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September 10, 2016 - 1:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, batavia, marksmanship, shooting competition.
Eugene Jankowski Jr., a retired Batavia police officer and president of the Batavia City Council, finished in the top 13 percent among 250 competitors in the 2016 FN 3 Gun Championship. He was awarded High Senior in the Tactical Optics Division.
 
Action-packed 3 Gun is one of the fastest-growing shooting sports in the country right now. Competitors use three different firearms -- a modern sporting rifle; a pistol; and a shotgun. Distances of the targets might vary from 1 yard to 500 yards or anything in between. The shooter who hits the most targets -- and avoids certain "no shoot" ones -- in the least amount of time is the winner.
 
The FN 3 Gun Championship took place Sept. 1-3 at Peacemaker National Training Center located in the beautiful West Virginia mountains near Gerrardstown. Top competitors traveled from all over the United States to compete in this annual event. Video highlights of the event can be found here https://youtu.be/FWrZ4vfnbDM
September 10, 2016 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of Kahoku with driver Kevin Cummings.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

In Hawaiian, Kahoku means “star” and Friday night (Sept. 9) at Batavia Downs, Kahoku ($4.30) lived up to his name as he shown bright on the front end in the $10,500 Open trotting feature.

Driver Kevin Cummings left from post four with Kahoku and out-tussled Noble Legend (Jack Flanigen) for the lead past the quarter timed in :28.3. That would be the last lead change of the race. Kahoku trotted with a gapped lead and went to the half in :59.2 and three-quarters in 1:28.3. With the field unable to catch him up to that point, Kahoku strode away to an easy two-length victory in 1:58. 

Noble Legend followed him to the wire for second and B Z Glide (Mike Caprio) closed the best for show.

It was the tenth win in 28 starts for Kahoku and it bumped his earnings up to $59,358 for the year. The 8-year-old altered son of SJ’s Caviar is owned by Colleen Girdlestone and Michael Gentner and is trained by Mark Laidlaw.

In the co-featured $8,500 Open II trot, The Bronx Bumper ($7.60) stepped up from the claiming ranks to dominate some top-flight condition horses when he came from off the pace to win in 1:58.3. Dave McNeight III drove the winner to his fourth win of the year for trainer Gerry Sarama and owner Mike Torcello.

Three drivers won 90 percent of the card on Friday as Kevin Cummings, John Cummings Jr. and Dave McNeight III all scored driving triples.

Racing resumes on Saturday night (Sept. 10) at Batavia Downs with the first post set for 6:15.

September 10, 2016 - 9:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Batavia HS.

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Ray Leach dashed 80 yards, untouched, on the opening kickoff to set the tone for the first half of Batavia's second game of the 2016 season, leading the way to a 54-0 victory over St. Mary's.

The Blue Devils were up 48-0 at the half and by then Leach, a sophomore, had four TDs and 234 total yards. His TDs came on runs of 50 and 51 yards and a 24-yard reception.

Coach Brennan Briggs rested Leach in the second half along with QB Jerry Reinhart, who was 2-4 passing with two TD receptions.

Chandler Baker, who took over at QB in the second half and ran a run-only offense, caught Reinhart's other TD connection, a 50-yard reception. 

Antwan Odom had returned an interception 10 yards for a touchdown.

Cody Dioguardi also scored two touchdowns, on a seven-yard run and 10-yard run.

John Kindig had seven tackles, including three for a loss and one sack.

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To purchase prints of photos, click here.

September 9, 2016 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

(Photo of No Clouds Bluechip; driver unidentified.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The seventh of eight sessions of the New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) stops at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 10) and this week it will be the 3-year-old pacing fillies who will participate in two divisions, going for $119,300 in available purses.

This will be the last stop for the second-year distaff side-wheelers who are trying to position themselves for the NYSS Night of Champions finals at Yonkers Raceway on September 24.

The first $60,200 division features No Clouds Bluechip (Roll With Joe-B J’s Sunshine) who comes in fresh off a big win in the $239,225 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) at Tioga Downs. After winning her elimination in 1:53 wire to wire, No Clouds Bluechip came from off the pace in the final to annihilate her competition, winning in 1:50.1 by five lengths.

No Clouds Bluechip is a four-time winner this year and has amassed $233,208 in earnings for her efforts and currently sits sixth in points for the final.

