Quantcast
Skip to main content
Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Sassa Hanover smashes track record; Morrill sweeps NYSS at Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

Sassa Hanover driven by Jim Morrill Jr.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

There was a lot of action on Wednesday night (Aug. 27) at Batavia Downs and as the New York Sire Stakes headlined the racing, both man and beast were in top form.

The Ron Burke trained Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover) rewrote the record books when she toured the facility in a blistering 1:54.2, erasing the old mark of 1:54.4 for a 2-year-old pacing filly set by Barefoot Beauty just last year. This was the fourth track record set at Batavia Downs in 2014.

Jim Morrill Jr. left the gate with Sassa Hanover from post five in the $35,867 division and dropped in third behind the early leader Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore) and the pocket sitting Yes You Can (Mike Whelan). But when they headed up the backside for the first time, Morrill quickly came out and overtook the leader by the quarter in :28.1 and at that point, the race was over.

Sassa Hanover got to the half in :57.1 and the three-quarters in 1:26.2 and from there her only adversary was the clock. Morrill popped the plugs past the last station and the slick-gaited filly paced her hips off down the lane in a :28 flat last quarter and the record breaking final time of 1:54.2. Sassa Hanover paid $2.10 for the win.

Devil Child (American Ideal-Kattimon) was second and Yes You Can (If I Can Dream-Cantbuymehappiness) was third.

This was the fifth win in six starts for Sassa Hanover and it boosted her bank account to $125,992 for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, The Panhellenic Stable Corp, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Lawrence Karr.

Mosquito Blue Chip driven by Jim Morrill Jr.

In the first $35,167 division, Mosquito Blue Chip (Bettor’s Delight-Sandfly Hanover) made it two in a row for trainer Paul Jessop and driver Jim Morrill Jr. but not without a tenuous ending.

My Little Delight (Mark MacDonald) left swiftly in the four horse field and spearheaded fractions of :27.4, :58.2 and 1:28.4. But the action picked up at the three-quarters when Pop The Tags (Brent Holland) came with a rush to challenge the front running filly around the turn and down the stretch. However when the rail opened up as the group straightened out, Mosquito Blue Chip buzzed through the gap and nipped the leader at the wire by a half-length in 1:56.3. The heavy 2-5 favorite returned $2.80 for the win.

My Little Delight (Bettor’s Delight-My Little Dragon) was second and Pop The Tags (Bettor’s Delight-Breathe) was third.

It was the second win in seven starts for Mosquito Blue Chip, pushing her annual income to $101,302 for owners Our Three Sons Stable LLC, Donato Falchicchio and Paul Jessop.

Bettor N Better driven by Jim Morrill Jr.

The final $35,867 division was as good as it could be for Bettor N Better (Bettor’s Delight-Vanite Semalu) as she won easily in her preferred front-running style. This was the second NYSS win on the night for trainer Ron Burke and the third for driver Jim Morrill Jr.

Off the wings, One Hot Majorette (Mike Saftic) flew right to the front from post six and crossed over by the eighth pole. Jim Morrill Jr. played give-and-go with Bettor N Better off the rail and retook the front as soon as they straightened out up the backside. But Heavenly Bride (Mark MacDonald) was immediately at her again and established the third lead change as they passed the quarter in :29.

Morrill, not content to sit in second, once again pulled Bettor N Better at the top of the stretch and retook the lead once more before they hit the half in :58. From there the race was Bettor N Better’s to be won. She took the group to the three-quarters in 1:27.4 before On Hot Majorette came back for one more challenge. That was quickly rebuffed and Bettor N Better paced away down the stretch to a length and a half victory in 1:56. The winner returned $2.10.

Heavenly Bride (Rock N Roll Heaven-Native Bride) was second and Heavens Legacy (Rock N Roll Heaven-Unique Legacy) was third.

That was the fourth win in six starts for Bettor N Better and pushed her earnings to $117,125 for owners Our Horse Sense Stable and Blue Chip Bloodstock, Inc.

Jim Morrill Jr. put on a driving clinic, scoring five wins and three seconds on the night. He was employing incremental positioning in many races where he made several moves within the mile to improve his horse’s location during the race and the strategy was paying off. Morrill is the leading NYSS driver this year and has been annually for some time. In 2014, horses he drove have won 41 NYSS races and earned in excess of $1.6 million in those contests.

