in the second race paid $5,542.00, 6-1-4-8 in the third returned $2,010.00, 1-4-2-6 in the ninth paid $3,997.00, 2-8-6-1 in the tenth paid $1,205.00, 3-1-8-2 in the eleventh returned $2,130.00 and the twelfth race featured a monster double payout due to a dead-heat for place. 5-3-6-1 paid $6,350.00 and 5-6-3-1 returned $4,234.00. And while we're on the topic of instant jackpots, the Pick-4 in races three through six rewarded players with a $5,339.00 bundle of cash. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 28). And the first of two Saturday double-headers will be held this Saturday (Nov. 29) with post times set at 12:15 and 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

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