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September 19, 2017 - 2:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, trapping, hunting, news, Announcements.

Press release:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that the 2017-18 Western New York trapping season for fox, raccoon, coyote and other upland furbearing animals opens on Oct. 25 and closes on Feb. 15.

The start of upland trapping will be delayed until Nov. 1 at the John White Wildlife Management Area (WMA), and the trapping season for mink, muskrat and beaver at this WMA will run from Nov. 25 until Feb. 15.

The start of muskrat and mink trapping at the Oak Orchard and Tonawanda WMAs will run from Dec. 2 to Feb. 15.

Beginning Oct. 2, trapping permits will be issued for the Oak Orchard, Tonawanda, and John White WMAs for the 2017-2018 license year.

Permit applications can be obtained weekdays from Oct. 2 to Nov. 30, by appearing in person at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge Office on Casey Road between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., or by writing to the DEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 1101 Casey Road, Box B, Basom, NY 14013.

Trappers who obtain a permit will be required to report their harvest and trapping efforts on each area.

After last year’s extreme drought, water levels on these areas are back to normal conditions this year, but there are new areas of dense vegetation in several marshes. Wetland muskrat and mink trapping maybe limited to dike trapping in a number of marshes to allow the muskrat population to continue to recover from the drought, especially in marshes where increased muskrat numbers will benefit marsh habitat conditions. Full access for trapping will be permitted in the remaining marshes.

Additional information will be available by Oct. 2, and when trapping permits are issued.

The maximum number of traps a trapper can set for muskrat and mink in water on the three areas is 25. To accomplish this, DEC issues 25 numbered tags to each trapper that obtains a permit. A tag must be attached to each trap used on the areas. Any trap that does not have one of these tags attached is an illegal trap.

In addition, an individual trapper can only operate traps that contain tags with their assigned numbers. Traps set for upland trapping and beaver will not require numbered tags and will not be considered in the trap limit. The trap limit provides a more equitable distribution of the harvest and prevents trappers from monopolizing the better trapping areas.

Management of the muskrat population promotes prime emergent marsh habitats used by waterfowl and uncommon marsh birds such as the black tern and least bittern. The trap limit and possible additional trapping restrictions allow DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife personnel to better regulate the muskrat harvest according to water availability, habitat needs and population.

DEC reminds hunters and trappers that gas and electric motorboats are prohibited on Oak Orchard or Tonawanda WMAs.

September 18, 2017 - 3:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, batavia.

Press release:

Batavia varsity basketball Coach Buddy Brasky will hold a Basketball Mini-Camp at the Batavia High School gym this fall. This Mini-Camp is for boys in grades 8-12.

The camp will start Thursday, Oct. 5 and run from 7 to 9 p.m. on the following dates: Oct. 5, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 30, and Nov. 2.

This program is for the experienced and serious player only!!!  The program will emphasize offensive skill development. Cost for the program is $95.    For more information call Buddy Brasky at 585-356-4050 or email [email protected]   

** PLAYER MUST BRING THEIR OWN BASKETBALL

September 17, 2017 - 12:04am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Team Captain pulls ahead with driver John Cummings Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Even though the betting public completely overlooked Tioga Downs invader Team Captain at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 16), the 16-1 pacer made his presence known in the $10,500 featured Open by upsetting local favorite Fireyourguns in one of the most exciting races held at the Downs this season.

Team Captain (John Cummings Jr.) got away last in the field of seven as even-money shot Fireyourguns went three-deep to take the lead and set quick early fractions of :26.1 and :54.2. He was being prompted by Believe This Bob (Shawn McDonough) who was parked out the entire mile. As the field bunched into two rows up the backstretch, Team Captain was still last and third-over in the outer flow at three-quarters in 1:23.1 but that was about to change.

Coming off the last turn, Focus Power (Drew Monti) tipped three-deep around Itsonlyrocknroll A (Larry Stalbaum) and Team Captain tipped four-wide around him. As the cavalry charge roared down the stretch, Fireyourguns weakened inside as Focus Power and Team Captain went toe-to-toe all the way to the wire with Team Captain eventually getting a head advantage under the light in 1:52.4.

