Day At The Track

Empire Earl N leads in Buffalo Opener

07:00 AM 11 Jan 2018 NZDT
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Empire Earl N, harness racing Larry Stalbaum, harness racing Kim Asher, harness racing
Empire Earl N winning an Open Trot last season at Buffalo Raceway
Steve Roth Photo
Larry Stalbaum
Steve Roth Photo
Kim Asher
Steve Roth Photo
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It only seems fitting that the first race on Friday night's (Jan. 12) opening card of the 2018 harness racing season at Buffalo Raceway will feature three award winners from the 2017 campaign.
 
Empire Earl N, Buffalo Raceway's Trotter of the Year last season, will head the field in the featured $9,500 Open Trot scheduled to go off at 5 p.m. in the first of nine races on the evening. The 10-year-old gelding is owned by driver Larry Stalbaum and is conditioned by Kim Asher, both of whom captured Driver and Trainer of the Year honors respectively last year.
 
Stalbaum finished the year with 347 victories with 193 of those coming at the Hamburg half-mile oval. He'll be busy on Friday night as Stalbaum is slated to drive in all nine races.
 
Asher had the top UTR rating in the United States in 2017 with a .429 mark thanks to 219 victories in 784 starts with her stable earning $1,157,977. She had 115 wins at Buffalo Raceway.
 
Last season, Empire Earl N won 4-of-11 starts at Buffalo Raceway, putting $32,000 in the bank. He drew many outside posts and was competitive in each appearance. Empire Earl N, who won $75,915 in 2017, drew the five post on Friday night.
 
The wide open event will also include Northern Matador, Lucky Pablo, Fleet Bumblebee, Kahoku and Lenny Mac.
 
The Buffalo Raceway driving colony will sport regulars Drew Monti, Ray Fisher Jr., John Cummings Jr. and Shawn McDonough and will be joined by Billy Davis Jr. and Shawn Gray. Monti, Gray, Davis Jr. and Fisher Jr. are down to compete in all nine races as well.
 
Opening weekend will have free programs on Friday evening along with $3 off the popular fish fry dinner while on Saturday night, customers get $3 off the home style turkey dinner in the Winner's Circle Cafe.
 
Saturday evening also will feature the Lucky Exacta contest where patrons will receive a collectible Buffalo Raceway magnet with an exacta combination on the back of it. Should that exacta come in, winners will get to spin the wheel to collect up to $100 in free wagers. Also, all fans will get $10 in free play at Hamburg Gaming included with the magnet.
 
The Pick-5 wager will return with the sequence beginning in the second race each night. There's a 50-cent minimum wager and should no one hit it, there will be a carryover into the next night's card.
 
Post time on Wednesday and Friday evenings will be 5 p.m with the start time on Saturday evenings beginning at 6 p.m.
 
For more information on Buffalo Raceway including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com
 
by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
 
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