Trainer John Berger has tabbed Batavia’s leading driver, Kevin Cummings to steer and has been named the 2-1 morning line favorite from post two.

The race’s second choice, Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance Hanover) raced at Batavia Downs on one other occasion. Just short of a year ago, the filly scorched the Genesee County oval in 1:52.4 and set a new track and world record for 2-year-old pacing fillies over a half-mile track.

This year, Dime A Dance has matched her wins from 2015 but not her mark or earnings. Most recently she won two straight NYSS events before qualifying for the EBC final at Tioga. Unfortunately in that race, she drew post nine and made an untimely break at the quarter and was never in contention after that.

Dime A Dance has four wins on the year and $166,210 in the bank. She is also the top point-earning filly in her division and is a lock for the NYSS final.

Dime A Dance drew post five and has been made 7-2 on the early line. Trainer Ron Burke has called upon Drew Monti to sit in the bike for this event.

In the second $59,100 split, Time On My Hands (American Ideal-Bewitching Jewell) looks like the one to beat on the strength of her body of work. She’s a three-time NYSS winner and took her lifetime mark of 1:53.2 in a leg at Saratoga Raceway.

Her most recent outing was in the $109,050 Lady Maud at Yonkers where she got away last and was chasing a :56.2 closing half. She did finish fifth and paced home in a snappy :27.4 final quarter.

In 2016, Time On My Hands has four wins and $146,893 in assets. She is currently second in points and has qualified for the final as well.

Time On My Hands has drawn post one and will team with Ray Fisher Jr. for trainer Chris Ryder.

Wishy Washy Girl (Roll With Joe-Wish All You Want) cut blazing fractions in the EBC but paid the price in the end. She finished sixth, but it was not unexpected with a 1:21.3 three-quarters. Prior to that under more moderate rating, she has been a handy filly since entering the Brainard stable.

Although her lifetime mark is 1:54.1 at Pocono Downs, she just missed going wire to wire in 1:51.3 in the EBC elimination two starts back where she finished third by a half-length.

Wishy Washy Girl has won two races this year but neither were in Sire Stake action.

Jim Morrill Jr. picks up the lines for the fourth straight time behind Wishy Washy Girl as assigned by trainer Tracy Brainard and the pair will depart from post five listed at 7-2.

There are also two divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior Series A races on the card that will go postward at 6:15 p.m.

September 8, 2016 - 4:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, sports, RUS, racing under saddle, Batavia Downs, batavia.

(The race to the finish line in Batavia Down's first-ever "racing under saddle" contest Sept. 7.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Wednesday night (Sept. 7) was historic for Batavia Downs as the first ever racing under saddle (RUS) contest was held at the oldest lighted harness track in America. And the show put on by the competitors in the $4,000 RUS New York championship race had the fans on their feet and cheering.

Five horses went postward before My Friend Charlie (Andrea Pratt) went right for the lead as the race began. But shortly after getting away second, Funny Photo (Sophie Engerran) came early, pulled alongside the leader and immediately pushed the issue.

The two trotted side by side setting fractions of :30 and 1:00.3 to the half before Funny Photo made a break past the five-eighths pole. At that point My Friend Charlie was alone on top but Admirable Hanover (Vanessa Karlewicz), who inherited second after the break, was right on her tail. As the race moved off the last turn, Karlewicz pulled Admirable Hanover and drew alongside the leader. The pair trotted in step in a thrilling race to the wire before Admirable Hanover got a slight advantage and won by a neck in 2:03.4.

My Friend Charlie was second and Jeanie Marie closed sharply for third after an early race miscue in the non-betting event.

It was the third win in six starts under saddle for Admirable Hanover this year. This is the fourth year the 9-year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall has competed in RUS and the 2:03.4 clocking was a new lifetime mark under saddle for him. 

Admirable Hanover is owned by Peter Gerry and is trained by his rider, Vanessa Karlewicz.

“The crowd loved this race” said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing. “They were on their feet at the rail cheering as the two horses battled down the stretch. The girls put on a great show and we hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of RUS at Batavia Downs.”

Since this was the first-ever RUS event at Batavia Downs, the winning time of 2:03.4 is a new track record. 

