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The marquee event at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 3) was the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace. But harness racing history and outstanding performances in other races combined to provided a show that those in attendance won't soon forget. In the main event, Atta Boy Dan led at every post en route to a three-length victory in the 13th annual Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace. Off the gate, Atta Boy Dan (Jim Morrill Jr.) rebuffed early challenges from Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) and Doctor Butch (Jim Marohn Jr.) and seated them both past the eighth pole. Then after the field followed in single file to a :27.4 quarter, Morrill backed off the half to :56.3 and took full control of the race. Royal Heart (Drew Monti) started an outer flow into the clubhouse turn and had Aslan (Sean McDonough) in tow, but no one got closer than two-lengths before they hit the head of the stretch. From there, Fireyourguns pulled the pocket for one last shot but Atta Boy Dan, pacing his last quarter in :27.4, was just too good and pulled away to an easy win in 1:52.1. Fireyourguns hung on to be second and Aslan came up to be third. "I had a smooth journey to the half and as soon as I called on him, he was on cruise right to the wire. That was a good horse (Fireyourguns) sitting on my back and I was a little worried about him, but mine felt pretty good too. I wish I could have a Burke horse off the rail every year in this race" said winning driver Jim Morrill Jr. It was the sixteenth victory of the year for Atta Boy Dan ($2.30) and the winner's share boosted his earning to $222,757 in 2015 for owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi. Atta Boy Dan was just part of the story for Jim Morrill Jr. on Saturday night as he won seven races out of the 11 he had on the card. Combine those with a second and third he also had and Morrill posted an amazing .717 UDR for the evening. The all-time pacing track record of 1:51.1 was not broken in the race; however trotting history was made instead. Lutetium got back to his front-running comfort zone and destroyed the field in the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot. In a late driver change, John Cummings Jr. was tapped to steer Lutetium and wasted no time earning his keep. When prohibitive betting favorite, Tall Cotton made a break in the first turn, Cummings rushed Lutetium away and opened up a gap of as much as 15 lengths between himself and the rest of the field through fractions of :27.1, :55.4 and 1:25.1 before scooting home to a six-length victory in 1:55.2. The winning time broke the existing track record of 1:56 for aged trotting geldings that was co-held by Lutetium and Second Hand News, both who set that mark in 2014. "They said he hasn't been leaving well lately, so I scored him down fast. Once he got the front in the race; the more I grabbed him, the more he went on. I was a passenger" said Cummings Jr. It was the ninth win of the year for Lutetium and it pushed his bank account to $68,886 for owner Colleen Girdlestone and trainer Mark Laidlaw. Overlooked at 10-1, Lutetium returned $22.60. This was just one of three wins for John Cummings Jr., who scored the hat trick on the night. There were also two, $50,000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) consolation events on the card for 2-year-old colts and geldings and also fillies. The boy's division was won by Southern Palms (RC Royalty-Pacific Elegance) in 1:59.2. The post-time favorite went wire to wire and won by four-lengths. It was the first career win for Southern Palms ($4.40) who is trained by Erv Miller for owners Ronald Michelon and Anthony Lombardi. After the race, winning driver Jim Marohn Jr. said "Erv (Miller) tipped me off that he was a handful tonight; and he was!" The distaff leg went to Royal Surprise (RC Royalty-Miss Conway), also in 1:59.2. After getting away fourth, the filly tipped three-deep at three-quarters and pulled away to a two-length win. It was also the first career win for Royal Surprise ($6.50) who is trained by Dan Daley for owners Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford, Richard Lombardo and Michael White. "She was good the whole mile and when I asked her, she just trotted away. She was good tonight" said winning driver Jim Morrill Jr. There was a huge crowd on hand Saturday night and the fans both in the stands and watching remotely, were putting some money through the windows. The total handle was up 15% this year, versus Kane night of 2014. The Paddock Room and enclosed grandstand were very crowded and the clubhouse was sold out once again. There were so many people in line to receive their free Kane Pace t-shirt, it took over two races to distribute the goods. Racing will reconvene at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 7) for a 12-race program that will commence at 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations  

