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In harness racing, provisional drivers aren't supposed to get first call to drive the best horses on the grounds. Provisional drivers don't repeatedly drive horses to track records and absolutely under no circumstance do they ever win more often than their peers. But all of that changed Saturday at Batavia Downs where 23-year-old provisional driver Shawn McDonough concluded the meet at the Western New York track by becoming the first "P" driver in harness racing history to win a track's dash title. And in the end, it wasn't even close. McDonough took the lead atop the driver standings over the summer and entered the final week of the meet holding a 93 to 84 win advantage over the next closest driver, Ray Fisher. In the final three days of the meet, McDonough won three races Wednesday, another three on Friday, and for just good measure scored a grand slam on the meet's final night putting him over the 100 win mark. A strong Buffalo meet in the first half of the year that saw McDonough win 71 times from 591 starts gave the young driver a wave of momentum heading into the new meet at Batavia. There, a number of factors played a role in McDonough's record breaking success. McDonough said, "John Cummings left here and that opened spots up. A couple drivers got hurt (Ray Fisher and Jack Flanigen nearing the end of at Buffalo), and that opened up opportunities. I did well for a number of the trainers and they kept with me." McDonough credits the Empowered Racing Stable and Resilient Racing Stable as a large part of his success at Batavia. I was working for Empowered Racing Stable with Carl Smith and they put me on the right foot with some power to drive. My own owners, the Resilient Stable, they gave me a great opportunity to train horses and I've done well. In regards to Empowered, "You know, they have great horses and spend a lot of money on horses and bring them to these tracks. I broke the track trotting record this year with their mare Mystical Escapade," said McDonough. In addition to the smashing record setting performance by Mystical Escapade who would go onto be named Trotter of the Year at Batavia, McDonough also broke a track record with the pacing mare Xenia Hanover by virtue of a blowout eight length win in 1:53. Other horses of note from McDonough are Cactus Jack and Resilient Stable's millionaire trotter, Self Professed. McDonough said that his best of claim of the year was Debs Girloffortune. "I claimed her for $4,000 and she made almost $16,000 just at Batavia for me. I think she missed one check in about twenty starts." Even with the breakout success at Buffalo, it was hard for McDonough to envision just how much of that would carry over into the Batavia season. "Heading into the meet someone had asked me how many wins I'd get, and I thought maybe 75 or so. I can't explain it but for some reason every year I have better luck at Batavia than I do at Buffalo. Being a provisional driver I didn't know what the opportunities would be like, but a lot of my buddies are good trainers and they all helped to put me on the map pretty good." McDonough continued, "I never thought realistically I would hit the 100 mark; it was just a great year. I'm thankful for my owners, all my family and friends. I've got a good helper too with my girlfriend Ashley Holiday who helps out a lot. We've got a really great team here and everything clicked." In becoming the first provisional driver to ever win a track dash title, it does beg the question: Why is McDonough still a provisional driver in the first place? By the very definition of what a provisional license essentially is, it's almost inexplicable that McDonough remains under that classification. Ultimately, it is only the state appointed judges presiding at Buffalo/Batavia that can grant McDonough to a full "A" driver status. But despite the subjective nature at which that determination is made, McDonough has laughably outpaced what the standard minimum requirements are, pursuant to the United States Trotting Association 2014 Bylaws. There are a number of different ways that minimum requirements can be met, but generally speaking what's required while holding a 'P' license is one year driving experience, plus 25 satisfactory pari-mutuel starts and a win requirement of 5 wins. McDonough has held a 'P' license now for 4 years and in just this single year alone, he has won 174 times with earnings in excess of $900,000. Searching for an answer, McDonough said "I asked at the beginning of the Batavia meet why I can't yet have an 'A' license and didn't really get an answer, so I told myself that I'm going to have to go out there and try to win a title to show the judges. I'm not sure how it makes them look having a 'P' driver go out there and win a title, but you can't argue with them." He continued, "They're actually the ones that told me towards the end of the meet that I was going to be the first 'P' driver to win a dash title and break history, I didn't even know that." McDonough added, "I had an opportunity to go to the Meadowlands and drive for Empowered Racing. They asked me to go with them but I wasn't able to (because of the 'P' status). All I can do is be patient and keep it going. Just this year I've had close to 180 wins; I'm not dangerous and haven't caused any accidents - nothing." The next time we'll see McDonough in action is when Buffalo starts their new season on January 8. Until then, he's giving his horses time off for a little break. As for plans later down the road McDonough says "I'm just being patient. If I have a good year again maybe we'll look at trying Pocono. If I get a couple of my guys to go and get owners like Empowered and Resilient to move their stock we'll see what happens." In the meanwhile, McDonough will enter 2014 seeking his second consecutive track title in Western New York. Unheard of for a 'provisional' driver. by, Brett Sturman for The Racing Beard

BATAVIA, NY --- America's oldest lighted harness track, Batavia Downs Gaming, concluded its 67th season of live harness racing on Saturday night (Dec.7) with a 13-race program, billed as the Night of Distinction. Awards were presented in several categories by the President of Upstate NY Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association, Tim Bojarski. Also trackside was delegate Sam Pendolino. Closing night featured a must pay out Pick-6 contest that over 300 racing fans participated in. Steven Bennett of Rochester and Daniel Coughlin of nearby Oakfield, picked the most winners and took home $500 each. For the second consecutive week, Dont Say Goodby ($16.60) used a strong drive in the lane to rally from far back and capture the featured $8,500 Open Pace in 1:54.4 over the fast track. OK Braveheart (Ken Holliday) sent the fractions of 27.1, 56.2 and 1:25.3 but called it a night just past the three-quarter marker. But it was a wake-up call for Dont Say Goodby there as driver Drew Monti sent him four-wide around the final turn and was by far the strongest in the race to the wire. He finished a length in front of Unicorn Hanover (Jim McNeight) while JS Tango (Ray Fisher Jr.) finished in third. "He's a really good horse," Rising Star Award recipient Drew Monti said. You just have to point him, he was loaded (with pace) at the wire. Trained by Charles Stewart and owned by Derek Menchhofer, Dont Say Goodby has now won seven times and has earned $67,827 this season and $165,487 lifetime. The meets dash leading reinsman, Shawn McDonough, ended the Western New York racing season with a driving four-bagger. John Mungillo was the Downs top conditioner. Live racing is tentatively scheduled to resume at Batavia Downs on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, pending New York Gaming Commission approval. Effective Sunday, December 8, simulcasting wagering is offered on a daily basis. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs

Akron, NY--The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has announced the award winners for top performing horsemen for 2013 as well as the Batavia Downs meet. Ray Fisher Jr. has been named the western New York driver of the year. 2013 was an enigma for Ray Fisher because a mid-year accident that could have just as easily killed him ultimately drove him to produce one of the best years of his career. On July 12 at the Buffalo Raceway meet he was the leading reinsman at; Fisher went down in a horrific accident involving half the field and suffered a fractured pelvis and two broken vertebrae. Despite the dire diagnosis, Fisher was seen at his barn the following morning and returned to driving only 20 days later. Without missing a beat, the 45 year-old Geauga, Ohio native righted the ship and went back on a driving tear that hasn't slowed up since. For the year, Fisher has scored 233 wins, 190 seconds and 182 thirds from 1,349 starts. His $1,198,955 in purses is a career best and his .296 UDR was his second best ever. Those numbers push his career totals to 3,537 wins and $14,183,533 in earnings. Fisher was the leading dash driver at the completed Buffalo meet and is currently second at Batavia with only two nights of racing left. The western New York trainer of the year is John Mungillo. To say that John Mungillo had a career year would be an understatement. His 775 starts, 154 wins and $675,746 in earnings were all lifetime bests for him by a good margin. And his .309 UTR was not far off his previous best effort. Those numbers bring his career stats to 731 wins and $2,820,586 in the bank. Mungillo will also be recognized as the trainer of the meet for the current Batavia Downs session. His 65 wins, 38 seconds and 37 thirds earned his owners $252,134 and solidified his spot as the top conditioner at the Genesee County oval. The Batavia Downs driver of the meet is Shawn McDonough. 23 year-old Shawn McDonough has accomplished quite a bit in 2013. Finding himself a commodity among trainers this year, he parlayed that in-demand status into some pretty impressive numbers. He found the winners circle at the Downs 94 times and has a legitimate shot to break the century mark by Saturday night. And checks amounting to $452,740 have been distributed to his respective owners as a result of his performances. For the year McDonough has 173 wins, 176 seconds and 193 thirds from 1,252 starts and has pocketed $896,204 in spoils. Those are all career-best totals by far. Shawn McDonough is a fourth-year provisional driver and is a rarity to be a "P" and a dash winning champion for a meet. Ray Fisher Jr., John Mungillo and Shawn McDonough will be presented their awards during the UNY-USHWA "Night of Distinction" this Saturday night (Dec. 7) in the winner's circle at Batavia Downs. Here is a complete list of award winners that will be honored: WNY Driver of the Year- Ray Fisher Jr. WNY Trainer of the Year- John Mungillo Batavia Downs Driver of the Meet- Shawn McDonough Batavia Downs Trainer of the Meet-John Mungillo WNY Comeback Driver of the Year-Ron Beback Jr. WNY Rising Star-Drew Monti Good Guy Award- Paul White WNY Horse of the Year- Naked News Batavia Downs Trotter of the Meet-Mystical Escapade Batavia Downs Pacer of the Meet- Fireyourguns   Tim Bojarski Hoof Beats Magazine Columnist United States Harness Writers Assn. National VP-USHWA President-Upstate NY Chapter  