Team Captain ($34.20) scored his sixth win of the year for owner Joseph Martinelli Sr. who has benefited from his horse's efforts this year in the amount of $35,610. Paul Bernardo trains the 5-year-old gelded son of Cam’s Card Shark.

In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pacing event, Show Stopping ($28.20) tracked fast fractions set by Mister Livan N (Larry Stalbaum) from sixth before pulling second-over at three-quarters and then tipping three-wide at the top of the stretch to pace away from the field and win by one-half length in 1:53.1.

Show Stopping is owned by Resilient Racing Stable and trained by Rose Russo.

Drew Monti, Kevin Cummings, John Cummings Jr. and Ray Fisher Jr. all had driving doubles Saturday. Trainer Rose Russo also sent out two winners from her stable.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday (Sept. 18) with post time at 5 p.m.

September 16, 2017 - 4:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, volleyball, Pavilion.
Perry won all three matches against Perry in volleyball on Friday night by scores of 25-21, 25-7, and 25-17.

For Pavilion, Alissa Cianci had 6 kills with Lexi Eighmey contributing 12 digs as the libero. Pavilion is now 0-3.

For Perry, Maleena Stickley had a consistent, strong serve with 4 aces as well as great defense with 7 digs. Lydia Boyd led the offense with 4 kills with Ashley Page close behind, contributing 3 kills of her own. Perry is now 3-2.

September 16, 2017 - 4:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Arc of Genesee Orleans, elba, sports, 5K.

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The Arc of Genesee Orleans hosted the agency's annual 5K run and walk in Elba this morning.

We have not yet received the results of the race.

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September 16, 2017 - 4:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, batavia, Batavia HS.

The Batavia Blue Devils moved to 2-1 on the season with a 28-13 victory over Cardinal-O'Hara at Cardinal-O'Hara this afternoon.

Ray Leach rushed for 179 yards on 21 carries and scored a TD.

Chandler Baker gained 91 yards on the ground, scoring once, on nine carries. He was 7-10 passing for 33 yards.

On defense, John Kindig had seven tackles and a fumble recovery. Josh Barber had seven tackles and two interceptions, including one on Cardinal-O'Hara's two-yard line that he returned for a touchdown to close out the game.

Anthony Ray had six tackles.

September 16, 2017 - 3:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, football, sports.

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After replacing the injured starter at QB, Le Roy's Cole Biggins helped his offense put together two scoring drives in the 4th quarter Friday night to lift the Oatkan Knights from 18-7 down to a 19-18 victory over archrival Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen.

Biggins capped the second drive with a nine-yard TD pass to Reece Tresco with 10 seconds on the clock.  

After coming in during the 2nd quarter, Biggins was 9-14 passing for 73 yards and gained 65 yards on the ground in eight carries.

Kyler LaCarte gained 48 yards on 13 carries and scored on a 14-yard run for Le Roy's first 4th quarter TD.

Reece Tresco caught four passes for 33 yards and a TD. Gavin Luckey gained 25 yards on two receptions.

Bryce Bordonaro had eight tackles and forced and recovered a fumble.

Photos by Ed Henry.

Top photo: Senior Luke Stella and Coach Brian Herdlein celebrate the Knights’ victory.

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Reece Tresco hauls in the game-winning TD 

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Reece Tresco (16) and Cole Biggins (22)

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Kyler LaCarte

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Gavin Luckey with a tackle.

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Bryce Bordonaro with a tackle.

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Cole Biggins races 31 yards through the Raiders’ defense for a TD.

September 16, 2017 - 2:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Egosnattitudes in the foreground driven by Larry Stalbaum.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Slow starts and fast finishes are his trademark and Egosnattitudes followed the playbook to a “T” on Friday night as he captured the $9,000 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs.

Egosnattitudes (Larry Stalbaum) got away last by ten-lengths to begin the race while Lutetium (Denny Bucceri) called the shots on the front end. While the race cruised by the half in :57.3, Egosnattitudes was rolling up on the outside, trying to get in the mix. Striker Ace (Kevin Cummings) pulled underneath him and drew even with Lutetium and those two matched strides until the five-eighths when Lutetium made a break. With Striker Ace (Kevin Cummings) now on the point, Egosnattitudes kept in hot pursuit and incrementally drew alongside the leader at the top of the lane before continuing right by him in the stretch to win in 1:57.1.