Batavia, NY--- Possibly the finest overall field of Open pacers to ever set hoof on the Batavia Downs racing surface will come together for the 13th annual Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace on Saturday night (Oct. 3). The harness racing card will offer $220,950 in total purses, the second highest amount in the history of the track behind September 9, 1988; the night that featured the only Breeders Crown to ever be contested at the Downs. ($321,656 in total purses) A newly-crowned world record holder, two millionaires and one of the grittiest top-end pacers in the north-east lead an all-star field to post in pursuit of the $50,000 purse and possible new all-time track record. Installed as the morning line 5-2 choice is Atta Boy Dan (Western Terror-Dropitlikeitshot) who is from the powerful Ron Burke Stable. This 6-year-old gelding has three Open wins at three different tracks in his last four starts. His mark of 1:49.1 was taken at the Meadows on July 8 and was only one of six, sub-1:50 mile wins he registered this year. He has 15 wins in 2015 and is 24 out of 27 in the money. Leaving from post one, Jim Morrill Jr. will be driving Atta Boy Dan for the first time since June 15, 2013, when he guided him to victory in 1:50.1 at Pocono Downs. New world record holder, Royal Heart (Royal Art-BJ's Sunrise), is the second choice at 3-1 and lines up next to the favorite in post two. Royal Heart made history last week at Saratoga Raceway when he toured that facility in 1:50 flat, which was a new lifetime mark for the 4-year-old gelding and also made him the fastest 4-year-old pacing gelding ever over a half mile track. He comes into this event razor sharp, looking to register his tenth win of the year. Trainer Jose Godinez has given Drew Monti the driving duties and looks to benefit from some pretty stiff front-end speed. Doctor Butch (Art Major-Classical Yankee) enters this race on the heels of finishing two-lengths behind Mach It So and Foiled Again (who won the Kane Memorial twice) in 1:51.1 in the $150,000 Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway. This 5-year-old horse has seven, sub-1:50 wins this year including three timed in 1:48.1 (his lifetime mark), 1:48.2 and 1:48.4. He also paced in 1:48.2 twice while finishing third. All the 1:48 miles were at the Meadowlands. In all, Doctor Butch has 9 wins and purses totaling $214,165 for the year. Lifetime he has won just over $1 million in purses. Trainer Linda Toscano has Jim Marohn Jr. in the bike and they will leave from post five listed at 7-2. The second millionaire in the race is Luck Be With You (Western Ideal-Trim Hanover) and he comes into this race on a bit of a roll. Luck Be With You has faced the toughest Open pacers all year and the highlight of the campaign was definitely his victory in the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace at Pocono Downs on July 4, when he went coast to coast in 1:49 beating the heavily favored State Treasurer. In August, he was shipped to Canada to compete at Mohawk Raceway and raced in the tough Preferred company there. But after several disappointing starts was shipped back to the States, where he has caught fire once again. He has since won back to back starts at Pocono Downs in 1:49.1 and 1:50.2. Trainer Chris Oakes brings Luck Be With You in with much momentum and has Batavia Downs driving leader, Kevin Cummings, at the lines. Cummings and the seven-time winner will leave from post eight, preliminarily rated at 5-1. The entire field is as follows: 1 Atta Boy Dan - Jim Morrill Jr. 5-2 2 Royal Heart - Drew Monti 3-1 3 Aslan Shawn - McDonough 8-1 4 Fireyourguns - Mike Caprio 7-1 5 Doctor Butch - Jim Marohn Jr. 7-2 6 Frankies Dragon - Ronnie Wrenn Jr. 10-1 7 Cobble Beach - John Cummings Jr. 15-1 8 Luck Be With You - Kevin Cummings 5-1 The current all-time pacing track record at Batavia Downs is 1:51.1 set by Aracache Hanover in 2011, which was taken when he won the Kane Memorial Pace that year. There is also an outstanding undercard on Saturday night's 12-race schedule. The $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot has Ron Burke's Tall Cotton shipping in from the Meadows to take on local favorites BZ Glide and Lutetium. And two $50,000 divisions of New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) consolation races for 2-year-old trotters will feature eight fillies and eight colts and geldings going postward. Post time for the first race is 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations  