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. --- It looked like things weren't going to go well for Dont Say Goodby at the top of the stretch, but by the time he reached the wire, he was saying "hello there" in posting a surprising $29.00 victory.   Dont Say Goodby (Shawn McDonough) rallied from fifth place in the passing lane and stunned the pace-setting OK Braveheart by three-quarters of a length in the $8,500 Open Pace at Batavia Downs Saturday night (Nov. 30).   Ok Braveheart (Kevin Cummings) as expected set the fractions with times of 29.1, 57.3, 1:25.4. It appeared that OK Braveheart was ready for a battle with a stubborn Unicorn Hanover down the stretch for the victory. But sitting fifth and 4-1/4 lengths off the lead, Dont Say Goodby found plenty of room in the passing lane and roared past the front runners to notch the upset win in 1:55.3.   OK Braveheart finished second while Unicorn Hanover (Ron Beback Jr.) finished in third.   It was the sixth win of the season for Dont Say Goodby (Dontgetinmyway-Good By Albatross) who is owned by Derek Menchhofer and trained by Charles Stewart. The 5-year-old gelding has now earned $62,577 in 2013 and $161,137 lifetime.   Reinsman Shawn McDonough and Ray Fisher Jr. had triples on the night while Ron Beback Jr. scored a double.   The final week of racing for 2013 starts on Wednesday night with a 12-race card beginning at 6:30 p.m. The feature is the seventh race with the $8,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace to take center stage.   For more information including upcoming promotions, latest news, statistics and race replays, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs    

BATAVIA, NY --- The Western New York Harness horseman raced around the Batavia Downs oval on Wednesday night with one thing on their mind, helping out fellow horseman, Anthony Coletta. And did they ever, horse owners, trainers, and drivers donated in most cases all of their Wednesday night earnings to "Stay Strong A. Coletta" fund. Coletta was badly injured in a racing accident on Nov. 17 at Harrah's Philadelphia. The official amount raised won't be known for a few days but with so many helping out the total will exceed $2500. V'La Faire scores in Mares Open It's a good thing that races at Batavia Downs are a mile in length as V'La Faire ($3.30) needed every inch of it to post a victory in the $8,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace on Wednesday night (Nov. 27). V'La Faire (Shawn McDonough) sat the garden spot, dropped into the passing lane, and nudged out Artsy Princess (Kevin Cummings) by a neck in the shadow of the wire in 1:58 over the good track. Red Star Fiona, a winner of three straight races, set the tempo by posting fractions of 29.4, 1:00.2, 1:29.0 but had to settle for third for driver Ray Fisher Jr. It was the sixth win of the season for V'La Faire (Village Jove-Trade Fair). The 6-year-old mare is owned by Oakhurst Farms and trained by Richard Tomaszewski. She has now earned $54,180 in 2013 and $184,306 lifetime. Racing continues on Friday night with a 12-race program scheduled. The feature is the $8,500 Open Trot with the red-hot Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) the 3-1 morning line choice despite being assigned the eight post. There are just five race nights left in the 2013 Batavia Downs' season. For more information including race replays, statistics, news and upcoming promotions, click here:  by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs    

