by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The Buffalo Raceway live 2023 harness racing season concludes on Saturday evening (July 22) at 6:00 p.m. and the track has named its various award winners who will be honored during the finale.
A pair of mares swept the 'Pacer and Trotter of the Meet' awards for 2023.
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 on the season at Buffalo Raceway, competing in the Open Mare Pace throughout the campaign. For the year, Filly Speaks, who has a seasonal best of 1:55, posted seven wins in 19 attempts, bankrolling $64,870. Trained by James Clouser Jr., she is co-owned by the Burke Racing Stable LLC. and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
Muskingum won the 'Trotter of the Meet' distinction with three victories in 11 tries and $33,046 in purses. Her seasonal best was a 1:58.2 over the Hamburg half mile.Trained and driven by Joseph Chindano Jr., the 6-year-old Muskingum (Triumphant Caviar-Abbey Craig) is owned by Fox Racing Inc.
Jim Morrill Jr. won 'Driver of the Meet' with another stellar season. It was his third consecutive driving title and fifth overall at Buffalo Raceway.
Heading into the final weekend of racing, Morrill Jr. has 122 victories in 396 starts, posting $1,044,767 in purses and a UDR of .464. He beat his 2022 numbers of 91 victories in 303 tries and $867,305 in purse earnings.
It's the first time he has gone over the million dollar mark in earnings at Buffalo Raceway. Morrill Jr. is also just the fourth driver in Buffalo Raceway history to reach the million dollar level. Shawn Gray was the first to hit that level in 2012 with Kevin Cummings doing it in 2015 and Larry Stalbaum in 2017.
The 'Trainer of the Meet', which is based on victories, is still a toss up heading into the last two cards of the season. Samuel Smith, looking for his first Buffalo Raceway title, currently has 46 victories on the season while David Russo is still in the hunt with 42.
Smith has 10 entered over the weekend at Buffalo Raceway and Russo has eight so the competition probably won't be decided until Saturday.
The 'Groom of the Meet', based on votes by the horsemen, went to Megan Wilson. She is always helping out for various trainers and can be found in the winner's circle from the barns of Keith Kash Jr., to Shawn McDonough and more.
The closing night will also feature a chicken barbecue from Carrubba's Chicken Pit which will be served from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The cost is $15 and includes a half of chicken, potatoes, coleslaw, roll and garlic butter.
There's 13 races on both the Friday and Saturday night programs on closing weekend. Post time on Friday will be 2:30 p.m. and the horses head to the starting gate at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Simulcasting will close after action on Sunday, July 23 and will reopen in February of 2024.
For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, entries, results and race replays, go to www.buffaloraceway.com