Batavia, NY--- Batavia Downs race track held a fundraiser Wednesday night (Sept. 30) to help support the family of harness racing driver Brad Hanners. The event was overseen by Jami Rae Chatt, whose enthusiasm and passion to help others definitely rubbed off on the owners, trainers, drivers and even the fans of the Downs, as they all pitched in together to raise $9,200 for the Hanners family. Brad's Aunt, Ann Coe, was on hand Wednesday and was truly moved by the outpouring of support that everyone at the races that night provided. She spoke with many on hand near the silent auction area and was greeted by all in a winner's circle presentation after the tenth race. Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs said "Batavia Downs would like to thank everyone for their generosity in making this fundraiser a huge success. It was truly a touching and remarkable night. I would also like to thank Jami Rae Chatt for once again leading the way with this effort and making it a winner for Brad's family." By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations  

Taking full advantage of post and position in the race, Climate Hanover ($5.10) scored an impressive harness racing victory in the $8,500 Open mares pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 30). Starting from the pylons, Climate Hanover (Drew Monti) yielded the lead to a hard charging Country Delight (Jack Flanigen) who left from post eight. With the field then following the leader in post-position order, Country Delight led the girls to a modest :58 half. Past that station, Call Me Maybe (Shawn McDonough) was motoring on the outside and drew near-even with the leader at three quarters in 1:26.4. Those two then battled on top until the head of the stretch when the passing lane opened and left clear passage for the pocket-sitting Climate Hanover to shoot through and pull away to a two-length victory in 1:55.4. It was the seventh win of the year for the 5-year-old Western Ideal mare and the winner's share of the purse boosted her 2015 income to $57,284 for owner James Caradori. Climate Hanover is trained by Darrin Monti. Climate Hanover's triumph capped off a three-win night for driver Drew Monti, who also took post-race pictures with Maradona ($14.60) and Old Mcheath ($11.40). Drivers Dave McNeight III and Ray Fisher Jr. also had driving doubles. Batavia Downs returns live on Friday night (Oct. 2) with a 12-race card that will begin at 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations  

Cobble Beach was in full command the entire way as he put a circle around the five-horse field in the $9,000 Open pacing feature at the harness racing meeting at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 26). Leaving from post four, Cobble Beach (John Cummings Jr.) shot right to the lead and took instant control of the race. While about five lengths back, prohibitive betting favorite Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) got away fourth and was content to stay there until the half. After hitting that station in :56.4, Caprio unleashed Fireyourguns and advanced as far as second at the three-quarter pole. But the assault creased when the gelding faded uncharacteristically around the far turn. From there, Cobble Beach paced home in a speedy :27.4 to win by three-lengths in 1:52.4. It was the eighth win of the year for Cobble Beach ($4.70) and the fourth top-class victory for him at Batavia Downs. The winners share boosted his bankroll to $67,565 for owner Leonard Segall and trainer James Clouser Jr. Saturday was a night of multiplicity for several horsemen. The driving/training team of Dave McNeight III and Dave McNeight Jr. scored a hat trick with Goldstar Thumper ($3.50), Maple Leaf Matt ($14.20) and Outoftexas ($7.30) while the driving/training team of John Cummings Jr. and James Clouser Jr. registered a double with Bad Bad Boy ($3.40) and Cobble Beach ($4.70). Shawn McDonough, Jack Flanigen and Ray Fisher Jr. also had driving doubles as well. The next card of live racing will be Wednesday (Sept. 30) at Batavia Downs with post time set for 6:35 p.m. Tim Bojarski

Batavia, NY---BZ Glide ($6.10) made a change in race strategy pay off by going wire to wire in the $9,500 Open trot feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 25). In what seemed to be a race from a parallel universe, nothing that is known to normally happen, occurred. BZ Glide (Mike Caprio), who almost always comes from off the pace, went right for the lead. And habitual frontrunner, Lutetium (Kevin Cummings), settled in the garden spot, opting to let someone else dictate the race. In the end the contrary methodology of one paid off while the other, not so much. BZ Glide performed like a well-oiled machine on top, covering scads of ground with his long, fluid stride. He controlled the field by a loose length the entire race under a passive hand-drive by Caprio, setting fractions of :28.2, :58.4 and 1:28.4 before rounding the final turn. As they headed down the stretch, Cummings directed Lutetium off his cover and tried to gain momentum on the pylons, but their attempt was ineffective as BZ Glide trotted home without issue in 1:57.4. It was the sixth win in 15 starts for BZ Glide this year and the winner's share of the purse boosted his earnings to $42,695 for owner Caprio LLC. The 6-year-old Yankee Glide gelding is trained by Alana Caprio. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 26) with a 6:35 p.m. post time. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Racing Media Relations  