Batavia, NY --- Thanksgiving is set for Thursday but Wednesday night (Nov. 27) at Batavia Downs, the true meaning and spirit of the holiday season will be front and center as many in the driver's colony, along with trainers and owners, will be donating their earnings from the 12-race program in support of Harrah's Philadelphia driver Anthony Coletta who was seriously injured in an on-track accident last Sunday (Nov. 17). The Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association will be making a donation on behalf of all the local horsemen to the Anthony Coletta Fund. But drivers John Cummings, Jr., Ken Holliday, Shawn McDonough, Ray Fisher, Jr., David McNeight III, Drew Monti, Jim McNeight, Kevin Cummings, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. and Denny Bucceri, along with trainers Ryan Swift and David McNeight, Jr., are taking it a step further. They are giving their entire night's earnings to the "Stay Strong Anthony Coletta" fund. Shawn McDonough, Batavia Downs' current leading driver, was the first to commit for the Coletta cause. He said, "I've never met him but I just want to support another driver and his family. It's Thanksgiving time and it just seemed like the right thing to do." The owners of Puff Mommy, My Red Hot Momma, Artsy Princess and Self Professed will contribute 10 percent of their earnings on Wednesday night to the cause. Batavia Downs' effort is being spearheaded by assistant parade marshall Jami Chatt, whose grandfather is former Western New York driving great Fred Haslip and mother is Cherie Chatt, who also was a driver. Chatt, who has never met Anthony Coletta, said, "Sometimes people tend to forget the dangers these drivers put themselves in so we can make a living or find enjoyment in the sport. I just want to help make the financial stress easier on Anthony's family." Besides the Batavia Downs drivers, trainers and owners giving their purse winnings on Wednesday, donations will be accepted at the track for those fans wanting to contribute to the "Stay Strong Anthony Coletta" fund. Fans will also be able to bid on a Batavia Downs Gaming package valued at $250, courtesy of the WNYHHA. The package includes one night hotel accommodations at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia, $50 in food and $100 in gaming free play for Batavia Downs Gaming. The silent auction begins at 5 p.m. in the Paddock Room. Todd Haight, Batavia Downs' General Manager of Live Racing, said, "I've always said the Western New York horsemen are extremely generous people. Wednesday should be a very special night around here. Now, hopefully the weather will cooperate." Batavia Downs is one of many tracks and organizations throughout North America that have stepped up and started fundraising campaigns for Coletta. It is hopeful that wristbands will arrive in time for Wednesday's card that fan can purchase in support of Coletta. For those not attending the races but who want to help out, a fund has been set up. You can make a contribution to the "Stay Strong Anthony Coletta" Fund, c/o TD Bank, 2653 South 5th St., Philadelphia, PA 19148. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs  

Lutetium Rolls To Easy Score In Batavia Downs Open Trot BATAVIA, N.Y. --- The cold, rainy weather at Batavia Downs Friday night (Nov. 22) didn't dampen the spirits of Lutetium ($5.80) as he made it two straight victories in the $8,500 Open Trot with a 1:59.1 time over a sloppy track. Last week, Lutetium scored a front-running two-length victory but Friday he had the field waving the white flag at the top of the stretch, drawing away to a seven-length win. Lutetium went gate-to-wire and the race was never in doubt, especially after the pocket-sitter R A's Shakenbake broke stride midway around the final turn. The 6-year-old Lutetium (Credit Winner-Luby) was put on the lead from the start by driver Kevin Cummings and registered times of 29.0, 59.0, 1:28.3 in posting his 10th win of the season. Haste (Jim McNeight) finished a distant second and Heartsaregonnaroll (Shawn McDonough) picked up the show spot. Owned by Colleen Girdlestone and trained by Mark Laidlaw, Lutetium pushed his seasonal bankroll to $51,759 and $179,331 lifetime. Kevin Cummings continued his hot hand on Friday night driving home three more winners while John Cummings Jr. and Ray Fisher Jr. had doubles. A 12-race program is scheduled for Saturday night with post time at 6:30 p.m. The $8,500 Open Pace is the feature and is set to go as the seventh race. Unicorn Hanover is the 5-2 morning line choice and will score from the five post with Greg Merton in the sulky. There are just seven days of racing left on the 2013 Batavia Downs' season. For more information including schedule, upcoming promotions, race replays and news, go to by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs  

