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Gary Alan Warner passed away unexpectedly at his home in San Jose, CA on December 14, 2017. He was just 52 years of age. The son of Donna (Provenzano) Warner and the late David Warner, Jr. and nephew of James Samberg and the late Barbara (Provenzano) Samberg as well as the grandson of Pat (Barbara) Provenzano. It was Mr. Provenzano who introduced pari-mutuel harness racing in western New York when he opened Batavia Downs in Batavia, NY in 1941 and it became a family business. Gary was born on April 17, 1965 in the 10th Ward in Rochester, NY , He attended Sacred Heart Cathedral Grammar School, Cardinal Mooney High School, and Gannon University. He excelled in many sports including golf, basketball, and soccer. Gary's easy-going demeanor and quick wit made him popular with everyone he met. He was especially proud of his high school soccer team at Cardinal Mooney and recalls with pleasure, the year they won the NYS Championship , Gary was the admissions director at Batavia Downs for many years where one of his favorite parts of the profession was greeting patrons, most of whom he knew by name. After his tenure at Batavia Downs Gary moved to Palm Desert, CA in 1992 to pursue a career in the golf industry. It was there that he met his wife, Melissa. They were married in La Quinta, CA in the very room in which they met. Gary became the Director of Corporate Tournaments at PGA West and he continued with that organization for many years before moving to San Jose, CA where Melissa was residing prior to their marriage After moving to San Jose Gary became Warehouse Manager at Williams-Sonoma in Los Gatos, CA and for over 11 years and he loved, and was loved, by his "work family". Gary's passions included family, friends, the Pittsburgh Steelers and he treasured summers in Thousand Island Park, New York. He so enriched the life of his wife Melissa Warner and was the devoted, proud father of Riley Warner, and embraced and cherished his step-son Grant Hendricks. Gary also left behind a tight family which includes his mom Donna, sisters: Amy (Carl) Munding , Julie (Michael) Miller and brothers David J III (Mary Beth) and Eric (Julia Poli). He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and countless friends. There will be a memorial service held in San Jose, CA on January 20, 2018 and a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester, NY on February 17, 2018 at 10.30am. John Manzi

Batavia, NY---Francis R. Bond, 86, a longtime harness racing owner, driver and trainer at Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway, died peacefully Tuesday morning, December 26, 2017 at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, NY. "Franny" Bond was born in Buffalo, NY on July 27, 1931. He became a Marine after leaving school and began boxing while in the service in the Armed Forces Title Fights. He fought in the lightweight class and eventually worked into the featherweight division. The then 126-pound "fighting Marine" was described as "a game and lively scrapper who could take a hit and come back with a better one." Corporal Bond became one of the Marine's top boxers, winning a featherweight title in 1953 while often times fighting men from the professional ranks between service bouts and sometimes competing in higher weight classes. Bond continued to fight professionally in the Golden Gloves after he left the service under the name Bobby Bond and was trained by Angelo Dundee who also conditioned the likes of Muhammad Ali, George Foremen, Sugar Ray Leonard and Carmen Basilio. He competed in 15 professional fights all over the eastern seaboard including New York City at Madison Square Garden. Bond first got involved in harness racing in 1966 and eventually got his trainer and driver's licenses. He ran a small stable for the next 39 years, seeing most of his driving success in the 1970's (where he scored 135 of his 189 careers victories) and most of his training accomplishments (total of 108) between 1990 and 2000. Bond also occasionally catch-drove horses when the opportunity arose. Bond's last winning effort came on May 16, 1996 behind H F Harriet at Buffalo Raceway. Bond was an entrepreneur and made a buck anyway he could. He owned a soft drink distributorship, ran the track kitchen at Batavia Downs and sold hay, straw and feed for many years while, and after, he was competing himself. He was known by everyone on the backstretch and was an affable individual his entire life. No memorial information has been relayed. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---The 2017 Batavia Downs summer-fall harness racing meet that ended on Saturday (Dec. 16) left track management feeling good after setting records for total betting and purse money paid out during the year. The track's export signal drew an increased handle of 15.9% over 2016 and total betting was up 8.1% (over $600,000) with 17 less races than last year. That produced $8.2 million dollars wagered on the live harness racing product which was the most ever handled at Batavia Downs during a meet since Western Regional OTB purchased and reopened the track in 2002. The Downs also set a record handle in their Pick-5 wager when the pool reached $25,312 as a result of being part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Program on Wednesday (Nov. 22). Total purses paid out including New York Sire Stakes were $6,072,800, the first time ever the track distributed in excess of $6 million in purse money. The 2017 meet was also the first time Batavia Downs adopted a new 5 p.m. post time on Wednesdays and that seemed to contribute to the better numbers witnessed from the off-track outlets as handle was up 25% from the export signal mid-week. It was also a big reason the track eclipsed the $8 million mark in total handle. A quality product on the track drove those numbers along with a closely contested driver's race that saw three reinsmen with a shot at the title all year. When the dust had cleared, Larry Stalbaum won his first ever Batavia Downs driving title with 134 wins. Second was Ray Fisher Jr. with 124 and just one back in third was Drew Monti with 123. On the conditioner side, Kim Asher also won her first Batavia Downs training title in a romp with 94 wins, 52 ahead of JD Perrin who was second with 42. Maria Rice was third with 40 victories. Post one won 201 out of the 808 races run followed by post four with 135 and post three with 123. Favorites won 45% of the time during the course of the meet. "When the lights went down for the last time this year and we looked at the numbers, we were very happy with the results we saw" said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. "We had great action on the track with competitive, bettable races and the money wagered through the windows shows our customers felt the same way." Upon approval of the New York State Gaming Commission, live racing will resume at Batavia Downs on Monday, July 23, 2018.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---The western New York "wonder from down under" Chumlee A, proved once again that he is the best pacer currently on the grounds as he led a fast :57 back half under heavy duress on a cold night to win the final $10,000 Open Handicap pacing feature of the harness racing meet at Batavia Downs on closing night (Dec. 16). It took Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) over a quarter of a mile to get the lead as Don'tcallmefrancis (Billy Davis Jr.) played hardball on the front-end. But eventually the Aussie got there after a quick :28 second split before he put on the brakes to the half to get a short breather. Not content with the slowing pace, Focus Power (Drew Monti) pulled at the half and started one heck of a fight. Drawing alongside Chumlee A, Focus Power pushed the issue as the two matched strides in a :28.1 third panel. Also pacing together around the far turn, Chumlee A's lead was getting shorter but he continued to look strong on the point. Halfway down the lane the overland route had gotten to Focus Power but Don'tcallmefrancis, who had gotten the perfect two-hole trip the entire mile, popped into the passing lane and made a late bid. However Chumlee A had enough in the tank and hung on by a head in 1:54.2. It was the second straight Open victory and fourth straight win at Batavia Downs and in northern hemisphere for Chumlee A ($3.60) who has been racing in the U.S. for just over a month. The 6-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere is owned by Mark Jakubik and Kim Asher, who also does the training. It was a big night for trainer Kim Asher and driver Larry Stalbaum. Besides winning the feature with Chumlee A they also teamed up to win three other races during the night including the seventeenth win of 2017 for Saint William A and the twenty-first victory of the year for Quicksilvercandy A, who now moves back into a tie with Safe From Terror as the winningest Standardbred in North America. Then after the tenth race, Asher and Stalbaum were honored in the winner's circle as the top dash winning trainer and driver of the meet at Batavia Downs. The staff and management of Batavia Downs would like to wish everyone a very happy Holiday season and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Racing resumes at the oldest lighted harness track in America in July of 2018.     Tim Bojarski    