It was the sixth win of the year for Egosnattitudes ($3.80) and the third win in four Batavia Downs starts. Egosnattitudes is owned by Graham Grace Stables LLC and is trained by Kim Asher.

In the $8,500 Open II, Skyway Priss (Jim Morrill Jr.) was the only mare in the field and led every step of the way, winning her seventh race of the year in 1:57.3, which was a new seasonal mark. It was the second straight win for Skyway Priss ($4.20) both of which were for her new owners Buona Fortuna Stable and Marissa Russo who purchased the mare privately on September 3. David Russo trains the winner.

Several horsemen had multiple win nights at the Downs on Friday. Leading driver Drew Monti and Jim Morrill Jr. both had a triple on the card while Larry Stalbaum brought two to the circle. And trainers Darrin Monti, Mark Temperato and Kim Asher conditioned two winners apiece during the proceedings.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 16) with the first post slated for 6 o'clock.

September 16, 2017 - 12:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports.

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Zach von Kramer rushed for 250 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns to lead the Pembroke Dragons to a 48-6 win over Notre Dame.

Von Kramer also had nine tackles on defense.

For the Irish, Timothy Klotzbach was 6-11 passing for 122 yards and one touchdown.

In other games:

  • Attica 53, Oakfield-Alabama/Elba 7: Mason Compton had 148 yards, three touchdowns on five carries. 
  • Alexander 44, Holley 6: The Trojans are now 3-0. For Alexander, Chris McClinic carried the ball 12 times for 162 yards and three touchdowns. Terrez Smith rushed seven times for 71 yards and two touchdowns.Erik Scharlau, four catches, 70 yards, one TD.

We'll have more on the Le Roy vs. Cal-Mum game later in a separate post.

Top and bottom photo by Thomas Ognibene. The rest of the photos by Jim Burns.

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September 15, 2017 - 9:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Arc of Genesee Orleans, sports, 5K.

Press release:

The Friends & Family 5K returns to Elba Saturday (September 16). The 13th annual event raises money for Arc of Genesee Orleans disability services and helps fund the Mary Anne Graney Memorial Scholarship for students in Genesee and Orleans Counties. Mrs. Graney was a dedicated parent, a long-time supporter and an advocate for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

New this year, the former Terri Krieger Memorial 5K has been merged into the Elba event.  Terri was a beloved Arc Staff Member, who passed away in 1997.

The Friends & Family 5K is made up of a 5K certified course and a fun walk, with the route beginning near and ending at the Arc Day Habilitation Center, 4603 Barrville Road, Elba.  Walk in registration is $20 for the 5K and $15 for the fun walk.  Registration opens at 8:45 Saturday morning. The 5K begins at 10 a.m.

The “out and back” 5K course begins on Barrville Road, then east on Bridge, north on Luddington to the end, then back to the Arc Day Habilitation Center.  Neighbors have been notified that the affected roads will be closed while runners and walkers are on the course, approximately one hour.  Town of Elba Highway officials, the Elba Fire Police and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department will be assisting to ensure a safe, fun time for everyone.

Prizes will be presented to the overall male and female runners, with medals and cookie awards from Casenic Cookies awarded to the male and female first and second place runners in the following age categories:  12 and  under, 13–18, 19–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59, 60–69 and 70+.

Based on the beautiful weather forecast, organizers are anticipating a lot of walk-in registrants. 

September 15, 2017 - 1:51pm

Come explore the active and adventurous sport of Orienteering! Learn how to find your way without batteries or a cell phone signal, by using a map and compass.

All materials provided, no experience needed.

Orienteering is a family friendly sport for people of all ages and ability levels. Join us at the Genesee County Park & Forest for the Orienteering Event with the Rochester Orienteering Club from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Saturday Sept. 30th.

This program is FREE!

Beginner class and basic training will be given from 9 to 10 a.m. Orienteering start is open 10 a.m. to noon. All courses close at 3 p.m.

Please preregister by calling 585-344-1122.

