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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Harness Trek 2012

I made my annual trip over to Buffalo Raceway in Hamburg again tonight and once again enjoyed the harness races. While I have little clue on how to bet the standardbreds, I was with a group of guys who have not spent much time at the track and were introduced to racing for the first time.

The Buffalo Renaissance Foundation (of which I'm the president this year) held our spring board meeting at the track before the races started in a quiet section overlooking the clubhouse turn. The folks at Buffalo Raceway were more than accommodating making sure our group was set with programs, vouchers and tip sheets. I brought the BRIS selections from the TwinSpires account which were extremely helpful when deciding who were the contenders. The Raceway's oval is a half-mile and the races were all run at a mile distance (approximately two minutes), so two times around the track.

I think we made a few new fans as everyone seemed to enjoy the "action" and we kept it to basic betting of WPS, show betting and boxed exactas. We had a few winners and a few losers, but the highlight was by far, our founding member and past president who just became a grandfather for the first time scoring on a horse named Grampa Gus in the 6th. How cool is that?

The one thing a thoroughbred guy like me has to get used to is the short time period between races. The next race seemed to be right on top of the last and there's little time to handicap between races, like at the thoroughbred tracks.

Our group was honored to have Race 5 named after our Foundation and we had a chance to be photographed with the winner, Ugly Betty after the race on the track. We were invited up to the booth to listen to track announcer, Gabe Prewitt, who has been calling the harness races for the past seven years at The Red Mile in Lexington, in his first season as Buffalo's announcer. He was sporting his Big Blue Nation tee-shirt and a UK banner was hanging proudly in the announcing booth. He is an excellent race caller and was very nice to us while visiting his perch.

I really enjoy the venue out at the Fair Grounds and really appreciated the courtesies afforded us by Jon Cramer, Director of Marketing and COO Jim Mango. Looks like it may be an annual event for our group.



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