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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.

Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 8:00 am

Muckdogs drop game to Scrappers, 2-1

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, batavia, muckdogs, sports

Silent Muckdogs bats Friday night meant strong performances by Muckdogs pitchers went to waste and Batavia dropped the contest against Mahoning Valley, 2-1.

Starter Ben Holmes and reliever Jacob Smigelski carried a 1-0 shutout into the 7th inning, but Smigelski let the lead slip away and Josh Hodges gave up the deciding run in the ninth.

It was a disappointing loss on a night when 1,532 fans turned out on a night billed as an attempt to break the all-time Batavia attendance record by drawing 3,001 patrons.

Obviously, that didn't happen.

Those who did show up got to see a hard-throwing Holmes, a ninth-round draft choice out of the University of Oregon, strike out seven and scatter three hits over four frames.

Hodges took the loss and his record moves to 1-5 (with six saves) despite a respectable 3.06 ERA.

Catcher Brad Haynal, who returned to the team last night after a 13-game stint with Class A Greensboro, had two hits. Center Fielder Josh Norwood also had two hits.

The same two teams go at it again tonight at Dwyer. Game time, 7:05.

Friday, August 22, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Tonight is largest crowd contest, season's last fireworks at Muckdogs vs. Scrappers game

post by Billie Owens in baseball, muckdogs, sports

Information provided by Batavia Muckdogs Booster Club:

Tonight baseball fans should flock to Dwyer Stadium to be part of a milestone in the history of pro baseball in Genesee County. The goal is to break the ball park's 75-year-old attendance record.

The Muckdogs face the Mahoning Valley Scrappers at 7:05, and one lucky fan could win $3,001!

Fans must register for the drawing at the ballpark but no purchase is necessary. All Muckdogs’ season ticket holders are automatically eligible to win. Tonight will also feature the last post-game fireworks show of the 2014 season.

The first season consisted of six teams in the Pennsylvania/Ontario/New York League (The Pony League): Batavia Clippers, Bradford Bees, Hamilton Red Wings, Jamestown Jaguars, Niagara Falls Rainbows, and the Olean Oilers.

When baseball came to Batavia in 1939, a crowd of 3,000 gathered on May 10 at what was known at the time as State Street Park. They sat in borrowed folding chairs from a funeral home in an outfield behind a snow fence (the actual wood fence hadn't been built yet).

They watched our Clippers lose to the Jaguars, 9-4.

Just before the start of tonight's game, at about 6:45, the Muckdogs Booster Club will be handing out awards to the team's four All Stars. Each one will receive $25 cash; the Booster Club's most popular player will receive $100 cash and a trophy.

There will be one extra award this year. With this being the Diamond Anniversary of professional baseball in Batavia, a special fan will be lauded for decades of attendance and going the extra mile to help keep baseball here.

Snapple is tonight's sponsor and free Snapple beverage samples will on hand and there will be a T-shirt toss!

The Launch-a-Ball game will be presented by the Hillside Family of Agencies.

Game tickets can be purchased at the Dwyer Stadium Box Office or over the phone by calling (585) 343-5454. Normal box office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday -- Friday.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Buen Camino sets Batavia Downs track record in NYSS action

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

Buen Camino and driver/trainer Trond Smedshammer

By Tim Bojarsky for Batavia Downs

Perfect weather and a lightning fast track provided record-breaking conditions for Buen Camino and trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and the pair did not disappoint. They were never headed in a $55,500 division of the New York Sire Stakes on Wednesday night (Aug. 20) at Batavia Downs and rewrote history.

In an uncharacteristic move, Smedshammer sent Buen Camino out of the gate and put him right on the point; something the 2-year-old had never done before. But it wasn't done by accident; his driver had a plan.

Smedshammer said after the race “It was time to put him on the front end. He was very good tonight.”

And perhaps very good was an understatement.

After cutting fractions of :29.3, :59.4 and 1:29.2, Buen Camino pulled away from the pack while motoring in a :28.3 final panel to post a lifetime mark of 1:58 flat, which was also a new track record at Batavia Downs for 2-year-old trotting geldings.

Post time favorite Gabe The Bear Dean (Ray Schnittker) got caught second over in a dull outer flow behind Andy Ray (Brent Holland) and followed that one to the top of the last turn before tipping three deep. But by that time it was too late as Buen Camino had opened up three and was cruising for the wire. Insomniac (Jason Bartlett) who skirted the pylons during the mile caught second and Mambo Blue Chip (Jeff Gregory) closed well to be third. The winner paid $22.40.

This was the second win in only four lifetime starts for Buen Camino (Cash Hall-Baby Bella) and it boosted his earnings to $64,722 for owner Wanda Polisseni of the Purple Haze Stable LLC.