BATAVIA, N.Y. --- Red Star Fiona was the 'shining star' once again Wednesday night (Nov. 20) as she won her second consecutive $8,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace at Batavia Downs, easily topping V'La Faire by 2-1/2 lengths.   Leaving from post two, Red Star Fiona (Ray Fisher Jr.) had no trouble in reaching the top as Missmaximus (Ron Beback Jr.), scoring from the rail, missed the starting gate. That left Red Star Fiona on an uncontested lead and the 6-year-old mare never looked back.   She posted fractions of 29.0, 58.1, 1:26.2 in registering a winning time of 1:55.2 over the fast track on the crisp fall night. Last week, the JD Perrin-trained Red Star Fiona went gate-to-wire in 1:57.2.  V'La Faire (Shawn McDonough) and Hugs Again (Drew Monti) never threatened in the lane and finished second and third respectively.   It was the 13th victory in 38 appearances this season for Red Star Fiona (Island Fantasy-Red Star Tipper). She has now earned $38,684 for owner Justin Anderson in 2013.   Ronnie Wrenn Jr. led all reinsman with a driving triple while Ron Beback Jr., Ray Fisher Jr. and Jim McNeight all had doubles.   The harness racing action resumes on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. with a 12-race program scheduled. The seventh race is the featured $8,500 Open Trot where Lutetium is the 3-1 morning line choice with Kevin Cummings in the bike. There are only 8 more racing nights left in the 2013 season.   For news, upcoming promotions, statistics, race replays and more, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs    

BATAVIA, N.Y. ---- Unicorn Hanover has been saddled with outside post positions the past three weeks but showed to be competitive with some late speed. On Saturday night (Nov. 16), a better post and a perfect trip allowed Unicorn Hanover ($7.30) to show off that late kick resulting in a 1-1/4 length victory in the $8,000 Open I-II Pace at Batavia Downs. Sitting fourth behind the pace-setting OK Braveheart, who put up fractions of 29.0, 58.1, and 1:26.3, Unicorn Hanover (Greg Merton) fanned out three-wide down the lane and posted a sizzling 27.4 final panel to easily cruise to the victory in 1:54.4 over the fast track. Veto Hanover (Shawn McDonough) took the place position while the pocket sitter, Racsan Steve (Jack Flanigen), captured the show spot. It was the third victory of season for Unicorn Hanover (Four Starzz Shark-Up Front Georgia) who has now earned $46,550 in 2013 and $308,422 lifetime. The 6-year-old gelding is owned by the Empowered Racing Stable and trained by Carl Smith. Merton, who had a driving triple, lit up the board a race later as he steered Hans Knows Best to a $182.00 victory. Kevin Cummings, fresh off a six-win performance on Friday night and Downs dash leader, Shawn McDonough, notched doubles. The racing continues on Wednesday night with a 12-race program to get underway at 6:30 p.m. The feature will be the seventh race where the $8,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace will take place. Red Star Fiona seeks back-to-back victories and will open as the 5-2 morning line favorite. Ray Fisher Jr. will score Red Star Fiona from the two post. There are only 9 more nights remaining in the 2013 season. For the latest news, upcoming schedule, promotions and race replays, go to by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs  