What does a harness racing mare that raced the likes of Anndrovette, Table Talk, Color's A Virgin and Rocklamation just two months ago do when she comes to Batavia Downs? Win by four lengths in the $10,000 Open distaff pacing feature on Wednesday night (Sept. 23). The 4-year-old pacing mare Act Now, who just scorched the Open class ladies at Flamboro Downs in 1:53 flat last week, came south of the border on Wednesday to take on the best in Western New York. However the best weren't good enough to even challenge the invader who toured the facility unencumbered this night. Act Now (Kevin Cummings) left the gate and shot right to the front, opening up a three-length advantage; a lead that was extended up to six-lengths during the race. Cummings had a stranglehold on the mare through fractions of :27.2, :55.1 and 1:23.4 when talk of another track record started swirling through the press box. With the plugs popped and Cummings clearly driving with the time in mind, Act Now flew home with no opposition nearby, to win by four lengths in 1:53.3. The finishing time was only three-fifths of a second off the track record of 1:53 for aged pacing mares set by Xenia Hanover in 2013. It was the second win in 10 starts this year (including two in a row) for Act Now ($4.10) and her share of the purse boosted her lifetime earnings to $521,717 for owners Joseph Davino and Patrick O'Brien. The Western Ideal mare is trained by Nikolas Drennan. The Downs leading driver, Kevin Cummings, had five winners on the card Wednesday night. He took a picture with Socialdelight ($4.10), Dedalos ($4.20), Most Happy Rider ($4.70), Act Now ($4.10) and Mystical Danica ($5.10). Sean McDonough and Dave McNeight III both scored driving doubles. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 25) with the first race post time set at 6:35 p.m. Tim Bojarski

Winning the $9,000 Open pace at Batavia Downs seemed like a walk in the park for Cobble Beach on Saturday night (Sept. 19) as he made putting away the harness racing competition look pretty much, stress-free. Assigned post seven, Cobble Beach (Jack Flanigen) left sharply to take a lead he would not relinquish this night. With the field in post-position order behind him, Cobble Beach set fractions of :27.3 and :56.3 before a weak outer flow developed past five-eighths. As the group hit the six-furlong marker in 1:26.1, the outside threat failed just as Spender Hanover (Don Rothfuss) and Closing Credits (Dave McNeight III) came out to take their best shot after following quietly on the pylons. But their best wasn't good enough as Cobble Beach coasted to an easy two-length victory in 1:55.2. It was the sixth win in 32 starts for Cobble Beach ($8.40) this year and the purse increased his earnings to $63,065 for 2015. The 5-year-old gelded son of Artiscape is owned and trained by James Clouser Jr. The Downs top-two drivers, Kevin Cummings and Dave McNeight III, both scored driving triples Saturday while Jack Flanigen and Sean Mcdonough both doubled their pleasure. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Tuesday afternoon with the second (and final) twilight post time of 4:30 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations  

Batavia, NY---Serious George ($10.80) took full advantage of a favorable draw and a perfect trip to narrowly capture the $10,000 Open trot harness racing feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 18). Starting from the pylons, Serious George (Jack Flanigen) immediately yielded the front to post time favorite Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) in lieu of a garden spot journey. With two marginal players making breaks before the quarter, the seven-horse field had narrowed to five and the pace to the half slowed to a stodgy :59.2. With no legitimate challenges coming from behind, Lutetium maintained a two-length advantage to three-quarters in 1:28.2 and it looked like he was going to chalk up his ninth win of the season. But when they straightened out for home, Flanigen pulled Serious George and charged hard at the leader, snagging him at the wire to win his first Open of the year by a neck in 1:57.4. The finishing time equaled Serious Georges' lifetime mark set back on July 15 of this year; his only other win of 2015. The purse boosted his annual income to $31,447 for owner James Palladino. The winner is trained by Rich Mays. Jack Flanigen scored a driving hat-trick while Kevin Cummings, Sean McDonough and Dave McNeight III all visited the winner's circle twice during the evening. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 19) with the first post set for 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations  