Batavia, NY---It was girl's night out in a winter wonderland as snow squalls blew through Genesee County. The harness racing mare Lenny Mac beat the boys in the $10,000 Open trot and Sportsmuffler scored in the $10,000 distaff Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 15). In the week's top trot, Lenny Mac came from off the pace to win handily, overcoming the field and the elements with the greatest of ease. Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) went right to the front and led to the half in 1:00.2. Lenny Mac (Ron Beback Jr.) then pulled first up from fifth and motored quickly alongside Empire Earl N, and then right by him by the time they hit the backside. From there it was all Lenny Mac as she opened up four lengths at the three-quarters, six lengths at the top of the stretch and eight lengths when she hit the wire like a runaway train in 2:00.2, blowing up the tote board at 12-1. It was the ninth win of the year for Lenny Mac ($27.40) and it padded her bank account to the amount of $54,077 for owner William Emmons and trainer James Clouser Jr. In the fillies and mares Open pace, Sportsmuffler, who had recently gotten back to her winning ways after not finishing a race on Nov. 22, caught a strong front runner at the wire in a thriller. Miss Irish Rose A (Larry Stalbaum) left for a familiar front-end position and led the field in post-position order for almost a half mile before Squeeze This (Billy Davis Jr.) pulled and attacked at that station in :59.2. With Miss Irish Rose A still in command by two, the outer flow stalled and Sportsmuffler (Ray Fisher Jr.) tipped three-deep around and moved to within one length of the leader. The two maintained their positions around the far turn but when they hit the top of the lane, Sportsmuffler dug in and drove on to capture a half-length victory in 1:57.4 in a three-horse photo. It was the eleventh win in 42 starts this year for Sportsmuffler ($7.80) who now has $59,149 on her card for 2017. LAV Racing Stable Inc. owns the 5-year-old Sportsmaster mare that is trained by Mike Carrubba. Larry Stalbaum widened his dash win lead again scoring three victories on the night. That pushed him to 130 wins for the meet, now six ahead of Ray Fisher Jr. and 11 ahead of Drew Monti. Barring a monumental turn of events it would appear Stalbaum has his first Batavia Downs driving title just about wrapped up. Batavia Downs offers guaranteed pools, mandatory payouts Saturday Closing night of the 2017 racing season at Batavia Downs features a guaranteed $2,500 early Pick-5 pool and a $1,000 Pick-6 contest, both with mandatory payouts on Saturday (Dec. 16). The $2,500 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool begins in race one and runs through race five. The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager and as it’s the final one of the meet, there will be a mandatory payout. This means if no one picks all five winners, the person(s) selecting the most winners will be paid. (There is no late Pick-5 on Saturday)   Saturday's guaranteed pool is part of the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster are available on the USTA’s website. This link will take you directly to those program pages. Then starting in race four, the free-to-enter $1,000 Pick-6 contest is offered and it too will have a mandatory payout. In order to win, contestants must pick the winners of races four through nine. Those wishing to play must pick up their entry blank at Player’s Club beginning at 4:30 p.m. and then deposit their completed selections no later than the start of the fourth race. There is only one entry per person. If no one correctly picks all six winners, the person(s) selecting the most winners will be paid. Post time for the first race on closing night is 6:00 pm. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will present harness racing performance awards to the top dash winning trainer and driver of the meet during the 10th annual "Night of Distinction" ceremony in the winner's circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 16) and whereas the top conditioner has been well identified, the driver's race will likely go down to the final races of the weekend. Kim Asher is currently the top percentage trainer in North America with a UTR of .427 and $1.1 million in earnings. She is also ranked eighth in North America for wins, currently with 208. So it's no surprise that Asher is also the trainer of the meet at Batavia Downs for 2017. Asher has started 351 horses during the session winning 88 races, finishing second 55 times and third another 55 times and saw her horses hit the board 56% of the time. Those efforts gave her a stellar UTR of .390 and $479,491 in purses. Her win total more than doubled her closest competitor. Competing for only the second year at Batavia, Asher's training career spans 19 years and during that time