Batavia Downs Racing Having a Banner Year

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By: Tony Farina

The 2019 season of live harness racing at Batavia Downs is one of the best ever through the half-way point and will continue on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights through Dec. 14 with one more Monday card on Columbus Day, Oct. 14, beginning at 1:15 p.m.  Post times for Wednesdays is 5 p.m. and at 6 p.m. for Fridays and Saturdays. 

The numbers tell the story of the sensational racing season with the on-track handle up 15.1%, the export handle up 26.1%, and the OTB handle up 8.7% with total betting from all Western Regional OTB sources up 20.5% or $820,609.  

“The numbers are very impressive, but the product has been as well,” said Todd Haight, director/general manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs.  “Our overnight racing has been very competitive, and we’ve had many guaranteed pools in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program which draws bettors from all over to follow our track.  And our New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions was the jewel of the season and it has exposed many new local people to our sport as a result.”

Seven new track records have been set at the Batavia Downs oval since July by trotters Hypnotic Am, Quincy Blue Chip, Third Swift and CR Blazin Beauty.  Also among the record-breakers are pacers Hickfromfrenchlick, American Mercury and Cigars and Port.

Billy Davis leads the driver standings with 63 wins following by Jim Morrill, Jr. with 58 and Dave McNeight III with 46.

The top trainers to date are James Clouser, Jr. with 37 wins followed by Marie Rice (20) and David Russo (17).

As of Sept. 28, there was a tie for the winningest horse between Blue Bell Bonny and Tullow N with five trips to the winner’s circle.

The high-flying racing meet helped contribute to the generous community development contribution in August to Niagara County of $178,818 from Batavia Downs Gaming/WROTB’s year-to-date earnings which were the highest given to the county in 20 years from quarterly earnings of $1.7 million.

Batavia Downs is the only municipally owned and operated gaming facility in the state and provides critical funding for community development which helps create jobs, said Henry Wojtaszek, president/CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming WROTB.

Batavia Downs/WROTB is owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Buffalo and Rochester.


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