Perfect for individuals and families who love the outdoors. Come have some fun and find your way in New York State’s first County Forest.

More information on the sport of orienteering and the Rochester Orienteering Club can be found at http://roc.us.orienteering.org or https://orienteeringusa.org

September 14, 2017 - 11:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Top Flight Angel with driver Andy Miller.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The $121,500 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters rolled into Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (Sept. 13) and the track record for that age, sex and gait, which is also the all-time track trotting mark of 1:54.3 set by Archangel in 2012 was tied by his son, Top Flight Angel (Archangel-Top Photo).

In the first $60,200 division, Top Flight Angel (Andy Miller) left the gate, took the lead and called all the shots from there. Travelling well in hand and totally unchallenged the entire mile, Top Flight Angel set quarter fractions of :29, :58.2 and 1:26.2 while opening up a five-length advantage in the process. With the fans on hand aware of the track standard, all eyes were simultaneously on the leader and the clock as Top Flight Angel cruised down the lane and won in 1:54.3, tying the mark.

“He was awesome; he just breezed around there. He likes the half. It’s just a matter of getting him out of the gate and keeping his attention. He’s got the (NYSS) final in a couple of weeks, the Breeders Crown if he’s up to it and a couple later stakes. So hopefully we’ll be going to the Breeders Crown” said driver Andy Miller.  

It was the fourth win of the year for the Yonkers Trot champion, Top Flight Angel ($3.80) and it pushed his earnings for 2017 to $362,016 for owner Legendary Standardbred Farm. Julie Miller trains the winner.

Photo: Swell Chap pulls ahead with driver Drew Monti.

In the second $61,300 division, Swell Chap (Drew Monti) left from post six and dropped in third as Icanflylikeanangel (Mickey Mc Nichol) took the lead. The field was moving at a brisk clip (:28.1, :57.3) when Monti pulled Swell Chap and started an outer flow in front of the grandstand.

Swell Chap drew alongside Icanflylikeanangel and the two matched strides up the backstretch and around the last turn when Stick With Me Kid (Chris Lems) joined the party three-deep coming into the stretch. With the three across the track, Icanflylikeanangel gained a short advantage, but Swell chap swelled-up and came back under urging to win by a length in 1:56.1.

“He raced awesome. He put in a good effort at Buffalo (Raceway on July 9) but I didn’t get the trip I wanted. I didn’t get it tonight either but he got the job done. He’s a nice horse” said driver Drew Monti.

The win was the sixth of the season for Swell Chap ($11.60) whose earnings now total $157,451. Foge McKeever and Eldon Thompson own Swell Chap (Chapter Seven-Gia) who is trained by Todd Rooney.

Two $15,000 Excelsior A series races were also featured on the card Wednesday.

Big Man Ev (Chapter Seven-Possessed By Lindy) won the first division wire to wire in 1:56.4 with Andy Miller aboard. Big Man Ev ($3.10) is owned by the Andy Miller Stable, the Lindy Racing Stable and Harvey Eisman and is trained by Julie Miller.

Zack’s Zoomer (Deweycheatumnhowe-Passageway) won the second division, cutting the mile in 1:55.2 for Jim Morrill Jr. Zack’s Zoomer is owned by the Ervin Miller Stable Inc. and Harvey Eisman. Erv Miller does the training.

September 14, 2017 - 6:40am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, sports.

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Batavia restauranteur Chris Bardol cooked up some impressive statistics at the USBC Championships in Reno, Nev., in May and followed that up with a perfect game to start the league bowling season.

Get the scoop on this and other developments from columnist Mike Pettinella by clicking on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.

September 13, 2017 - 1:41pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, sports.

Mike Pettinella's Pin Points bowling column returns for its second year on The Batavian, starting Thursday.

The column focuses on organized bowling at the local, state and national levels, highlighting outstanding individual performances and timely topics.

The Batavian thanks the following businesses who have signed on as sponsors this season:

Al Vlietstra Masonry

Genesee Region USBC

Letchworth Pines, Portageville

Medina Lanes

Mount Morris Lanes

Oak Orchard Bowl, Albion

Perry Bowling Center

Rose Garden Bowl, Bergen

Sheelar's Auto, Batavia

Sloat Tire, Batavia

Turnbull Heating & Air

Businesses interested in advertising on the Pin Points page can contact Mike at [email protected].