Batavia, NY---A lightning-fast track and 80 degree temperatures greeted the New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old pacing fillies at Batavia Downs where two divisions offering a total of $109,000 in purses, along with important points needed to make the NYSS final, were up for grabs on Wednesday night (Sept. 16). Prohibitive 2-5 favorite Dime A Dance didn't dissapoint her backers as she put on a show in her $54,500 division, winning in definitive style and resetting the world's record for a 2-year-old pacing filly over a half-mile track. Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance Hanover) took off the pace fourth and watched as No Clouds Bluechip (Kevin Cummings) and American Ivy (Mark Macdonald) duked it out for the lead in a fast :26.4 quarter. From there, the field remained stagnant until the half when Mother Of Art (John Cummings Jr.) pulled first over from third and Dime A Dance (Matt Kakaley) took cover second-over behind her. The group picked up the pace with a :28.4 third panel but that wasn't fast enough for the eventual winner. Dime A Dance swung three-deep at that station and circled the field to clear and pull away by three-lengths in an impressive and uncontested victory in 1:52.4. The time was a new world's record for 2-year-old pacing fillies, besting that of Isabella Blue Chip's 1:53.1 at Delaware, Ohio in 2006. It was also a new track record for Batavia Downs, smashing the old standard of 1:54.2 set by Sassa Hanover just last year. "She's definitely one of the better fillies this year. She was just awesome tonight; she could have paced faster" said driver Matt Kakaley. It was the third win in eight starts for Dime A Dance ($2.90) and it pushed her earnings to $101,513 for owners Our Horse Cents Stable, Blue Chip Bloodstock and J&T Silva Stables. The filly is trained by Ron Burke. In the first $54,500 division, Encore Deo hung on strong down the lane for a close victory over Art Critic. Wishy Washy Girl (Ray Schnittker) took a quick, early lead before yielding to Encore Deo (Matt Kakaley) before the quarter that went in :28. The field remained single-file to the half before the heavily favored Upside Surprise (Mike Micallef) pulled from fifth to start her outside trek. Upside Surprise got to third and hung and couldn't gain anymore as the leader took the field to three quarters in 1:25.4. Positions stayed the same to the top of the stretch and Encore Deo was riding a short lead when Art Critic (Jim Morrill Jr.) swung inside the fading Wishy Washy Girl and came up the pylons. The two battled in deep stretch with Encore Deo just hanging on by a nose in 1:55.1. "I wanted to try her on the lead tonight. At three-quarters I thought I was going to win but it got a little close there at the end" said Matt Kakaley. It was the second win in eight starts for Encore Deo ($13.40) and the winning time was a new lifetime mark for the filly. The winner's share of the purse pushed her earnings to $56,578 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Jason Melillo and Lawrence Carr. Ron Burke mentors the filly. There were also two divisions of the $15,000 NYSS excelsior series on Wednesday. The first split was won by Major Millie (Art Major-Gravity) in 1:57. The filly is trained by Erv Miller and was driven to the victory by Matt Kakaley. Major Millie ($9.10) is owned by KDM Stables Corp. The second stanza was won by Milky Way Rae (American Ideal-Aurora Borealus) in a swift 1:55.3. She is trained by Tracy Brainard and was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Milky Way Rae ($3.90) is owned by Fortunate One LLC. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 18) at 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs    

