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Changes At Buffalo In 2012

Published: December 21, 2011 10:20 am ET

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Buffalo Raceway, in Hamburg, New York will open its 70th season of live harness racing on Wednesday, January 11, but never in its history has a Buffalo meet opened with so many changes. “I don’t think there’s a track in the country that has accomplished more in an offseason than what has been done this autumn, especially in the stable area,” said the track's COO, Jim Mango.

Three new barns have been built, plus major repairs to all the existing barns have taken place. Dormitory renovations, more blacktopping, new roofs, painting, and stall repairs in most every barn. The racing surface has been improved with what Mango calls, “The best material I’ve seen in many years." A 2% Players Reward Program is up and running in the clubhouse and will be introduced to live race patrons. A new café-style food service, 'The Winners Circle,' will allow patrons to buy food at all times on race nights without any delay. The clubhouse will also feature open seating.

The track will have a new race secretary, Ginny Rosenfeld, and a new announcer, Gabe Prewitt, for the 2012 season. Rosenfeld has been the assistant race secretary at Batavia for the last decade, and comes to Buffalo with a plethora of knowledge of the Western New York racing community. Prewitt is a native of Kentucky and has been calling races at the Red Mile in Lexington for the past seven years. Longtime trainer-driver Tom Agosti will be the new assistant race secretary.

Another big change this year is the new racing schedule. The season will start with a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday format. However, the new time for Wednesdays will be 5:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays will remain with a 6:40 p.m. first-race post time. Thursdays will be added starting April 12, and will also have a 5:00 p.m. start. Sunday afternoon racing (1:05 p.m.), which was very popular with the track's patrons, is back this year for June and July. Even though there will be nine more racing days, up from 90 last year, purses will remain the same as last year.

Buffalo Raceway is pleased to announce that they have joined with the USTA Strategic Wagering, and will offer a guaranteed $5,000 Pick 4 every Wednesday in January. Quickly becoming a favourite bet for most bettors, it’s a chance to win big money if you can pick the four winners of the designated races. Saturdays in February will feature the popular 'Niatross Knockout Series,' where you can get a free long-sleeve t-shirt on February 4.

On the racing side, driver Jack Flanigen was the runaway dash leader again last year, with 181 victories ($900,618), 32 ahead of second-place finisher Kevin Cummings (149). Sheri Holliday was the leading trainer with 122 wins ($573,024).

There will be some new faces on the scene in 2012, most notable is Shawn Gray, a driver that hails from Maine. As of this writing, he is the current leading UDR reinsman in the country with a gaudy record of 269 wins in just 952 starts, with 179 seconds and 159 thirds. His UDR is .440.

(Buffalo Raceway)


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