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Batavia, NY---It was the biggest night of the year at Batavia Downs Saturday (Oct. 18) as the track presented the 12th edition of the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Invitational pace. One of the largest live crowds was on hand to see the action and after the most anticipated race of the season hit the wire, world champion Bolt The Duer bested a stellar field of top Open pacers to take the trophy. When the car pulled away, the Ron Burke stablemates Aracache Hanover (Kevin Cummings) and Easy Again (Aaron Merriman) found themselves sitting one-two at a :26.3 quarter with Bolt The Duer (John Cummings Jr.) tracking a close third. The positions remained unchanged to the half when Apprentice Hanover (Anthony Macdonald) pulled first over and led Aslan (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) and Wazzup Wazzup (Drew Monti) in the outer flow. Apprentice Hanover cleared and took the lead at the three-quarters in 1:24.1 when Aslan and Wazzup Wazzup fanned three-wide to take their shots around the turn. But Bolt The Duer, who had been riding the pylons waiting for his chance, got it at the top of the stretch when the passing lane opened up and Cummings Jr. shot him through the gap and outpaced a game Aslan to the wire to win in 1:53.4. Aslan finished second and Wazzup Wazzup finished third. It was the fourth win in 18 starts this year for Bolt The Duer ($11.00) and pushed his career earnings to over $1.82 million for owners All Star Racing Inc. The 5-year-old son of Ponder is trained by Peter Foley. After the race driver John Cummings Jr. said "I was hoping to be on the lead or have the two-hole but I got away third. But we were following the two best horses in the race and we were lucky to slide out up the backside and get back to the rail at the head of the lane and then he did the rest. There is no question this is the best horse I've ever driven and I would like to thank Pete (Foley) for giving me the drive." The co-feature of the night was the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial trot that was won by local star BZ Glide. After the heavy favorite Money On My Mind (Aaron Merriman) made a break, Sailer Eddie (Jack Flanigen) took the lead and dictated the race until BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) pulled at the half and started his trek on the outside. He overtook the lead at the three-quarters and trotted away to an easy three-length victory in 1:58.2. It was the eighth win in 20 starts for BZ Glide ($5.90) and inflated his bankroll to $60,667 for the trainer/driver team of Alana and Mike Caprio, who owns the horse. It was an emotional winners circle after the race as Caprio, who was a friend of the late Schroeder, commented "It was an honor for me to win this race because Brian (Schroeder) was a good friend of mine. He helped me straighten out some horses years ago and was always willing to help anyone out." In the overnight feature $10,000 horse and gelding Open pace, Caprio doubled his pleasure by winning with Fireyourguns in 1:55. After getting away fifth, Fireyourguns waited until the top of the far turn to pull and swing wide before unleashing his patented pacing flurry down the lane. After making up about five lengths while streaking down the center of the track, Fireyourguns beat Best Ears (Jack Flanigen) who was on the rail, by a nose. There were four horses across the track at the wire and a mere neck separated first through fourth place. It was the 13th victory of the year for Fireyourguns raising his earning total to $90,335 for owners Jennifer and Robert Lowe and Terrence McClory, who also trains him. Aaron Merriman, who is currently the leading dash winning driver in North America, made a rare western New York appearance and put on a driving clinic for the fans. He registered a grand slam winning with Set Me Up ($4.40), Whata Donato ($3.10), Cheyenne Cam ($19.40) and Mondatta ($13.00). And not to be outdone by the National season's leader, local driving favorite Drew Monti also scored a four-bagger with Rock To Glory ($5.90), Deuces And Jacks ($16.20), Machman ($5.50) and Bandicoot (6.50). Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 22) with post time set for 6:35. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---The twelfth annual $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Invitational pace will be held on Saturday (Oct. 18) and the star-studded group of Open class performers competing is led by Ron Burke stablemates $1.7 million winner Aracahe Hanover and Easy Again. The race is named in honor of the former chairman of the Western Regional Off Track Betting Corporation (WROTB) and his vision for a defunct racetrack. In 1998 Robert Kane saw the opportunity for WROTB to keep harness racing alive in Western New York and convinced the group to purchase the shuttered Batavia Downs. He then worked diligently for four years to obtain a racing license from the state of New York in order to re-open the track in 2002. With the improvement of the live racing product and the multiple expansions of the gaming floor in the years since the acquisition, what once was an empty building is now the pre-eminent attraction in all of Genesee County and that is due to the vision of Robert J. Kane. The race has played host to many great horses over the years including the six million dollar man, Foiled Again, who won it twice. But it was also won by one of this year's entrants and he set the all-time track record for pacers there when he did it. Aracache