Batavia, NY---The eighth and final division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) will visit Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 16) when fifteen 2-year-old pacing fillies congregate to vie for their share of the $109,000 in purses up for grabs. This will be the last time this class will compete before the $900,000 NYSS Night of Champions for 2-year-olds at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 26) and for some, the outcome of their performance here will dictate whether or not they make the cut in the point standings. The top-six point-getters are solid to make the final, but the last two slots are definitely up for grabs. The first $54,500 division (carded as race three) has four horses on the verge of making the final, but the morning-line favorite is making her first start in a NYSS event this year. Upside Surprise (Art Major-Latte Lady) got a late start to her career after being scratched sick in her first race back on July 10 at the Meadowlands. She did not return to the track until August 18 when she broke her maiden in a big way, winning by 10-lengths at Pocono Downs in 1:53.4. Her next engagement was the Shes A Great Lady Stake at Mohawk Raceway where she was second in her elimination before finishing sixth in the $341,250 final behind L A Delight in 1:51.2 on September 5. Upside Surprise (2-1) will leave from post 4 with Jordan Stratton at the lines for trainer Tony O'Sullivan. The next four horses by odds are all looking to capture those last two spots in the final and they all need a win to have a shot. But that is something three of them have not done all year. North American leading trainer, Ron Burke, has three horses in the race: Art Critic (Art Major-Snippet Hanover) and the coupled entry of Encore Deo (Rock N Roll Heaven-Docdor Cameo) and Rockin Date (Art Major- Rockin Beauty). Art Critic (3-1) has not won at all this year but also has not missed a check in NYSS action either. Her best race time was 1:54.3 at Vernon Downs just two starts ago and she put out a good performance at Yonkers last week as well. Art Critic will have Jim Morrill Jr. aboard and leave from post 2. Encore Deo (7-2) does have one NYSS victory at Buffalo Raceway back on July 1 in a career best 1:57.3. She was race timed at Vernon in 1:53 flat two starts ago and moves back inside after drawing post six at Yonkers last week. Encore Deo gets the driving services of Matt Kakaley and will leave from post three. Rockin Date (7-2) is also winless this year but also never seems to get beat by much. Unfortunately for her, after drawing post one and two four times in her last five starts, she moves out to post seven for tonight and that will be difficult to overcome. Local driving leader Kevin Cummings picks up the lines for the contest. In the second $54,500 split (carded as race four) six of the top seven point-getters are competing in the absence of the overall point-leader, Soft Idea. With a lot of early speed behind the gate, Sassa Hanover's track record of 1:54.2 could be in jeopardy. Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance Hanover) comes into this event red-hot. She has won her last two outings including a lifetime best, 1:52.2 at Vernon Downs before coming right back in 1:55.4 at Yonkers. She is currently fifth in the standings but could move up considerably with a win here. This filly likes to come off the pace and with the all the leavers entered, this race could set up just right for her. Dime A Dance (3-1) is another student of Ron Burke and will start from post three with Matt Kakaley in the bike. No Clouds Bluechip (Roll With Joe-B J's Sunshine) currently sits second in points with 224 as well as NYSS earnings of $101,999. She strung three-straight wins in NYSS action in July and August and hasn't finished worse than third in the series all year. Pegged as the second choice at 7-2, No Clouds Bluechip gets the services of Kevin Cummings as chosen by trainer John Berger. American Ivy (American Ideal-Haunted) is seven for seven in the money this year and finished second to Soft Idea in her last two outings. Last week at Yonkers she was beaten a narrow neck in 1:53.4 off a perfect trip, but that was the fastest of the divisions that night. Joe Holloway trains American Ivy (9-2) and has assigned Mark Macdonald to steer from post five. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs    

Batavia, NY--- Batavia Downs cancelled their live harness racing on Saturday (Sept. 12) before they got underway due to unsafe track conditions. Western New York was inundated with heavy rain all day and as a result, the track surface became very slippery despite efforts to grade it and clear the water. The main concern was traction for the starting car. It was deemed that the car could not properly grab the track and accelerate away enough to break from the field to provide a fair and safe start. With both the horsemen and track management concerned, it was decided for the best interests of all involved that the card be cancelled. Todd Haight, General Manager/Director of Live Racing said "Our main concern is always for the safety of our horses and horsemen and the track did not lend itself to providing that condition tonight. Once we determined we could not proceed in a manner that we felt comfortable with, we decided to cancel the races." Racing will resume at Batavia Downs on Tuesday (Sept. 15) with a special twilight post time of 4:30 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

After coming off two sub-par harness racing performances and no wins since July, BZ Glide put on the performance of his life in winning the $10,000 Open trot feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 11) Winkys Pride (Drew Monti) took an immediate lead at the start of the race while BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) left just enough from post five to tuck in third. Monti took the field through a soft :58.2 half until Caprio swung out at that station to start his assault. BZ Glide advanced with machine-like precision up the backside while trotting a :28.2 third panel. His momentum continued around the far turn as his margin of dominance widened. He trotted down the lane without a challenge from the field or encouragement from his driver and in victory, set a new lifetime mark of 1:56.3. It was the fifth win in 13 starts this year for BZ Glide ($4.90) and the effort increased his earnings to $37,445 for 2015. The 6-year-old Yankee Glide gelding is owned by the Caprio Stable LLC and trained by Alana Caprio. Drivers Mike Caprio, Jim McNeight and Dave McNeight III all scored driving doubles on the card. One of the biggest win mutuels in recent memory occurred in the sixth race when Stirling Cadillac (Mike Caprio) overcame post 8 to win at 77-1 and return $156.00. The exorbitant payoff triggered some lofty exotics as well. The 8-3 exacta paid $3,428.00 and the 8-3-all trifecta returned $4,169.00. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 12) with the first post set at 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations  