she has won multiple training titles including most recently, the 2017 Buffalo Raceway meet. This year Asher has sent out 208 winners and that mark was a personal best. Her stable boast horses with gaudy win totals like Quicksilvercandy A (20), Saint William A (16), Itsonlyrocknroll A (13) and Kaitlyn Rae (11). During her career Asher has 1,934 wins, 1,456 seconds and 1,222 thirds out of 9,196 starts for a lifetime UTR of .342 and earnings of over $15 million. The driving accolades for this meet are still up in the air. Larry Stalbaum is the current dash win leader with 127 wins while Ray Fisher Jr. is second with 122 and Drew Monti is third with 117. With only two cards of racing left and probably 20 starts apiece remaining for all three drivers, Stalbaum looks fairly solid with a five-race lead. If Stalbaum does win the title it would be his first at Batavia Downs. However the long-tenured horseman is no stranger to being the best set of hands on any circuit. Over his 32-year career he has won dash honors at Northville Downs, Hazel Park, Sports Creek Park, Jackson Harness Raceway, Monticello Raceway, Raceway Park, Cal Expo and most recently, Buffalo Raceway earlier this year. During his career, Stalbaum has driven 5,732 winners and earned just under $39 million in purses. Ray Fisher Jr. has won two driving titles at Buffalo Raceway and four at Northfield Park. But since arriving at the Genesee County oval in 2007 has never taken the top spot there although he did finish second and third three times each. So winning it this year would definitely be a notch in his belt. Since his career began in 1987, Fisher has won 4,200 races lifetime and just shy of $18 million in purses. Drew Monti is the defending dash driving winner at Batavia Downs, taking his first-ever driving title last year with 116 wins. He had a substantial lead this year earlier in the meet, but the competition stiffened and now he has a lot of work to do in order to repeat. Although the 23-year-old Monti has only been driving for five years, he is already closing in on his 1,000th win (currently with 979) and has made $5.5 million in purses during that time. The competition for the driving title will resume on Friday night (Dec. 15) and will be decided on Saturday (Dec. 16). Post time for both nights is 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for UNY USHWA  

Batavia, NY---The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) have announced their harness racing "horses of the meet" for 2017 at Batavia Downs. Pacer of the Meet: Focus Power While racing in the top Open class for 13 starts at Batavia, western New York newcomer Focus Power won three times and finished second another five while amassing $36,010 in purses. He was on fire in September when he won three out of four starts while setting two new lifetime marks during that period (September 2, 1:53 and September 23, 1:52.4). After being claimed at Yonkers just prior to the start of the Batavia meet, Focus Power made an immediate impact to the good fortunes of owner James Caradori and trainer Darrin Monti. Driver Drew Monti was aboard for every start. Overall Focus Power has nine wins in 2017 and earnings that total $97,395. Trotter of the Meet: BZ Glide BZ Glide was a fixture in the weekly Open trot once again this year and showed although he's getting older, he hasn't lost a step. In 15 starts against the local best, BZ Glide won three with six seconds and a third banking $34,405 in the process. He also set a seasonal mark of 1:56.3. As has been the case every year, the family affair of Alana Caprio training and Mike Caprio driving, the two also team up in ownership of the big trotting gelding. For the year, BZ Glide has a total of five wins and earnings of $52,405. Mare of the Meet: Voltina Competing the entire meet in the fillies and mares Open I or II, Voltina was as tough as they came winning three Open I's and one Open II along with six second place finishes and took home purses totaling $34,060. She took her seasonal mark of 1:55 at Batavia as well. Owned by CHS Racing LLC, the Tony Cummings-trained Voltina had a career year winning a total of eight races and earning $69,456 in purses. Kevin Cummings was aboard for the majority of her starts. Claimer of the Meet: Quicksilvercandy A Listed as the winning-est pacer in North America for a good portion of the year, Quicksilvercandy A had a field day racing at Batavia Downs. Moving up and down the class ladder, the mare ended up winning seven claiming races including the $20,000 Claiming Championship final for her division in November. Her four seconds and two thirds also helped bump up her bankroll to $40,165 for the meet. Owned and driven by Larry Stalbaum, Quicksilvercandy A recorded a career year