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August 12, 2015 - 11:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Ugly Betty and reinsman John Cummings Jr. by Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Ugly Betty returned to Western New York after a quick trip to Northfield Park and wasted no time dominating the local mares once again in the $9,500 distaff Open at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 12).

In her normal style, Ugly Betty (John Cummings Jr.) went right to the front and led by two through quarters of 27.3, 56.4, 1:25.3 before coasting home to a one-length victory in 1:55.3. Eyemajet (Shawn Gray) came up the rail for second and All About Boyz (Dave McNeight III) rallied from last to finish third.

It was the 10th win in 25 start this year for Ugly Betty ($3.80), boosting her pocketbook to $62,505 for owners Margaret Payne and Jennifer Falcone. Rex Clabaugh trains the winner.

Drew Monti scored a driving triple on the night with VT’s Gold Key ($12.00), Climate Hanover ($3.40) and September Hall ($5.70). Kevin Cummings and John Cummings Jr. both registered driving doubles. Trainer Rex Clabaugh also sent two winners postward.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 14) with post time set at 6:35 p.m.

August 12, 2015 - 11:39pm
posted by Kurtis Dunlap in sports, baseball, muckdogs.

It may have taken them 49 games, but the Batavia Muckdogs (21-28) have finally found the winning formula at home.

Coming into Wednesday night’s opening game of a three-game series against the Lowell Spinners (27-24), the Muckdogs had dropped the opening game in two of the last three series and each lost was not pretty. A 9-1 home loss back on Aug. 3 to State College and an 11-5 lost this past Sunday to Vermont, were outcomes Batavia was looking to avoid.

Batavia, just like it did in both games of the doubleheader on Tuesday, jumped out in front in the very first inning.

After Muckdogs starter, Dillon Peters worked a clean top half of the inning, Batavia plated two runs in the bottom half of the first.

Travis Brewster worked a one-out walk and moved to second on a failed pickoff attempt. All-Star Brad Haynal then doubled home Brewster to score the games first run. Haynal advanced to third on a passed ball and then scored when ball four to Roy Morales was too much for Spinners catcher, Austin Rei to handle, allowing Haynal to score and giving the Muckdogs a quick 2-0 lead.

“It’s always good when you can score early,” Manager Angel Espada said. “It puts pressure on the other team offensively, they have to score runs and manufacture things and it gives you a little bit of breathing room.”

The Muckdogs added a run to make it 3-0 in the fourth inning when Taylor Munden singled, moved to third on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt and later scored when an Anfernee Seymour hard-hit ball went of the pitchers leg, allowing Munden to score and Seymour to end up at second.

“You start winning games and you start seeing your work pay off and your starting to believe,” Espada said.

Dillon Peters started on the mound for Batavia and continued right where Brett Lilek and Scott Squier left off on Tuesday. Peters went a solid five innings, allowing two runs on four hits, two walks and striking out two.

“You attack…they just give us a chance, first to compete and then a chance to win a game and that’s what you want from your pitching staff,” Espada said.

Ryley MacEachern relieved Peters after the fifth inning and while he did strikeout an impressive six batters in three innings, he also allowed two runs on three hits. The runs were the first allowed by a Batavia pitcher in 18 straight innings.

The Spinners were able to tie and take the lead in the seventh inning after Aneudis Peralta reached on an infield single. A bunt single by Jeremy Rivera put two runners on with no outs.

Chad De La Guerra cleared the bases with a standup triple to make the score 4-3. If this was earlier in the year, the Muckdogs would have gone into a hole and wouldn’t have recovered, but now we have this new and improved Muckdog team that believes they can win any game.

When asked what has been the difference between now and earlier in the season, Alex Fernandez had a pretty simple answer. “Wanting it more and playing more together as a team and we all have one goal now and that is to win,” he said.

Fernandez would play a big role in the Muckdogs come back attempt in the eighth inning.

Morales singled to start the inning and a sacrifice bunt by Yuniel Ramirez moved him to second, a pitch hit Erwin Almonte, setting up first and second with one out.

Munden then singled to score Morales, tying the game at 4-4. Fernandez, who came into the at-bat with three strikeouts already in the game, laced a 1-1 pitch into the outfield to score Almonte and take the lead for good.

“I just concentrated on getting my foot down early cause he [Trevor Kelley, the Spinners pitcher] had a lot of movement, he had good stuff so just focusing on getting my foot down,” Fernandez said. “Earlier in the game I was all over the place, so just simplifying the at-bat and everything worked out.”

Batavia would add an insurance run in the same inning after a Seymour walk and a Brewster groundout to score Munden made it 6-4.

Curt Britt pitched a clean ninth inning, giving the Muckdogs their third win in a row and seventh out of the last 10 games.

Munden finished the game 3-for-4 with two-runs scored and a RBI while Morales was 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. MacEachern got the win on the mound to improve to 2-0 and Britt got his first save of the year.

“I wasn’t here in the beginning so I don’t know how it was, but since I got here it’s been very good,” Fernandez said.

Batavia will continue their three-game series against Lowell on Thursday, as they look to wrap up a seventh consecutive series win. First pitch will be at 7:05 p.m. 

August 12, 2015 - 9:19am
posted by Kurtis Dunlap in baseball, sports, muckdogs.
It was bike giveaway night for the Batavia Lions Club at Dwyer Stadium. The winners were sisters Ashlyn and Veronica (on bike) Reynolds, of Le Roy, and Landon Brown, of Henrietta. Don Milleman, left, chaired the event for Lions and Tony Scalia is club president. (Photo and game photos by Howard Owens.)


