Hamburg, NY --- Buffalo Raceway, in Hamburg, N.Y., opens its 71st season of live harness racing on Wednesday (Jan. 9), but never in its history has a meet opened with so much optimism.
“Much has been done this off season to improve live racing, especially in the stable area,” said COO Jim Mango.
Two new barns have been built replacing older barns B and C, plus major repairs to all the existing barns including a “gutting” and rebuilding of Barn J have taken place. More blacktopping, new roofs, painting and stall repairs have been done in every barn. The racing surface has been improved with what Mango calls “The best material I’ve seen in many years.”
A two percent Players Reward program continues to be well received in the clubhouse, and the Café style food service, “The Winners Circle,” will feature four major entrees on weekends including the popular fish fry on Fridays, giving patrons the option to buy food at all times without delay.
The most obvious and significant change will be a brand new video and sound system, featuring new graphics and speakers throughout the entire racing operation.
“It should add to the presentation of our product across the entire nation, complementing the return of Gabe Prewitt, who I consider to be the best harness racing announcer in the country,” said Mango.
Prewitt is a native of Kentucky and has been calling races at The Red Mile in Lexington for the past eight years. He will have increased duties in 2013, producing a weekly in house television show, and working in the marketing and publicity department.
Returning as Race Secretary is Ginny Rosenfeld, who has worked as the assistant Race Secretary at Batavia Downs for the last decade.
“I am very excited to be at Buffalo Raceway for my second year, and look forward to writing race cards with the increased purses,” said Rosenfeld.
Purses are being increased by 10 percent daily in 2013.
The racing schedule will be similar to that in 2012, opening Jan. 9 with a fleece blanket giveaway. It will start with a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday format. The post time for Wednesdays will be 5 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays will be at 6:40 p.m. Thursdays are added in April. Sunday afternoon racing, which is very popular, will return in June and July.
Buffalo Raceway is pleased to announce that they have joined with the USTA Strategic Wagering Program, offering a guaranteed $5,000 Pick-4 wagering pool every Wednesday in January, February and March. Quickly becoming a favorite bet for most bettors, it gives the patron a chance to win big money by picking the four winners of the designated races. Also offered, beginning opening day, will be a guaranteed $5,000 Pick-7 payout. Saturdays in February will feature the popular “Niatross Knockout Series” for $4,000 claimers.
On the racing side, driver Shawn Gray will defend his title as the dash leader. He posted 206 victories in 2012, while winning a Buffalo Raceway record $1,055,064 in purses. Gray was 50 wins ahead of second place finisher Dan Noble. Jim Graham was the leading trainer with 83 wins while earning $334,142 in purses.
Buffalo Raceway is located on The Fairgrounds in Hamburg, N.Y. Admission and parking are always free to the Raceway, for all ages. Reservations for live racing nights can be made by calling 716.649.1280, ext. 300. Simulcast wagering from across North America is available year round Wednesday through Sunday.