Day At The Track

Racetrack hosts $7,500 scholarship race

01:04 PM 08 Jul 2010 NZST
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Batavia scholarship
Batavia scholarship
(L-R) Michael Norway of Oakfield Alabama High, Emily Sallome of Batavia High, Kaley Falkowski of Batavia High, Tyler Pingrey of Notre Dame High and Eric Harrower (not pictured) of Batavia High will join professional drivers on Sept. 11 for a $7,500 schola

Batavia Downs has announced a brand new scholarship race to give away $7,500 for college-bound students. The event will feature students from area schools accompanied by professional harness racing drivers in a dash for the cash on Saturday, Sept. 11.

"We are really pleased to be able to help support the education of students in our community in such a unique way," said Batavia Downs General Manager Michael D. Kane. "We hope the students who participate not only walk away with scholarship funds, but also a greater understanding of the sport of harness racing."

The students and their professional driving partners are: Emily Sallome of Batavia High School with Mike Pokornowski, Kaley Falkowski of Batavia High with Jim Mulcahy, Eric Harrower of Batavia High with Ron Beback Jr., Michael Norway of Oakfield Alabama High School with Mike Baumeister, and Tyler Pingrey from Notre Dame High School with Jim Graham.

This summer the students will attend at least five training sessions at the track with their driver to learn the safety and skills needed to drive a horse. Then between the fourth and fifth live harness races on Sept. 11, they will line up behind the starting gate and compete for scholarships of $3,000, $2,000, $1,200, $800, $500, depending on their finish.

"Five organizations came together to sponsor these scholarships as an investment in the youth of this community," explained Kane. "This scholarship event is sponsored by the horsemen, breeders, owners, and raceways of Western New York through the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association, Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs Casino."

Harness Horse Breeders is partnering with other New York tracks this summer to offer scholarships to students across the state.

Batavia Downs, America's oldest lighted harness track, opens for its 64th racing season on Monday, July 26, for 72 racing dates. Racing will be at the new post time of 6:40 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays in August. There will also be a special 1:15 p.m. post on Sunday, Aug. 29. For more information, visit www.batavia-downs.com.

M. Kelly YOUNG

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