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Roll With Sparky (Shawn McDonough) would capture the fillies and mares harness racing featured pace ($7,500) on Thursday night (October 6). Roll With Sparky (Roll With Joe) would control all the fractions :26.3, :56.1, 1:23.4, 1:51.3. Owned by Paul Tandimeyer, Lee Winters, and trainer Jim Graham, the 3 year-old filly would hold off a late charge by the favorite Love To Roll (John MacDonald) to win with ease. Love To Roll (Rocknroll Hanover) would settle for second best. Bye Bye Michelle (Chris Lems) finished third. Roll With Sparky ($7.10) would have a career best time to get win number nine of the season and pick-up career victory number 11. Leading driver John MacDonald would pick up wins number 156 and 157 at Vernon Downs this season. He would first win with ABC Crown Me Queen (ABC Garland) in 1:55.4, paying $4.00. Win two came with Strike A Chord (McArdle) taking the mile in 1:53.3. She would pay $2.90 for the victory. Vernon Downs returns to live action on Friday (October 6) with a nine race card starting at 6:45 p.m. For more information go to John Horne for Vernon Downs

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- L Diz ($8.70) made a big jump up in class Wednesday night (Feb. 12) at Buffalo Raceway but she handled the competition with an impressive length victory in the $9,500 Fillies and Mares Open I-II Handicap Pace.   The past two weeks, L Diz found success in lower conditions with a first and second place finish. The step up proved to be the right move as Buffalo Raceway's leading driver Billy Dobson took her wire-to-wire, beating Delightful Syd (Ray Fisher Jr.) by a diminishing half-length in 1:59.1 over the fast surface. She had set fractions of 29.3, 59.3 and 1:29.3 in setting a seasonal mark of 1:59.1 and had enough in the tank to hang on for the win.   Ugly Betty (Jack Flanigen) skimmed the pylons and took third.   Owned by Ted Cupp and trained by Jim Graham, the 5-year-old mare L Diz (Artiscape-Hosel Rocket) now has two wins on the 2014 campaign and $8,080 in the bank.   With Buffalo Raceway currently running four nights a week, Wednesday through Saturday, trainers and owners should be aware that there are great opportunities to race your horse here. For more information, call the Buffalo Raceway race office and 716-649-1280, ext. 6234.   The action resumes on Thursday night at 5 p.m. with a 12-race program scheduled.   For more information including race replays, news, results and upcoming promotions, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