September 13, 2017 - 1:33pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in sports, Bowling.

Another bowling season is upon us – and it didn’t take long for Chris Bardol to find his way onto the Pin Points column once again.

The Rochester resident and owner of North Pole Restaurant in Batavia started the G&W Vending League season at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen on a high note Tuesday night by posting a 300 game and 760 series.

Over the past few seasons, Bardol, a 29-year-old right-hander, has registered numerous 300 games and 800 series in Genesee Region USBC league play.

Bardol also made a big splash four months ago at the 2017 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships in Reno, Nev.

On the afternoon of May 20, Bardol rolled a 300 game on the extremely difficult USBC Open oil pattern en route to a 721 series in the Doubles event.

His big series propelled him and Doubles partner Tim Pfeifer of Oakdale, Pa., to a 1,417 total, which was good for seventh place (and a prize of $1,150).

Bardol bowled on the Rose Bowl Lanes team captained by USBC Hall of Famer Doug Kent. The team finished in 18th place in the tournament that attracted around 10,000 teams in three divisions. Bardol also placed 20th in All-Events with a 2,065 score (229 average).

By the way, Kent and his son, Jacob, placed fifth in Doubles with 1,425.

Mike Rose Jr. of Rochester claimed two more “Eagles” as part of Team NABR, which posted 3,266 for the $4,000 top prize in Regular Team and 9,957 for first place in Regular Team All-Events (Team, Doubles and Singles combined).

Brad Angelo of Lockport captured the Regular All-Events crown with 2,176.

HODGSON, COMSTOCK POST 300 GAMES

Right-handers Bob Hodgson of Medina and Mark Comstock of Warsaw showed no signs of rust as they posted 300 games on Sept. 6, the opening night of the Wednesday Community League at Medina Lanes and the Wednesday Night 7 P.M. League at Livingston Lanes in Geneseo.

Hodgson, 69, picked up where he left off last season when he recorded a pair of 800 series and won one of Tommy Kress’ 60-and-Over tournaments.

Comstock, 57, rolled his first perfect game since a 300—805 effort at Livingston Lanes in November 2012.

N.J. COUPLE INTERESTED IN SCOPANO’S LANES

While nothing has been finalized, John “Jonesey” Scopano is hoping that a New Jersey couple will purchase his family’s bowling center (Paradise Lanes) and adjoining Oakfield Hotel in the near future.

“A husband and wife are interested – they’ve looked at it a couple times,” Scopano said earlier this week. “They plan on coming back here later this month to check out the area.”

Previously, the family hired Russ Bly of Warsaw as the facilities manager, with duties including pinsetter and lane maintenance.

SYRACUSE IS IN THE STATE, NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

The Syracuse area will be a popular bowling destination during the 2017-18 season as it hosts a New York State USBC tournament and two USBC national tournaments.

Flamingo Bowl in the Syracuse suburb of Liverpool is the site of the NYS Open Senior Championships on Oct. 14-15, 21-22, and the U.S. Open from Oct. 25 through Nov. 1.

And next spring, the 2018 USBC Open Championships will take place at the Oncenter Convention Center in downtown Syracuse.

-- The NYS Open Senior Championships feature competition in Doubles and Singles for NYS USBC members (men and women) 50 years of age and up.

Squad times are 12:30 and 3 p.m. each day and entry forms can be found at www.bowlny.com.

-- The U.S. Open is a scratch singles event that welcomes the best bowlers in the U.S. and overseas.

Several changes are being made this year, most notably limiting the field to 144 bowlers who have been invited based on their performance in 2016.

Competitors again will bowl 24 qualifying games over three days, using only 24 of the center’s 40 lanes. This ensures that all bowlers will compete on the same lanes and see them the same amount of times during qualifying, with each experiencing the three phases of the oil pattern -- fresh, burn and double-burn.

If spots are open after all invitees have confirmed participation, other bowlers may be able to qualify for the U.S. Open through a special tournament to be held on Oct. 25 at Flamingo Bowl. More information about the U.S. Open can be found at www.bowl.com.

