Batavia, NY --- The show will continue to go on at Batavia Downs this week as the track will conduct live racing on Tuesday and Wednesday night beginning at 6:30 p.m. without any pari-mutuel on-track wagering.
The grandstand and clubhouse will both be empty due to the fact that the facility is temporarily closed as the track moves into its new gaming home on the first floor with the opening set for 12 noon on Friday. The track apron will be open for racing fans or owners wanting to take in the action live.
While unique, this isn't the first time Batavia Downs has conducted live racing without on-track wagering.
In 1975, the meet opened four days late when the 290-members of the Batavia Downs independent employees union went on strike the day before the Monday inaugural. With sign-holding pickets at the track entrances, the employees (not counting 30 maintenance workers who were on a different contract) said they wanted a better retirement program, but they settled for a 20 percent pay hike over three years and further talks continued.
The track opened that Monday but basically as a non-spectator sport, as the stands were quite empty. Racing was held to meet contract commitments with the horseman and OTB which was in its second year of operation in Western New York.
“It’s not like it hasn’t happened before,” said Todd Haight, general manager of live racing. “Back in 1975 racing fans went to OTB first to place their wagers and then came out and watched the races because there was no simulcasting. Now, fans have the option of wagering at many different venues and simulcasting is readily available. We’re all very interested to see how this plays out.”
Western New York patrons will have a variety of options in which to place a wager when America’s oldest lighted harness plant is shut down. Those options include wagering at the Batavia Inter-track wager center (across the street), any Western OTB branch, all OTB EZ-Bet locations, via OTB’s Dial-a-Bet service or online at Bataviabets.com.
The 12-race program on Tuesday and the 11-race card on Wednesday will be broadcast on Time-Warner Cable Channel 98 in Rochester and surrounding areas and can be seen at all simulcast locations.
For more information on North America's oldest lighted harness track, including upcoming promotions, race replays, news and statistics go to bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing.