BATAVIA — Batavia Downs will have live racing on Mondays and Thursdays in January and February, Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation officials said Thursday.
Racing will be from 3-7 p.m. on those days, WROTB said at the Board of Directors’ regular meeting. Winter harness races will take place on 15 dates, although the dates weren’t specified during the meeting.
Having the live racing from 3-7 on Mondays and Thursdays is efficient, WROTB/Batavia Downs Gaming President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek and WROTB Vice President of Operations Scott Kiedrowski said.
“We have employees on site already. We’re obviously trying to keep the costs down to the corporation,” Wojtaszek said.
WROTB Vice President of Operations Scott Kiedrowski said, “Rather than having everyone come late — staffing is always an issue. It’s more efficient for us.”
WROTB didn’t have a specific cost for live racing in the winter, but Wojtaszek and Kiedrowski said the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association will cover the cost.
“Since we’re taking on this obligation from another source, the horsemen have agreed to absorb the cost of putting on the live meet,” Wojtaszek said. “It was requested for us to take this on.”
Wojtaszek said the kitchen in 34 Rush will be closed for 10 days to two weeks in January as the facility undergoes a roughly $100,000 expansion of the kitchen. The square footage inside the building will not change. Instead, the expansion will be to the outside, WROTB officials said.
Customers will still be able to use the dining room at 34 Rush and the food will be provided out of Homestretch Grill and Fortune’s Restaurant, Wojtaszek said.
“We’ll get this done as soon as we can. This has been on the drawing board for awhile … Actually, we’re going to do it at a good time. January, February’s obviously our slowest time of the year,” he said. “We have some equipment that’s going in there. It’s extremely busy in there and in order to accommodate all the food requests that we have out there, we have to expand the size of the kitchen.”
Wojtaszek said he hopes the 34 Rush kitchen will be closed only 10 days, but added it’ll be closed as long as it takes maintenance staff to get everything together.
“It’s replacing a hood. It’s putting a freezer and a cooler out there. There’s some work to be done. It’s not a one-day job, I can tell you that,” he said. “We expand the square footage outside with the cooler and the freezer.”
Kiedrowski said the bar at 34 Rush will still be open.
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