BATAVIA, N.Y. --- Back when Batavia Downs opened its season on July 22, there wasn't a clear-cut favorite to win the driver's title. With nearly four months of racing in the books and just 11 programs left, the quest for the championship is basically still up in the air.   Shawn McDonough, a provisional 22-year-old driver, has been in front for the past three months after taking over from early leader Greg Merton. McDonough's lead has been quite comfortable until recently as defending Buffalo Raceway champion Ray Fisher Jr. started to cut into the lead. Should McDonough hold onto his lead, he could be the first provisional driver to ever win a title at any track.   Going into this weekend's action, McDonough is on top of the leader board with 82 victories while Fisher Jr. has 72. Ron Beback Jr. has been on fire of late as well and sits in third place with 70 wins, still with a shot at the title.   "I'm happy to be in the position I'm at," Shawn McDonough said. "But I know Ray and Ronnie can win races in bunches so the title probably won't decided until closing night."    On the trainer's side, John Mungillo has been the leader since opening night but his huge advantage has evaporated as well. Mungillo has 58 wins in 2013 at Batavia Downs but JD Perrin is still within reach with 50 wins.   It's safe to say that nothing will be decided when the 'Night of Distinction' awards ceremony, sponsored by the Upstate New York Harness Writer's Association is held on closing night, December 7.    There should be some great races among the drivers and trainers until then to see who brings home the hardware.   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs

BATAVIA, N.Y. --- Despite some bad luck, it turned out to be a good night for Goodnite Goodluck at Batavia Downs Saturday (Nov. 9) as he scored an impressive 1-1/2 length victory over Veto Hanover in the $8,500 Open Pace in 1:55.2 over a fast track. Things looked bleak for Goodnite Goodluck ($6.20) in the beginning as the pace-setting Rush Rules (Rock Vinci) had the winner in long-term parking for nearly three quarters of a mile. But Goodnite Goodluck (Ron Beback Jr.) didn't drop anchor despite the long trip. He showed plenty of heart, clearing the field at the three-quarter marker and paced away with little threat from runner up Veto Hanover (Shawn McDonough) and third place finisher Dontgetinskyway (David McNeight III) in the stretch. It was the third straight win for Goodnite Goodluck and ninth on the season. He is owned by Mark Jakubik and trained by J.D. Perrin, who conditioned three winners on the night. The win put Goodnite Goodluck's seasonal earnings to $64,760 and $287,147 lifetime. Reinsman Ray Fisher Jr. lead all drivers with three winners while Shawn McDonough, Dave McNeight III and Ron Beback Jr., all had doubles. On the training side, J D Perrin scored a triple. Harness racing action returns on Wednesday night with a 12-race program slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. The $8,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace will be the featured event with Artsy Princess the 5-2 morning line choice. Kevin Cummings will be in the sulky. For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and statistics, go to by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs  

BATAVIA, N.Y. --- Winbak Your Kash ($10.00) made the trip to Western New York worth it as she scored a length victory over You're Too Funny in the featured $8,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace Wednesday night (Nov. 6) at Batavia Downs. Driven by North America's leading reinsman Ronnie Wrenn Jr., the Vernon Downs invader went gate-to-wire in 1:56.2 to register the victory. Winbak Your Kash benefited by a 30.0 second quarter in getting to the half in 59.1 over the fast track. The 5-year-old mare (Artiscape-Lizbet Kash) then put up a blistering 57.1 final half to keep the remainder of the field at bay. You're Too Funny (Jack Flanigen) rode the rail for second while Xenia Hanover (Shawn McDonough) finished in third. Winbak Your Kash is owned by Robert Siemski and is trained by Jessica Okusko. The win was Winbak Your Kash's sixth of the season and improved her winnings to $37,311. The $8,500 Open Trot will highlight the 12-race program on Friday night with first post scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Mystical Escapade is the 5-2 morning line favorite and drew the rail with driver Greg Merton in the bike. The feature will go off as the sixth race. For more information including race replays, upcoming promotions, news and statistics, go to by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs  