Hanover (Dragon Again-Armbro Cachet 1:48.1 $1,726,616) was a multiple stakes winner at two and three, including the $525,000 Confederation Cup. As an aged horse, he has been one of the most consistent free-for-all pacers in North America. He comes into this race off two consecutive wins at Yonkers Raceway and looks to be the one to beat. Although he is owned locally in Clarence Center, NY by Bill Switala and James Martin, he has only ever raced at Batavia Downs once before. That was in when he won the 2011 Kane Memorial and set the all-time track record of 1:51.1. Aracache Hanover is 3-1 morning line and will be driven by leading Downs driver, Kevin Cummings. Easy Again (Dragon Again-Kuklapanandollie 1:50.1 $712,381) came into the Burke stable ten months ago and immediately turned into a win machine. Since that time he has 11 victories in 26 starts and posted a lifetime mark of 1:50.1 at Scioto Downs while banking $264,360 in purse money. He currently has four wins out of his last seven starts, although he finished eighth last week. That was because he got parked the entire mile at Yonkers in Open handicap company. North American leading dash winning driver Aaron Merriman makes the trip to the oldest lighted harness track in America to team Easy Again who was made the morning line favorite at 5-2. Also in the race is $1.8 million winner Bolt The Duer (Ponder-Wonderbolt 1:47.4 $1,801,995) Bolt The Duer won the $500,000 Adios and the $415,000 Messenger Stake at three and has faced the toughest older pacers each week ever since. This year he has battled Sweet Lou, Foiled Again and Captaintreacherous just to name a few. Last week at Pocono Downs he drew the rail after six consecutive outside posts, only to get locked in behind a stalled horse while the eventual winner was pacing away. He brings ability and back class to the table here and will be heard from for sure. John Cummings Jr. and his aggressive driving style will be in the bike for trainer Peter Foley. Scoring from the outside is Aslan (Mach Three-Skyview 1:49.2 $207,377). He does not have the lofty stakes resume or million dollar earnings of some in this field because he was lightly raced at two and three. But he does have a lot of speed and it would appear that he comes into this race in his best condition ever based on his performance at Pocono Downs on September 20. He just got beat a neck in 1:47.3 and that clocking is two seconds faster than his lifetime mark taken in 2013. Plus this horse is handy; he can leave or he can come from behind. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. who is currently second in North America in dash winning drives is at the lines for trainer Tony O'Sullivan. Here is a look at the entire field: 1 Wazzup Wazzup Drew Monti 9-2-8 8-1 2 Easy Again Aaron Merriman 8-1-4 5-2 3 Bolt The Duer John Cummings Jr. 4-6-2 4-1 4 Aracache Hanover Kevin Cummings 1-1-2 3-1 5 Apprentice Hanover Anthony McDonald 1-6-3 7-2 6 What The Sheik Dave McNeight III 3-1-3 12-1 7 Aslan Ronnie Wrenn Jr. 1-2-1 6-1 The Kane Memorial Pace is carded as the seventh race of the night. The program also includes the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot, a $10,000 horses and geldings Open pace and a $10,000 mares Open pace. Post time for the evening is 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

On Friday, October 17, Batavia Downs will look back and honor the careers of two longtime female trainers who plied their trade on the western New York circuit for many years. Mary Ann Sarama-Luce and Brenda Ohol will have races named in their honor and presentations made with their families in the winner's circle as the local horsemen pay their respects and remember their careers at Batavia Downs. Mary Ann Sarama-Luce passed away in July of 2011 at 73 years of age after a long battle with leukemia. She was introduced to the business when she met Danny Sarama in the late 1960's and from that point on, the two formed the successful Mardan Stable. Their most memorable performer was the pacer You Devil You, who won 10 races in a row in 1976 while rising from a low claimer to the Open class. In the early 1980s, after separating from Danny, she continued on her own as both a trainer and a driver. Her best year as a driver came in 1983 when she won 21 races. She ended her driving career in 1990 with 109 wins and $201,435 in earnings. At that point she started training full time and continued to do so until her passing. As a conditioner she sent 107 horses to the winner's circle whose efforts earned $334,835. Some of the top horses Sarama-Luce trained included Gold Bandit N, Top Dog Alex, Top Dog Nicholas, Easy L Bar and Guy Lee Debbie. After her passing, her son Carl and husband Richard have carried on with her stable. "Harness racing was her number one priority and passion" her daughter Lynette McGiveron said. "Her horses were the driving force behind her battle to recover. Even in her final days she worried more about her horses than herself." McGiveron continued "A passion of Mary Ann's was to have her mares bred and to raise the foals to race. She named them after her kids and grandchildren and had planned on doing so until every child and grandchild was named. The last foal to be born on her farm was "Top Dog Morgan" named after her grandson. Unfortunately Mary Ann never got to see it in person. He was born the night she went into the hospital for her final stay." Bruce Tubin, president of the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association, described Mary Ann as "A fierce competitor