September 8, 2016 - 4:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of All Charged Up and her trainer/driver John MacDonald.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Vernon Downs invaders All Charged Up and her trainer/driver John MacDonald have made Batavia Downs their second home now that they’ve won their second straight $10,000 fillies and mares Open pace on Wednesday night (Sept. 7).

MacDonald fired right to the front when the gate released the field and All Charged Up took complete control of the race. With the field in single file behind her and no one pulling the right line, MacDonald was on top grabbing both as he slowed the pace to 1:00.1 at the half. From there the race was over.

The Filly Princess (Kevin Cummings) eventually did come first over past the half and brought My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) with her in tow. They advanced towards the leader who had sped the third panel up to :28.1, but All Charged Up was steady and paced away in a :28 flat closing quarter to win by almost three lengths in 1:56.2.  

It was the tenth win of the year for All Charged Up ($4.30) and it padded her already stout bankroll to $79,144 for owner J P Stables.

Mark Whitcroft won three races on the card while Chris Lems and Truman Gale won two apiece. Trainer Sally Cartier also sent two horses to the winner’s enclosure.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 9) with the first post set for 6:15.

September 8, 2016 - 3:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, schools, education, sports.

Press release:

The Batavia City School District has always been committed to its girls’ athletic program. We are proud of our student athletic program and continuously work toward achieving equality across all sports. This is of paramount importance to the District.

The District has recently received the Court’s decision awarding attorneys’ fees (totaling $68,000) to the Empire Justice Center in the 2013 lawsuit concerning the girls’ softball fields. The District disagrees with, and is disappointed by, the award of attorneys’ fees to the Empire Justice Center. Most importantly, the lawsuit was simply unnecessary – and only served to waste taxpayers’ money.

The improvements to the girls’ softball field were already approved by the Board before the lawsuit was filed, and they were commenced immediately upon taxpayer approval of the funding. The changes would have been made regardless whether the lawsuit was filed. This was conveyed to the Empire Justice Center, but their attorneys chose to proceed with the lawsuit – and generating unnecessary legal fees for their organization – anyway.

In the end, the Empire Justice Center achieved almost nothing outside this award of fees. There were no substantial differences between the settlement and the capital improvement plans that the Board of Education proposed and approved at its February 2013 meeting for presentation to the voters in May 2013. In addition to routine maintenance, there was only one additional improvement requested in over and above the capital improvement project – the addition of a safety cap to the track and field fence that is adjacent to the no longer used JV softball field.

The District looks forward to continuing to provide a safe and nurturing environment to develop students with high moral character who are able to meet life’s challenges. 

September 8, 2016 - 3:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in sports.
Event Date and Time: 
September 8, 2016 -
6:17pm to 7:17pm

The Alabama Hunt Club will host a Fall Black Powder Shoot from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17-18.

The event is open to the public and features traditional black powder and inline muzzleloader matches.

There will be 25, 50, 75, 100 and 200 yard ranges available to compete; or it is a good time to sight in your hunting gun.

New for 2016 — INLINE MUZZLELOADER matches with or without a scope.

Lunch will be available.

The club is located at 1857 Lewiston Road, Basom.

September 8, 2016 - 2:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, sports, Announcements, Alabama, alabama gun club.
The Alabama Hunt Club will host a Fall Black Powder Shoot from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17-18.
 
The event is open to the public and features traditional black powder and inline muzzleloader matches.
 
There will be 25, 50, 75, 100 and 200 yard ranges available to compete; or it is a good time to sight in your hunting gun.
 
New for 2016 -- INLINE MUZZLELOADER matches with or without a scope.
 
Lunch will be available.
 
The club is located at 1857 Lewiston Road, Basom.
 
For additional info contact: John at 716-714-5514 or Sam at 585-297-7747.
September 7, 2016 - 12:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

With the county fair racing now wrapped up in the Empire State, the top point-getters from each age, gait and gender group will converge on Batavia Downs on tonight (Sept. 7) to compete in the eight $10,000 finals.

After racing was scheduled at 22 stops around New York from July 1 through Aug. 25, it has come down to 53 horses spread across eight finals on one night. Those events have been carded as races one through eight with the first post time set for 6:15 p.m.

Here is a list of the top point leaders from each group.