Coming into Tuesday night’s doubleheader against the Vermont Lake Monsters (22-26), the Batavia Muckdogs (19-28) had lost two games back-to-back and were on the verge of losing all hope of getting within striking distance of the last wild card spot.

Brett Lilek and Scout Squier, who would combine to start both games of a doubleheader for the second straight home series, were tasked to keep the Muckdogs' slim playoffs hopes alive as Batavia looked to capture their sixth consecutive series win.

Lilek started the first game of the doubleheader and continued right where he left off from his last start. Back on August 5, Lilek pitched five innings; striking out eight while allowing four hits in an eventual Muckdogs win over State College. On Tuesday night, Lilek was equally as impressive, if not better.

“The guys went out there [Lilek and Squier] and pounded the strike zone, threw strikes and kept the game going for us,” Manager Angel Espada said.

Lilek dominated the strike zone all evening and kept the Lake Monster hitters off balance with is off-speed pitches. He was able to retire 15 of the 17 batters he faced in his five innings of work. Lilek recorded seven strikeouts on just 61 pitches thrown. He only allowed one hit in the first inning and walked one other batter.

Lilek got all the run support he would need in the first. All-Star Anfernee Seymour started the game with a walk. He moved to third after Vermont pitcher Kevin Duchene attempted to pickoff Seymour but he took off for second on Duchene’s first move. Chris Iriart, Vermont’s first baseman, then threw the ball into the outfield in an attempt to get Seymour out at second, giving Seymour third base.  

Travis Brewster then singled home Seymour for his eighth RBI of the year. Stone Garrett, also an All-Star, then doubled off the wall to score Brewster. On the attempt to throw Brewster out at home, Garrett tried to take third and was called out. After the play, the umpires got together and pointed to Garrett, who had gone into the dugout, that he was safe and to go back to third. Brad Haynal then grounded out to shortstop to score Garrett, making it 3-0.

“The hard work is paying off and we have been blessed that every time we have had a tough game, the rain out kind of gives us a breather,” Espada said.

The Muckdogs added another run in the fourth inning and two in the fifth inning, but they were just added bonuses. Lilek and Jordan Hillyer combined to throw seven innings of one-hit baseball. Each giving up one walk a piece, in total they only allowed three base runners all game, retiring 12 batters in a row at one point and not allowing a runner to pass second base.

The Muckdogs took game one of the doubleheader with a final score of 6-0. Garrett led the offensive going 2-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored.

Not to be out done, Squier was just as impressive in game two as Lilek was in game one. Just like he did back on Aug. 5, Squier followed up a quality start from Lilek with one of his own.

Squier, whose only real trouble of the game came in the first inning, was able to shut down the Vermont offense, also pitching five innings.

Trace Loehr led off the game with a single. Steven Pallares then reached on an error by third baseman Angel Reyes. Squier was able to strike out two of the next three batters and get another to fly out to end the inning.

The Muckdogs again jumped on the Lake Monsters right from the start. Alex Fernandez reached on an E5 and Brewster quickly singled. A bad throw into the infield by the center fielder, allowed both runners to move up 90 feet. Garrett worked a walk to load the bases with no outs.

Haynal then grounded into a double play, but Fernandez was able to score to make it 1-0. Roy Morales grounded out to end the inning but not before the Muckdogs got the only run they would need.

“In both games the difference was the first inning,” Espada said. “We got a big inning the first game and we scored the only run in the first inning there.”

Squier settled down after the first inning and retired the next nine of out 10 batters. After his five outstanding innings, All-Star reliever and closer Steve Farnworth came into the game for the six-out save.

Farnworth worked pretty uneventful sixth and seventh innings to earn his 10 save of the year, sealing the 1-0 victory for Batavia and taking the series.

“We have been playing a lot better defense and we are making clutch plays…and that’s the difference right now,” Espada said. “We are pitching okay and besides the game the other day, we have been playing good defense.”

After his win in the first game, Lilek improves to 1-2 while Squier quietly continues to impress with a 4-0 record.

The Muckdogs will welcome the Lowell Spinners, an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, to Dwyer Stadium on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. for an extremely important series in terms of the wild card race. Lowell currently sits atop the wild card standings and with a strong showing in the three-game series, the Muckdogs could play themselves right back into playoff contention, as they only sit five games back.

Although the importance of the series cannot be denied or overlooked, Espada is not looking ahead.

“I’m not looking that far. I’m just keeping the guys focused on one game at a time and eventually if you do that, things will take care of themselves,” Espada said. “You don’t want to put that pressure on them, they are so young, that they don’t understand and try to do too much.”








August 10, 2015 - 3:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Red Doll driven by Kevin Cummings.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Batavia Downs hosted two divisions of the $108,000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Sunday (Aug. 9) and a locally owned, trained and driven colt won the first division going for a $54,500 purse.

Red Doll who is owned by John Sixt of Chaffee, NY, trained by Judy Blaun of Elba, NY and driven by Batavia Downs defending driving champion Kevin Cummings, went gate to wire, scoring a measured one-length victory over the heavily favored Autotune Hanover.

Red Roll shot right to the lead as Autotune Hanover (Tyler Buter) had trouble navigating the first turn before making a break. While Cummings piloted the leader to a pedestrian 59.3 half, Buter had settled Autotune Hanover before pulling the colt around gapped horses in an attempt to mount another attack at the front.

After looking rough again in the clubhouse turn, Autotune Hanover made quick work of the back stretch and got within a length of the leader. But after tucking to the pylons behind Red Roll in 1:28.4, Cummings started rocking and knocking the leader and got away from the pack by three lengths at the head of the lane before bringing Red Roll home victorious in 1:57.2.

“I drove him at Buffalo last month so I knew the horse. I took a shot, went to the front and was able to cut the mile I wanted. He was good the whole race” said Cummings in the winner’s circle.

Overlooked in the betting, Red Roll returned a healthy $23.00 for the win.

It was the first win of the year for Red Roll and thus also his lifetime mark. Despite only one win so far, the horse has not missed a check in NYSS action all year and that has put his earnings at $59,117.

(Joe Larry N Curly with leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr.)

In the second division, morning line co-choice Travel Playlist scratched sick and that cut the field down to five pacers. But there was no “stoogery” in post time favorite Joe Larry N Curly’s performance as he was all business, pacing his fastest mile ever over a half-mile track.

Leading NYSS driver, Jim Morrill Jr., got away third with Joe Larry N Curly as Carlos Danger (Kevin Cummings) cut the quarter in 28.4. But as soon as they passed that station, Morrill pulled the 1-9 favorite and methodically moved to the front by the head of the stretch.

The field remained unchanged until Joes On A Roll (John Cummings Jr.) came first over to challenge the leader at the five-eights. But before he could mount any kind of serious threat, Morrill popped the ear-plugs and then held on tight as Joe Larry N Curly switched into overdrive and paced away from everyone. He came home in a brisk 28 flat to stop the timer in 1:56.2 and win by four lengths.

After the race, a visibly pleased Jim Morrill Jr. said “I couldn’t be happier with the way he raced. I pulled the plugs at the three-quarters and he took off like a rocket. I should have left them in! He won easy; he was simply awesome."

It was the third win of the year for Joe Larry N Curly ($2.30) and increased his earnings to $82,794. The colt is trained by Mark Harder, who co-owns him with Joe Jannuzzelli and Dawn Colucci.

There were also two divisions of the NYSS Excelsior “A” series on the card.

The first $15,000 division was won by 1-9 favorite, Craftship (Art Major-Capri Hanover) who was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Craftship ($2.20) is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Crawford Partners, J. Fodera N M Frank Stable, Joe Sbrocco and Craig Henderson.

The second $15,000 leg was won by KJ Erich (Roll With Joe-Michelle’s Scooter) in 1:59.2. The colt was driven by John Cummings Jr. for trainer Gary Messenger. KJ Erich ($7.20) is owned by Scott Woogen, Brenda Messenger and Phillip Shapiro.

Driver Jim Morrill Jr. was as hot as the western New York weather Sunday, winning five of the 12 races on the card. He scored with the aforementioned Craftship ($2.20) and Joe Larry N Curly ($2.30) as well as Lucky Pablo ($7.40), If It Rains ($2.90) and Zipnthruthehall ($2.60).

Morrill is currently the third leading driver in North America for UDR with a .383. only .002 out of the second place George Napolitano Jr. He is 14th in North America in earnings with $3,123,201, but number one in NYSS competition with $920,602.59, more than three times more than his nearest competitor.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 12) at 6:35 p.m.

August 10, 2015 - 3:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Youwillwishyouhad and reinsman Kevin Cummings. Photo courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

The $10,000 Open pace feature at Batavia Downs was up for grabs for most of the race. But a patient drive by leading reinsman Kevin Cummings proved valuable as Youwillwishyouhad ($7.70) won his first race for his new connections on Saturday night (Aug. 8).

It was a cavalry charge off the gate as Ponyta Boy (Shawn McDonough), Beachfront (Dave McNeight III), Youwillwishyouhad (Kevin Cummings) and Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) all had sights on the lead. The field momentarily settled behind the still battling Ponyta Boy and Beachfront, who eventually got the front. As they passed the quarter in 27.1, Fireyourguns pulled from fourth and took the front by the top of the stretch. He then led the group to the half in 56 as an outer flow began.

Now in two rows heading up the backside, Elite Awards (Drew Monti) tipped three-high with fresh legs as they breezed by three-quarters in 1:25. At that point, Youwillwishyouhad snuck off the rail from his perfect trip and into contention outside of the charging Elite Awards. At the top of the stretch, Fireyourguns ran out of ammunition and it became a two-horse race. Elite Awards tried hard to hang on but Youwillwishyouhad wore him down and powered on to win by two lengths in 1:54.

It was the third win in a row and eleventh win in 20 starts for the 4-year-old Artiscape gelding and the win brought his 2015 bankroll up to $60,178. Youwillwishyouhad is trained by J.D. Perrin for Mark Jakubik and Tessa Roland, who just claimed him last week for $31,250.

Kevin Cummings, Drew Monti and Jack Flanigen all scored driving doubles on the card.

August 10, 2015 - 8:15am
posted by Kurtis Dunlap in baseball, sports, muckdogs.

CenturyLink Field, home of the 12th man, Lambeau Field, home of the Lambeau leap, and Oracle Arena, the home of the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors all share one common denominator, home field means something. The crowd, the tradition and the history all seem to give the home team that added edge. 

For the Batavia Muckdogs (19-27) playing at home this season has meant absolutely nothing. They actually have a slightly better record on the road 10-14, compared to at home 9-14.

Now it would be naïve to compare Dwyer Stadium to CenturyLink or Lambeau Field, but in any sport, at any level, playing at home should mean something.

Coming into Sunday night’s game against the Vermont Lake Monsters (21-26), an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, the Muckdogs were one of the hottest teams in the New York-Penn League. Winners of seven of the last 10 games and having won five straight series to close within five games of the last wild card spot.

Travis Neubeck started on the mound for Batavia and in only his second professional start he pitched fairly well but struggled with his command all night.

“He didn’t have his best stuff but he went out there and competed,” Manager Angel Espada said.

Neubeck was able to get through four innings of work, allowing three runs on five hits while walking four.   

When Ayron Adames came in relief of Neubeck it was only a 3-2 game in favor of the Lake Monsters.

League All-Star, Stone Garrett tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when he hit his league-leading ninth home run of the year. Batavia tacked on another run later in the inning after Ryan Cranmer reached on an error by the third baseman. He moved to second on a wild pitch.

Cranmer scored to take a 4-3 lead when Alex Fernandez grounded to third, but it was misplayed by the third baseman for his second error of the inning and third in the game.

Adames shut down Vermont in the two innings he pitched. He only relinquished one hit and walked one batter, plus striking out two.

Everything seemed to be going the Muckdogs way and it looked like they were on their way to winning the first game of this three-game series, but the wheels fell of the wagon in the seventh.

LJ Brewster began the inning by striking out the first batter he saw, showing why earlier in the season he was called up to the Jupiter Hammerheads, the Marlins Advanced-A farm team. Unfortunately, the rest of the inning showed why he was back in Batavia.

Brewster walked Nick Collins and Chris Iriart on back-to-back four-pitch walks. Brett Siddall then hit a perfect double play ball to second baseman Fernandez, who in turn let the ball go off his glove, allowing Collins to score from second, tying the game at 4-4.

Now with runners at first and third, Skye Bolt singled to score Iriart easily. Left fielder Brandon Rawe inexcusably let the ball go under his glove and allowed Siddall to score all the way from first, making it 6-3.

Not expecting a bunt, third baseman Taylor Munden was playing well behind the base at third and Ryan Howell saw that and tried, and executed perfectly, a squeeze play, scoring Bolt from third and reaching first base himself, without even a throw.

Brewster’s nightmare of a game continued in the eighth when he allowed two more runs on three hits and one walk.

“Young pitchers, young players sometimes you try to do too much in certain situations and that’s part of the game,” Espada said. “It’s part of their learning experience as a professional.” 

The Lake Monsters added two more runs in the ninth inning off of Aneury Osoria to bring their total to 11. Batavia was able to score one run in the bottom of the ninth but the game was well decided by then.

As announced earlier in the week, the Muckdogs have an incredible six players selected to the All-Star team even though they have the worst record in the league. Both Anfernee Seymour and Stone Garrett were chosen and they showed why on Sunday.

Seymour went 3-for-4 with three singles, a run scored and an amazing four stolen bases, bringing his season total to 22, just one behind the league leader. Garrett went just 1-for-3 but he added to his league-leading home run tally and scored two runs.

“It’s a whole team effort and you don’t want to put the pressure on these young guys at this level because they are All-Stars,” Espada said.

The Muckdogs will return to Dwyer Stadium on Monday night to try and right the ship and get back to their winning ways. Game time is set for 7:05.

August 8, 2015 - 9:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica, Attica Rodeo, sports, rodeo.


Photos from the Saturday matinee at the Attica Rodeo.

The rodeo concludes with a final performance at 2 p.m., Sunday.

For more rodeo coverage, visit the Wyoming County Free Press. Julia Ferrini has done a great job with it.









Recommend viewing of the slideshow: Full-screen mode.

August 8, 2015 - 3:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, baseball, muckdogs.

Press release:

The 2015 New York-Penn League All-Star roster will include six players from Batavia, which is the second highest in the league. They will send infielders Brad Haynal and Anfernee Seymour, outfielder Stone Garrett and pitchers Nestor Bautista, Steven Farnworth and Jordan Holloway to the game to be held Tuesday, Aug. 18th at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, home of the Aberdeen Ironbirds.

Haynal, a 18th round pick in the 2014 draft, has played in 39 games for the Muckdogs this year and has been among the league leaders in hitting all season. Haynal currently ranks eighth in the league in hitting, with a .313 batting average, tenth in slugging percentage at .444 and his 13 doubles is tied for second in the league.

Anfernee Seymour was an undrafted free agent signing by the Marlins in 2014 and has started 35 games at shortstop for the Muckdogs this season. The speedster is currently second in the league in stolen bases with 17. He is currently batting .281 with 23 runs scored, six doubles and seven RBIs.

An 8th round pick in the 2014 draft, Garrett has started 44 games in centerfield for Muckdogs and is arguably the top power hitter in the league. Garrett ranks first in the league in home runs with eight, first in slugging percentage at .576, second in RBIs with 32, and first in the league in triples with six. Garrett also ranks first in extra base hits (25) and total bases (98).

Nestor Bautista was selected in the 32nd round of the 2014 draft out of Ball State University. The left-hander has compiled an ERA of just 1.86, which is tops in the league for qualifying pitchers. Bautista has a record of 3-1 and has racked up 29 strikeouts in 38.2 innings pitched.

Steven Farnworth is in his second year of professional baseball and was a 23rd round pick in the 2014 draft. The right-hander has been the Muckdogs closer this season and is currently tied for second in the league with nine saves. Farnworth has appeared in 15 games this year and has an ERA of just 0.36. He has also recorded 23 strikeouts in his 25.0 innings of work and opposing batters are hitting just .198 versus Farnworth this year.

Holloway was drafted in the 20th round of the 2014 draft and has started eight games for the Muckdogs this year. He has compiled a record of 3-3 with a 3.08 ERA. In his 38.0 innings of work, he has recorded 24 strikeouts and opposing batters are only hitting .203 against him this year.

Batavia currently holds the sixth place spot in the Pinckney Division with a record of 19-26 and are just four games out of the wild card spot. The Muckdogs sent six players to the 2011 All-Star game, five in 2012, four in 2013 and four players in 2014.

August 8, 2015 - 12:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

(Lutetium (Kevin Cummings): Photo courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

It was business as usual Friday night (Aug. 7) for one of the best resident trotters to ever ply his trade at the historic Genesee County oval. Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) led from gate to wire for the second week in a row and captured the $9,500 featured Open trot at Batavia Downs.

Leaving sharply from post six, the 8-year-old gelded son of Credit Winner went right to the front and set fractions of 28.2, 59.1 and 1:28.2 before closing out the deal in 1:57.3. Cummings rated the horse perfectly and had no problem holding off a late charge by post time favorite, BZ Glide (Mike Caprio).

It was the sixth win in 20 starts this year for Lutetium ($5.50) and the proceeds raised his annual earnings to $43,331 for owner Colleen Girdlestone. The winner is trained by Mark Laidlaw.

Batavia Downs leading driver, Kevin Cummings, and Dave McNeight III both scored driving triples on the night.

Shawn Gray made his return to the sulky a winning one after taking the second race with Four Starz Trump ($3.20). Gray had been sidelined for just over three weeks after being involved in an accident at Buffalo Raceway on July 15.

Racing resumes tonight (Aug. 8) at Batavia Downs with post time set at 6:35.

August 8, 2015 - 8:47am
posted by James Burns in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Photos by Jim Burns / Press release from Batavia Downs:

There is a small but select group of 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings entered to compete in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 9). Thirteen entrants will compete in two divisions (carded as race two and four) for their share of the $108,000 purse up for grabs.

The first $54,500 division features Autotune Hanover (Art Major-Anderosa Hanover) who has been on fire at Yonkers Raceway recently. Last week he won a division of the $76,512 NYSS wire to wire, and 12 days prior to that, was victorious in the $107,500 L.B. Sheppard Stake final in a lifetime best 1:54.3.

Autotune Hanover has earned over $95,000 in only four starts this year and the speed and versatility he has shown on a half-mile track over the past two weeks is evidence he is a serious contender for the major share again this week. 

The track record for 2-year-old pacing colts at Batavia Downs in 1:54.2 set by Doctor Butch in 2012 and then tied by He’s Watching in 2013. Based on his effort in the Sheppard Stake at Yonkers, Autotune Hanover has a very good chance of setting a new standard at Batavia Downs on Sunday.

Autotune Hanover is trained by Mark Harder and will start from post three for driver Tyler Buter. He has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite.

Fine Diamond (Rock N Roll Heaven-Yellow Diamond), who hails from the stable of North America’s leading trainer, Ron Burke, looks to be his major competition. Although the colt is winless in four starts this year, he has not finished out of the money during that time. Fine Diamond can leave enough to gain early position in order to track Autotune Hanover, who will most certainly set the pace.

Fine Diamond starts from post five for local driving favorite John Cummings Jr. and has been designated as the early second choice at 5-2.

There is no clear-cut favorite in the second $53,500 division and the two main players should be in a battle to the wire.

Joe Larry N Curly (Roll With Joe-Life’s Image) is currently the top point-getter in NYSS competition for this sex and gait to date and Travel Playlist (Art Major-Village Madonna) sits third behind him. Whereas they both have two wins in NYSS competition, Travel Playlist is undefeated and one of his wins was over Joe Larry N Curly last week at Yonkers.

Both horses 2015 earnings are separated by only $845 (both in excess of $56,000) and their lifetime marks are only three-fifths of a second apart. They can both leave the gate and in this short field (only six horses entered) they will probably be looking to do just that, having drawn the outside posts.

Joe Larry N Curly will start from post five for NYSS leading driver Jim Morrill Jr. and is listed at 8-5 in the early line. Mark Harder conditions Joe Larry N Curly.

Trainer Erv Miller has appointed Mark Macdonald to steer Travel Playlist and he will wear number six behind the gate, rated second choice at 9-5.

There are also two divisions of the NYSS Excelsior Series “A” races on the card that will go for a total purse of $30,000.

Post time for the first of 12 races is set for 1:15 p.m.

Southern Tier Brewing Company's free beer tasting.

One dollar hot dogs all night.

August 7, 2015 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GLOW Corporate Cup, sports, 5K, batavia, YMCA, business.


Photos by Shannon Dent.

Previously: Record-setting day for GLOW Corporate Cup





August 7, 2015 - 9:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GLOW Corporate Cup, Merrill Lynch, batavia, business, sports.


With 840 runners and walkers, 51 company teams and 42 corporate tents set up in Batavia's Centennial Park, the third year of the GLOW Corporate Cup proved to be the biggest yet.

The event, organized primarily by executives with the Merrill Lynch office in Batavia, will have raised more than $20,000 for the GLOW YMCA once receipts are tallied.

Batavia City Schools fielded the winning team and Corey Brown of Crickler Vending posted the race's fastest time at 17:42.

The organizers got a lot of positive feedback, said Joshua Dent, a VP with Merrill Lynch.

"If they're serious runners, the racers are very happy with the course Steve Tufts set up," Dent said. "It runs like a professional race. Then, unlike most races, there is this incredible after-party that makes it unique and different. The environment is fun. So we get the serious runners who are happy with the event, and then the businesses who participate and send walkers and then get to hang out after and listen to a band and they're satisfied as well. Those two aspect help make it a successful and unique event."

Dent looks forward to seeing the event grow, especially as the promoters work to attract more corporate teams from Orleans, Livingston and Wyoming counties.

It's gratifying to see the hard work of Tufts and John Ritter pay off in a big way for the GLOW YMCA, Dent said.

"It obviously means a lot to be able to give that much back to the community," Dent said. "The support of all the volunteers means so much. There's just an incredible amount of work that goes into putting this together. John Riter and Steve Tufts worked tirelessly to pull this off.

"It's not a one-day process. It's days and days and days. So to see the culmination, to see all the businesses that participate and do something that is fun and good for you and get the chance to hang out on a beautiful day and network, it clicked on all points."

UPDATE: Photos posted previously were from last year.

Top photo: City fire's team.

If you have photos to share, e-mail them this morning to [email protected]


Upstate Toyota's team.

Three photos below, from Genesee Community College.





Photo from Elizabeth Downie


The Crickler Vending team. Photo submitted by Bob Brown.


Reader submitted, but company ID not included. Will try to update when we get it.

August 6, 2015 - 11:14am
posted by Kurtis Dunlap in baseball, sports, muckdogs.

Coming into Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the State College Spikes (21-21), the Batavia Muckdogs (15-26) were dead last in the New York-Penn League in terms of pitching with a staff ERA of 4.38.

Brett Lilek and Scott Squier both had rare, back-to-back quality starts, as the Muckdogs were able to sweep the doubleheader, taking the series. 

Lilek, who started game one, came into the game with a 0-2 record and a lackluster 6.11 ERA. The 6-foot-4 Arizona State product was able to work through two jams on his way to pitching five innings of shut-out ball, scattering four hits and striking out eight.

The first jam for Lilek came in the second inning when Casey Grayson doubled to lead off the inning. Lilek was able to strikeout the next two State College batters, but Jesse Jenner connected on an infield single that set up first and third with two outs. After falling behind 2-1 to R.J. Dennard, Lilek got the lefty to fly out to third.

Lilek again was faced with runners in scoring position when Grayson singled in the fourth, followed by an Orlando Olivera singled that was fumbled by leftfielder Travis Brewster, allowing Grayson to take third.

Olivera was able to move to second after a wild pitch. Lilek settled down and got Cole Lankford to strikeout and Jenner to pop out.

The two games were slated to be only seven-inning games but the Muckdogs and Spikes needed extra innings, even for a regular nine-inning game, to determine a winner in game one.

The teams had to play into the 10th inning before the Muckdogs were finally able to scrap across the game winning run.

Taylor Munden lead off the 10th inning of a 1-1 ball game with a double and was moved to third by a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Brandon Rawe. Giovanny Alfonzo scored and secured the Muckdogs' first walk-off of the season with a sacrifice fly to leftfield.  

After a bite to eat and the field was prepared for game two, Squier picked up right were Lilek ended in the first game.

Squier was able to get through five and two-thirds innings. He struck out five, gave up six hits and allowed one run.

He received all the run support he would need in the fourth inning when Stone Garrett singled up the middle, followed by a Brad Haynal single of his own. After a failed pick-off attempt of Garrett at second that saw the ball hit him in the back and roll into the outfield, both runners were able to move up a base.

Angel Reyes launched his third double of the year, scoring both Garrett and Haynal. The Spikes were able to get one back in the sixth off Squier but a Reyes' triple and Yuniel Ramirez' sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning made it 3-1.

Ryley MacEachern came in for a four-out save and struck out three of the five batters he faced.

The Muckdogs have now won four straight series and eight of their last 11 games. Although everything pointed to this being a lost season for the Muckdogs, they currently sit just six games back of the wild card.

Batavia hits the road for a three-game series in Mahoning Valley before returning to Dwyer Stadium on Sunday to start a six-game home stand.

Sunday’s game will have a unique starting time of 5:05 p.m. 

August 6, 2015 - 9:44am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Dayson (Conway Hall-Nervey’s Taurus): Photo by Paul White.)

By TIm Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

He’s yet to taste defeat and judging from his performance on Wednesday (Aug. 5) at Batavia Downs, it might be quite some time before that happens.

Dayson (Conway Hall-Nervey’s Taurus) simply obliterated the competition in his $55,500 leg of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings and set a new lifetime mark in the process.

When Dante (Ake Svanstedt) shot to the front for the early lead, Southern Palms (Marcus Miller) made a break and caused momentary confusion to the horses behind him in the first turn. Dayson, who was trotting on the outside at the time, was taken three-deep around the commotion by driver Jeff Gregory and motored to the front to take command.  

At that point, for all intents and purposes, the race was over.

Dayson was a gapped leader for the rest of the contest with Dante and Reve Royale (Chris Lems) chasing, more than following. After setting fractions of 29.2, 59.4 and 1:29.3, Gregory laid the whip on his shoulder and enjoyed the ride home as Dayson opened up four and tripped the timer in 1:59.1, which was his new personal best.

“Dayson has been a pleasure to drive this year and he was very strong tonight,” said Jeff Gregory after the race.

Dayson is now a perfect four-for-four in 2015 with $91,556 in earnings for Howard Okusko and owners Margaret Butler and Amy Butler. The winner returned $3.40.


(Allerage Echo (Conway Hall-Echonomical))

In the second $55,500 NYSS division, Allerage Echo (Conway Hall-Echonomical) took advantage of post one and a perfect trip to score his second victory of the campaign.

Chargin Cadet (Ray Schnittker) flew off the wings and crossed over to the lead before the group straightened up the backside. The rest of the field fell in line in post-position order and followed the leader past the half. But even though Schnittker set tepid fractions of 30.1, 1:01.3 and 1:32.1, the race was far from over.

Credevie (Trond Smedshammer) pulled from third to try and challenge the leader, leaving Allerage Echo (Chris Lems) sitting chilly in the garden spot. But at the top of the stretch, that bid failed and Chargin Cadet again looked solid. But Allerage Echo was relentless, digging all the way to the wire and eventually getting up for the win in 2:01.1, with a 28.3 final quarter.