of 20 wins and $108,994 in earnings under the training of Kim Asher. Most Improved Horse of the Meet: In Runaway Bay N In Runaway Bay N came to Batavia Downs off a less than stellar early part of the year. He made his first start at Batavia in August, winning in the bottom class; non-winners of $1,000 in 1:55.1. He strung together four wins while working his way up to the Open where he finished second two weeks in a row. The following week he faced Foiled Again and finished a respectable fourth to the richest Standardbred of all time. Since then he has won three Open paces. For the meet, he took a seasonal mark of 1:53.1 and earned $39,050. In Runaway Bay N is owned by Super Mile LLC and is trained by Angelo Nappo. Kevin Cummings was in the bike for the bulk of the work. The connections of these horses will be presented their trophies in the winner's circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 16) during the 10th annual "Night of Distinction" awards ceremony. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for UNY USHWA  

Batavia, NY---It was a hard fought race between two game harness racing opponents, but Lucky McTrucky came out on top of Jimi Wind Ricks in the $9,000 feature pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 9). Lucky McTrucky (Drew Monti) inherited the lead from the pylons as no one else in the field left. Now lined up in post-position order, the leader strolled the group to the half in a very pedestrian :59 split. Eager to challenge at that point, Jimi Wind Ricks (Billy Davis Jr.) came with a rush at the three-eighths and drew alongside Lucky McTrucky up the backside and that began a very contentious encounter. After a :27.4 third panel, Jimi Wind Ricks got the lead on the outside by over a half-length but could not clear as Lucky McTrucky stayed game and would not let him go by. They continued to fight around the far turn with both Monti and Davis rocking and knocking their respective mounts, hoping each other would give way. They hit the straight and were still going at it but Lucky McTrucky gained a slight edge and held it to the wire where he won by a half-length in 1:55.1. It was the 42nd lifetime win for Lucky McTrucky ($7.30) who is owned by Tessa Roland and trained by J.D. Perrin. In the $8,500 Open III pace, Big Ricky (Ron Beback Jr.) took a mostly overland route to defeat the heavily favored David The Saint (Ray Fisher Jr.) by a length in 1:56.4. Big Ricky ($9.70) is owned by William Emmons and is trained by James Clouser Jr. Driver Shawn McDonough had a big night at the Downs, winning three races including the nightcap with Best Ears who blew up the tote board with an $86 mutuel. The final week of the meet kicks-off when racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 15) with post time at 6 p.m. There are only two more nights of racing in 2017.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---Winning two races in a row for the second time in his last six starts, Fox Valley Veto claimed top weekly harness racing trotting honors once again at Batavia Downs after winning the $10,000 Open Handicap on Friday night (Dec.8).   Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) went for the lead and took the field to the half in :58.1. At that station Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) pulled first-over from third and went right up to challenge the frontrunner.   Fox Valley Veto took command by the three-quarters, moving back to the pylons and stretching out to a two-length advantage. Around the last turn, Empire Earl N was trying to keep up but his race was run and Fox Valley Veto had won; wrapped up under the wire in 1:57.1.   It was the seventh win of the year for Fox Valley Veto ($7.40) and it pushed his earnings to $60,837 for owners Vogel & Wags Nags and Jack Rice. Maria Rice does the training.   Then it was bombs away in the co-featured $8,000 Open II trot when 17-1 Court's N Session (Shawn McDonough) came from mid-pack at three-quarters to tip three-deep at the head of the lane and catch heavily favored Osprey Vision (Ray Fisher Jr.) in deep stretch to win by a neck in 1:59.4.   Owned by Marie Houghtaling and trained by Ron Houghtaling, Court's N Session scored his fifth win of the year and paid $37.80.   The Downs leading driver Larry Stalbaum scored four more wins Friday, pushing his meet-leading total to 126. Ray Fisher Jr. who currently sits in second had two wins and now has 121 victories at Batavia.   Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 9) at 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---The lake effect snows blew into Genesee County making Batavia Downs look like the North Pole and Mydelight Bluechip made like Rudolph and led all the way to win the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace on the last Wednesday night (Dec. 6) of harness racing for the meet. Mydelight Bluechip (Ben Mc Neil) was on a "take no prisoners" mission as she left and parked Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) and Voltina (Kevin Cummings) to the half in :56.3. As the race went on to the second circuit, Little Joke continued to apply the pressure but Voltina faded away, allowing Miss Irish Rose A (Larry Stalbaum) room to advance to the outside from sixth and move into a closer third position. Moving through the last turn Mydelight Bluechip put away both of those challengers and led by two lengths. At that point it looked like she'd wrapped things up until Squeeze This (Drew Monti) and Hey Kobe (Shawn McDonough) came flying late, gobbling up ground in the stretch. But Mydelight Bluechip dug in and pulled out the win by a narrowing margin in 1:57.2. Privately purchased on November 11 by Ellen Mc Neil, Mydelight Bluechip ($20.80) scored her first victory for her new owner and third of the year overall. The 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight is trained by John Mc Neil III, rounding out the Mc Neil trifecta in the race. In the co-featured $8,000 distaff Open II, Sportsmuffler (Drew Monti) took the lead before the half and from there, left the rest of the field in her rear-view mirror as she pulled away to a seven-length win in 1:56.2. Owned by Lav Racing Stable and trained by Mike Carrubba, Sportsmuffler ($3.70) registered her 10th win of the year and pushed her earnings to $54,149 as a result. Drew Monti was red hot on a cold night, winning four races on the card. Besides scoring with Sportsmuffler, Monti also won with Tymal Luckynpink (1:57.1, $5.50), Juxlivin My Dream (1:59.2, $10.20) and Hold On Tightly (2:02.3, $21.20). Monti actually won a fifth race with P L Hellcat in the tenth race but was disqualified and placed second for a Eurorail violation. Open Water (Jim McNeight Jr.) who finished second in that tenth race was placed first and gave trainer Jim McNeight his 1,000th career training victory. McNeight's training win total has earned $3,495,864 in purse money for his connections. McNeight also has 3,587 driving wins with an additional purse amount of $13,133,205 to go along. In the Downs eleventh race, the heavily favored Heavenly Way (Ray Fisher Jr.) was soundly backed in the show pool and finished fourth in a five-horse wire photo. With Heavenly Way being off the board, it prompted eye-popping show payouts of $77.50, $108 and $264. The driver's race just got a little more interesting after Wednesday night. Larry Stalbaum still leads with 122 wins and Ray Fisher Jr. is second with 119. But on the heels of his big performance, Drew Monti draws into a closer third with 116 wins, only six behind the leader with only four days of racing left in the 2017 meet. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 8) with post time set at 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---As a result of no winning ticket once again on Saturday (Dec. 2), Batavia Downs will offer a $2,500 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool when harness racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 6) at the oldest lighted harness track in America. The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager that begins in race one and runs through race five. There is no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners the entire pool (minus takeout) will be carried over to the next Pick-5 pool. Wednesday's guaranteed pool is part of the USTA's Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster are available on the USTA's website. This link will take you directly to those program pages. Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5:00 pm.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---In a harness racing performance that could only be described as overwhelming, Chumlee A made a bold backside move after being parked out from the start to win by as many as he wanted in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 2). Major Trick (Kevin Cummings), Lucky McTrucky (Drew Monti) and Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) all left the gate and wanted to cut the mile, but only one could do it. So Major Trick grabbed the pylons and parked out Lucky McTrucky while Chumlee A settled in second-over in the outer flow. The top two horses fought tooth, fang and claw through swift early fractions of :27.1 and :55.4 and neither one would relent. With the same leading order headed around turn three, Stalbaum tired of following and tipped Chumlee A three-deep past the five-eighths pole as the group motored up the backside and by the three-quarters cleared, and the route