both as a trainer and a driver." After the fifth race, named the Mary Ann Sarama-Luce Memorial Trot, we will remember a great mother, person, horseman and friend to so many in Western New York. Brenda Ohol died in August of 2013 after a long battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. She was born in Batavia and raised in Akron, New York, and was around horses her entire life. She was always in the barn with her father Ron Lederhouse who campaigned his own stable for many years and then as an adult, married Mike Ohol who was an established trainer/driver on the western New York circuit. During her 22 year training career she sent 691 winners to post and amassed earnings of $2.85 million. Her most prolific year came in 2009 when she had 1,018 starters with 79 winners, 91 seconds and 122 thirds along with $396,953 in monies won. Some of her best known horses included Little Man Cam, Adelia's Prince, Honeybee Hershey, Fundy Breeze, Collier St. Bobby and Sunray Kash. She left a legacy of women in racing behind as her daughter Courtney and granddaughter Brittney are now currently active full time trainers at Batavia. Ohol's sister Lisa Lederhouse is an accomplished trainer as well. Bruce Tubin, President of the western New York Harness Horsemen's Association said "Brenda was a hands-on, hardworking trainer who left us way too soon." Jim Mulcahy, treasurer of the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association said "Brenda always had a nice stable of horses that were always competitive. She was one of the top female conditioners on this circuit." After the seventh race, named the Brenda Ohol Memorial Pace, we will remember our other great mother, person, horseman and friend to everyone who raced on this circuit. Post time for the first race is 6:35 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Last week we came up short on the win bets at $-2.90 for the weekend but more than made up for it in some decent exotic scores that totaled more than $350.00. This week there are tons of racing action Friday and Saturday with the Windy City Pace Friday at Maywood Park, the Indiana Sire Stakes finals at Hoosier Park Saturday, Woodbine is back in action with the elims Friday and Saturday for the top freshman stakes, Governors Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds & Goldsmith Maid, Yonkers has the eliminations for the Messenger Pace and Yonkers Trot and we even stop at Batavia Downs for the Robert Kane Memorial Pace. Good Luck! $25,000 Pace Three Diamonds 2yo Filly elim Woodbine 1st race FRIDAY - She is the "little darling" of harness racing. Unbeaten JK She'salady is a perfect 8 for 8 going into her elimination division. She has beaten everyone in this field already this season and continues her domination of the freshman pacing filly ranks. Use Happy Becky and Solar Sister in exotic plays. $25,000 Trot Goldsmith Maid 2yo Filly elim Woodbine 3rd race FRIDAY - World record holder Mission Brief either wires the field or runs like a deer. Temperamental filly is super-fast and should be able to win in here. Use Danielle Hall and Stubborn Belle in exotic plays. $37,600 Pace Cinderella Stake 3yo Fillies Maywood Park 8th race FRIDAY - Last week this filly was gutted trying to get to the front and never making it. Lady Shadow has been great for most of the season and has the speed and ability to get the jump on the field and return to winning ways. Use Major Dancer and Kayla Grace in exotic plays. $180,000 Windy City Pace 3yo Colts Maywood Park 9th race FRIDAY - Top stakes race has drawn a very competitive field. After last week's great closing effort in American-National from post 10, I have to go with Somewhere In L A. He is never out of the money and from good inside post he is due to get some great cover to score from. Use Big Boy Dreams and Let's Drink On It in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Messenger Stake 3yo Colts elim Yonkers 2nd race SATURDAY - This is the prelude to next week's finale as only one will be eliminated from this race. I think the Ron Burke entry of All Bets Off/Forty Five Red will be very tough to beat. All Bets Off has been awesome all season with ten wins. He draws inside and is on a five-race win streak. Use McWicked and National Debt in exotic plays. $25,000 Trot Valley Victory 3yo Colt elim Woodbine 3rd race SATURDAY - Having won five of his last six starts makes Habitat the big favorite in here and rightly so. Has beaten almost everyone he has faced this year on the front end and can overcome outside post to do it again. Use Whom Shall I Fear and Noble Power in exotic plays. $40,000 Yonkers Trot 3yo colt elim Yonkers Raceway 4th race SATURDAY - Being the class of the field does not hurt Nuncio's chances in here, but having only once qualified on a half mile track (won in 1:58.4) at age two makes this a tough start. Draws into easier of two divisions but questionable if can take the turns but Jimmy Takter would not have entered him if he can't handle it. Use Way Outta Here and Don Dorado in exotic plays. $40,000 Yonkers Trot 3yo colt elim Yonkers Raceway 5th race SATURDAY - The Ron Burke entry of Gural Hanover/Hillustrious looms very tough in here with their 1-2 post positions. Well matched field has to be dwindled down to just four to advance to the final so the action will be fast and furious. Use Flyhawk El Durado and Datsyuk in exotic plays. $200,000 Trot Indiana Sire Stakes 2yo Colt Final Hoosier Park 7th race SATURDAY - This race should belong to Airman Batten as he has won ten of his twelve starts this