“He got a very good trip. And even though they backed down the third quarter, I thought I could get up down the lane,” said driver Chris Lems, who did just that.

It was the second win in four starts for Allerage Echo who paid $10.80. The winner’s share increased his earnings to $58,381 while the time was a new lifetime mark. The gelding is trained by George Ducharme for owner Ken Jacobs.

There were also three divisions of the NYSS Excelsior A series that went for $15,000 each.

The first went to Cashuz (Cash Hall-Sister Shuzy) and driver John Cummings Jr. in 2:00 flat. Cashuz ($8.20) is trained by J.D. Perrin and is owned by Tessa Roland and Lesa Peters.

The second division was won by Gremlin Wilson (Sand Vic-Savannah Montana) and driver John Cummings Jr. once again in 2:03. Meghan Wilson trains Gremlin Wilson ($9.60) for Cummings Jr. who also owns the colt.

The final leg saw Kaylon’s Prayer (Prayer I Am-Kaylon) victorious for Downs leading driver, Kevin Cummings, in 2:03.4. Dennis Laterza trains Kaylon's Prayer ($8.50) for owner Roy Dobbins.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 7) with post time at 6:35 p.m.

August 5, 2015 - 2:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in hunting, sports, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, located in Alabama and Shelby, will be accepting applications for the refuge’s reserved waterfowl hunt days beginning Aug. 15. Reservations are required for opening day of the New York State regular waterfowl season on Saturday, Oct. 24 and the following Saturday, Oct. 31.

These dates are tentative pending approval of the recommended waterfowl hunting season.

Interested hunters must complete the Waterfowl Lottery Application Form and return it to the refuge office at 1101 Casey Road, Basom, NY 14013. Applications will be accepted no earlier than Aug. 15 and due by the deadline of 4 p.m., Sept. 15. Application forms can be requested by mail, by phone, in person, or by email at [email protected]

A PDF version of the form may also be downloaded and printed by following a link on the refuge Web site

Hunters will be selected by a lottery and notified by mail. The number of permits issued will be dependent on water levels in the hunt area. Reservations are non-transferable.

Those selected must be at the Waterfowl Permit Station, located on Route 77, between 4:30 and 5 a.m. on their appointed day to select their hunt stand and obtain their permit. Consult the refuge’s Waterfowl Hunting Fact Sheet for addition information.

Individuals with disabilities and any other person who may need special assistance to participate in this program should contact refuge staff at 585-948-5445 or through the Federal Relay No. 1-800-877-8339. Iroquois NWR is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For further information contact: Iroquois NWR, 1101 Casey Road, Basom, NY 14013, or call Madeline Prush at 585-948-5445.

August 5, 2015 - 2:03pm

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, in partnership with the Lake Plains Waterfowl Association, will host its 42nd Annual Young Waterfowlers Program. The program will include an orientation class at the refuge headquarters and a youth-only hunt day on Saturday, Oct. 3.

This date is tentative pending approval of the recommended New York State youth waterfowl hunting dates. The Young Waterfowlers Program will be open to junior hunters between 12-15 years of age. There is no charge but space is limited with preference given to first time participants. Pre-registration does not guarantee participation. Those selected will be notified by mail.

To pre-register, complete the Waterfowl Lottery Application Form and return it to the refuge headquarters at 1101 Casey Road, Basom, NY 14013 by the deadline of 4 p.m., Sept. 8.

Application forms can be requested by mail, by phone, in person, or email at [email protected]. A PDF version of the form may also be downloaded and printed from the refuge Web site

The orientation class date will be announced at later date. The morning session of the orientation class will consist of a New York State sanctioned Waterfowl Identification Certification class from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

The afternoon session from 12:30 – 3 p.m. will cover decoys and calls, ballistics, clothing and equipment, hunter ethics and safety, an overview of the refuge waterfowl program as well as a retriever demo and trap shoot. The afternoon session is mandatory in order to participate in the hunt, except for those who have been through the program at least twice before.

All junior hunters will be required to have a guide with them on the day of the hunt. We strongly recommend each junior hunter secure their own guide prior to orientation in accordance with DEC Junior Hunting License Regulations. We have a limited number of guides who can volunteer; therefore we cannot guarantee a guide for each junior hunter.

For additional information about the program, please contact Madeline Prush at 585.948.5445. Individuals with disabilities and any other person who may need special assistance to participate in this program should contact refuge staff at 585.948.5445 or at the Federal Relay No. 1.800.877.8339.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is located midway between Rochester and Buffalo and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

August 4, 2015 - 7:51pm
posted by Kurtis Dunlap in baseball, sports, muckdogs.

The Muckdogs game tonight has been postponed due to the threat of a thunderstorm.

The Muckdogs will play a doubleheader on Wednesday against the State College Spikes with the first game starting at 5:05 p.m. and the second game will directly follow the conclusion of the first game; both games will be seven innings.

Any ticket purchased for tonight’s game can be redeemed for any future regular season game.

August 4, 2015 - 11:46am
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

(Dayson photo by Steve Roth.)

(Reve Royal photo by Melissa Simser.)

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

When the 2-year-old colts and geldings converge on Batavia Downs for the $111,000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) on Wednesday (Aug. 5), an unstoppable object will face an immovable force to lay claim to being the best in the state for this sex and gait.

The first division of the $55,500 stake features Reve Royale (RC Royalty-Dream Street) lining up against Dayson (Conway Hall-Nervey’s Taurus) in a contest that will see one of them suffer their first defeat of the year.  

