09/11/2007 11:00PM

N.Y. presence lifts Thistledown handle

EmailDespite facing competition from the Cleveland Browns home opener on Sunday, Thistledown posted records for wagering last weekend.

The track's director of mutuels, Bob Hickey, said that $960,144 was bet offtrack on Saturday's card, a record for a card other than an Ohio Derby Day. On Sunday, $843,215 was wagered offtrack. That figure would have been a record if not for Saturday.

Hickey said that Thistledown has established a presence in the New York City offtrack betting market.

"That has helped us a great deal," he said. "The fact that Finger Lakes in upstate New York is dark on Sundays also played a part in our record weekend."

Simulcast director Greg Davis said he has been trying to establish a rapport with the New York outlets for two or three years.

"Finally, they took our full card on Ohio Derby Day," he said. "They liked what they saw, and a few weeks later they began taking us regularly."

* Sunday's early daily double paid a whopping $3 after 1-2 shot Miz Catskatoon won the opener and 1-10 Shakeyogroovething won the second.

* Local trainers and jockeys have been wining races at Presque Isle Downs, a two-hour drive from the track. On Thursday night, 16 local horses were entered in the eight Presque Isle races.