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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.

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.

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