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August 7, 2016 - 12:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica Rodeo, Attica, sports, rodeo.

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Being from California, raised by a family with deep roots in Southeastern Colorado, I always enjoy being around cowboys, so it's always fun to spend an afternoon at the Attica Rodeo.

For more rodeo coverage, visit the Wyoming County Free Press.

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August 5, 2016 - 8:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GLOW Corporate Cup, batavia, business, news, sports.

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Collin Mulcahy, 22, of Batavia, and representing Batavia Downs, finished well ahead of the rest of the 1,000-participant field in the 2016 GLOW Corporate Cup 5K at Centennial Park on Thursday.

Mulcahy's time in the 90-degree weather was 15:31.

The top woman runner (next photo) was Kim Mills, from Freed Maxic, with a time of 19:30.

The top team was Batavia City Schools.

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August 4, 2016 - 3:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in sports.
Event Date and Time: 
February 27, 2016 -
10:00am to 2:00pm

Registration is officially open for all divisions of Batavia Minor League Youth Baseball for girls and boys ages 4 to 10. You are welcome to come to Dick’s Sporting Goods on Veterans Memorial Drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 27, to register.
Also, online registration is now available. Log onto the league’s Web site via the LeagueLineup.com portal at:
http://www.leaguelineup.com/bataviaminorleague
Click on 2016 registration on the right side and proceed.

August 4, 2016 - 12:49pm

Press release:

The WNY Boys of Summer Travel Baseball League is holding open registration for teams ages 10 thru 16 for fall league play in September and October. Deadline to register is Aug. 22nd.

For more information or to register see www.wnyboysofsummer.com.

August 4, 2016 - 11:46am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Making her local debut for new connections, My Tallia Ideal ($3.80) took a garden-spot trip and turned it into a victory in the $9,500 mares Open pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 3).

When the gate closed, the field got away in post-position order and remained that way until the half. Wanna Rock N Roll (Todd Cummings) cut fractions of :29.2 and :59.2 while My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) sat in tow second.

As the group passed the half, Who Says That (Drew Monti) pulled first over and prompted the sluggish pace to the three-quarters in 1:28.3. That bid took a toll on the leader as they headed down the stretch when My Tallia Ideal found the passing lane and drove right by her to win by two lengths in 1:57. Who Says That toughed it out for second and Wanna Rock N Roll hung on for third.

It was the fourth win of the year for My Tallia Ideal and the purse raised her annual income to $33,265. The daughter of Western Ideal-Bolero Tallia is owned by Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney Wright and is now trained by Dave McNeight Jr.

Jim Morrill Jr. took up residency in the winner’s circle as he registered five driving wins on the card.  He smiled for the camera with Springhouse Star ($8.70), Caddy Jeff ($4.20), Lake Shark ($6.70), Mr. Avalanche ($4.40) and Kaitlyn Akeeper ($3.10).

Dave McNeight III also had a driving triple and trainer Jim Graham won two on the conditioning side.

The Batavia Downs annual breast cancer awareness fundraiser, held in conjunction with the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester (BCCR), raised in excess of $6,000 for that organization. The BCCR provides support to those touched by a diagnosis of breast cancer, to make access to information and care a priority through education and advocacy, and to empower women and men to participate fully in decisions relating to breast cancer.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 5) with the first post slated for 6:15 p.m.

August 2, 2016 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

From Batavia Downs Media Relations:

Longtime Western New York Horseman, David A. Spaziano, of Rochester, New York, died on July 25, 2016 at age 76.

According to his family, “If we had to sum up David's life in one picture, this one says it all. Horses and horse racing were his heart and soul.”

Mr. Spaziano drove home 152 winners during his harness racing career. His trainees won over 70 races. Some of his most popular horses include Scorpion Prince and Passion Time. 

His last driving win came at Buffalo Raceway on November 12, 1997 behind Handsome Boy.

David is predeceased by Ida & Anthony Spaziano. David is survived by; daughters Laurie, Layna and Michelle; (former spouse Ann Marie Spaziano); son David (companion Gloria Jean Ricci); grandchildren Frankie, Michael, Shane and Kendra; sister Dolores (Lee) Capomaccio; and brother Al (Elaine) Spaziano. 

Celebrate David's life with a night at Batavia Downs. No calling hours.

August 2, 2016 - 12:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, Batavia Downs, Announcements, Wiener Dog Race.

