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Batavia Downs, Batavia
(2.5/5 based on 120+ reviews on the web)
Batavia Downs is a harness racing track and casino in Batavia, New York. It is located in Genesee County between Buffalo and Rochester just off of the New York State Thruway, the I-90. It opened on September 20, 1940, and is the oldest lighted harness racetrack in the United States. The track is exactly 1/2 mile long.HistoryIn 1939, William "Lefty" Goldberg and others chose Batavia, halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, for par-mutuel wagering on horse races. Harold Wishman, William Zimmer, Arthur Martin and Frederick Strohm were stockholders in the Monroe-Genesee Breeders Association, a predecessor to the Genesee-Monroe Racing Association, which rented the Genesee County Fairgrounds for racing.1940sIn 1940, Batavia Downs opened pari-mutuel racing at 8:20 PM on September 20, 1940. Crowds of more than 2,500 attended and $10,411 was wagered on the first card.In 1941, Batavia Downs opened to an estimated crowd of about $4,000 and a handle of $20,231. Track lighting was improved.The season was cancelled in 1942 and 1943 because of war travel restrictions. In 1944, Pat E. Provenzano borrowed money and bought out stockholder William Weisman, a New York City attorney, for $15,000. Provenzano was elected president of the Genesee Monroe Racing Association. In 1947, Provenzano purchased the racetrack property for $150,000 after the Genesee County Agricultural Society's fair association went bankrupt. Proximity set the then-track record of 2:04. In 1948 she broke her own time record with a time of 1:59 3/5.
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  • Batavia Downs is the oldest lighted track in New York State. Racing is exiting whether you bet or not! In the Club House you can eat dinner, bet and watch the race right from your table. After the rac...  more »
  • It was a lot of fun to go and watch the races. You do not even need to bet if you do not want to. Get a program and watch. We had never been to horse racing and the guys at the counter were great to e...  more »
  • Our reception was held in the Grandstands banquet hall at Batavia Downs. The food was amazing, the staff was incredible and the night as a whole was a great time for all who attended. Highly recommend...  more »