Batavia NY --- America’s oldest lighted harness track, Batavia Downs Gaming, concluded its 67th season of live harness racing on Saturday night (Dec.7) with a 13-race program, billed as the Night of Distinction. Awards were presented in several categories by the President of Upstate NY Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association, Tim Bojarski. Also trackside was delegate Sam Pendolino.
Closing night featured a must pay out Pick-6 contest that over 300 racing fans participated in. Steven Bennett of Rochester and Daniel Coughlin of nearby Oakfield, picked the most winners and took home $500 each.
For the second consecutive week, Dont Say Goodby ($16.60) used a strong drive in the lane to rally from far back and capture the featured $8,500 Open Pace in 1:54.4 over the fast track.
OK Braveheart (Ken Holliday) sent the fractions of 27.1, 56.2 and 1:25.3 but called it a night just past the three-quarter marker. But it was a wake-up call for Dont Say Goodby there as driver Drew Monti sent him four-wide around the final turn and was by far the strongest in the race to the wire. He finished a length in front of Unicorn Hanover (Jim McNeight) while JS Tango (Ray Fisher Jr.) finished in third.
“He’s a really good horse,” Rising Star Award recipient Drew Monti said. You just have to point him, he was loaded (with pace) at the wire.
Trained by Charles Stewart and owned by Derek Menchhofer, Dont Say Goodby has now won seven times and has earned $67,827 this season and $165,487 lifetime.
The meets dash leading reinsman, Shawn McDonough, ended the Western New York racing season with a driving four-bagger. John Mungillo was the Downs top conditioner.
Live racing is tentatively scheduled to resume at Batavia Downs on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, pending New York Gaming Commission approval.
Effective Sunday, December 8, simulcasting wagering is offered on a daily basis.