HAMBURG, NY --- It may be early January in Western New York but things will be heating up at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday, January 8th as the 99-day 2014 harness racing season opens up at the half-mile oval, located at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg. Buffalo Raceway has reaped the benefits of early-season racing in recent years and Chief Operating Officer Jim Mango said the track needs to take advantage of it once again. "We've had such good success the past few seasons with racing in January, February and March," Mango said. "We are one of the few tracks who are still willing to race gives us great exposure and brings in some good drivers and horses." Mango pointed out that Buffalo Raceway's export signal attracted $10.3 million in handle in 2011 and $15.3 million in 2013. "That's a 50 percent growth since 2011," Mango said. "Part of the success goes to the relationship we have with our guest sites, and getting us national outlets like Twin Spires and TVG." Mango went on to say, "The winter racing is well received by the horsemen and it gives drivers from the East some opportunities. We have had a pretty good driver's colony here the first few months the past few seasons and I don't see any reason that won't happen again this year. There should be some fierce competition." Buffalo Raceway will race on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights in January. Post time is 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and 6:40 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. In February and March, Thursdays will be added with 5 p.m start time. "We've had reasonable success on Thursdays but we are starting it in February this year and hope to take advantage of a lull in racing across the country," Mango said. "The 5 p.m. post time...there's not much competition and we are trying to take advantage of it, and there seems to be plenty of horses to race." Mango went on to say, "Mickey Mantle will never hit another home run again and we know we'll never attract the crowds like we did back in the 1960s. It's just the reality. Horse racing is all simulcast-based now and we have to realize it." While Mango admits wagering on-line continues to grow, Buffalo Raceway will do some promotions to bring fans in. "We got sports giveaways this pucks, baseballs, basketballs, footballs with our logo on it. We are trying to add a little fun for those coming out." The track continues to improve its backstretch and something that Mango is very extremely proud of. "There's not anyone that isn't impressed with our barns or state-of-the-art paddock. I will argue with anyone that we have the best backstretch in the country, thoroughbred or harness racing." "We've honored our commitment to New York State as a race track and gaming facility," Mango said. "A lot of tracks across the country have ignored the stable area. We thought it a necessary improvement. I hear from horsemen daily who say they can't wait to get back to Buffalo because of the back side." Buffalo Raceway has filled the more than 400 stalls on the grounds for 2014 and as Mango put it, "We could have easily filled over 600. That's why we race as much in the winter as we have a lot of people who want to compete." Besides the impressive barns and paddock, the track has improved its track lighting this season which will only help the simulcast signal. With new graphics and cameras installed last season, Buffalo Raceway is ready to compete with the best in the country in distributing the best signal possible. Mango added that the track is better than ever with more material put down and turns are properly banked. "It is a daunting task to keep the track in racing shape during the winter months in Western New York. I think that our track crew does a pretty good job." The fans will also notice a change in the race calls. Michael Carter takes over the announcer's booth as previous caller Gabe Prewitt is now at Pompano Park in Florida. Ray Fisher Jr. will return to defending his 2013 driving title at Buffalo Raceway. He was named "Driver of the Year" in Western New York after his second place finish in the standings at the recently completed Batavia Downs meet. Drivers coming in for the first few months aren't known yet, but it is expected that drivers from Saratoga and Vernon will once again compete. Mango said nothing is definite but has heard Shawn Gray may also "pop in on weekends" to race. Also back will be perennial leading drivers Dave McNeight III, Kevin Cummings, Jack Flanigen, Ron Beback Jr. and Jim McNeight. Expect the trainer's battle to a good one as well with J.D. Perrin the reigning champion at Buffalo Raceway. John Mungillo took the title at Batavia Downs and should arrive with a powerful stable once again. Jim Graham and David McNeight Jr. are also top conditioners expected to arrive with strong stables. On the wagering side, the highlight once again will be the $5,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 every Wednesday starting in the fifth race. The guaranteed pool is part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. It is also co-sponsored by Buffalo Raceway and the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association. Mango said in closing, "I think the past few years our racing product and competition has improved. People have seen what we've had to offer and it's helped us." Buffalo Raceway is located on The Fairgrounds in Hamburg, New York. Admission and parking are always free to the Raceway, for all ages. Reservations for live racing nights can be made by calling 716-649-1280 ext 300. Seasonal harness racing takes place January through July Wednesday at 5:00 pm, Friday and Saturday at 6:40 pm. Simulcast wagering from across North America is available year round Wednesday through Sunday. For more information visit or call (716) 649-1280. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway        

BATAVIA, NY --- Considering the magnitude of the highlights from the 2013 racing season, what exactly does Batavia Downs Gaming do for an encore in 2014?  Meet the challenge, says Todd Haight, Batavia Downs’ General Manager of Live Racing. But for now, in the wake of closing night 2013, they’ll savor the triumphs of the recently concluded live season at America’s oldest lighted harness track: ** The world’s richest pacer, Foiled Again, paid a visit on Oct. 5 and won the 11th annual Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace. Two weeks later, Foiled Again won the Breeders’ Crown Open Pace at Pocono Downs. This year’s Kane night handle was the largest since 2005. ** Export handle took another big jump. ** A state-of-the-art gaming floor opened in October. ** Five new track records were established while two others were tied. ** Shawn McDonough became the first provisional driver ever to win a track driving championship, and he did it in style, outdistancing Ray Fisher Jr. 103-88. The final total mutuel handle on Batavia races increased again, climbing by over $660,000, or 9% over last year. Export handle, coming off a 50 percent increase in 2012, was up another 19 percent this season, though the on-track handle dipped 15 percent. "We knew it was going to be a tough year on-track with construction of the new gaming floor taking place as our live season was starting,” Haight said. “In fact, we had two days in early October that we raced with no on-track wagering at all. The on-track numbers improved significantly once the gaming floor moved downstairs on October 4.” “So we’re extremely pleased that we continue to grow our export business and I'm confident we can turn around our on-track numbers next season.”      Haight noted that the ITW (Inter-Track Wagering facility) will be moving back to the racetrack before the live season gets underway, so the Downs will once again be able to conduct some of their most popular promotions that they weren't able to do this year. There were many highlights away from the betting windows, too: The Western New York harness racing community showed it is truly caring as $12,885 was raised for the “Stay Strong Anthony Coletta” fund in early December. Coletta was seriously injured in a racing mishap in mid-November at Harrah's Philadelphia, so Batavia Downs drivers, owners, trainers, staff and fans donated to help out the 31-year-old driver in his recovery. Of the new records, two were set by pacers. Xenia Hanover posted a 1:53 time to set the aged mares record and Barefoot Beauty went 1:54.4 to set the 2-year-old filly pacing mark, while 2-year-old colt sensation He's Watching went 1:54.2 to tie the record. Fireyourguns was named the Pacer of the Year. Mystical Escapade, the Batavia Downs' Trotter of the Year, set the aged mare mark with a 1:56.3, while Lutetium set the aged gelding mark with a 1:56.3. JS Trotting Bob, a 2-year-old colt, got his name into the record book with a 1:58.2 clocking and Bouncing Bax tied the 3-year-old filly trotting time with a 1:57.2. While McDonough won the driver’s title, Ron Beback Jr. was victorious 84 times and won the comeback award. John Mungillo, the Western New York Trainer of the Year, won his first Downs training title. He totaled 66 victories, nine more than J.D. Perrin. Carl Smith finished third with 37 wins. Extreme Balance, with driver Jack Flanigen, pulled one of the biggest upsets in Batavia history when he scored at odds 168-1. The Jim Graham trainee returned $338 to win. Post-time favorites won at a 40 percent clip. The 2014 racing season is tentatively scheduled to being on Wednesday, July 23, pending approval of the New York Gaming Commission. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs  

BATAVIA, N.Y. --- 'Blondes' do have more fun, at least they did at Batavia Downs Wednesday night (Dec. 4).   Regally Blonde ($34.80), the co-longest shot on the board, used a strong drive in the stretch and won the $8,500 Fillies and Mares Open in 1:57.1 over a fast track. She took the 'crown' by beating the front-running Red Star Fiona (Ray Fisher Jr.) by two lengths while Athleticlyinclined (Jack Flanigen) took third.   Sitting sixth on the inside at the half, Batavia Downs' leading driver Shawn McDonough managed to shake free with Regally Blonde at the three-quarter pole and fanned out three-wide down the stretch to overtake Red Star Fiona. She put up a 29-second last quarter to surge to the victory.   Trained by Jim Graham, the 4-year-old mare Regally Blonde (Stonebridge Regal-Highly Charged) has now won five times this season in 26 starts, improving her bankroll to $23,081 and $97,192 lifetime.   Wednesday night also saw a $5,000 donation from Todd and Lon Frocione and a $3,500 donation from Michael and Howard Ouriel to the 'Stay Strong Anthony Coletta' fund which pushed the total to $12,885 from the Batavia Downs' staff, employees, trainers, owners, drivers and fans.   The final weekend of action kicks off on Friday night with a 12-race program. The highlight of the card will be the $8,500 Open Trot where Lutetium will score from the four post as the 5-2 morning line favorite. Jack Flanigen is scheduled to drive.   For more information on the final weekend activities including promotions, race replays and the latest news, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs    