year and had beaten everyone in the field this season and has done it from on and off the pace. Use Steal N Gas and Homicide Hunter in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace Robert Kane Memorial Invit Batavia Downs 7th race SATURDAY - Changed my mind a couple of times on this race which only shows how competitive the field is. I decided to go with Aracache Hanover off his two straight wins at Yonkers, wiring the field in extra distance races. Use Easy Again and Apprentice Hanover in exotic plays. $25,000 Pace Governors Cup 2yo Colt elim Woodbine 8th race SATURDAY - We Will See tonight if the break by Artspeak was a fluke two weeks ago or if he is getting tired from the tough season. Outside post not much help but with a week's rest if he is fit he will work his magic, get to the front and return to winning ways. Use Dudes The Man and Pierce Hanover in exotic plays. $200,000 Pace Indiana Sire Stakes Final 3yo Fillies Hoosier 11th race SATURDAY - Winner of the Jugette has not missed a beat since her impressive victories in Delaware. Color's A Virgin has won 10 of 14 starts this year and is on a four-race win streak that she should be able to add another triumph to. Use Candy's A Virgin and Always Wearable in exotic plays. $200,000 Pace Indiana Sire Stakes Final 3yo Colts Hoosier 13th race SATURDAY - Having ruled in the Indiana Sire Stakes this season, Always B Miki returns for the rich final for Joe Holloway Stable. Has won five of last six starts, rested a week and should be primed to lay over this field. Use Bluehourpower and If I Lose in exotic plays.  

Batavia, NY---Anyone involved in harness racing knows it's a difficult business to be successful in. For a driver, it's hard at the top and even harder on the secondary circuit. But for those who put in the time to hone their skill, there are rewards for that dedication. Kevin Cummings is a perfect example of that. Cummings is a lifelong resident of Hamburg, New York which is the home of Buffalo Raceway. With the exception of one year when he raced at the Meadows, his entire career has been centered in western New York. Earlier this year he was a runaway winner of the dash title at the Buffalo meet with 171 wins (54 more than his nearest competitor) and currently finds himself in the same spot at the Batavia Downs meet with 110 wins (50 ahead of his nearest competitor). And Nationally he ranks twelfth among all North American drivers for UDR with a .359. 2014 has been a career year for Cummings. With 281 wins already in the books (a career best), he should easily surpass the 300 win plateau with two months left to race. On the money side, he has won $1.32 million to date and that is a single season best as well. And his current UDR is only .008 lower than any other year that he had 500 or more starts. During his 26 year tenure in the business he has registered 2,917 wins and $11.7 million in winnings. But unlike a lot of drivers today, he didn't get off to a fast start; he got better with age. Cummings hails from a harness racing family. He, along with his brothers John Jr., Tony and Todd, all got their start working in the barn with their father, John Cummings Sr. The family lived just a couple miles from Buffalo Raceway and John Sr. had trained and driven horses there since the 1960's. After getting his P license, Kevin Cummings got his first drive in 1989 and won his second with a pacer named Orlando Otto. He worked hard to get his foot in the driver colony door but noted it wasn't an easy thing to do back then. "When I started driving as a kid, you had to earn your drive. You didn't just jump on ten or 12 a night. There were a lot of guys here who earned it already like Gaston Guindon, Ricky and Rodney LaFramboise, Pasty C. Rapone and Gerry Sarama. They were the top guys and as a 19 or 20 year old you weren't going to knock these guys off their drives." Cummings said. So to supplement his income, Cummings opened a restaurant with his brother to make sure all the bills got paid. That was a good move because of the turmoil racing in New York State was going through in the nineties, prior to the slots legislation. The number of drives Cummings got varied by year and was as few as 13 in 1997. But things started to turn around three years later. Some of the longtime drivers were gone, providing more opportunity that Cummings took advantage of. When the slots came online and the money got better, so did the racing. And that allowed Cummings to have a breakout year in 2005 when he scored 209 wins. Cummings services came into such demand that he sold his interest in the restaurant to drive full time. In 2007 and 2008 he made just under $1 million in purses, a number he would easily surpass from then on. In fact the bulk ($10 million) of his $11.7 million lifetime was earned in just the last ten years. Cummings credits his father and other top drivers for much of his success. "My father has always been an inspiration to me and has always been there to help me get better. He taught me most of what I know about horses and critiques me to this day. I also gained a lot of knowledge working for David Miller when I was at the Meadows. I learned just from being around him and observing how he did things. He is an excellent horseman and a great guy as well." Cummings explained. "Plus over the years you learn a lot from watching top drivers; how they get more out of a horse without using a whip. It gives horses confidence and once you go to the whip they lose that confidence. You have to learn how each horse you sit behind likes