3-year-old pacing colts and geldings          Midnight Pass (Kenneth J-The Company Store)         362 points

3-year-old trotting colt and geldings           Steuben Bentley (Crazed-Be A Babe)                         333 points

3-year-old pacing fillies                              Sea’s Ideal (American Ideal-A B Sea)                          483 points       

3-year-old trotting fillies                              Linda’s Choice (Conway Hall-Howard’s Sister)            358 points       

2-year-old pacing colts and geldings         Sea Rocky Roll (Rock N Roll Heaven-A B Seascape)  311 points

2-year-old trotting colt and geldings           Steuben Surfs Up (Conway Hall-Pana Colada)            255 points

2-year-old pacing fillies                              Math Writer (Riverboat King-Mathamomics)                 383 points

2-year-old trotting fillies                              Too Cool To Fool (Conway Hall-Travelin Deal)             300 points

A complete list of county fair points broken down by category can be viewed by clicking on this link. (http://www.nysirestakes.com/backend/News/news_upload/county_fair_schedule__105.pdf )

September 7, 2016 - 12:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, Batavia Downs, racing under saddle, monte racing.

(Photo courtesy of RUS NY.)

Press release from RUS NY:

The race that so many have been working all summer for is finally here. Tonight (Sept. 7) at Batavia Downs, horses and riders will be competing to capture the title of champion of the New York Racing Under Saddle Fair Series. 

Racing under saddle (RUS), also known as Monte racing in Europe, is where trotters are raced with riders on their back rather than with a sulky behind them like you normally see at Batavia Downs. 

The RUS event is a non-wagering event that will be raced after race eight at about 8:50 p.m. This is the first time in the 70 history of Batavia Downs that racing under saddle will be conducted there. 

This marks the third year of the series, which included 12 races at nine fairs across the state and a race at Saratoga Raceway. Horses earned points during the series to determine final entries.

In order to be eligible for the final, horses needed to compete and finish in any two races. Fifteen horses participated in the series with nine qualifying to race in the final. This year’s field will consist of five horses:

Jeanie Marie: This is the first year Jeanie Marie has been used under saddle. The mare leads the group with 176 points. She has raced in five races, winning three. She was a close second to Funny Photo in Palmyra. Jeanie Marie’s worst finish was Tuesday in Saratoga where she placed eighth with a new rider. Jeanie Marie will be starting in post position four. She has mostly been ridden by Heather Reese and the two of them are a strong team.

Funny Photo: Funny Photo Is second in points with 145, but could be considered a favorite because he and rider Sophie Engerran have shown good speed on the big and small tracks. Funny Photo won a race at Vernon Downs in a time of 1:59.1. The duo has captured three wins on fair tracks, only losing one when they were placed down for not losing ground when making a break. Engerran started racing under saddle in France in 2004. She raced there for 10 years.

Funny Photo and Engerran were introduced last year when the horse was being trained by Andy Gardner at Vernon Downs. Engerran broke the dark chestnut to ride and had success on the track and decided to purchase him last November. According to Engerran, it was not planned to race at the fairs this year because Funny Photo is more comfortable on big tracks, but she said they gave it a try and the horse seems to enjoy it.

Admirable Hanover: Is not far behind in points (138), but shows to be more of a threat on the fair tracks. Batavia may pose as a challenge for the 9-year-old gelding and his rider Vanessa Karlewicz. The duo, who will be starting on the rail, has shown improvement as the season has moved forward so don’t totally count them out. They captured victories in both Morris and Bath and finished mid-pack on the bigger Saratoga track. This marks Karlewicz’s second season with Admirable Hanover and her first year participating in RUS on a regular basis. The rider said she mostly used Admirable Hanover in the amateur driving series last year.

“He's a pretty handy horse on the fair tracks and I've been happy to have three wins with him this year,” she said.

My Friend Charlie: Will be defending his title. This 5-year-old gelding and his rider, Andrea Pratt, were named the winners of last year’s fair final in Monticello. This duo has raced on three fair tracks this year, earning two seconds and a fourth. In July, Pratt rode My Friend Charlie to a second-place finish at Vernon Downs in a time of 2:02.1. The pair has a total of 59 points and placed sixth in the final race of the series in Saratoga. My Friend Charlie seems to like the bigger tracks better so having the final at a larger track may give this team an added edge. They will be starting in post position two.