After the races, Morrill spoke glowingly of all his charges.

“Sassa Hanover is a very, very nice filly. She didn't really get over the track that well tonight but we got the job done anyway. She will definitely be one to beat in the final at Yonkers. Mosquito Blue Chip drew well and then had the race set up perfect for her. When the rail opened up, she sprinted to wire and got across. And Bettor N Better is just a sweetheart, but she is very professional, too.  We were on cruise control the entire mile.”

There were also three divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card that offered a total of $36,000 in purses.

The first $12,600 division was won by Moremercy Blue Chip (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mercy Mercy Mercy) who is trained by Julie Miller and was driven by Chris Lems. The winner paid $4.70. Moremercy Blue Chip is owned by the Andy Miller Stable and the Pinske Stable.

The second $12,600 leg was won by Rock My world (Rock N Roll Heaven-Love The Game) who is trained by Ed hart and was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. She returned $4.20 for the win. Rock My world is owned by Jeffrey Snyder.

The third $12,700 split went to Hey Kobe (Bettor’s Delight-American West) who is trained by Jean Drolet and was driven by John Plutino. The victor returned $8.10. Hey Kobe is owned by Stephen Schneider, William Siegel and Marthe Drolet.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 29) with post time set at 6:35.

Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 12:40 am

Football Preview: Lancers, a year older and a year hungrier

post by Howard B. Owens in elba, football, high school sports, sports

It's hard to find a high school football coach who will predict a winning season during an August practice session, and Elba/Byron-Bergen Head Coach Michael Cintorino is no exception.

But clearly, he has a lot to be excited about.

He's got a starting QB coming into his second year leading the varsity squad who's gotten bigger and stronger in the off season and put in the hard work to improve his skills.

He has two proven veterans to run the ball, and both his offensive and defensive lines are stocked with second- and third-year players.

Last year's 3-5 season was merely a chance to grow and learn for this group of players.

"This year, they're a year old, a year hungrier and they've been extremely competitive in practice and looking forward to the start of the season," Cintorino said.

The offense will be led by Garrett Chapell, who was shaky at times last year, but Cintorino said he's playing now with a whole new level of confidence.

"He looks fantastic this year, Cintorino said. "He put in a ton of work in the off season."

He'll have three first-year receivers, but Cintorino said they look like real weapons for Chapell so far.

The backfield will be bolstered with the experience of Steele Truax and Mike Shanley, who both proved last year they can run for positive yards and put points on the board.

So will this all add up into Ws for the Lancers, maybe a nice post-season run.

Cintorino dosn't want to go that far. Not yet.

"It's tough to say (how good the team will be)," Cintorino said. "Everyone else is probably saying the same things that we are right now, so we have to see what the league is going to look like once the season actually kicks off. Our goal is obviously to compete for a league championship and make it to sectionals and compete in the Class C sectionals, but there are a lot of good teams putting in the same work we are, so we have to wait and see until we get started."

Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 12:01 am

Football Preview: Young players already experienced in winning move into key roles at Notre Dame

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

 

With each turn of a new generation of football players at Norte Dame, Head Coach Rick Mancuso usually finds a way to mold the young players into a winning unit.

Mancuso, of course, stops short of making any predictions for the Fighting Irish in 2014, but he does say he has a good group of young men who have been working hard and putting in the time to get ready for another season.

"Last year, our JV team had a successful season, so they're coming in and they had a lot of experience last year towards the end," Mancuso said. "We pulled up some kids for sections who got some playing time, which is a big advantage for them. Hopefully, we can keep them motivated and learning every day."

The offense will now be in the hands of junior Connor Logsdon, who led that JV squad last year to its undefeated season.

He steps into the shoes of record-setting QB Tim McCulley, but Mancuso said Logsdon is now his own man with his own offense to run.

"We're not asking him to fill anybody's shoes," Mancuso said. "We're asking him to execute the offense and do what he can do. Everybody's got to do their 1/11th."

Not much about the offensive scheme will change from recent seasons. Notre Dame will run and it will pass and work at setting up scoring opportunities.