to be driven and then steer them in a way they will respond to." Probably the two best horses Cummings has campaigned were Michael Scores (Held For Ransom-Suspicious Burns 1:50.4 $668,079) and Arm And A Leg (Nobleland Sam-Kelly's Hat Trick 1:54 $320,791). He has also been behind many top New York Sire Stake performers over the years. During his career Cummings has been primarily a catch driver, doing very little training. He helped his father train his horses when he was still in the business and then never pursued a public stable of his own. While he has owned horses in the past, they too were few and far between. However recently he has put seven racehorses in his name. But in order to keep his full concentration on driving, he employs Kirk Desmond to train for him. Cummings and his wife Rhonda have four daughters. Kristy, Kara, Kandice and Kali are his biggest fans and love to go watch him race. Many nights they can been seen at the fence rooting their dad on. "Their friends enjoy coming to the races with them because they think it's pretty cool-- they don't know anyone else that does something like this. My oldest daughter says she wants to jog and take paddocks but I haven't seen it yet. She spends more time with her friends than she does with the horses" Cummings said. "I plan to keep driving for the rest of my life and right here in western New York. This is home and this is my career. I don't think I can do much better driving here so I hope to stay at the level I'm at. So other than my own horses doing better, I think this is as good as it gets."   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

It was ability more than chance that saw Lucky Charm go gate to wire in the $7,500 mares Open trot at Batavia Downs on a special Monday afternoon (Oct. 13) Columbus Day matinee card at the Genesee County oval. Kevin Cummings shook-up Lucky Charm off the gate and took an effortless lead around the first turn. From there the 8-year-old Malabar Man mare towed the field through a pedestrian half before picking up the tempo from there. After a :29.1 third quarter that saw Highway Cash (Doug Ackley) and Day Planner (Ray Fisher Jr.) advance into contention, Lucky Charm came home in :28.4 to fend off the three wide attack from her competition and win in 1:58.3. Day Planner was second and Highway Cash finished third. It was the fourth win in 21 starts for Lucky Charm and brought her 2014 earnings up to $23,800 for owners Finish Line Investors and Johnny Yoder. Lucky Charm is trained by John Mungillo. Driver Kevin Cummings was on fire Monday, with five wins, three seconds and a third out of the 11 races he was in. He scored with Love Me Do ($5.00), Donegal Jim ($2.10), Lucky Charm ($5.60), Emmys Junior Grin ($7.00) and Serendipitious ($2.50). The "Race for the Cannoli's", which is held annually on Columbus Day at Batavia Downs and pits drivers of Italian-American descent against each other, was won by Rock C. Vinci aboard Windsong Destroyer in 1:58.2. The 10-year-old won by a length over Evening Shadows (Mike Caprio) after getting a perfect two-hole trip. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 15) with post time set for 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---After being victorious in the first Open pace of the season at Batavia Downs on July 26, Western Alumni hasn't visited the winners circle since. But that drought came to an end on Saturday night (Oct. 11) when he put on a powerful harness racing performance in winning the $9,250 pacing feature at the Downs. Western Alumni (Jim McNeight) left sharp and took the lead before Best Ears (Jack Flanigen) brushed by to unseat him at the quarter. The rest of the field stayed single file to the half before Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) came off the wood and started motoring. As the group went up the backside, Peenie (Mickey Holliday) pulled underneath Fireyourguns and went backward, causing Fireyourguns to tip three-deep. Then around the far turn the top two broke away from the field and it appeared obvious the race was going to one of them. Western Alumni tipped and out-dueled Best Ears to the wire, winning in a sparkling 1:53.2. The time was a seasonal mark for Western Alumni. Best Ears hung on for second and What The Sheik brushed home to be third. It was the seventh win in 30 starts for Western Alumni ($13.80) and pushed his 2014 earnings to $61,517 for owner North Creek Racing LLC. The 6-year-old son of Western Hanover is trained by Jerry Nugent Jr. Drew Monti, Shawn McDonough and Jim McNeight all scored driving doubles on the night. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs with a special Columbus Day matinee card on Monday (Oct. 13) with a 1:15 post time. By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---It was deja  vu all over again in the $9,250 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 10) when Justgottogetthere ($8.00) scored his second consecutive harness racing triumph in convincing style. Justgottogetthere (Jim McNeight) left quickly to take the lead before yielding to Armed Dangerously (Jim Morrill Jr.) at the quarter. The rest of the field watched in post-position order as these two stood pat to the three-quarters in 1:27.2. At that point Justgottogetthere pulled the pocket to challenge the leader and the duel began. The pair trotted as one around the far turn before Justgottogetthere gained the advantage and opened a little space before holding off a late charge from BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) to win in 1:56.4. That