When the best Empire State harness racing 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits convene at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 12) for the first edition of the 2015 Night of Champions, some of the best sophomores in North American harness racing will be competing for the $900,000 in purses. In fact, it will include four of the top 20 colt and filly pacers and four of the top 15 colt and filly trotters currently in the sport. That gaudy list is definitely led by Habitat 3, 1:53 ($1,104,841) by Conway Hall-Habit's Best, whose $570,434 in 2015 ranks him fourth in North America among trotters of all ages behind Hambletonian winner Pinkman, Open sensation JL Cruze and Hambletonian Oaks winner Wild Honey. Habitat has been made the morning line choice in the 3-year-old trotting colt and gelding division by the track handicapper and is listed at 1-1. After completing an outstanding freshman campaign that saw him earn in excess of $500,000, Habitat began this year in quick fashion by winning the $133,170 Dexter Cup at Freehold in his very first start. He then won two out of three early NYSS events before hitting the Grand Circuit. Habitat trotted his fastest mile of the year in his Hambletonian elimination heat where he finished fourth to eventual stake winner, Pinkman, in 1:51.2. Unfortunately he drew post 10 in the final and was only able to watch his stablemate, Mission Brief, finish second from nine lengths behind. But since that time, the Conway Hall colt has been red hot; stringing together three consecutive victories in what could only be described as dominating fashion. He won the $58,662 Tompkins Memorial at Tioga Downs in a lifetime best-tying time of 1:53. Then two weeks later it was wire to wire in the $40,000 Yonkers Trot elimination. And he followed that up with a three and one-half length romp in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot final. The NYSS final will be the third straight start at Yonkers Raceway for Habitat, who has already shown a propensity to perform well on that surface. The sports leading trainer, Ron Burke, will send Habitat postward with the leading NYSS driver, Jim Morrill Jr. in tow for owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. The 3-year-old distaff trotting division features Barn Doll who has been installed as the 9-5 choice. Barn Doll 3, 1:52.1 ($560,650) by Conway Hall-Headintheclouds, seemingly does nothing but win. She is 17 out of 21 lifetime and 10 out of 12 this year. Her lifetime mark of 1:52.1 occurred two weeks in a row at Vernon Downs in June when she won the elimination and final of the $248,275 Empire Breeders Classic in identical times. Barn Doll has only been beaten twice this year, finishing second both times. And as this filly likes to come at the three-eighths, it took a :56 back half at Tioga and a :57 last-lap at Yonkers to take her down. Given the convincing manner she won her most recent two starts it would appear she comes into this race razor sharp. Steve Pratt trains Barn Doll and co-owns the filly with Nancy Pratt and Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stable. Jeff Gregory will once again be at the lines as he has for eight of her wins this year Jewels In Hock 3, 1:53.3 ($254,496) by Credit Winner-Jewels Galore, should pose the major threat to Barn Doll in this race as she comes into the contest winning three out of her last four starts. She is eight out of 16 in the winner's circle this year and that $241,496 has accounted for the bulk of her lifetime income. The filly likes the front end and will get the opportunity to cut the race in here for driver Jim Morrill Jr. Linda Toscano trains Jewels In Hock for Ken Jacobs' KJ Stables LLC. In the 3-year-old pacing filly division, Mosquito Blue Chip is rated the 5-2 morning line choice but comes into the race as bit of an enigma. Mosquito Blue Chip 3, 1:49.3 ($477,511) by Bettor's Delight-Sandfly Hanover, had been rolling right along; winning three out of four races including a lifetime best 1:49.3 in winning the $269,000 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs on August 23. But the very next week after a raucous spell behind the gate, going into the first turn she made the only break of her career; and it was a bad one. So how does that affect her chances 12 days later over the same track? Aside from that line, Mosquito Blue Chip has been a model of consistency since the beginning of June. She is eight out of 12 in the money, including five wins. And she was the third leading point getter and second highest money-earner in the series for her division this year. Jim Morrill Jr. will steer Mosquito Blue Chip for trainer Paul Jessop, who co-owns the filly with Our Three Sons Stable LLC and Donato Falcicchio. Finally, in the 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings split, Betting Exchange is the prohibitive 7-5 choice coming off a very convincing outing his last start. Betting Exchange 3, 1:51.2 ($401,663) by Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover, is having an outstanding year. He finished third behind Wakizashi Hanover and Wiggle It Jiggleit (who are currently first and third in North America for 2015 earnings) in the $810,000 North America Cup at Mohawk Raceway in 1:48 flat, beaten only three lengths. Then he finished fourth in the $290,000 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs. Yannick Gingras took the colt to the front from post seven in 26.2 before getting a two-hole trip for the race. After shaking loose in the stretch, he finished fourth in 1:50, beaten only three lengths. Betting Exchange followed that up with a devastating nine-length victory seven days later at Batavia Downs, going the mile in 1:51.2 and just missing the all-time track record by one fifth of a second. Jason Bartlett was up for that win and returns to try and repeat the effort for trainer Tom Fanning. Betting Exchange is owned by his trainer along with Howard Taylor and Susan Kajfasz. By Tim Bojarski, for the Harness Horse Breeders of New York        