BATAVIA, N.Y. --- Mystical Escapade was sent off as the heavy 1-4 favorite in the $8,500 Open Trot Friday night (Oct. 8) at Batavia Downs and the 4-year-old mare didn't disappoint as she scored neck victory over another mare, Fiorentina, in 1:57.4 over the fast track.  It was Mystical Escapade's third win in her last four starts in the Open Trot and it stamped her as a top contender for 'Trotter of the Year' at Batavia Downs. It looked like it was going to be a romp for Mystical Escapade (Greg Merton) as she took over the lead from Lutetium just before the three-quarter marker and looked like a sure-fire winner down the stretch. But Fiorentina (Ken Holliday) gobbled up ground late in the lane but came up a neck short as Mystical Escapade ($2.70) had just enough left in the tank. The pace-setting Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) held on for third. The victory was the eighth in 2013 for Mystical Escapade (Valley Victor-Armbro Orbital). She is owned by Empowered Racing and trained by Carl Smith. The win pushed her impressive seasonal total to $86,011 and $147,577 lifetime. The fifth race produced one of the biggest $2 win mutuel prices in Downs history when Extreme Balance with driver Jack Flanigen in the sulky was able to spring the major upset at odds of 168-1. The Jim Graham trainee returned $338 to win.  The racing resumes on Saturday night with a 12-race program on tap. The $8,500 Open Pace is set for the seventh race as What The Sheik is the 5-2 morning line choice with Ray Fisher Jr. scheduled to drive. For more information including upcoming promotions, race schedule, news and replays, click here      . by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- It was bombs away in the $8,500 featured Open Trot on Friday night at Batavia Down when 19-1 outsider Headingforaruckus closed from far back to pull the upset. With Dave McNeight III in the sulky, Headingforaruckus ($40.80) was unleashed from fifth at the half and rallied strongly down the middle of the racetrack to post the three-quarter length score in 1:58.4. Second place finisher Mythical Hall was head strong coming to the half and set quick early fractions of :28-:57.4 but came back to the field at the top stretch, yet dug in gamely to hold the place spot. Third place finisher Glorious Winner gapped badly racing to the half but out-finished even-money favorite BZ Glide in deep stretch to complete the trifecta that paid $1,004. Headingforaruckus, a 6-year-old altered son of Dream Vacation, raised his seasonal earnings to $31,237.  This was his 12th career score. He’s owned by Dennis Robert Beaver and trained by Jim Graham. Racing resumes on Saturday night with a 12-race card scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. Also on Saturday, the Downs hosts its annual Breeders Cup party beginning at noon in Grandstands Bar and Grille.  All $6.00 lunch food specials include $5.00 back in gaming free play. No reservations are required. Submitted by Batavia Downs Media Relations                                  

BATAVIA, N. Y. --- A drop in class proved to be the right move for Headingforaruckus Friday night (Oct. 18) as he captured the featured $7,000 Open II Trot at Batavia Downs. After competing recently in the Open Trot, Headingforaruckus ($6.80) may have faced a softer group but that didn't stop him from setting a lifetime mark of 1:58.1 in scoring the 1-1/2 length victory over Fiorentina. It was a battle to the quarter pole as Headingforaruckus (Dream Vacation-Headaches) played give-and-go with Fiorentina (Ken Holliday). Headingforaruckus managed to settle into the top spot and set the fractions of 28.2, 58.3 and 1:28.2. He was never in serious jeopardy of giving up the lead as David McNeight III kept the 6-year-old gelding on task the entire mile. Escrow Blue Chip (Ray Fisher Jr.) raillied and took the show position. It was the third victory of the season for Headingforaruckus who is owned by Dennis Beaver and trained by Jim Graham. The win pushed his 2013 earnings to $25,967 and $87,347 lifetime. There will be a 13-race program on Saturday night with post time scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The feature will be the sixth race where a full field of eight go for $8,500 in the Open Pace. Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) will start from post position four as the 5-2 morning line favorite. The entire 14-race Breeder's Crown card from Pocono Downs starting at 5 p.m. will be simulcast at Batavia Downs. The Pick-4 pool will be guaranteed at $3,000. Program pages for the Pick-4 sequence which begins on race three are available at There will also be a free $1,000 handicapping contest with the winner receiving $500. Sign up to play in the contest begins at 5:00 p.m. at Players Club. For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, statistics and race replays, go to by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs

BATAVIA. N.Y. --- Nate Cornell of Batavia High School won the 'Dash For Cash' race at Batavia Downs Saturday night (Sept. 14) and the $3,000 first place scholarship check. Sponsored by the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, the Western New York Harness Horsemen Association, Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs, five high school seniors are paired up with professional drivers and battle for $7,500 scholarship money. It was the fourth year of a competition. The high school seniors have been working with the horsemen since August 1st in preparation for race day, learning all aspects of racing and the care of the horses. Cornell and driver Ron Beback went wire-to-wire with 'Nate Lobell' to take the victory while Kelsey Bezon of Elba and driver Ray Fisher Jr. finished second aboard Lady Lancer and won $2,000. Brian Burkholder of Oakfield-Alabama and driver Jim Graham finished in third and earned $1,200. Dylan Cory of of Batavia of Notre Dame and driver Mike Baumeister finished in fourth, good for $800 while Dylan Scharlau of Alexander and Shawn McDonough finished in fifth and received $500 for college. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs

VERNON, NY—The favorite Maud Blue Chip continued her winning ways with a career-best 1:58 performance in a division of Thursday night’s $109,124 New York Sires Stakes feature for 2-year-old filly trotters at Vernon Downs. Competing against eight eager rivals over a rain-affected good track in Thursday’s ninth race, Maud Blue Chip rallied from fourth at the half to become a challenging second entering the final quarter. With Tyler Buter doing the teaming for trainer Chuck Sylvester, the steady-striding brown filly turned on the speed in the stretch and defeated Market Rally by 1-3/4 lengths. It was the Third Straight NYSS score, and the fourth win (coupled with a pair of third-place finishes) in six starts for the quick-footed daughter of Credit Winner-Queen of the Moor, who increased her winnings to $126,639 for owners Melvin Hartman, David H. Mc Duffee and Jeff Gural’s Little E LLC stable. Thursday’s other NYSS winner was Exotic Form, a representative of the Dan Dailey Stable entry, who also closed late to post a 1:58.2 lifetime-fastest tally in the sixth session. Claude Huckabone, III was at the controls for Daley as the opportunistic bay filly overtook the favorite, Gammy’s Girl, in the final furlong and secured a three-quarter length score, her second NYSS win in succession and third (coupled with a second-place finish and a third) in seven official outings. The fast and fit daughter of Malabar Man-Form Fitting increased her earnings to $103,045 for the Winbak Farm. Thursday’s 12-race program also included three divisions of a $38,200 Excelsior Series contest for state-bred frosh-filly high-steppers. The winners were Ski To The Max (Conway Hall-Enjoy The Sun) in 1:59.3 for driver and trainer Gates Brunet and the Theodore Gewertz, Y. Jean Brunet and Deborah Brunet ownership contingent; Emiliana (Cash Hall-Monalisa Can) in 1:59.3 with Chris Long teaming for trainer Jim Graham and owner Lisa Wyatt, and Holly’s Lightning (Conway Hall-Indigo Sakra) in 2:00.2 for driver/trainer Sam Schillaci and owner Greg Martin. The crowd’s choice Billmar Scooter, making just her second local appearance, delivered a 1:51.2 triumph in Thursday’s $10,000 second race, the week’s Open distaff pace. The hard-hitting 8-year-old mare rallied from fourth in the final quarter to defeat Love You Bye, last week’s victor in this class, by two lengths. It was the fifth current victory and 38th all-time for the bay daughter of Keystone Raider-Its Scooter Time, who is owned by driver Tyler Buter, trained by Amber Buter and owned by the Oldford Farms. In addition to Tyler Buter’s driving double, reinsman Chris Lems collected his meet-leading 19th two-win credit during the track’s 63rd program of 2013. DOWNS DOINGS The Peter Carney-conditioned trotter Rattle On (2:02.1) and Holly’s Lightning (2:00.2) each earned their first pari-mutuel victories during Thursday’s card… The Downs will present a 10-race program starting at 6:45 on Friday night… A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at Jim Moran  

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

Closing Credits and harness racing driver Corey Braden captured the second leg of the Nichols True Value Pace on Sunday afternoon at Tioga Downs.

Sharp Lady was just that, a sharp lady, as she trounced the harness racing field of six by seven and three-quarter lengths in the featured $7,200 Fillies and Mares Open Trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (September 7). Leaving from the five post, Sharp Lady (Ray Fisher Jr.) easily took the lead right out the starting gate and never looked back in posting fractions of :29.0, :59.2, 1:28.1 en route to a 1:57.4 mile.

It wasn't a stakes race. It wasn't even the feature harness racing event, but three-year-old filly pacer L Diz opened some eyes at Batavia Downs Monday night (July 30), winning the fifth race in a sizzling 1:54.2.

Union Man Hanover, already a winner during the summer-fall meet, looks to double up when New York Bred Late Closers for harness racing 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings take place Wednesday night (Oct. 5) at Batavia Downs Casino.

Elizabeth Shuknecht representing Elba High School, with harness racing professional Jim Graham, won the $7,500 College Scholarship race, Saturday night at Batavia Downs Casino.

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