Buffalo Raceway in New York
Buffalo Raceway has been a popular meeting ground for the residents of Western New York since as early as 1942. This harness racing raceway was developed on the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg shortly after the passing of a bill allowing pari-mutuel harness racing. The half-mile track at the Fairgrounds proved to be a popular addition to an already well-liked recreational spot – a fact which is confirmed by the raceway's continued existence.
Even in its early days, Buffalo Raceway enjoyed a competitive and vibrant atmosphere. Crowds of as many as ten thousand often made their way to view these trotting races and it was not long before the stables were filled with horses from all over the United States and Canada. A large number of records were set or broken here, with horses and their owners becoming famous. The local trotter Wee Laird set the world record of 1:32 for a ¾ mile trace which remained unbroken for more than 20 years. After his successful career, Wee Laird remained in Western New York and was used to breed. Many of the trotters in the area today share his noble bloodline.
In these early days, the Raceway had roughly 70 race programs a year. Local fans could enjoy the races for about six months every year. In the 1940’s the Raceway enjoyed it’s first real improvements which took the form of new barns and a clubhouse. By the 1960’s Buffalo Raceway had become one of the top ten harness racing tracks in America. Once again the Raceway was upgraded – this time with extra barns, a new paddock area, a second grandstand and an administration area. Later improvements included a stone dust surfaced racing strip for winter racing and a glass-enclosed grandstand to protect patrons from the elements.
Recent renovations, such as racing strip renovations and the building of new barns, have ensured that the facility is kept up to par. The track has also been recently banked for faster and safer races. The prestigious New York Sires Stakes continues to remain a part of the raceway program and draws thousands to the race track each year. If you’ve never had exposure to this form of racing, the Buffalo Raceway is a great place to start.