After making quite a jump in class, Makes Her Mark ($15.00) took full advantage of an assigned inside post to trip-out in the $8,500 mares Open I-II Handicap on Wednesday night (Sept. 9) at the harness racing meeting at Batavia Downs. It was a pretty simple race most of the way: All About Boyz (Dave McNeight III) left and went right to the front while the rest of the field remained in post position order behind her. Makes Her Mark (Kevin Cummings) who had post one, sat in the garden spot as the group went through fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27.1. When the field was approaching the third station, Call Me Maybe (Drew Monti) was moving on the outside with Ugly Betty (Mike Caprio) in tow. Then Caprio swung that one three-deep as the field entered the turn. Call Me Maybe's bid failed along with Ugly Betty's and their demise opened the door for Makes Her Mark to come off the pylons and go after the leader. Cummings pulled the mare and went to the stick to get the advantage at the wire in 1:56.4. Badlands Love (Jim McNeight) snuck up the rail for second and Country Delight (Jack Flanigen) picked up the pieces for third. It was the sixth win in 15 starts for Makes Her Mark and the victory pushed her yearly earnings to $20,732 for Jim Dunn, who owns and trains the 6-year-old Codyscoltfortyfive mare. The Downs leading driver, Kevin Cummings, scored a driving triple on the card while Drew Monti and Dave McNeight III both tallied driving doubles. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 11) with post time set for 6:35 p.m. Tim Bojarski

Batavia, NY---The Labor Day bike race at Batavia Downs is a tradition that goes back to 1979 and a harness racing event that many of the locals look forward to. This year it was held on Monday (Sept. 7) and the eight drivers going postward were (from the pylons out) Shawn McDonough, Rock Vinci, Lee Dahn, Bradley Jackson, Wade Tomaszewski, Denny Bucceri, Mickey Holliday and last year's winner, Drew Monti. It was an uncharacteristly hot and humid 91 degrees as the drivers lined up behind the gate at the quarter pole and the group was sweating before the start. They followed the car to the top of the turn (where the official start was) and pedaled away in a flurry as the wings closed to initiate the contest. Denny Bucceri sped out to the early lead and set the pace to the top of the stretch. At that point Rock Vinci came out of the pack to take the front from Bucceri. But his advantage didn't last long as Mickey Holliday swung four-high and barreled down the lane to score a convincing three-length victory. Bradley Jackson snuck up the rail for second and Vinci hung on for third. Holliday made sure to pedal all the way to the wire this year; a mistake that cost him the win in 2014 when he pulled- up thinking he had the race won. It was the second time Holliday has won this race besides the second place finish last year. After the race, Holliday randomly selected eight names from his supporters who chose him to win and presented each of them one of the bikes used in the race. The annual bike race was sponsored by Crazy Cheap Cars of Oakfield, NY. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations  

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