Kash Now: Is the longest shot on the board, so to speak, as there is no betting on RUS. This is the only horse that no longer races in harness. She was ridden by Michelle Miller in the first fair series where the two of them learned to race under saddle together. The duo didn’t make a comeback until mid-season in Morris as Miller was using another horse. The 12-year-old mare had not raced in almost two years, but was used to ride and keep Miller in shape. Kash Now has always struggled to finish strong, but has been getting stronger each outing. This duo will be starting in post position three and really have their work cut out for them. Kash Now and Miller have earned 50 points in four races.

All participants will earn $800 for earning their way into the championship race. Batavia Downs is contributing $1,000 toward the final purse and the rest of the money comes from RUS NY sponsors and fundraising. The New York Sire Stakes is the series’ flagship sponsor and generously donates $5,000 as initial purse money. 

The winner will also receive a championship saddle pad donated by Everett Hopper of Advantage Edge Equine-Pro and a halter and lead line gifted by Divine Equine Custom Equipment.

A High Point Rider Award will once again be presented at the final to the rider who has earned the most points, regardless of horse(s) ridden throughout the series. To be eligible for the award riders must participate in at least three races.

Post time for the complete card of harness racing is 6:15 p.m.

September 7, 2016 - 12:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, bike race.
 
(Photos courtesy of Paul White. Above, in front, is Drivers' Bike Race winner for 2016 -- Mickey Holliday.)
 
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
 
During the Monday afternoon (Sept. 5) Labor Day card of racing at Batavia Downs, the highly anticipated annual Drivers' Bike Race was held and for the third time in four years, Mickey Holliday was the winner and he did it in convincing fashion despite the high-80s temperatures that had everyone looking for shade.
 
A full field of eight drivers went postward, with their wheels front and back instead of left and right, on brand new cruising bikes to compete for bragging rights for the coming year. Patrick Galbraith, Rock Vinci, JD Perrin, Jimmy McNeight Jr., Mickey Holliday, Lee Dahn, Denny Buccerri and Drew Monti lined up behind the gate and when track announcer Joe Zambito said "GO!" at the top of the far turn, the gate pulled away and it was a mad rush for the wire. 
 
While Drew Monti and Jim McNeight Jr. both got away bad off the gate, the middle of the pack peddled fairly even until they straightened out at the head of the stretch and Perrin opened up a three length lead. Holliday got in gear and eventually drew even with Perrin, then the two separated themselves from the field by at least 15 lengths. They battled it out until about 50 feet from the wire when Holliday simply out-legged Perrin to win by an open length.
 
After the race Mickey Holliday summed up the experience by saying "(drawing breaths)...I'm tired!." Holliday then drew eight winners at random from the crowd of 3,000 fans who attended the afternoon's festivities and they were awarded the eight bikes used in the race. 
 
The annual bike race has been a part of the Batavia Downs Labor Day matinee since 1979 and was sponsored by Craze Cheap Cars, of Oakfield.
September 5, 2016 - 12:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Driver Marcus Miller with Pointomygranson.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings went postward at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 3) to compete for their share of the $110,000 purses up for grabs and one of the winners made track history.

Pointomygranson (American Ideal-Sangaal) went to the front and took a lead he would never relinquish en route to a five-length victory in 1:53.2 in his $55,500 division. That time was a new track record for 2-year-old pacing geldings.

Marcus Miller rushed Pointomygranson off the gate and set unchallenged fractional times of :28.2 and :58. At that point, Jim Morrill Jr. had the heavily favored Funknwaffles rolling up on the outside trying to catch the leader. But when Miller saw him coming past five-eighths, he asked his horse for more and then hung on as Pointomygranson accelerated.

Pointomygranson would not let the challenger get anywhere close to him up the backside and when they hit the stretch, he was pulling away with every stride and Miller was sitting chilly behind him. He paced his last quarter in :27 flat under wraps.

“He was real strong in the race, I couldn’t have been happier with him” said Marcus Miller. “It was the first time I drove him but they told me he would be good tonight and he was!”

It was the second NYSS win of the year for Pointomygranson ($7.00) and it pushed his earnings to $63,229 for owner Gold Standard Equine, LLC. The winner is trained by Chris Ryder.