was a new seasonal mark for Justgottogetthere. BZ Glide was second and Armed Dangerously hung on for third. It was the second straight Open class victory for Justgottogetthere and the third win in 12 starts for the year. The purse pushed his 2014 earnings to $25,440 for owners Antonietta Landi and North Creek Racing LLC. The 5-year-old son of Valley Victor is trained by Jerry Nugent Jr. The co-feature Open II trot went even faster than the headliner when Second Hand News (Kevin Cummings) led wire to wire to win by four lengths in 1:56 flat. Second Hand News ninth win of the year tied his seasonal mark and inflated his bank account to $52,455 for owners Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Kent Conshafter. Second Hand News is trained by Ron Van Wagoner. Jim Morrill Jr. and Jim McNeight both scored driving triples while leading driver Kevin Cummings had a double. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 11) with twelve events starting at 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---Each year Batavia Downs signature event is the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial invitational pace. The race which is named for the former chairman of the board of the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation, owner of Batavia Downs Gaming, has played host to some of the biggest names in harness racing. The six million dollar man, Foiled Again, won the race twice in 2009 and 2013 and Aracache Hanover set the all-time track record of 1:51.1 with his victory in 2011. This year's edition will be held on Saturday, October 18 and the condition sheet has already been released so that any interested horsemen can enter their horses as early as today. Besides the $50,000 Kane Memorial Pace, there are many other premium racing opportunities that night including the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Open trot, $10,000 horses and geldings Open pace, $10,000 filly and mares Open pace and $7,500 mares Open trot. The box for all races for that night closes on Wednesday, October 15 at 9 a.m. Entries can be made and inquiries can be placed by calling race secretary Joe Zambito at 585-344-6161. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---Employing her patented late brush after tracking an early speed duel, Bazooka Terror ($4.00) dismantled a field of top distaff pacers in the $8,500 mares Open at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 8) night. Fiftyonefifty (John Cummings Jr.) and Soaring Honey (Dave McNeight III) battled each other hard for half a mile, each taking a lead through fractions of :27.1 and 56. By the time those two decided to play nice, last week's winner Infrontigo Hanover (Jim McNeight) came first over with Dontch Remember (Shawn McDonough) and Bazooka Terror (Kevin Cummings) in tow. Just as Infrontigo Hanover took the lead halfway up the backside, Cummings tipped Bazooka Terror three-deep and paced around the field like they were tied to a post. Once the mare cleared, Cummings put the whip on his shoulder and let his charge close out the race. Bazooka Terror paced away to a devastating six-length wrapped-up victory in 1:53.4. Dontch Remember was second and Mondatta (Mike Caprio) was third. It was the ninth win in 35 starts for Bazooka Terror and pushed her 2014 earnings to $71,307 for owner Leonard Segall. Although the clocking was not a lifetime mark for the 5-year-old daughter of Western Terror, it was the fastest she had ever paced over a half-mile track. Bazooka Terror is trained by James Clouser Jr. Kevin Cummings, John Cummings Jr., Ron Beback Jr. and Shawn McDonough all scored driving doubles on the night. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 10) at 6:35. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---The Saturday night (Oct. 4) Open pace at Batavia Downs provided one of the most exciting finishes racing fans have seen at the oldest lighted harness track in North America this year. The top three horses finished a neck apart and when the photo was examined, What The Sheik and Fireyourguns tripped the light at the exact same time. When the race got underway, Western Alumni (Jim McNeight) took an early lead as What The Sheik (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) got away fourth and sixth respectively. The order stayed unchanged to the half when Fireyourguns pulled from the rear and flushed What The Sheik for live cover. That outer flow made minimal progress pacing towards the three-quarters as Western Alumni was sitting on a two-length lead. At the top of the lane it appeared as if the leader was home-free, but when Fireyourguns tipped three-wide he prompted What The Sheik to pace on and the pair hit the wire in tandem just a head in front of Western Alumni, who hung on for third. The mile was timed in 1:56.1. It was the sixth win of the year for What The Sheik ($2.90) who is trained by Gerry Sarama for owner Mike Torcello and the twelfth win of the year for Fireyourguns ($2.50) who is trained by Terence McClory who owns the horse with Jennifer and Robert Lowe. A pair of drivers accounted for seven of the 12 winners during the night. Jim McNeight recorded a grand slam with Maradona ($9.50), Hopskipanajump ($8.70), The Maniac ($4.20) and Flight Crew ($19.40) and Jim Morrill Jr. had a three-bagger with Unicorn Hanover ($20.00), What The Sheik ($2.90) and Muncie ($4.30). It was a natural hat trick that occurred in races six, seven and eight for driver Morrill, trainer Gerry Sarama and owner Mike Torcello. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 8) at 6:35 and kicks off the Downs new racing schedule of Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, all with a 6:35 post time. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---The winds of change blew through western New York Friday night (Oct. 3) and the rain fell along with the temperature. But the inclement conditions did not dampen the performance of Justgottogetthere as he won the $9,250 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs, nor driver Jim Morrill, Jr. who won five races on the night. The short field of six got even shorter after Live Jazz (John Cummings Jr.) made a break leaving in the first turn. That left Justgottogetthere (Jim McNeight) a clear path to the front. But co-favorite Armed Dangerously (Jim Morrill Jr.) who left right behind the leader was trotting side-by-side with him, giving Serious George (Kevin Cummings) a perfect garden spot trip. After hitting the half in :58 flat, the parking ticket took its toll and Armed Dangerously started to falter. That left Justgottogetthere a gapped leader waiting for a bid from the pocket-sitting Serious George. That challenge came down the lane but it was too little, too late. Justgottogetthere got there by a diminishing one-length lead to win in 1:58.3. Serious George was second and a late closing Keystone Bernard was third. It was the second win in 10 starts for Justgottogetthere ($4.80) and boosted his 2014 earnings to $20,815 for owners Antonietta Landi and North Creek Racing LLC. The lightly raced 5-year-old son of Valley Victor is trained by Jerry Nugent Jr. Jim Morrill Jr. was on hand Friday to put on another driving clinic. He rendezvoused with owners five times in the Purple Haze winners circle as he scored with Medicine Ed ($7.30), Release The Terror ($6.10), Missmaximus ($7.00), The Bronx Bumper ($7.50) and Story Book ($5.30). Morrill is currently second in North America among all drivers for percentage, sporting a gaudy .401 UDR. And on the strength of the night's performance, he drew even closer to the top-spot. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Oct. 4) at 6:35. The Pick-6 carry-over pool has grown to $2,296 and will be up for grabs starting with race seven. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs has announced its new fall schedule which will be effective starting next week. Live racing will be conducted three nights a week on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights through December 6 with a 6:35 post time. The one exception to that will be on Columbus Day, October 13, when the final matinee of the year will be held at 1:15 p.m. Batavia Downs is also offering some great wagering opportunities this weekend when growing carry-over pools are once again available on Friday. The pick-5 pool is at $532 and the pick-6 carry-over is $1,972. The pick-5 is a .50 minimum bet and runs from race five through race nine. The pick-6 is a minimum $2 wager and runs from race seven to race twelve. Then on Saturday night, harness racing bingo will make its return by popular demand. America's oldest lighted harness track will feature this promotion and put $750 in gaming free-plays and betting vouchers up for grabs for those attending that night who play. The first 25 people that get regular bingo win $10 gaming free-plays. The first 3 people to get letter "x" win $100 wagering vouchers and first person to get full-board bingo wins a $200 wagering voucher. The entire amount of the vouchers must be wagered on Batavia Downs races. Bingo is free to play and racing fans can pick up their bingo card starting at 5:00 p.m. at Players Club located on the gaming floor. In addition, Sahlen's hot dogs, sodas and draft beer will be available for just $1 beginning at 5:30 p.m. For a complete list of events and promotions please visit www.bataviadownsgaming.com. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---Timing is everything and driver Jim McNeight had his down to a science Wednesday night (Oct. 1) in winning the $8,500 mares Open pace feature at Batavia Downs with Infrontigo Hanover. Going directly to the wood off the gate, McNeight settled Infrontigo Hanover in fourth while Taylor Rei (Aaron Byron) and Fiftyonefifty (Mike Whelan) played give-and-go to the quarter. When the dust settled at that post in :28.2, McNeight saw his chance and Infrontigo Hanover was quickly pulled at the three-eighths and took the lead before they hit the half. From then on the only thing left to figure out was how fast and by how many? Infrontigo Hanover opened up a six-length lead going to the three-quarters in 1:25, then turned the corner and paced home uncontested to a wrapped-up three and one-half length victory in a new lifetime mark of 1:54.2. The winner paid $9.10. Bazooka Terror (Kevin Cummings) closed sharply for second and Dontch Remember (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) finished third. It was the fourth win in 28 starts for Infrontigo Hanover and raised her seasonal earnings to $34,844 for owners Summer Wind Stable of New York Inc. and Bob Gruber. The 6-year-old Western Hanover mare is trained by Bob Gruber. Second leading North American dash winning driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was at the Downs Wednesday and pulled closer to leader Aaron Merriman as he came away with five winners on the card. He scored with Kill A Rockingbird ($28.60), Blissful Escape ($3.90), Delightful Syd ($5.80), Stonetag ($4.40) and Helena's Hope ($3.30). Jim McNeight had the hat trick and Kevin Cummings doubled up. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Oct. 3) with post time at 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