-- The 2018 USBC Open Championships will be contested on specially-built lanes at the Oncenter from March 24 through July 7. The last time the tournament was in Syracuse was 1999.

There are three divisions based on skill level: The Regular Division, for those who average 210 and above; the Standard Division, for those with averages from 181-209, and the Classified Division, for bowlers who average 180 or below. 

Again, for more info go to www.bowl.com.

SPARE SHOTS: LETCHWORTH SEEKS YOUTH BOWLERS

-- Kevin Sass, proprietor of Letchworth Pines in Portageville, reports that he is hoping to build a youth program on Saturday mornings.

Boys and girls from the ages of 4-18 are invited to sign up from 10 a.m. to noon on Sept. 23 and enjoy free bowling during that time. Sass said he is planning a 16-week season for 2017-18.

-- Genesee Region USBC directors will meet at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at T.F. Brown’s in Batavia. Among the agenda items are finalizing the association’s tournament schedule.

-- Perry Bowling Center is looking for a couple teams to fill its Tuesday Doubles League, which is open to men and women. Call 237-6358 for more information.

IN MEMORIAM

Condolences to the families of these Batavia-area bowlers who passed away recently:

-- Roger Wood, Aug. 8
-- Carl Aquino, Aug. 28
-- Steve Rynkowski, Sept. 2
-- Patricia (Pat) Sewert, Sept. 13

September 13, 2017 - 1:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, sports, charity, crossroads house, golf, bergen.

Submitted photo and press release:

The 17th Annual Van Hulburt Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit Crossroads House took place on Thursday, Aug.17th at the Batavia Country Club.

The tournament is hosted by the Hesperus Lodge No. 837 in Bergen and the Hulburt family. Van Hulburt was an educator and leader in the Bergen community and his family dedicates the proceeds from the tournament each year through the Lodge of which Van was a member.

The tournament is the longest running outside fundraiser for Crossroads House and has raised over $80,000 since its inception.

A check in the amount of $7,300 was presented to Crossroads House on Sept. 7th at the Lodge.

Pictured from left are: Marty Krause, tournament chairman; Helen Hulburt, wife of Van Hulburt; and Jeff Allen, Crossroads House executive director.

September 12, 2017 - 11:30am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Some of the best sophomore trotting colts and geldings on the Grand Circuit will be in town on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 13) to vie for a total of $121,500 in purses offered in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) at Batavia Downs. And with only one more stop after Batavia before the finals, everyone will be jockeying for point position in a very close race.

The first $60,200 division (carded as race three) features Yonkers Trot winner Top Flight Angel and Hambletonian finalist Guardian Angel AS.

Top Flight angel (Archangel-Top Photo) was having a very solid year that turned outstanding for his connections last week when he won the $500,000 Yonkers Trot. Previous to that victory he finished fourth in the Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs and had one win in a NYSS leg. He is currently seventh in points for the final and is in need of a win here to keep pace with the leaders and make the draw for the Night of Champions. With $331,916 earned and a mark of 1:55, he is as solid a choice here as you could want.

Leaving from post one and listed at 7-5 morning line, Top Flight Angel will be driven by Andy Miller for trainer Julie Miller.

Guardian Angel AS (Archangel-Provide AS) has seven wins this year, two of which were in the NYSS. He raced in the Hambletonian final in August and was trotting second in the stretch when he was involved in the highly contentious interference call that saw him break and finish ninth. Most recently Guardian Angel AS won his elimination of the Yonkers Trot, defeating Top Flight Angel in the process. But in the final he made a break after the start and was never in the race after that.

Trainer Anette Lorentzon has regular driver Jason Bartlett up once again behind Guardian Angel AS who has drawn post four and is the early 6-5 choice.

In the second $61,300 division, Lord Cromwell (Chapter Seven-Oh Oh Its Magic) come in on a two-race win streak and a freshly set 1:54.3 lifetime mark at Saratoga Raceway. He won the $143,737 Dexter Cup at Freehold Raceway in May and was in the Empire Breeders Classic in June where he finished a close sixth after getting parked the whole mile. He is the top money earner in this race with $169,965 and is part of a stable entry with The Last Chapter (Chapter Seven-J C Josie).