(Driver Drew Monti with Americanfirewater.)

It was bombs away in the first $55,500 split when 30-1 Americanfirewater (American Ideal-Lucky Turn) pulled a major upset.

1-4 favorite Miso Fast (Jim Morrill Jr.) had things his own way on the front end with the field in single-file behind him, cutting even fractions of :28.2, :58.1 and 1:27.3. But just when things were looking anticlimactic, Drew Monti pulled Americanfirewater from the three hole and shot up alongside the leader in quick fashion.

Miso Fast and Americanfirewater then tore around the far turn, matching strides as they went. At the top of the lane it was anyone’s race and after both colts were driven hard to the wire, Americanfirewater wanted it more and won by a length in 1:56.2, which was a new lifetime mark.

“When he came out of the hole, I knew he had a real shot. He was super aggressive today and you could tell right away” said Drew Monti.

It was the first lifetime win for Americanfirewater ($62.50) and the winner’s share boosted his annual income to $54,739 for owner Rock & Roll Stable, Inc. Americanfirewater is trained by Rick Dane Jr.

There were also two $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card.

In the first division, Rollin About (Roll With Joe-Flitabout) was a wire to wire winner for driver Marcus Miller in 1:56.4 for owners Anthony Lombardi, D Van Witzenburg and George Golemes. The winner paid $8.20.

The second division went to Percy’s Z Tam and Pat Lachance in 1:56.2 on the strength of a three-wide move at three-quarters. Percy’s Z Tam ($9.70) is owned by Z Tam Stable, LLC, M & M Harness Racing, LLC, Royal Flush Stable, LLC, and Pat LaChance, who also trains him.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs this afternoon (Sept. 5) with a special Labor Day matinee card featuring the annual Drivers' Bike Race, which will be held after the seventh race. 

September 4, 2016 - 8:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, Notre Dame, football, sports.

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The Alexander Trojans beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a Saturday night game played in Warsaw (because of renovations to Alexander's field) 45-15.

The Trojans scored all of their points in the first half and the Irish scored theirs in the second.

P.J. Brennan was 10 of 16 passing for 198 yards and three TDs and zero interceptions for Alexander. Derrick Busch caught three balls for 75 yards and two TDs. Dane Heberlein rushed for 61 yards on 11 carries and scored twice. Job Smith had 12 yards on three carries and scored. He also had two receptions for 26 yards and scored on a nine-yard TD pass. Chris McClinic caught two passes for 54 yards.

On defense, Eric Scharlau had three sacks and Zach Jasen had a sack and two tackles.

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To purchase prints, click here.

September 3, 2016 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, football, sports.

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Le Roy fell 60-32 to Bath in its season opener in Bath.

Photos by David Boyce. For more photos from the game, click here.

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September 3, 2016 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, news, batavia, Batavia HS.

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The Batavia Blue Devils, 2016 edition, quietly took apart Greece Olympia/Odyssey on Woodward Field on Friday night to the point that the Spartans seems to have lost their fight by the third quarter.

It's as if the team that has won two consecutive Section V titles hasn't missed a beat. In fact, the win was the 20th straight for the program against a Section V opponent.

The final score was 39-0.

"I'm very pleased because going into the game I wasn't sure what we had," said Head Coach Brennan Briggs. "I wasn't sure how we would respond to things and how we were going to go when we got hit in the mouth. But these guys came out and proved that they bought in and they’re a tough group of kids and we’ve got some playmakers out there. I’m very excited for what they can do from here."

This edition slots Jerry Reinhart and QB1 and, Ray Leach and Codie Dioguardi in the backfield, Chandler Baker, Andrew Mruczek and Eric Davis at wideouts and a defense that includes Baker, Mruczek, Taiyo Iburi-Bethel, Anthony Ray and Jzon Richardson.

Those are not names that popped up in many headlines over the past two championship seasons, but they're all players poised to make an impact, if one game is any indication, in 2016.

Reinhart certainly has a lot of confidence in his teammates.

"Everybody asked me, they all asked me, 'how are you guys going to be this year?' and I was like, 'come to the first game and find out,' " Reinhart said. "I was very positive about our team. In the off-season, I thought we were going do great."