"Unless you've got all the horses up front, you can't run the offense one way or the other," Mancuso said. "We're going to mix it up. We'll pretty much run the offense we've been running right along. We won't be spread as much as we were. We'll be spread sometimes, but we've got the full confidence in this team being able to execute what we put in."

The Irish are coming off a 6-2 season that ended jarringly with a 28-0 loss to Alexander in the first round of Class D sectional play. 

Notre Dame opens the season at home against Oakfield-Alabama on Sept. 6 at 1:30 p.m.

"We've got a great group of guys," Mancuso said. "I think everybody is going to do their best to make the team successful."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Photos: Bulldawgs and Blue Devils scrimmage at Van Detta

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Bulldawgs, football, sports

The Batavia Bulldawgs and the Batavia Blue Devils met in a scrimmage this evening at Van Detta Stadium.

Who won?

Who cares. The young Bulldawgs were clearly thrilled to be on Woodward Field and get a pre-game pep talk in the Blue Devils' locker room from Batavia Head Coach Brennan Briggs.

Briggs told his team that he heard the Bulldawgs defense hadn't given up a score yet this season, so the Blue Devils offense might have a tough time of it.

In the first series, the Bulldawgs stopped running back Dominick Mogavero behind the line of scrimmage and sacked QB Greg Mruczek.

On the first play, the Blue Devils linemen didn't block. Rather they grabbed each of the Bulldawgs in front of them and lifted them in the air over their heads. Above, offensive lineman Gunner Rapone lifts an obviously thrilled Bulldawg player.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Batavia Ramparts hockey teams seek new players for upcoming season

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Ramparts, hockey, sports

Press release:

The Genesee Amateur Hockey Association (GAHA) has openings for boys and girls at all age and playing levels on their Batavia Ramparts Hockey teams for the upcoming season.

There is especially a number of openings for Mite-aged players, 8 years and younger, and Midget-aged players between the ages of 14-18.

For more information visit the GAHA Web site at www.bataviaramparts.com  or contact Steve Tanner at 585-813-7246.

The Genesee Amateur Hockey Association is a nonprofit organization that has been providing children in the area the chance to play hockey for over 35 years.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 3:48 pm

NYSS 2-year-old pacing fillies invade Batavia Downs Wednesday

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

In the sixth of eight New York Sire Stakes visits for 2014, three divisions of first-year female pacers go postward on Wednesday night (Aug. 25) in pursuit of $106,901 in purses. Races one, four and eight will feature the best distaff side-wheelers bred in the state.

The track record of 1:54.4 set by Barefoot Beauty in 2013 definitely has a target on it as many of the entrants are more than capable of a similar mile and will be taking a big shot.

In the first race, Mosquito Blue Chip (Bettor’s Delight-Sandfly Hanover) is coming off three sharp efforts, and most recently got her first lifetime win in 1:55 at Yonkers last week. She hasn’t missed a purse check all year and that has made her the top money winner in the race with $83,718. The Paul Jessop trained filly will be driven by Jim Morrill Jr.

The royally bred My Little Delight (Bettor’s Delight-My Little Dragon) scored a lifetime mark at Vernon Downs two starts back in 1:52.3 and came up just a head short to Mosquito Blue Chip last week. Mark MacDonald gets the nod from trainer Noel Daley for the third-straight week and MacDonald has been on fire in each of his Batavia visits this year. The outside post in the short field should have no effect on this talented 2-year-old.

Pop The Tags (Bettor’s Delight-Breathe) steps back up to NYSS action after winning three in a row in Excelsior action. She has one start in the top series this year but with disappointing results. But Pop The Tags is in a good spot here to utilize her front running speed for driver Brent Holland who was at the lines in her last three efforts for trainer Erv Miller.

The fourth race features the 2-5 heavy favorite Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mango Hanover) from the powerful Ron Burke Stable. After reeling off four consecutive wire to wire NYSS wins that includes her lifetime mark of 1:52.2 at Vernon, Sassa Hanover, who is currently second in the point’s standings, came up just a nose short to Mosquito Blue Chip in her last start at Yonkers. Her $108,085 in earnings and four victories for the year surpasses her competitor’s combined totals for each category and she looks to add to those numbers tonight. Jim Morrill Jr., who last sat behind her in a 1:56.3 win at Monticello Raceway on July 4, takes the lines from Yannick Gingras this week.