It's what the amateur drivers live for; steady action. And that was the case this past weekend for members of the C.K.G Billings Harness Racing Driving Series when there were races at Batavia Downs on Friday and at Vernon Downs and on Saturday. Races there followed an event at the Red Mile on Thursday (Sept 25) which was won by Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, as was reported earlier. But Oldford was at it again on Friday after he drove nine hours from Lexington to race at Batavia Downs in two Billings contests winning the second one with a catch-drive behind Allpointsbulletin in a time of 2:02.3. After leaving from the pole position Oldford's trotter took command with Dave "Poppa" Glasser ducking in behind him on the first turn with Somolli Crown. They raced one-two around the track with Somolli Crown tight on Oldford's back until the lane where Glasser rallied and the two trotters crossed the wire nearly simultaneously with neither driver sure as to who won. "Glasser and I were so busy trying to get our horses home that neither of us was sure who won it," Oldford said. "Glasser went back to the winners circle but when the judges posted my numbers I then circled back for the winners circle presentation." Third place went to 21-1 longshot Say It Best driven by "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli. After the race Oldford told trainer Andy Torre that he won a race the previous day at the Red Mile. "Andy told me he won there in 1958. Why, that was the year I was born," Oldford said incredulously. Allpointsbulletin returned a $6.60 win mutuel. He is owned and trained by Torre who will turn 80 years old on September 30. The first Billings event was a pace and it was won by Richard "Call Me Rick" Roach, a Michigander from Davison who notched his first driving victory of the season although he was victorious 134 times in the past. And with Oldford also from the Wolverine State it made a Michigander double. Roach had Windsong Destroyer from post five and he worked a pocket -trip as Dave "Poppa" Glasser cut the fractions with The Spartan. And although Glasser's pacer went a strong trip Roach came calling in the lane and Windsong Destroyer rallied to a length triumph over the pace-setter in a time 2:01.1. The betting favorite, Rammy Girl in rein to Tony "the Capo" Verruso, finished third with broken equipment. Windsong Destroyer, owned by Sharon Stockwell, paid $16.40 for win. On Saturday at Vernon Downs Mighty Matt" Zuccarello won the Billings trot there with 43-1 shot Armstead Kyra in a time of 1:56.1 "We had the five-hole and I left to get position but we ended up on the front end," Zuccarello explained. "We went a fast quarter (27.3) so once I got on the lead I tried to back off a bit so my mare would have something left at the end." After the half was trotted in :58.1 Choke Hold and Vladimir "Butch" Melnichenko pressed Armstead Kyra on the outside but Zuccarello's trotter had enough to stave off her, and all comers, in the lane to win by a full length over Choke Hold, the betting favorite. Permanent Joy came from way back to finish third for Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin. Understandably Zuccarello was thrilled after his fastest ride to the winners circle and he added; "I really appreciate (trainer) Gary (Messenger) allowing me to drive her (Armstead Kyra) and I hope I get a chance to drive her again." The winner is owned by Brenda Messenger and Dr. Scott Woogen. She paid $89.00, $21.00 and $15.00 across the board. John Manzi  

Batavia, NY---It was a pretty simple scenario in the Open pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 27). Arguably the two best horses in the race slugged it out head-to-head and one was left standing. That one was Fireyourguns. Even-money post time favorite What The Sheik (Jim Morrill Jr.) went right to the front to take the lead, a move he hasn't made since mid-August. He paced uncontested through pedestrian fractions of :28 and :57.3 before Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) fired it up on the outside after getting away last. By the three-quarters, Fireyourguns was staring What The Sheik in the eye when Caprio popped the plugs and asked the 5-year-old American Ideal gelding for more. The pair paced around the far turn in tandem-style and battled through mid-stretch before Fireyourguns got to the tiring What The Sheik and paced home to win by an easy length in 1:54.2. The winner paid $6.40. Western Alumni (Jim McNeight) who sat second the whole mile finished in the same spot and What The Sheik hung on for show. It was the eleventh win in 19 starts this year for Fireyourguns and boosted his 2014 earnings to $81,405 for owners Terrence McClory and Jennifer and Robert Lowe. The feature was one of the few races Jim Morrill Jr. didn't win Saturday as he scored a five-bagger on the night. He won with Unicorn Hanover ($12.00) and Santanna's Gal ($4.70) to take both halves of the early Double ($24.40) and then continued to tally with Auditorial ($5.00), Yosemite Cam ($2.50) and Whipmeintoshape ($5.60). Dave McNeight III and Jim McNeight also registered consecutive driving doubles. Racing resumes Tuesday night (Sept. 30) at Batavia Downs with post time set for 6:35. Just a reminder the races can be watched live locally and Time Warner cable channel 98 on both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

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