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New racing schedule at Buffalo Raceway

Buffalo Raceway opens its 70th season of live harness racing on Jan. 11 after a busy offseason.

Among the changes is the new racing schedule. The season will start with a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday format. The new time for Wednesdays will be 5 p.m., while Fridays and Saturdays will remain with a 6:40 p.m. post time. Thursdays will be added starting April 12, and will also have a 5 p.m. start.

The Sunday afternoon racing card (1:05 p.m.) is back this year for June and July. Even though there will be nine more racing days, up from 90 last year, purses will remain the same as last year.

Buffalo Raceway has joined with the USTA Strategic Wagering, and will offer a guaranteed $5,000 pick 4 every Wednesday in January. It's a chance to win big money if you can pick the four winners of the designated races.

Saturdays in February feature the "Niatross Knockout Series," where you can get a free long-sleeve T-shirt on Feb. 4.

A 2 percent Players Reward program is up and running in the clubhouse and will be introduced to live race patrons.

On the racing side, driver Jack Flanigen was the runaway dash leader again last year, with 181 victories ($900,618), 32 ahead of second-place finisher Kevin Cummings (149). Sheri Holliday was the leading trainer with 122 wins ($573,024).

There will be some new faces on the scene in 2012; the most notable is Shawn Gray. At this time, he is the current leading UDRS reinsman in the country with a record of 269 wins in just 952 starts, with 179 seconds and 159 thirds. His UDRS is .440.