Devil Child (American Ideal-Kattimon) has yet to win a NYSS race but missed doing so twice this year by a combined total of only one and three-quarters lengths. After scoring an easy win at Vernon in an overnight last week, she may just be brave enough now to track Sassa Hanover from the rail and have the best shot of challenging her in the lane. Jimmy Whittemore is up for trainer Homer Hochstetler.

The third division in the eighth race has another Ron Burke pupil pegged as the 4-5 morning line choice. Bettor N Better (Bettor’s Delight-Vanite Semalu) has three wins and two seconds in five lifetime starts, all of which were NYSS events. Her lifetime mark is a 1:55 effort at Saratoga but she just got beat at Vernon in a 1:52.3 clocking over the big track. She seems to thrive on the front end and tonight from the rail with Jim Morrill Jr. aboard, she seems to be set up for success.

Our Hot Majorette (Art Major-She’s So Hot) raced off a two-week layoff last week at Yonkers and managed to show well. But to see what this filly is really capable of you must look at her effort on July 22, also at Yonkers. She followed the top New York 2-year-old filly Band Of Angels, and just missed winning. She finished second, beaten only half a length in 1:54.4, last quarter in :26.4. If she is able to regain that form in here, the favorite could be beaten. Mike Saftic makes a very rare Batavia Downs appearance on the call from trainer Eric Adams.

There are also three divisions of the Excelsior series on the card going for a total of $38,000. They are programmed as races seven, nine and 10.

Post time for Batavia Downs Wednesday night races is 6:35.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 11:01 am

Waterfowl hunting permits available for opening weekend of duck season

post by Billie Owens in hunting, sports, waterfowl

Special permits are now available for the opening weekend of duck season to hunt waterfowl at two popular state-managed locations, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.

The permit requirement is needed for waterfowl hunting for the first weekend, which is expected to be Oct. 18 and 19, at the Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas in Genesee and Niagara counties. The intent of the special permits is to promote hunter safety and increase the quality of hunting on days when the areas receive the greatest use.

A special permit is required to hunt waterfowl at Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas on the duck season’s first Saturday and first Sunday. These days are the only times the special permits are needed. Waterfowl may be hunted without a special permit during the rest of the season. The permit system has been used successfully at both wildlife management areas in recent years. No special permits are required to hunt other game species at Oak Orchard or Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas.

Although the DEC announced tentative 2014-2015 duck hunting season dates -- Oct. 18 and 19 --  these dates will not be finalized until the federal regulations are adopted in late summer. Hunters are advised to confirm the final dates before hunting any waterfowl.

Opening weekend waterfowl hunting permits for the two Wildlife Management Areas will be distributed by a random lottery. For each of the two days, DEC will issue 100 permits for Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area and 50 permits for Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area. Hunters must choose from four options: Oak Orchard first Saturday; Oak Orchard first Sunday; Tonawanda first Saturday; and Tonawanda first Sunday.

To apply for the lottery, hunters must send in a postcard with their name, address and their first three choices, in order of preference, clearly indicated. Applicants must also have completed a Waterfowl Identification Course, and their course certificate number must be indicated on the postcard.

Applications will be accepted through Sept. 15, 2014, and must be mailed to the New York State Bureau of Wildlife, 1101 Casey Road, Box B, Basom, NY 14013. Each permittee will be allowed to bring one companion over the age of 18 and an additional companion 18 years old or younger.

Duplicate permits will not be issued to hunters who have already been issued a permit to hunt on the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. Any cards submitted by hunters who have been selected to hunt on Iroquois on the first Saturday will be excluded from the lottery for that day at both Oak Orchard and Tonawanda.

Issued permits are nontransferable and are not valid for companion(s) unless the permittee is present and hunting within 50 yards. The permittee is responsible for completing and returning the questionnaire portion of the permit to the New York State Bureau of Wildlife by November 15, 2014. If the completed questionnaire is not received by November 15, the permittee will be ineligible for next year's (2015) lottery.

Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.

In support of this initiative, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird-watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas.

In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.

