Batavia, NY — Drivers and trainers will be hoping for their chance to chat with Heather Wilder at Saturday’s (Sept. 14) New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions at Batavia Downs.
A familiar name to many through her work with the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association and United States Harness Writers Association, Wilder will be co-hosting the broadcast of the Night of Champions with Peter Kleinhans.
Kleinhans will provide analysis and handicapping insight while Wilder will conduct winner’s circle and trackside interviews for the eight NYSS finals and the Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace (race six).
While assisting with managing her family’s stable, Altmeyer Wilder Racing, which also involves her parents, Ruth and Dan Altmeyer, and her husband, Mike Wilder, she has taken on a role as special events broadcaster, which she says is a perfect fit for her.
“My earliest memories are in the barn. I love to give back to the sport in any way that I can,” said Wilder. “The Night of Champions will be a very special place to be, with top-notch names on the Grand Circuit in one place at the same time. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am.”
The Night of Champions will also be a night of firsts for Wilder: her first time working with Kleinhans and her first time at Batavia Downs.
“I love seeing new tracks and how they run. I’ve heard nothing but good reviews for Batavia Downs, so I’m really looking forward to getting there and working with Peter on the broadcast.”
Todd Haight, director/general manager of live racing at Batavia Downs, echoed the anticipation of having the team on site for the finals.
“We are very excited to add such accomplished and professional talents to our production of the Night of Champions,” said Haight. “The Night of Champions is special for Batavia Downs and we couldn’t be more pleased to have both on board. Heather and Peter have performed at the highest levels of the sport, both on and off the track, and will bring a unique perspective to the show for our fans.”
The Night of Champions is New York’s richest night in harness racing, with $1.8 million in total purse money on the line. Post time is 6 p.m. Entries for the event are available here.
“It is a magnificent card with some of the best horses, horsemen and horsewomen all assembled as part of one event,” said Wilder. “New York’s racing program is just first class and everything is in place for this to be a great night with huge stars. I am thrilled to be a part of it.”