Briggs is impressed with the quiet leadership Reinhart has brought to the team, replacing Andrew Mruczek's older brother, Greg, at quarterback.

"Greg was more rah-rah and everything and great about it," Briggs said. "Jerry is more reserved, but he goes out there and gets the job done. He's a leader. He's a great leader. You saw, he made some big plays. He's not afraid to tuck it and run and he kept us together. I'm proud of him. He did a great job."

Friday was also a chance for Andrew to move out from under the shadow of his older brother, and in a big way, and significantly with a key interception in the first quarter.

"I think the biggest turning point in that game was Andrew Mruczek's interception," Briggs said. "They had a drive going, I think 10-plus plays, and we always say a nine-plus play drive is devastating for a defense and we were starting to feel it and all the sudden, number 21 comes in and makes a huge play for us. I’m happy for him because he’s been a trooper and he’s been working his butt off and he’s just silently been doing it."

Mruczek exemplifies the quiet confidence that characterizes the team.

"I think people are going to realize, Batavia football is here to stay and we're going to keep working hard every day," Mruczek said.

The offense was good, the defense was good, but special teams really stepped it up Friday night.

Richardson, a linebacker on defense, handles kickoffs, extra points and field goals. On kickoffs Friday, he consistently put the ball past the 10-yard line, and with defenders hustling down the field, the Spartans were routinely starting drives with their backs to the wall.

"That is so big for our team," Briggs said. "From the standpoint of having just great energy and momentum, they did a fantastic job for us and special teams cannot be overlooked because field position is huge in football games."

Briggs praised the work of special teams coach Ben Buchholz in motivating the players and getting each to do their part to plug holes and cut lanes, and John Garlock has been applying those lessons well, Briggs said.

"Johnny Garlock has been doing it for us for three years and he goes down like a missile," Briggs said. "He’s long snapper on punts and the first guy down there and on kickoff coverage, he makes the plays."

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To purchase prints, click here.

September 3, 2016 - 11:49am

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Attica Blue Devils came out strong the first few minutes of the first quarter, leading 20-0 on a couple touchdowns by senior running back Hunter McCulloch, who added 117 yards on 11 carries.

Pembroke failed to convert turning the ball over on an interception and fumbles early in the first half. Attica led the half 20-0.

In the second half, Attica continued to move through Pembroke's defense led by senior quarterback Kyle Casey, who added points in the air and ground to seniors Cody D'Arconte and tight end Dawson Nelson, winning the game 40-0. 

Attica moves to 1-0 and their next game is home Friday night vs. Alexander at 7 p.m.

Pembroke drops to 0-1 and plays next Saturday 7 p.m. vs. Oakfield / Elba in Oakfield.

For more photos and to purchase go to: Steve Ognibene Photography

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To purchase prints, click here.

September 3, 2016 - 11:31am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Winky’s Pride (#4) and driver Drew Monti.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Drew Monti put on a driving clinic at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 2) winning five races on the card that included both top trots of the week. 

In the featured $10,000 Open for the diagonal gaited, Winky’s Pride ($14.20) went gate to wire in unfettered style. After leaving from post four, Winky’s Pride was perfectly rated through fractions of :28.2, :58.2 and 1:28.2 when J A T O (Mike Caprio) sidled her at three-quarters. Monti glanced back and popped the plugs right after and the chestnut mare new to turn it up.

After they circled the turn and headed down the lane, J A T O continued his assault from the outside and Studio City (Dave McNeight III) shot through the passing lane in pursuit as well. But Winky’s Pride would not relent and under mild urging, held off all challengers to the wire and won by a long neck in 1:57.4. Studio City was second and J A T O was third.

It was the fifth win of the year for Winky’s Pride and the second consecutive week she beat the boys in the feature. With the winner’s share of the purse, her earnings rose to $46,039 in 2016 for owner-trainer Robert Hummel.

In the co-featured $8,500 Open II trot, Monti scored with El Diablo Hall ($12.20) in his first local start after a private purchase. El Diablo Hall sat second behind BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) for the entire mile, before finding room in the passing lane. From there, he powered up the pylons to a half-length victory in 1:57.4.

El Diablo Hall is owned by James Caradori and is trained by Darrin Monti.

Rounding out Monti’s five winners were Chelsea’s Chance ($8.70), Tenor Duharas ($4.20) and Warhorse ($5.00). His UDR for the night was .593.

