By Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- “We are really looking forward to the upcoming season,” Buffalo Raceway Operations Director Jon Cramer said as the track preps for the opener on Wednesday, January 30th.
The 66-day meet will have racing on Wednesday and Saturday evenings through March with post times set for 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. respectively. Friday night action will begin in April with starting times slated for 5 p.m. The season will close on Saturday, July 20th.
There are two Sunday afternoon cards on tap, June 16th and 23rd with the matinees getting underway at 12:30 p.m. The track will be dark on Friday, June 14th and Friday June 21.
A trio of special 7:15 p.m. posts are on Saturdays when thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown events are run. The later live racing start times will allow customers to wager on the Kentucky Derby which will be contested on May 4th, the Preakness on May 18th and the Belmont Stakes on June 8th.
“We’ve got a few new updates for both the horsemen and fans,” Cramer added. “The improvements made will be enjoyed and appreciated by both of them.”
For the horsemen, they will see a 10 percent increase in purses from the amounts that were offered at the close of the 2018 meet. They will also be able to compete in the “Opportunity Knocks” Series that will be held in February with the $15,000 finale to be run on Wednesday, February 27th.
Also, Buffalo Raceway has initiated a new condition sheet with A, B and C classification.
Buffalo Raceway Racing Secretary Tom Agosti said of the new conditions, “It’s kind of like the dog racing system. A lot of the problems we encountered were if a horse finished second, he’d have to jump up a class or two. That won’t happen now. If you win a race, you only move up one level. And if you don’t finish first, second or third in three races, you can drop down a level.
“I think it makes for more competitive racing...it eliminates the drastic moves in class,” Agosti concluded.
Later on, Agosti said that the track has 295 stalls available with 289 of them ready to be filled. “We are kind of short on stall space because we have people who used to train on farms coming in this year. We maintain the track every day so they’ll be able to get the horses in shape here compared to on the farms where the track there may not be usable due to the weather.”
The track added 5,000 tons of material to the half-mile oval in the fall and also did drainage work that hopefully will alleviate issues during thaws.
There was talk about eliminating the passing lane but Agosti said they left it up to the horsemen and he stated, “Probably 95 percent wanted to keep the passing lane.”
For the fans, the track will have new food and beverage offerings.
“All food on each racing night will be cooked and made to order, including Wednesday nights,” Cramer said. “You can now order food and it will delivered to your table.” Some items that will be available on a rotating basis on race nights will be fried chicken, meatloaf and turkey dinners along with sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers.
The last Saturday of each month will feature the Winner’s Circle Buffet. For $19, you’ll receive the buffet dinner, a racing program along with a $5 Buffalo Raceway betting voucher and a $5 voucher for Hamburg Gaming. This special will be available to those making reservations prior to race night.
The popular Lucky Exacta contest will return on Saturday, February 2nd. Besides getting an exacta combination where you could win up to $100 in betting vouchers, fans will also receive a Buffalo Raceway knit winter hat. There will also be a Lucky Exacta contest on Father’s Day, June 16th.
Opening night on January 30th will feature free 2019 magnetic schedules.
The betting menu will remain the same as last season. There will be the usual win, place and show wagers available along with exacta, trifecta, superfecta, three daily doubles, Pick-3, Pick-4 and Pick-5s.
The driver colony will show the return of 2018 champion Drew Monti along with Billy Davis Jr., Ray Fisher Jr., and Shawn McDonough. Monti finished third recently in the 2019 North American Driving Challenge at Miami Valley in Ohio.
James Clouser Jr. is back to defend his training crown with JD Perrin and Maria Rice expected to battle for the title. Returning this season will be conditioners Mike and Brittney Ohol and Joe Skowyra who had raced here a couple years back. Monticello trainer George Anthrop is shuffling off to Buffalo and brings in a stable of eight as well.
Hamburg Raceway Rewards
"We are pleased to enter the arena of Player Rewards, and excited to share with the racing patrons the benefits of a successful multi-faceted operation at Buffalo Raceway and The Fairgrounds that include the raceway, casino, fair, and the many agricultural and horse related events", said COO Jim Mango.
Located on The Fairgrounds in Hamburg, NY Buffalo Raceway offers simulcast wagering year-round in the spacious Clubhouse and seasonal harness racing January through July.
2019 Stall Information
Hamburg, NY - Stall applications including 2019 race meet information are now available by clicking here. Five thousand tons of new material was placed on the track this fall. Note the increase in purses for all race divisions to begin on opening night, January 30. For more information, please call Tom Agosti, Race Secretary, at 716-649-1280 extension 6235.
Content and links on this page are provided and maintained by the Buffalo Trotting Association, Inc., please contact the Association with any comments or concerns at 716-649-1280.