Reve Royal is a perfect three-for-three and just took his lifetime mark of 1:56.3 at the Meadowlands last week. He is a perfect two-for-two in NYSS action this year, including a very impressive 1:59.4 win at Saratoga Raceway that saw him trot a 58.4 back half over the half-mile oval.

He is trained by George Ducharme, who conditioned the 2013 Hambletonian winner, Royalty For Life, and will be driven by Chris Lems. Reve Royal has been listed as the morning line favorite and will leave from post 5.

Dayson is also undefeated with three consecutive wins and has been trotting away from his competition in all of his races. His fastest outing to date was at Saratoga on July 2; a win in 2:00.1. But his best effort may very well have been last week at Buffalo Raceway.

After making a break after the start, Dayson and driver Jeff Gregory spotted the field 16-lengths at the quarter pole. Gregory then gathered his horse together and rallied for a one-length victory in 2:02.2; last half in 59.2, last quarter in 28.4.

Dayson and Gregory will team up once again to see if they can get another tally from post six for trainer Howard Okusko. Okusko is hot right now having just won the Adios Pace this past Saturday (Aug. 1) with Dude’s The Man.

It’s interesting to note that Reve Royal is a colt and Dayson is a gelding, so there is a chance that one of two track records could be rewritten in this race, depending on who wins. The Batavia Downs record for a 2-year-old trotting colt is 1:58.4 set in 2010 by Dejarmbro and the 2-year-old trotting gelding mark is 1:58 set just last year by Buen Camino.

The second $55,500 contest has the three perceived favorites lining up from the three inside posts as mirror images of each other. All are geldings, have comparable earnings, have one NYSS victory and are all coming off lifetime marks.

Credevie (Credit Winner-Fleur De Vie) drew post seven in his last start at Yonkers Raceway but overcame it with style. Trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer left and tucked third before pulling at the three-quarters to gain a close victory in 2:00.3. Credevie did not compete in the NYSS leg at Buffalo last week so he has not raced in three weeks.

Andrew Goldstein (RC Royalty-Final Time) had post five at Yonkers and left for position. He eventually sat the pocket trip for trainer/driver Kim Crawford, before pulling away to an easy four-length win in 2:00.4. Andrew Goldstein also did not compete in the NYSS leg at Buffalo last week so he too has not raced in three weeks.

Allerage Echo (Conway Hall-Echonomical) did race at Buffalo last week and did it well. Trainer George Ducharme had driver Chris Lems cut the mile and that allowed Allerage Echo to walk away with an easy five-length victory in 2:03.3. The horse could have obviously gone more but it wasn’t necessary as he had the race well in hand.

Credevie has post three and is favored at 2-1. Andrew Goldstein has post two and is 5-2. Allerage Echo starts from thepylons and is listed at 4-1.

There are also three divisions of the NYSS Excelsior A series that will split a total of $45,000.

Post time for the first of the 12-race card at Batavia Downs is 6:35 p.m.

August 4, 2015 - 11:19am
posted by Kurtis Dunlap in baseball, sports, muckdogs.


Coming into Monday night’s game against the State College Spikes (20-21), the Batavia Muckdogs (15-25) found themselves in the midst of a hot streak. Winners of five of the last six games and only six games out of the wildcard, Batavia looked to continue its recently found success.

Travis Neubeck got the emergency start on the mound after Gabriel Castellanos was called up. The Spikes were able to jump on Neubeck early, as the young righty was making his first professional start.

Craig Aikin reached base in the first inning after hitting a routine ground ball to Anfernee Seymour at shortstop, Seymour’s legs got tangled up and he was unable to make the throw to first, resulting in his 12th error of the season.

Leobaldo Pina then doubled home Aikin to make it 1-0. Seymour was able to make up for his mistake in the bottom half of the inning.

Seymour led off the inning with a single and just like he has all season, stole second. He then moved to third on a failed pick-off attempt at second that saw the ball dribble into the outfield. Taylor Munden plated Seymour with a sacrifice fly to centerfield, tying the game at 1-1.

“He’s going to go out there and help because he can play the game and he has the tools to make things happen for us,” Manager Angel Espada said about Seymour’s impact on the team.

Neubeck settled down after the first inning until he seemed to run out of gas in the fifth inning.

“There was a lot of things going on for him, a lot of firsts,” Espada said. “He went out there and I think he did a good job for the most part and that last inning happens.”

Neubeck walked Ronnierd Garcia to start the fifth inning and quickly came around to score on a Josh Swirchak RBI triple. Neubeck was able to retire the next two batters, but Pina stepped into the box and launched a two-run home run to make it 4-1, ending Nuebeck’s night.

“We played so well on the road and that just comes to show you why these kids are at this level,” Espada said.

Ayron Adames came in relief of Neubeck and also pitched well until he, too, ran out of gas in the eighth inning.

The Spikes were able to muster three runs, on five hits behind an Orlando Olivera home run to take an 8-1 lead.

“There is a fine line between developing and winning -- that’s the way it’s going to be,” Espada said.  

Kyle Keller pitched the ninth inning and allowed one run, making the final 9-1.

Roy Morales finished the game 2-for-4 while Seymour was 1-for-3 with a run scored and two stolen bases. Seymour now has 17 stolen bases on the year, good for second in the league and just one behind league leader, Johnny Sewald of the Tri-City ValleyCats.

“Once you fall back, young hitters tend to press a little bit instead of trying to take good at-bats,” Espada said. “The youth showed up today and hopefully we can put this one behind us and come back ready to play tomorrow.”

Batavia continues its series against the Spikes Tuesday night at 7:05 at Dwyer Stadium. 







Photos by Howard Owens.





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