There were other outstanding performances by several horsemen on Friday night as well. John Cummings Jr.'s Batavia homecoming saw him win three races during the night as did trainer Darrin Monti. And Kevin Cummings hit the winner’s circle twice along with trainer Mike Carrubba.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 3) with two main events. The New York Sires Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings rolls into town along with the $7.4 million dollar horse, Foiled Again, who will compete in the overnight featured $10,000 Open pace. Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

September 2, 2016 - 2:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

(Above photo of Foiled Again, who has won more than $7.4 million and is the richest standardbred ever of either gaitcourtesy of Ken Weingartner.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Foiled Again, who has won more than $7.4 million and is the richest standardbred ever of either gait, will be at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 3) to compete in the weekly featured $10,000 Open Handicap pace.

Batavia Downs has hosted the elite of the sport over the 70 years it has been in existence including Proximity, Good Time, Bret Hanover, Albatross and Niatross. Foiled Again is in the same league as all those legends but has also surpassed every trotter or pacer that has ever competed in the sport for earnings.

Foiled Again has won countless stakes and has been race-timed in 1:47.1. He has 88 wins, 61 seconds and 40 thirds in 263 lifetime starts and has earned $7,407,758 in purses. The United States Harness Writers Association named him Pacer of the Year in 2011, best older male pacer in three consecutive seasons (2011-2013) and he also was a two-time O'Brien Award winner as top older pacing horse in Canada (2011 and 2013).

Foiled Again has competed at Batavia Downs twice before in his career, both times in the tracks signature race, the Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace. And Foiled Again won both times: in 2009 timed in 1:52.3 with Matt Kakaley driving and in 2013 timed in 1:52 with Brett Miller aboard.

The all-time track record at Batavia Downs is 1:51.1 and that was set by Aracache Hanover in 2011. Given the great weather forecast and how the new racing surface has been setting up, there is a legitimate chance that standard could be in jeopardy.

Saturday night’s card also features two divisions of the $111,000 New York Sires Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings that will feature the best freshman male pacers in the state.

Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

(Inset photo of Foiled Again courtesy of Batavia Downs.)

September 2, 2016 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, bike race, Batavia Downs.

(Pictured is Mickey Holliday winning the 2015 drivers' bike race at Batavia Downs.)                      

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A tradition that started in 1979 continues on Monday (Sept. 5) during the Labor Day matinee extravaganza at Batavia Downs and that is, the annual drivers' bike race. This “friendly” competition between the horsemen features eight local drivers who will line up at the quarter pole and make their way around the far turn and head for the wire.

Last year’s winner was Mickey Holliday who won with a strong stretch drive. Holliday will be back to defend his title against some new faces as well as some cagey veterans. But the best part is the fans get to win the actual brand new bikes used in the race.

You must sign-up in the Paddock Room between noon and 2:45 p.m to be eligible. Each patron can put their entry in one of eight boxes; each coinciding with a driver in the race. Then from the winning driver’s box, eight winners will be randomly drawn and each will be given one of the bikes the drivers used. The bike race will be held after the seventh harness race and the drawing for the bikes after the bike race has been declared official.

There is no purchase necessary but you must be at least 18 years old to enter and you mist be present to win.

The bike race is sponsored by Crazy Cheap Cars, of Oakfield,

Click this link for a video of last year’s race. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l_rbJ9yhR4 )

Here is the line-up of drivers competing in the 2016 Invitational:

Post -Driver                        

1 -- Patrick Galbraith            

2 -- Rock Vinci                       

3 -- JD Perrin                         

4 -- Jimmy McNeight Jr.       

5 -- Mickey Holliday           

6 -- Brad Jackson                 

7 -- Denny Bucceri               

8 -- Drew Monti             

Also featured on the Labor Day card are $1 Sahlen’s hot dogs, draft beer and soda on the track apron from noon to 4 p.m. And in the Clubhouse from noon-3:30 p.m. you can enjoy a $10.95 chicken bar-b-que provided by the Center Street Smoke House, of Batavia. And with each dinner you buy you will receive $10 worth of free play on the gaming floor, so it’s almost like eating for free!        

And of course there are 13 live harness races scheduled to start at 1:15 p.m. 

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