was on. Chumlee A was in overdrive and opened up distance between himself and the rest of the field with every stride. Stalbaum sat chilly from the top of the lane home as Chumlee A continued to pour it on of his own volition, eventually ending the six-length route in 1:54. It was the third straight win both in North America and at Batavia Downs for Chumlee A ($3.20) and it established a new lifetime mark for the Somebeachsomewhere progeny. Chumlee A is owned by Mark Jakubik and Kim Asher, who also does the training. The $9,000 co-featured Open II Pace went to Heaven Rocks (Ron Beback Jr.) who toured the facility on the front end unfettered from start to finish, winning by a gapped five lengths in 1:53.3. Heaven Rocks ($5.70) sixth win of the season was also a new lifetime mark for the 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven that is owned by William Emmons and trained by James Clouser Jr. Larry Stalbaum, Ray Fisher Jr. and Ron Beback Jr. all has two wins on the night. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Dec. 6) at 5 p.m. when the early Pick-5 wager will carry a guaranteed pool of $2,500. Please note that it will be the last Wednesday of the year as racing will only be held on Friday (Dec. 15) and Saturday (Dec. 16) the final week of the meet. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---Challenged for almost the entire mile, Fox Valley Veto took on all comers and went wire to wire to capture the harness racing $10,000 Open Handicap Trot at Batavia Downs on Friday evening (Dec.1)   Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) and Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) both wanted the front and they went at it hot and heavy off the gate. Fox Valley Veto cleared and then held Lutetium at bay outside to the half in a quick :57.2.   Past the five-eighths Lutetium rightfully packed it in and Fox Valley Veto opened up a three length advantage when he hit the three-quarters in 1:27.2. But during the third quarter, Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) had motored up from the back of the pack and was closing quickly on the leader.   At the top of the stretch Empire Earl N was full of trot and looked like he was going to blow right on by. But Fox Valley Veto had the will and held his ground, toughing-out the win in 1:58.   It was the third win in five starts at Batavia Downs for Fox Valley Veto ($4.00) who is owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice is the trainer.   In the $8,000 Open II trot, I Want Kandy (Drew Monti) left and tucked behind Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) who cut 7/8th's of the mile before Monti pulled and trotted right on by to win by a length in 1:58.2.   It was the first win in two Batavia Downs starts for I Want Kandy ($6.30) and the eighth win of the season overall. Darrin Monti trains the winner that is owned by Carl Monti.   There was an accident in the first turn of the night's seventh race when Catherine'sdiamond (Ray Fisher Jr.) took a bad step and went down and Madd Hoss Jackson (Larry Stalbaum) couldn't get around her and hooked bikes. Stalbaum became unseated but both horses were immediately controlled by their drivers and taken safely to the outside of the track as the race progressed.   Both horses were unhurt and both Fisher and Stalbaum drove the remainder of their mounts.   Stalbaum maintained his Batavia Downs dash driving lead as he won two races on the card (both came after the incident in the seventh race) while the second place Ray Fisher Jr. scored the hat trick. Currently at the meet Stalbaum has 119 wins, Fisher has 117 and Drew Monti has 111.   Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 2) with post time at 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---As the weather gets cold Voltina gets hot and she proved it by winning the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (Nov. 29), which was her third victory in her last five starts in the top harness racing class. Voltina (Kevin Cummings) fired off the gate and took the lead with lightning speed. Squeeze This (Billy Davis Jr.) also left from post seven but took a quarter mile to clear. As soon as she did, Voltina came right back to grab the front and that was all she wrote. As Voltina took the field to the half in :57.2 and three-quarters in 1:26, she scoffed at minor challenges from Hey Kobe (Shawn McDonough) and Who Says That (Ray Fisher Jr.) and kept to her task around the final turn. As they headed down the lane Cummings was flailing the lines and opened up a two-length advantage with Voltina looking lively. But one last test came from Mydelight Bluechip (Ben Mcniel) who shook loose in the passing lane and came with a rush. However Voltina was stout and