BATAVIA, N.Y. --- A hot pace on the front end was the perfect set up for the closer What The Sheik ($13.00) in the $8,500 Open Pace at Batavia Downs Saturday night (Oct. 26). After watching the heavily favored OK Braveheart (Shawn McDonough) put up some hot fractions of 27.3, 57.3 and 1:26.2 on the brisk, windy evening, What The Sheik (Ray Fisher, Jr.) used a perfectly timed three-wide brush down the backstretch and never looked back. The 6-year-old horse used a 28.3 final panel to put away the field and register the 4-1/2 length win over Unicorn Hanover (Greg Merton) in 1:55.2. Allamerican Improv (David McNeight III) and Racsan Steve (Jack Flanigen) finished in a dead heat for show. Ray Fisher, Jr. and Ron Beback, Jr. both had big Saturday nights, guiding home four winners apiece. Owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama, What The Sheik (Western Terror-Radiant Heiress) posted his eighth win of the season and upped his 2013 earnings to $58,997 and $348,846 lifetime. The harness racing resumes on Wednesday night with a 12-race program slated with the first post set for 6:30 p.m. North America's leading driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. returns once again and is scheduled to race in all 12 events including the featured $8,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace. He'll be aboard last week's winner Umygeorgia Hanover who will be seeking her 14th win of the campaign. Wrenn Jr. had four winners last week at Batavia Downs and is currently atop the driver's standings with 579 victories on the season. The entire card will be telecast on Time-Warner Cable, Channel 98 in Rochester and the surrounding area with track announcer Joe Zambito and Ashley Holliday the co-hosts. For more information including the latest news, race replays, statistics and upcoming promotions, go to . by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs

BATAVIA, N.Y. --- It was 'Ladies Night' at Batavia Downs Friday evening (Oct. 25) as the 4-year-old mare Mystical Escapade (Greg Merton) beat the boys in the $8,500 Open Trot in 1:58.3 over a fast track. In her last appearance on October 11, Mystical Escapade rolled to a 2-1/4 length win in the Open Trot. After a week off, she returned ready and rolled to a 1-1/2 length victory as she easily held off Absolutely Certain (Jim McNeight) and Headingforaruckus (David McNeight III). The heavily-favored BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) made a rare break in stride at the start and lost all hope. Lutetium (Ray Fisher Jr.) had set the tempo and posted fractions of 28.2, 57.3 and 1:27.4 but threw in the towel at the three-quarter pole. Mystical Escapade was poised on the outside and trotted strongly in the stretch to notch her second consecutive win in the Open Trot. It was the seventh win of the season for Mystical Escapade ($8.10) who is owned by the Empowered Racing Stable and trained by Carl Smith. The victory sent her 2013 winnings to $82,721 and $143,321 lifetime. Provisional driver Drew Monti had a big Friday night guiding home four winners. A 13-race program is set for Saturday night with the first post scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The $8,500 Open Pace is the featured event and will go off as the sixth race. OK Braveheart is the 5-2 morning line choice and will start from the three hole with Batavia Downs' leading driver Shawn McDonough in the bike. For more information including the latest news, statistics, upcoming promotions and race replays, go to by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs  

BATAVIA, N.Y. --- It was a successful debut for Umygeorgia Hanover and North America's leading dash driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. at Batavia Downs Wednesday night (Oct. 23) as the pair combined to romp to victory in the $8,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace. It was the 13th victory of the season for Umygeorgia Hanover ($4.00) who was stepping up in class after coming off a 2-1/2 victory in 1:53 on Oct. 11 at Northfield Park. The 5-year-old mare found her new surroundings to her liking as she rolled to a 3-3/4 length win over Artsy Princess (Kevin Cummings) and Xenia Hanover (Shawn McDonough) in 1:54.3 over the fast track. There were three lead changes in the race as You're Too Funny, Real Joy and Devin Pulse all showed the way at some point. But before the three-quarter marker, Umygeorgia Hanover took command and never looked back, using a 29.2 final panel to secure the victory. Umygeorgia Hanover (Camluck-Up Front Georgia) is owned by Gregory Gardner and trained by Ronald Best. The win upped her season winnings to $39,767 and $92,164 lifetime. Wrenn, Jr., who entered the night with 572 victories on the season, added to that total as he posted a driving four-bagger. The racing action resumes on Friday night with a 12-race card scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. The feature on the program will be the $8,500 Open Trot where BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) will open as the 5-2 morning line favorite, scoring from the four post. For additional information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and statistics, go to by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs

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