Submitted photo (of some previous contestants and their handlers at the starting line) and press release:

Do you have a speedy Dachshund? That’s what Batavia Downs officials are wondering as they have announced registration opening for the Genesee Feeds 2016 dachshund (wiener) dog races to be held on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 28.

The wiener races that begin approximately 4:15 p.m. are the final event on its annual Family Fun Day at the Races at America’s oldest lighted harness racetrack.

All entered dogs receive a doggie gift bag courtesy of Genesee Feeds. The owners of all heat winners receive gaming free play, and the top three in the championship race, receive Clubhouse buffet certificates and free play for the gaming floor.

The winner’s total prize package including the gaming free play is valued at $200.

Dashing Dachshund owners wishing to participate should call Batavia Downs’ Wiener Dog Race coordinator Arna Tygart at 585-343-3750, ext. 6437, and leave a message. Staff will call back to confirm. The races are limited to the first 80 dogs that register. 

August 1, 2016 - 3:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

To say Fireyourguns is a local favorite would be an understatement, but the fans made it clear Saturday night (July 30) when they sent him off at 1-9 and then watched him reply in kind by winning the $10,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs.

Making his first start at the Downs this year, Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) took control of the race by the quarter after feeling some resistance from Instant Thrill (Jim Morrill Jr.) away from the gate. Caprio then led the short field of five through fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:25.3 and had a comfortable three-length advantage at the head of the stretch.  

As the leader paced for home, Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) and Whosurpal (Todd Cummings) rallied late to make it interesting but both came up short behind Fireyourguns, who won in 1:54.3 by one-half length.

Fireyourguns ($2.10), a 7-year-old son of American Ideal-Villa Hanover, is owned by Jennifer and Robert Lowe and Terrence McClory, who also trains the gelding.

In the co-featured $9,000 Open II, Beast Mode (Michael Whelan), who competed in the North American Cup in June, left for position and then pulled again before three-quarters to take the lead by the head of the stretch. From there he powered to an impressive three-length victory in 1:55.1.

Beast Mode ($2.60) is owned by Christopher Nicol and is trained by Todd Clements.

Jim Morrill Jr. won four races on the card while Dave McNeight III scored a double. JD Perrin had a training double as well.

As was previously reported, the live racing card for Sunday (July 31) at Batavia Downs was cancelled. Live racing will resume on Wednesday (Aug. 3) with the first post set for 6:15 p.m.

July 30, 2016 - 3:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Down.

Submitted photo of JATO and driver Mike Caprio.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

After taking a wait and see approach, JATO (Mike Caprio) mounted a furious closing brush to capture his foes along with the winner's share of the $10,000 purse in the Open trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (July 29).

With the morning line favorite Lutetium scratched, a short but select field of five lined up behind the gate. It was a three-horse blast to be front as Studio City (Dave McNeight III), Noble Legend (Kevin Cummings) and Lucid Thoughts (Shawn McDonough) were spread across the track. Noble Legend eventually won the argument and the field settled in for the journey.
 
The leader cut fractional times of :28.2 and:58.1 before Red Clay (Drew Monti) pulled and advanced to second by the three quarters in 1:28.1. These two then trotted side by side, stride for stride around the far turn while JATO (Mike Caprio) was winding it up from last in overdrive and began gobbling up ground. Caprio tipped three-deep at the top of the stretch and simply trotted away from the field from there, winning by two lengths in 1:58.4.
 
It was the second win in only six starts this year for JATO ($6.00) who is owned by Margaret Butler and Amy Butler and is trained by Alana Caprio.
 
In the co-featured $8,400 conditioned trot, Leave Your Mark (Todd Cummings) took a quick, early lead and dictated the first three quarters of the race. But around the last turn, Serious George (Kevin Cummings) tipped three-deep around Undercover Bro (Ray Fisher Jr.) and trotted his hips off down the lane to power by Leave Your Mark and win by one half-length in 1:59.2.
 
It was the second win of the year for Serious George, who is owned by James Palladino and trained by Richard Mays.
 
Drivers Kevin Cummings, Mike Caprio and Ray Fisher Jr. all had driving doubles and conditioner John Mungillo sent two winners to post.
 
Racing resumes on tonight (July 30) at Batavia Downs with the first post set for 6:15.
July 29, 2016 - 6:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

If you have a horse in a claiming race at Batavia Downs, as of Monday (July 25) you are eligible to compete for up to $20,000 if it accumulates enough points to make the final for its respective gait and class. That's because of the Batavia Downs Claiming Championship Series that is currently underway.