hung on to win by a length in 1:55.2. Having the best year of her life, Voltina ($8.20) scored her eighth victory of 2017 and bolstered her wallet to $69,456. The 7-year-old daughter of Allamerican Native is owned by CHS Racing LLC and is trained by Anthony Cummings. In the co-featured $8,000 distaff Open II, Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) took back and followed quick early fractions before pulling second-over at the half behind America Ferrera (Kevin Cummings) and eventually overtook her at the top of the stretch and pulled away to a six length romp in a 1:55. Now two for two since arriving at the Downs, Little Joke ($6.00) has eight wins and $51,435 on the year for owners Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner. Driver Kevin Cummings who continues to be the hottest driver on the grounds at Batavia, scored four more wins on Wednesday night. Besides taking the feature with Voltina, he also won with Fie Fy Fo (1:57.1, $9.70), Our Last Photo (2:00.1, $3.20) and Goldstar Thumper (1:57.3, $53.00). In the last 10 cards of racing at Batavia, Cummings has won 28 races and now has 102 wins for the meet. He currently sits in fourth place for dash wins behind Larry Stalbaum (117), Ray Fisher Jr. (114) and Drew Monti (110) and with seven nights of racing left, has a legitimate shot at the driving title. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 1) at 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY--- As a result of no winning ticket once again on Saturday (Nov. 25), Batavia Downs will offer a $3,500 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool when racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 29) at the oldest lighted harness racing track in America. The actual carryover is $1,225. The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager that begins in race one and runs through race five. There is no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners the entire pool (minus takeout) will be carried over to the next Pick-5 pool. Wednesday's guaranteed pool will once again be part of the USTA's Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster are available on the USTA's website. To access the free program pages click here. Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5:00 pm.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY--- Batavia Downs leading harness racing driver Larry Stalbaum is nick-named "The Bomber" for his propensity of winning with long shots. Stalbaum lived up to his moniker on Saturday night (Nov. 25) when he escaped the consciousness of the betting public and got home first with 14-1 shot Itsonlyrocknroll A in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace.   It was a mad dash off the gate as Hardts Or Bettor (Ray Fisher Jr.), Littlebitaclass (Billy Davis Jr.) And Focus Power (Drew Monti) all battled for the lead. Focus Power tucked in third and Hardts Or Bettor parked out Littlebitaclass for the remainder of the contest. The pair paced in tandem in :26.4 and :56.1 when Littlebitaclass wore down past the five-eighths.   At that station Jimi Wind Ricks (John Cummings Jr.) tipped three-wide around him and approached the leader by three-quarters in 1:25.2. But Hardts Or Bettor was still not done as he rebuffed that challenge as well and rounded the last turn looking like he might be the best. But Itsonlyrocknroll A, who had been drafting fourth behind all the early action, made his way into the passing lane at the head of the stretch and from there wore down Hardts Or Bettor to won by a length in 1:54.2.   It was the 13th win of the year for Itsonlyrocknroll A ($30) and it pushed his earnings for 2017 to $80,785. Owned by his driver, Itsonlyrocknroll A is trained by Kim Asher.   The Stalbaum/Asher team also captured the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace in the very next race with recent Austrailian stable addition, Chumlee A.   Stalbaum was second at the quarter with Chumlee A but came quick at that station and led the remainder of the race. After getting to the half in :57.2, Stalbaum turned on the jets and sped the third quarter to :28.3, putting some distance between himself and the rest of the field. From there Chumlee A was wrapped-up and won by as many as he wanted to in 1:55.1.   It was the second win in two North American starts for Chumlee A ($2.60) who is owned by Mark Jakubik and his trainer, Kim Asher.   For the night the Stalbaum/Asher duo combined for four winners on the card, making their respective meet-leading driver and trainer leads even more secure.   Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 29) with post time at 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

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