By Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Buffalo Raceway will begin its 57-day, 2023 live harness racing season on Saturday evening (March 4) starting at 6 p.m with a spectacular 13-race card on tap.
There will be a $17,500 Open Trot and a $15,100 Open II Pace which will be the co-featured races on the program, There are seven other events on first night that will go for at least $11,200 with total purses on the card approaching $150,000.
The first evening of action will feature the Lucky Exacta Combination promotion. Patrons will receive a Buffalo Raceway baseball cap along with an exacta combination good starting in the third race. Should your exacta come in, you'll spin the wheel to win free wagers from $10 up to $100 on the last race of the evening, which will be the 13th. Fans can win more than once.
Patrons on track opening night will receive free programs.
The trotting main event will have a tough field of six with three coming off victories. The main threats will be Good Boy, Buzz and Gemini Eddie, all of whom enjoyed wins last time out.
Good Boy (Ray Fisher Jr.) has had seven starts already in 2023 and has four victories and three second place finishes. Buzz, a winner at Batavia Downs earlier in the week, will have Mike Baumeister in the sulky hoping to improve on Buzz' three-win total thus far.
Jim Morrill Jr. will be back searching for his third consecutive driving title at Buffalo Raceway. He took the championship in 2022 with 91 victories and 88 in 2021. However, he won't be on the opening night card.
His chief rival will be Kevin Cummings who finished in third behind Morrill Jr. with 68 wins in 2022 and was second in 2021 with 77 scores. Cummings' dance card shows him driving in all 13 races. He won the abbreviated meet at Batavia in January-February with 41 victories.
Shawn McDonough easily captured the 2022 training title with 54 victories and $425,218 in purse earnings. He finished in a first place tie with Samuel Smith at the recently completed meet at Batavia Downs with 17 wins. Smith will send eight to the post while McDonough has six entered on the opening night program,
Last season, the favorites won at a 48.26 clip. The inside post took 145 of 518 races for a winning percentage of 28%.
Racing will be held on Wednesday and Saturday nights at 6 p.m. through March then when April rolls around, the track will run on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday afternoons at 2:30 p.m. until the end of the meet on Saturday, July, 22.
Buffalo Raceway is located on the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg, N.Y.
For more information including the latest news, race replays, entries, results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com