The point-based competition will be broken down by gait and claiming price and the accrual of points will be on a monthly basis. There is no nomination or entry fee to participate and the event is being conducted under the rules and regulations of Batavia Downs Gaming, in conjunction with the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association.

“If you predominantly race claimers, you may want to consider racing them at Batavia Downs” said Todd Haight, director/GM of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. “The Downs is offering a great earnings opportunity and with the short fields we have seen, you have a chance to accumulate solid points early in the process.”

Divisions will include $4,000, $5,000-$6,000 and $8,000-$10,000 claimers on the pace and $4,000-$5,000 and $7,500-$10,000 on the trot. Points will be awarded to the top-five finishers of each race and points will accrue monthly.

The eight horses from each class category making the final will be comprised of the top three pointer earners in August, (July 25 – Aug. 31) and September (Sept. 1- 30) and the top two point earners in October, (Oct. 1- 31). They will advance to the Nov. 12 Claiming Championships Finals.

Once a new month starts, all point earned towards the finals revert back to zero (with the exception of July, which will carry over into August).  

The $4,000 and $4,000-$5,000 categories will compete for $15,000 in the final and all other categories will vie for $20,000.

Anyone interested in racing at Batavia Downs can contact our race secretary Joe Zambito, directly at 585-344-6161 for more information or to enter your horses.

For complete rules log onto www.bataviadownsgaming.com and click the “Live Racing” tab and then the “Horsemen” tab. 

July 28, 2016 - 6:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Officials at Batavia Downs Gaming were forced to cancel live racing on Sunday July 31 due to the lack of entries.

The Old Fashion Day celebration scheduled for July 31 has been rescheduled to Sunday Aug. 7.

Live racing at America’s oldest lighted harness track will continue as scheduled this Friday and Saturday night with a 6:15  first race post time.

“We regret to have to cancel Sunday’s program,” Todd Haight, director/GM of Live Racing, said, “but there is currently a horse shortage in Western New York and while every effort was made by our racing department to fill Sunday’s program, those efforts proved unsuccessful."

July 28, 2016 - 2:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in Eugene Jankowski Jr., batavia, news, sports, marksmanship.

(Submitted photos.)

Press release:

Eugene Jankowski Jr. of Batavia finished in 8th place in the Tactical Division and 20th place overall at the 2016 Precision Rifle Series (PRS) Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) Challenge on July 23-24 at Peacemaker National Training Center in Gerrardstown, W. Va.

Jankowski is a retired Batavia City police officer and current president of the Batavia City Council.

Competitors used semiautomatic rifles with magnified optics in various shooting positions to complete 14 tough courses of fire over two days. Each course of fire required shooting multiple steel targets of different sizes at distances of 165 to 600 yards with a 90-second-maximum time limit. Shooters were tested on marksmanship as well as their ability to overcome physical and mental stress.

The Precision Rifle Series is a rifle sports competition series utilizing the most recognized and reputable long range rifle matches in the nation based on individual effort. To learn more about PRS http://www.precisionrifleseries.com/

July 28, 2016 - 1:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of V'la Faire, courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs:

Despite consistent performances most of the summer, V’la Faire was lightly regarded and sent off at 5-1 when the windows closed. But she made a believer of those who backed her as she came from off the pace to beat three others by a nose in the $9,500 mares Open pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (July 27).   

Princess Katie (Ray Fisher Jr.) left for the lead and got it by the quarter. From there, Fisher grabbed leather as he dictated an uncontested pace and got the field to three quarters in a stodgy 1:30. The action started there when V’la Faire (Wade Tomaszewski) pulled first over with Wanna Rock N Roll (Todd Cummings) on her back.

When they hit the top of the lane, Ugly Betty (Kevin Cummings) slid-out around Princess Katie and V’la Faire and Wanna Rock N Roll fanned three and four deep. The cavalry then charged to the wire with V’la Faire getting the nod by a head in 2:00.1.

It was the third win of the season for V’la Faire ($13.40) and it pushed her bankroll to $24,169 for 2016. The 9-year-old daughter of Village Jove-Trade Fair is owned by Oakhurst Farms and trained by Richard Tomaszewski.

In the $8,000 co-featured mares Open II, Mach This Way (Todd Cummings) got away first in the short field of five and never yielded the lead. After leading the group through fractions of :28.1, :59.2 and 1:29.1, Mach This Way held off a mid-race challenge from Kaitlyn Akeeper (Dave McNeight III) and a late-race rush from Taboo Seelster (Shawn McDonough) to win by a decisive two-lengths in 2:00.

Mach This Way ($3.50) is owned by William Emmons and trained by JD Perrin.

Todd Cummings won four races on the card while Drew Monti had a double. On the conditioning side, Leonard Segall and JD Perrin both sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (July 29) at 6:15.

July 28, 2016 - 7:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.

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(Submitted photo.) Pictured are students in grades three through eight who participated last week in the Batavia Jr. Blue Devils Summer Basketball Camp.

July 27, 2016 - 1:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in Team New Era Baseball, sports.

Team New Era Baseball will hold tryouts for their summer 2017 teams for ages 9 thru 17 Aug. 8th thru 14th. For more information, dates, times and locations or to register for the tryout, see www.teamnewerabaseball.com.

July 27, 2016 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, schools, education, sports, news.

Student athletes deserve every opportunity to be successful, said Batavia High School Athletic Director Micheal Bromley at Tuesday evening's Batavia City Schools board meeting, which is why the district needs a tighter tardy policy for those students participating in school sports.

About 54 percent of Batavia's students are involved in athletics during at least one season of the school year, so a stronger tardy policy will have a positive impact on academics overall, Bromley said. 

"We want our students to be successful," Bromley said. "To be successful, they need to be in school."

The proposed policy will require student athletes to be on time for their first class of the day. If they're even five minutes late, it's a tardy. They get two freebie tardies during the season. A third tardy means they can't participate in the next practice or athletic event.

Currently, there are no consequences if the student arrives by at least 11 a.m., which means they miss the first two blocks of classes.

There were seniors this year, Bromley said, who were in danger of not meeting academic standards for graduation.

Bromley thinks the change this fall will be a big adjustment for students and their parents. He expects some push back but wants to deliver the message that this policy will help students and their teams succeed.

"We want you to be here," Bromley said he would tell the students. "We want you to represent our school. It's a great honor. With that comes responsibility. Athletics teaches life skills and life skills include being on time, being responsible, being respectful to your coach and your teammates by doing the right things."

The need for a policy change arose, Bromley said, because of frustrations expressed by coaches and teachers.

Many teachers questioned how students could represent the school in athletic events while not showing up regularly to classes, he said.

"We're not trying to be mean here," Bromley said. "We just want people to be here. Teachers are very frustrated when students don't show up for the first block of the day."

School board members responded favorably to the new policy, which was crafted by a committee of school officials who looked at policies from several area school districts before crafting the one presented to the board.

The policy is intended to be both stricter than what exists now, but also flexible. The two freebie tardies recognize that things happen -- cars break down, assignments are forgotten at home and need to be retrieved, family members get sick and hold things up, etc., but student-athletes also need to be held accountable if they want to faithfully represent the community in competition.

The policy will be evaluated during the fall, comparing this fall's data with data from previous fall seasons to see if tardiness is reduced and attendance is improved. If the policy works and is refined, it could be rolled out to cover students participating in other extracurricular activities.

Policy summary:

  • Student athletes will get two free tardies each sports season, fall, winter and spring.
  • A third tardy will result in the student not being allowed to participate in his or her team's next athletic event, be it practice or game.
  • A tardy can be excused by a doctor's note; parental notes will not be accepted as an excuse.
  • The tardy clock begins as soon as the bell rings for the first class of the day.
July 27, 2016 - 9:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Batavia HS, batavia.

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Batavia High School, led by Head Coach Brennan Briggs, has been hosting 7-on-7 drills for the past few weeks as players get ready for the fall football season.

Yesterday, Batavia's varsity and JV teams participated along with Medina and Oakfield-Alabama combined with Elba. On some Tuesdays as many as six teams from throughout the region have participated.

Mini-camps open in two weeks, followed by pre-season camp and, then, the season.

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July 26, 2016 - 1:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Mamora Bay, photo courtesy of Paul White.)

By Tim Bojarski​, for Batavia Downs

Local racing fans turned out in healthy numbers on opening night at Batavia Downs on Monday (July 25) to watch three $37,267 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies and they were treated to some very exciting finishes.

In what turned out to be a real heavyweight bout, Mamora Bay proved the best over Scarey Karie after a quarter-mile, two horse breakaway in the eighth race.

Four horses left, with Scarey Karie (Phil Fluet) eventually getting the lead and going to the quarter in 30.3 while Mamora Bay (Sam Schillaci) hit the wood. Mamora Bay then pulled first-over from fifth going to the half and methodically worked her way up to the leader before they hit three quarters, and from there it was a two-horse race.

With Scarey Karie on the rail and Mamora Bay on the outside, the two trotted stride for stride around the far turn and down the stretch. The battle continued all the way to the wire with Mamora Bay ultimately claiming victory by a head in 2:03.4.

“She’s just been an incredible filly. She’s never been flashy since day one; to be honest with you we never thought she was this good. But from the first time she’s seen the starting gate she just loves what she does” said trainer/driver Sam Schillaci.

Mamora Bay ($3.70) is owned by Peter Barbato.

(Mighty Surf, photo courtesy of Paul White.)

In the first division, prohibitive 1-2 favorite Might Surf (Kevin Cummings) went right to the front and opened up a quick three-length lead. As the field moved to the quarter, Barn Bella (Claude Huckabone Jr.) who was sitting second, made a break and that allowed Hotel Royale (Chris Lems) to then claim that spot.

The field stayed pretty much the same through fractions of :30.2, 1:01.4 and 1:32.4 until just before the top of the stretch. Hotel Royale pulled and challenged the leader down the stretch, but Mighty Surf was just too tough and hung on to win by a length in 2:03.2.

"She was good tonight, maybe a little bumpy in the turns. The track was a little deep but the race was never in doubt" driver Kevin Cummings said after the race.

Mighty Surf ($3) is owned by Roy Dobbins and trained by Dennis Laterza.

The second division saw Flyhawk Charm (Chris Lems) leave sharply to take an uncontested lead as Maewegonow (Charlie Norris) was content to sit second with the trip. The girls trotted to a pedestrian 1:03.1 half before Deli-Delite (John Campbell) pulled from fourth and moved into second on the outside by the three quarters.

That challenge lasted until the top of the stretch when Deli-Delite faded just as Maewegonow was moving up the rail to mount a rally against the leader. Maewegonow and Flyhawk Charm trotted side by side down the lane, with Flyhawk Charm proving to be the best and win by a nose in 2:04.

"She's great gaited, she gives you all's she's got, she's just a nice filly. She likes horses around her and that's why she responded so well down the stretch," commented driver Chris Lems.

Flyhawk Charm ($20.20) is owned by Edward Flynn and Joe Flynn, who also trains her.

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

Eternal Flame AS ($3.90) driven by Jim Morrill Jr. and trained by Annette Lorentzen won the first leg in 2:03.4 for owners Acl Stuteri Ab.

Billie Blue ($16) driven by Chris Lems and trained by George Ducharme was victorious in the second division in 2:04.4 for owners George Ducharme Stable, LLC, Paul Fontaine and Charles Iannazzo.

Teasin N Pleasin ($5.10) driven by John Campbell and trained by Thomas Corelli wired the third heat field in 2:05.4 for owners Edward Reich, Thomas Corelli and Fred Corelli.

John Campbell, Chris Lems and Jim Morrill Jr. all had driving doubles on the card.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (July 27) at 6:15.

July 25, 2016 - 7:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in buffalo bills, GCC, golf, sports, news, Stafford Country Club, Stafford.

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This is Booker Edgerson, a star cornerback with the Buffalo Bills in the 1960s.

When I told Edgerson that I'm a little rusty on my Bills' history because I'm a lifelong San Diego Chargers fan, he smiled and said, "then you must know Lance Alworth."

Of course, I know Lance Alworth. I used to watch Alworth play, though I was very young at the time.

"I'm the only man to catch Lance Alworth."

"You ran down Lance Alworth?"

"Yup, I ran him down."

In fact, Edgerson's Wikipedia page notes that he's the only man in NFL history to catch Alworth from behind.

"I played against him my whole career," Edgerson said. "We came into the league together. Man, he was tough to cover."

Edgerson was playing in a golf tournament Monday at Stafford Country Club to benefit the scholarship fund at Genesee Community College. He was one of five former Bills players, and former Lions player, who participated in the tournament. This is the first year for the tournament, but the planning committee is already talking about next year.

The only man to catch Lance Alworth ... that's quite a line on a professional football resume.

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July 25, 2016 - 6:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, muckdogs.

Press release:

Tonight’s game between the Batavia Muckdogs and State College Spikes has been postponed due wet and unsafe field conditions. This game will be made up as part of a double header on Tuesday, July 26th. We will play two seven innings games, with the first game starting at 11:05 p.m. Gates will open at 10:00 a.m. Any person with tickets to tonight’s game can exchange their tickets for any other regular season game, subject to availability.

The Batavia Lions Club bike raffle that was originally scheduled for tonight will be rescheduled at a to be determined home game. 

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