After the race, Polisseni said “He’s been a nice horse since day one but he's had some bad trips along the way. Trond really likes him and we’re both very optimistic for next year.”

Tidquist and driver Mike Simons

In the other $54,500 division, Tidquist (Conway Hall-Appomattox Lady) captured his first lifetime win in a convincing wire-to-wire, 1:59.4 victory for driver Mike Simons.

Shooting quickly off the wings, Tidquist took a powerful four-length lead to the quarter pole where most of the field had trouble keeping up with him. After marking the first three stations in :30.1, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1, Royal Deceptor (Michael Mc Givern) who had been tracking him second, finally got close and pulled to challenge at the top of the lane. But Tidquist had another idea and turned on the speed to fly home in a sparkling :28.3 final quarter to win by a widening length and a quarter. Royal Deceptor hung on for second and Wings of Royalty (Chris Lems) was third. Overlooked by the bettors, the winner paid $27.60.

The win was the first in six lifetime starts for Tidquist and was responsible for the bulk of his $33,196 in earnings for owners Robert Brooks, Jana Bowen, John Buettner and Charlene Long. Tidquist is trained by Jeffrey Long.

There were also three divisions of the Excelsior Series that went for a total of $38,000.

Abir Hanover (Credit Winner-Are You Ready) captured the first $12,600 division in 2:01.2 for trainer Paul Kelley and driver Jason Bartlett and paid $4.60. Abir Hanover is owned by Paul Kelley, W.J. Donovan and Theodore Gewertz.

Lucky Pablo (Lucky Chuck-Classical Princess) won the second $12,700 split, also in 2:01.2 for trainer/driver John Stark Jr. and paid $24. Lucky Pablo is owned by Edmund Smith, Crawford Farms LLC, James Giannuzzi and David Smith.

And in the third session, Crazshana (Crazed-Keystone Shana) won the $12,700 contest in 2:00.2 for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and paid $3.50. Crazshana is owned by the Purple Haze Stable LLC.

The Purple Haze Stable sent out three winners on the evening and drivers Trond Smedshammer and Mark MacDonald both had driving triples.

Racing resumes on Friday (Aug. 22) at Batavia Downs with a 12 race card that has a 6:35 post time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Football Preview: Oatkan-Knights have a lot to play for in 2014

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

There's a few story lines we could take with Le Roy football for the 2014 season.

The return of starters Mike McMullen at QB and Ryan McQuillen at receiver. A team coming off a 7-1 season but a need to avenge a disappointing OT loss in the Class C sectional final. The expectations on a team with a storied tradition that has a lot of tools, but will be relying on young offensive and defensive lines.

And then there is the final season of Head Coach Brian Moran, in search of his 200th victory, a possible 14th sectional title and -- dare we say it -- a second state title in 26 years at the helm.

The story line Moran has the least interest in, his final season.

"We don't really worry about the final year," Moran said. "We just come out and prepare these kids as best we can. Whether it's your first year or last year, we just want to focus and coach kids up best we can."

Starting with McMullen and McQuillen, the Oatkan-Knights do have some key starters returning, and all of them are guys that are in their third or fourth years on varsity, such as Jon Pierce, Jake Henry, Tom Kelso, Nick Egeling and Kody Lamkin.

That's a lot of talent on a team that we know will be well coached. Is it unfair to have high expectations?

Moran won't go there.

"Every year you come in, you expect to be successful," Moran said. "That's the first thing. Hopefully, we can get ourselves better and compete for a championship again. That will be interesting to see, but it will be up to how the kids perform and how they work together."

Much will depend on the big men up front.

"We're a little inexperienced up front and you're only as good as you play offensively and defensively on the line," Moran said. "Those kids are going to have to really focus and get themselves ready."

One thing's for sure, if history is any indication, Moran and his staff will do everything they can to prepare this team to compete at a high level. Coach's last year, or not.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Football Preview: Blue Devils hunting more Ws in 2014

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, high school sports, sports

Coming into his third year as Batavia's head football coach, Brennan Briggs said both he and his players approach the 2014 season with some optimism.

There are seven returning starters on both sides of the ball, QB comes into his junior season as a second-year starter and there should be some other weapons on offense to help put points on the board.

"Overall the kids' attitude is very good," Briggs said. "They're excited coming into this season. They know they can win some ball games."

Joining Mruczek in the backfield will be a "committee" of runners.

"We've got some thunder and we've got some lightning back there," Briggs said.

During the off season, Mruczek has put the time in to make himself better, according to Briggs. He's studied film and schemes and really picked his brain to understand what it takes to run the offense.

"He's really been doing a great job for us. Great attitude, great commitment."

