by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- "It was a successful meet," Buffalo Raceway General Manager Jon Cramer said about the recently completed 2023 season.
"All indicators were positive," Cramer stated in reviewing the data. "Our total handle was up 30 percent and our on-track handle was up. The numbers of races per card increased as did average field sizes and our daily purses were over $117,000."
Cramer went on to say, "It was an overall team effort. Racing Secretary Tom Agosti and his office put together competitive races and for the horsemen participating in them. Dave Dylo and his staff had the track ready to go and Marketing Coordinator Paige Usiak had some great promotions from food trucks, giveaways and handicapping contests. Like I said, it was a team effort."
While the numbers from the front offices were great, there were some outing efforts produced on the track.
On the racing side of the ledger, the all-aged trotting track record was broken, then tied, then broken again all within a four day span.
On Saturday, July 15, Deswanslittlelorie set the all-aged trotting standard with a 1:55.3 time. Then on July 19 in the New York Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old colts and geldings Wild Bill Kelso equaled Deswanslittlelorie's effort with a 1:55.3. But 90 minutes later, Chapercraz came along and totally wiped out those times with a 1:54.2 trip around Buffalo Raceway in the Sire Stakes.
Deswanslittlelorie did keep one record though, that being for the aged (5+) mare trotters as her 1:55.3 was the fastest in that category.
Others putting their name in the record book included Tobern as the 2-year-old gelded trotter posted a 2:00.3 clocking on July 5 and Summer Slash went 1:54.0 to set the mark for 4-year-old mare pacers.
Filly Speaks (Artspeak-Filly's Victory) collected five victories in 14 starts to collect the "Pacer of the Meet' award. The 5-year-old mare cashed in $54,365 in earnings at Buffalo Raceway on the season. Trained by James Clouser Jr., Filly Speaks is co-owned by the Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
Muskingum (Triumphant Caviar-Abbey Craig) took home 'Trotter of the Meet' honors with three victories in 11 tries, taking in $33,046 in purses. The 6-year-old mare put in a seasonal best of 1:58.2 for trainer/driver Joseph Chindano Jr. Fox Racing Inc. owns Muskingum.
Jim Morrill Jr. won his third consecutive driver's title by notching 129 victories and $1,075,059 in purse earnings. Kevin Cummings was second with 100 wins followed by Chindano Jr. with 75.
It took until the last night of the season but Samuel Smith was able to get his first training championship at Buffalo Raceway by posting 49 victories and $470,666 in purses. David Russo stayed in contention until closing night and finished with 45 wins while Jennifer Giuliani took third place honors with 40.
Megan Wilson was voted by the horsemen as the 'Groom of the Meet' with Chase Russo being selected the 'Rising Star.'
There were 656 races conducted at Buffalo Raceway in 2023 with the inside post getting the most victories with 149 while the four spot was next with 115 and the three position with 113.
The post time favorites hit at a 43.60 percentage for the campaign.
Live racing will return in March, 2024 with simulcasting to begin in February, 2024.