Lord Cromwell will depart from post three with Jim Morrill Jr. in tow and the Ed Hart trainee is listed in the entry at 2-1.

Eye Ofa Tiger AS (Chapter Seven-Cascade AS) is the top point-getter in the NYSS for this category on the strength of two wins and three seconds in the series. In his last start at Saratoga, he was parked out the better part of the mile and still hung on tough to finish second behind Lord Cromwell, who cut it. For the year overall he has five wins and has never missed the board in 10 starts and those outings have put $138,660 on his card.

Like Guardian Angel AS, Eye Ofa Tiger AS is trained by Anette Lorentzon and will be driven by Jason Bartlett. He has post seven and is the early second choice at 5-2.

Also on the card are two $15,000 Excel A series trots on the card that offer great betting opportunities and will be hotly contested.

Post time for the first race is 5 p.m.

September 11, 2017 - 3:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

Focus Power with driver Drew Monti.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Focus Power moved up to the top class on the grounds after winning in the Open II last week, but the ascension was no impediment as he won the $10,000 Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 9).  

Focus Power (Drew Monti) left from post four and was in front and on the pylons before they race even hit the turn. With the short field settling, Believe This Bob (Shawn McDonough) wanted the front and came before the eighth pole and cleared before the quarter in :28.1. Positions remained unchanged until Southwind Torque (Ray Fisher Jr.) pulled mid-way up the backside in what would be a short-lived bid.

As the outside challenge faded in the turn, Believe This Bob was looking solid in front as they headed for home. However as soon as the passing lane was accessible, Monti directed Focus Power into it and shot right by Believe This Bob and paced away to a two-length win in 1:53.1.

Focus Power ($7.80) now has $73,845 on his card on the strength of seven wins this year and the win time of 1:53.1 was only one-fifth of a second off the lifetime mark he just set last week. James Caradori owns the 5-year-old altered son of Shadow Play that gets his conditioning from Darrin Monti.

In the co-featured $9,000 Open II, Itsonlyrocknroll A (Larry Stalbaum) got away last and methodically worked his way up the rail while chasing fractions of :26.4, :54.4 and 1:23.3 and before getting loose around the far turn to tip three-deep and simply pace away from everyone to win by two open lengths in 1:53.1.  

It was the second win in a row and 11th of the year for Itsonlyrocknroll A ($16.40) who now has earned $61,695 in purses for Stalbaum who also owns him. Kim Asher is the trainer.

Larry Stalbaum visited the winner's circle five times on Saturday with Itsonlyrocknroll A, Teo Enteo A (1:56, $7.90), Mister Livan N (1:53.2, $4.60), Anderlecht (1:54.4, $3.20) and Saint William A (1:56.3, $7.10). 

Not wanting to be outdone, Drew Monti and Kevin Cummings each had two winners apiece as well. Trainer Kim Asher also sent four of her horses to the winner’s enclosure for pictures.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on today (Sept. 11) with post time set at 5 p.m.

September 11, 2017 - 3:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The first race at Batavia Downs Friday night (Sept. 8) may have only been a $6,500 Excelsior B pace for first-year fillies, but to one participant of the race it was a once in a lifetime milestone.

After finishing second with Fast Date in 1:57.2, Jim Morrill Jr. surpassed the $100,000 million dollar mark in career earnings. That places him 22nd on the list among all harness drivers in the history of the sport.

Morrill got his start in the business working for his father at Foxboro Park. The elder Morrill, an accomplished driver himself, always had a small stable there and he laid the groundwork for his son and helped him hone his skills. Jim Morrill Jr. got his first driving start in 1984 and from there he was on his way.

“My father meant everything to my career. He set down everything to get me going when he was still driving and put me on every horse in the barn. I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time and would drive one bad here or there and if the owner complained about it, he told them to take their horse to somebody else. And then he’d come back to me and tell me “you cost me another horse you little whelp.”

The family’s operation was eventually moved to Maryland and Rosecroft Raceway where the number of horses in the barn grew. Besides driving his father’s stock, Morrill started getting a lot of catch drives and soon was finding himself in demand.

Rosecroft used to take six-weeks off during Christmas each year and Morrill didn’t want to sit idle, so in 1990 he went to New York and started driving for Ray Schnittker and George Anthony at Yonkers Raceway. He soon found a lot of success there as well and decided that move would be permanent.

Morrill recalls his most memorable races as being the 2004 Meadowlands Pace where Holborn Hanover was a 58-1 upset winner in 1:49, equaling the stake mark and the 2009 Jugette where Showherthemoney made a break in her elimination before coming back to win that race and the final as well three races later.

Jim Morrill Jr. left the New York metropolitan area in 2005 and relocated his business and family to western New York.

“I have never regretted moving to the Batavia-Buffalo circuit, we love it here. My wife’s sister and mother live near us and when I’m on the road she has her family now instead of being up in New Jersey by herself. The New York Sires Stakes has been great for me as well as the overnight starts and we’re just gearing up for the next however-many years to come.”

In 2006 at Batavia Downs, Morrill set the all-time driving standard for the track with 177 wins and a UDR of .537 for one meet. 

For his career to date, Jim Morrill Jr. now has had 37,332 starts with 6,902 wins, 5,692 seconds and 4,753 thirds with $100,046,554 in earnings.

September 11, 2017 - 3:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Azreal As It Gets with driver Matt Kakaley.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The 2-year-old pacing fillies were at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 8) to battle for their share of the $109,000 in purse money up for grabs in the New York Sires Stakes (NYSS).

The first $54,500 contest saw Azreal As It Gets (Matt Kakaley) lead briefly before yielding to favored Alexis Faith (Jim Morrill Jr.) past the quarter and settle into a garden-spot trip. Azreal As It Gets took full advantage of that strategic spot as Alexis Faith then battled Michelle’s Jazz (Ray Fisher Jr.) from the three-eighths pole to the top of the stretch. From there she found the passing lane and scooted through to win by two lengths in 1:55.4, with a snappy :28.2 final panel. The time was a new lifetime mark for the filly.

It was the first win in six tries for Azreal As It Gets (So Surreal-Vanite Semalu) who now shows $58,461 on her card for owners Our Horse Cents Stable and Stable 45. Azreal As It Gets ($6.70) is trained by Jake huff.

Ubettergo Go in forefront with driver Billy Davis Jr.

In the second $54,500 division, Ubettergo Go (Billy Davis Jr.) took off the gate and tucked in fifth while Wisdom Tree (Kevin Cummings) and Hurrikane Shorty (Jason Bartlett) set the early pace on the front-end. When Jan (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled first past the half, Ubettergo Go followed second-over and advanced up the backside. Around the last turn, Hurrikane Shorty gapped the leader and Jan dropped in second. But Ubettergo Go continued to advance against the stubborn Wisdom Tree, who would not give up. Down the lane Cummings and Davis were driving hard but Davis got more out of his filly in the end and won by a half-length in 1:55.3.

The victory was the third of the year for Ubettergo Go (Art Major-Ubetterthink Think), all of which were in NYSS races. Ubettergo Go ($22.40) has earned $87,359 so far this year for owners Tony Basile, Reginald Petitpas, Ozzie MacKay and Blake Macintosh, who also trains the filly.

There were also three $15,000 Excelsior A races on the program Friday night.

In the first division, Act Like A Diva (Roll With Joe-Music Row) went wire to wire for Jim Morrill Jr. in 1:57.2. Act Like A Diva ($6.00) is owned by Paymaq Racings, Greg Gillis, Louis Willinger and Craig Henderson and is trained by Erv miller.

The second division went to Checkered Past (American Ideal-Character Flaw) who tripped-out in 1:57.4 for Jim Morrill Jr. Checkered Past ($4.30) is owned by All Star Racing Inc. and is trained by Peter Foley.

The final split was won by Pelican Blue Chip (Rock N Roll Heaven-Feathery Fame) who went gate to wire in 1:56.2. Pelican Blue Chip ($3.60) is owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Michelle Rosato and Matthew Dugan and is trained by Tracey Brainard.

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