Press Release by Tim Bojarski, president, Upstate New York USHWA
The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has announced the horses of the meet for the 2021 racing season at Batavia Downs.
Pacer of the Meet: Art Scene (American Ideal-Lover Of Art)
Art Scene was a relatively new acquisition for trainer Maria Rice when he came to Batavia, after being claimed at Yonkers Raceway in mid-June for $25,000. But his new home track suited him just fine as he went on to have the winningest year of his career. While racing at Batavia, Art Scene won six Open paces and finished second twice out of his 13 starts in Genesee County and put $43,765 in the bank, making him the richest pacer on the grounds this year. He won his first start at the track and his last before shipping to Pompano for the winter and took his seasonal mark of 1:53.3 at Batavia in between.
Art Scene is owned by Vogel & Wags Nags, Team Rice Racing and Adelphi Bloodstock and is trained by Maria Rice.
Trotter of the Meet: Barn Hall (Conway Hall-Exotic Form)
It’s not too often a 3-year-old trotter can come in and not only compete with, but beat older Open campaigners, but Barn Hall proved it can be done. After racing successfully on the New York Sire Stake Excel A circuit all summer, Barn Hall settled in at Batavia and became a powerful top class performer for the entire meet. He hit the board 12 out of 14 starts, winning four and earning $42,092 which was the most won by any trotter at the meet this year. Plus he took his lifetime mark of 1:55 at Batavia after winning the Open trot in October.
Barn Hall is owned by Steve and Nancy Pratt, Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stable and the Out In The Country Stable and is trained by Steve Pratt.
Mare of the Meet: Protect Blue Chip (American Ideal-Lucky Turn)
Protect Blue Chip surpassed all her previous career numbers this year and excelled in her 11 starts at Batavia Downs. She hit the board eight times, winning four Opens while finishing second and third twice each which netted her $35,142 in purses. Her best win time of 2021 was 1:54 taken at the Downs in September and it was also her fastest career win over any half-mile track. Plus this was the third consecutive year she took her seasonal mark at Batavia Downs.
Protect Blue Chip is owned by Vogel & Wags Nags, Team Rice Racing and Adelphi Bloodstock and is trained by Maria Rice.
Claimer of the Meet: Raksmach N (Mach Three-Raksplace)
Raksmach N also had the best year of his career in North America since landing here from New Zealand in 2018 and the bulk of his success came at Batavia Downs. During the meet he had six wins in only nine starts and earned $29,150 in purses. But he also paced the fastest mile of his life over a half-mile track on September 18 at the Downs when he scorched the oval in 1:52.3, winning by 5-1/4 lengths for driver Jim Morrill Jr. Five of Raksmach N’s six wins came in claiming races of $15,000 or higher.
Raksmach N is owned by Jeffrey Savidge and trainer Jennifer Giuliani.
The connections of these horses will be presented with their trophies in the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 11) during UNY-USHWA’s Night of Distinction. Saturday is the final night of the meet and post time is at 5 p.m.
Photos by Paul White