The coach said returning players who also seem ready to step up their game include Devon Koepp, Gunner Rapone and James Cryer.

Several sophomores who were part of the varsity last year are ready to assume bigger roles in 2014.

The Blue Devils are coming off of two consecutive 3-5 seasons.

Overall, the Briggs era continues to move forward as he works to shape the program according to his vision. 

"One of biggest things, coming into a program and kind of making it your own is setting that bar, setting the expectations of where you want it to be, so the kids understand exactly what you want  from them," Briggs said. "I think we're getting to that point where the kids understand what's expected of them every single day. They understand what kind of effort I'm asking from them."

The first game is Sept. 5, 7:30 p.m., at Livonia. The first home game is Sept. 12, 7 p.m., against Wellsville.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Batavia Downs hosts NYSS 2-year-old trotting colts Wednesday

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

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

On Wednesday night (Aug. 20) at Batavia Downs $110,000 is up for grabs in two divisions of New York Sire Stake action for freshman trotting colts and geldings.

The fourth race has seven horses going postward in the first division for $54,500 in purse money.

Royal Deceptor (RC Royalty-Art Of Deception) went wire to wire in his career debut at Buffalo Raceway in a sparkling time of 1:59.3, which set a new track record. That win at Buffalo makes him one of only two horses in the race to be victorious over a half-mile track. He then won at Tioga before finishing third at Yonkers. After being scratched sick on Aug. 2, driver Michael Mc Givern elected to race the colt from behind rather than on the point like had all year. Assuming he needed that start after his 17 day layoff, Royal Deceptor has a great chance to rebound here with his early speed from post five for trainer Cheryl Mc Givern.

Wings Of Royalty (RC Royalty-Sparkling Cider) has been spectacular on bigger tracks this year for trainer George Ducharme, but has had his challenges over the half-mile ovals. In his last four starts he has set two consecutive lifetime marks at Tioga Downs (1:57.4) and Vernon Downs (1:56) but in between has made breaks off the gate at Yonkers and Monticello Raceway. Regular driver Chris Lems will try to make him behave from the rail to get his third victory of the year.

Pier Ho Exotic (Conway Hall-Rose Run Exotic) has had just the opposite history. He made breaks at Tioga and Vernon but has a win at Buffalo Raceway in 2:01, a second at Yonkers and a fifth at Monticello after being parked out most of the mile. Pier Ho Exotic is the other horse in the race to win over a half-mile track and John Cummings Jr. will once again be on board from post two for trainer Megan Wilson.

The second $55,500 division is carded as race eight and has eight starters. It also features a battle between the top point’s leaders for this sex and gait.

Gabe The Bear Dean (Lucky Chucky-Madam Hooch) had a flawless performance last week at Monticello Raceway when he went gate to wire in 1:58.4. The four and three-quarter length victory was his fourth in six starts and boosted his earnings to $74,119 for the year. Trainer/driver Ray Schnittker will have to overcome post six in the full field of eight but has the gate speed to do it.

Mambo Blue Chip (Lucky Chucky-Flirty Two) has been nearly flawless for trainer Linda Toscano his last four starts, winning three and finishing second by only half a length. Those victories helped bank his $68,169 for the year and leave him tied with Gabe The Bear Dean atop the NYSS leaderboard for 2-year-old trotting colts with 183 points. Mambo Blue Chip has Jeff Gregory aboard from the rail and that puts him in the perfect spot for his stalking style.

Insomniac (Crazed-Catch Some Z’s) has a win and two seconds since coming into the Paul Kelley stable on July 19 and that includes a 1:56.4 lifetime mark at Vernon Downs. In his other two starts he was narrowly defeated by today’s favorites, Gabe The Bear Dean at Yonkers in 1:58.3 and Mambo Blue Chip at Monticello in 1:59.3. Jason Bartlett who has driven Insomniac for most of the year is aboard again, looking to avenge those defeats.

There are also three divisions of the Excelsior series on the card with total purses amounting to $38,000.

The most closely contested of those is the tenth race where Crashana (Crazed-Keystone Shana) is coming off back-to-back three length victories and is set to go against Lucky Budd (Lucky Chucky-Britt’s Spirit) who also has back-to-back victories going into tonight. Both horses scored their wins on the same nights at the same tracks, but raced in different divisions. They also both sport 1:57.3 lifetime marks at Vernon Downs.

Looking to play spoiler is Titanium (Conway Hall-Classic Yankee) who dropped into Excelsior action from the NYSS last week to collar his first win of the year at Monticello in 2:01.2, the same night Crashana and Lucky Budd raced and won. Facing these two for the first time and drawing inside them, Titanium will look to become the dominant trotter in this series tonight.

Post time for the first race is 6:35.

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