This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 9:58 am

Batavia Downs top trot goes to BZ Glide

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

BZ Glide and driver Mike Caprio

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

After drawing outside in the top class the last two weeks, BZ Glide finally got some post relief and driver Mike Caprio took full advantage of it to capture the $9,500 Open trot at Batavia Downs.

When the man said go, Typical New Yorker (Ray Fisher Jr.) and Second hand News (Kevin Cummings) immediately fired out to challenge rail rider Absolutely Certain (Ron Beback Jr.) who quickly rebuffed their rush. Second Hand News took a seat third and Typical New Yorker was hung out to dry as the bunch rounded the quarter in :28.2 and the half in :59 flat.

At that point BZ Glide pulled from sixth and started up on the outside behind the tiring Typical New Yorker and was forced to tip three-deep at the five-eighths pole. Caprio and BZ Glide pulled alongside Absolutely Certain at the three-quarters in 1:28.2 and despite furious encouragement from Beback, went right by the pair in the turn. By the time they hit the top of the stretch, BZ Glide had cleared as was trotting home a winner in 1:57.2, which was a new seasonal mark for the gelded son of Yankee Glide. The winner paid $8.80.

This was the fourth win in fourteen starts in 2014 for BZ Glide and it pushed his earnings to $37,345 for the year. BZ Glide is owned by his driver, Mike Caprio and trained by Alana Caprio.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 27) and will feature three divisions of the $106,901 New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing fillies. Post time for the first race is 6:35.

Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Brinkley wins 2014 Wiener Dog race at Batavia Downs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports, Wiener Dog Race

Photographer Amanda Earl covered the wiener dog race at Batavia Downs. 

Press release from Batavia Downs:

Kristy Drabek’s 2-year-old dachshund named Brinkley stormed down the stretch of America’s oldest lighted harness racetrack to win the championship final of the 2014 Genesee Feeds wiener dog races on Sunday afternoon at Batavia Downs Gaming.

The official margin of victory was a half a (dog) length.

Six-year Pablo Penders, owned by Adrienne Penders, surged at the wire to nip another 5-year-old, early leader Ruby, owned by Sarah Farley, for second.

Over 70 fleet-footed wiener dogs participated in the annual races that act as the final piece of Family Fun Day at the races.

Brinkey’s win was worth $100 in gaming free for his happy owners while second and third paid off $50 and $25 in free play, respectively.

Reigning champion Gordon, who has won the last three years, did not enter.

“It was a great crowd and a great day,” Todd Haight, Director/GM of live racing, said. “Our marketing department put together a plethora of activities and it certainly brought a huge crowd.

Batavia Downs video:

 

Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Salazar is a convincing winner in Batavia Downs feature

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

By Tim Bojarsky for Batavia Downs

Salazar and driver Ron Beback Jr. started from post one, led the whole race and won pulling away in the $9,500 Open pace at Batavia Downs Saturday night (Aug. 23).

Off the gate, Salazar motored into the first turn fast enough to seat What The Sheik (Dave McNeight Jr.) who left two deep and then park out Rock N Roll Legend (Drew Monti) who  was three-high at the eighth pole. The group hit the quarter in :27.3 and continued to the half in :57.3.

Realizing he was not going to see the wood, Monti popped the plugs on the still parked Rock N Roll Legend and drove on. He got his nose to the leader’s tail when Western Alumni (Jim McNeight Jr.) made a three-wide move passing the three-quarters in 1:27.1 and three horses were in hot pursuit of the leader at that point. But Beback raised the lines in the final turn and Salazar responded to some intermittent urging down the lane to score a convincing two-length victory in 1:55.1.

What The Sheik, who had the two-hole trip, was second and Western Alumni came up to be third. The winner paid $4.80.

This was the fifth win in 28 starts for the 8-year-old gelded son of McCardle and it brought his seasonal earnings up to $55,152 for owner Lisa Denison. Salazar is trained by Lisa Lederhouse.

The Down’s leading dash-driver Kevin Cummings scored a driving triple on the night while Shawn McDonough, Jack Flanigen and Drew Monti all registered doubles. The latter are currently second, third and fourth respectively in the local standings.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 24) with post time at 1:15.

Premium Drupal Themes