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December 30, 2017 - 12:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, pembroke.


Pembroke pulled out a narrow win Friday night in overtime over Charter School for Applied Technologies in boys basketball.

The final, 66-64.

Jamil Marable scored 22 points for the Dragons. Ethan Stone, 16, Lucas Kohurst, 11, and Reid Miano, 9.

Top scorer for CSAT was Devin Ashley with 21 points.

Photos by Destin Danser.

For more photos and to purchase prints, click here.




December 29, 2017 - 10:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, basketball, sports.


Members of the basketball program with the Pembroke Youth Association showed "horns up" for UB men's basketball at Alumni Arena in Buffalo on Thursday night.

The kids got a chance to see a great Division I basketball game (the Bulls beat NJIT 86-81 in overtime) as a group outing.

(I attended the game and when one of the girls with the group won "Fan of the Game" during the second half, I noticed the Pembroke jersey and decided to get a picture of the group at the game. The kids were clearly having a blast.)

December 29, 2017 - 9:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, sports, basketball, byron, bergen.


The Byron-Bergen Lady Bees beat Greece Odyssey on Thursday night to capture, for the second year in a row, the Sports Boosters Tournament championship.

The Bees came back from a 29-23 half-time deficit to win 56-48.  

After starting the season with three losses, Byron-Bergen has won five in a row.

On Thursday, Juliana Amesbury had 19 points, Kelsey Fuller 14 and Miriam Tardy with 12. Odyssey Shyasia McCullough had 16 points.

Byron-Bergen's Kelsey Fuller was named tournament MVP. The rest of the all-tournament team is Lydia Borrelli from Le Roy, Shyasia McCullough and Abby Wilson from Odyssey and Juliana Amesbury.

Information submitted by Kathryn Krzewinski. Photos by Tammy Fuller.








December 28, 2017 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in softball, sports, batavia, Batavia HS.


Members of the Batavia High School softball team, along with parents and coaches and parents, were at the basketball tournament on Wednesday night selling snacks and drinks.

The concession booth is a fundraiser to help the team pay for a trip to a softball camp in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in March. The camp will allow the team to start practices and see game action, helping them prepare for the season, while most of the team's spring competition is still stuck in frigid WNY.

December 28, 2017 - 10:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, batavia, elba, Notre Dame, Lions Tournament.


Notre Dame and Batavia will meet in the finals of The Peter Arras GCC Basketball Tournament at Genesee Community College on Friday after both teams won opening round games of the annual tournament organized by the Batavia Lions Club.

Notre Dame beat Elba 77-66 and Batavia beat Albion 84-58.

In the first game, Notre Dame and Elba traded leads throughout the first three quarters, but the Irish pulled away by scoring 30 points in the fourth quarter even as Elba scored 24.  

Ryan Moffat scored 26 points for the Irish, hitting five three-point buckets. Nico Zambito scored 17 points. Spencer Miskiti and Brendin Klotzbach each scored eight.

For Elba, Jonathan Boyce scored 20, Collin O'Halloran scored 16, Colton Dillon, 14, and Ben Pflaumer, 13.

In the nightcap, Mason McFollins scored 31 points, hitting seven three-pointers, while Ray Mlodozeniec scored 13, Trevor Zewan, 12, and Jonathan Liciaga, 8.

For Albion, Liam Ward scored 20, hitting four three-point shots and Bryce Pritchard scored 17, hitting five three-point shots.

Elba and Albion will play the consolation game at 6:30 p.m. Friday, and Batavia and Notre Dame tip off at 8 p.m. Both games are played at GCC.








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December 27, 2017 - 5:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, Le Roy, byron-bergen, bergen, byron.


Byron-Bergen's Lady Bees beat Le Roy in a girls basketball game Tuesday night at Byron-Bergen, 58-34.

The two teams were tied at the half, but the Bees outscored the Knights in the third and fourth quarter, 21-11 and 16-2.

For Byron-Bergen, Kelsey Fuller scored 16 points, Miriam Tardy, 14, Juliana Amesburg, 12, and Emily Kaczmarek, 8.

For Le Roy, Erin Cappotelli had 12 points, Bryn Luckey, 7, and Ava Horgan, 6.







December 23, 2017 - 11:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, elba.

Perry beat Elba 62-45 in boys basketball Friday night.

For the Yellowjackets, Tyler Cowie scored 31 points. Micheal Hockey added 12 and Austin Croll, 10.

For the Lancers Jonathan Boyce scored 12 and Ben Pflaumer scored 10.

Both Hockey and Pflaumer hit a trio of three-point shots.

December 21, 2017 - 8:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, basketball.

Le Roy came back from 14 points down at the half to beat rival Cal-Mum in boys basketball 56-55.

Luke Stella was fouled on a three-pointer as time expired and made two free throws to secure the win.


Canyon Roster scored 16 points, T.Y. Williams, 10, Stella, 9. Reece Tresco hit two three-pointers.

December 21, 2017 - 8:11am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.


If you happen to care about the future of the sport of bowling, you will be thrilled to read about the accomplishments of youth bowlers in our area and across the state.

Starting close to home, 18-year-old Naomi Hyde of Le Roy (she’ll be 19 on Dec. 30) recorded the highest USBC-certified three-game series in the history of Legion Lanes in Le Roy on Dec. 11 when she rolled a 730 set while substituting in the Monday Ladies Jackpot League.

The right-hander’s games were 258-273-199. The three-game total eclipses the 709 registered by longtime LeRoyan Chris Vescovi in 2002.

Naomi (in photo above) wasn’t sure of the sequence of strikes, but said she got a bit nervous in the second game “because I was hoping to bowl a 280 game.”

She came close with the 273 – which topped her previous high game of 269.

“I lost the line a bit in the third game,” she said, “as I had to adjust as the lanes weren’t as oily.”

After a slow start to the game, she regrouped at the end to post the 199, earning well-deserved applause from her father, Mickey, an avid bowler who came to the lanes to watch.

Naomi said that Vescovi, who bowls in the league, and the other ladies were quick to congratulate her.

She was bowling on a team with Charlene Price and Betty Sue Pelton. She said she is averaging 161 in a Sunday mixed league -- bowling with her dad -- and 195 for 12 games on the Monday league.

Naomi said she bowled in the Legion Lanes youth program since she was 5 years old. After graduating from high school, she is working a couple part-time jobs and said she will be attending Monroe Community College next month.

Her sister, Samantha, continues to bowl in the Le Roy youth league as well as the Genesee Region Youth Travel League.

Hilton Girl Sets Record with 831 Series

While Naomi was making headlines in the Genesee Region, Hilton freshman Elena Carr is in the national spotlight after a high school-record setting 831 series – also on Dec. 11 – in a Monroe County League match against Penfield at AMF Terrace Garden Lanes in Rochester.

Elena, 14, rolled 265-300-266, breaking the previous mark set of 826 by Kristina Frahm of Illinois in January 2007. She has been bowling for 10 years and has been on the Hilton varsity team since seventh grade and also bowls on a travel team on weekends.

By the way, her brother Brad, 16, who also is on the Hilton bowling team, rolled his first 300 game in a sanctioned morning league in September.

Continuing with the young high rollers theme, 14-year-old freshman Zachary Bogholtz of Nassau (Albany USBC) posted his fourth 300 game and first 800 series recently.

The freshman member of the Columbia High School bowling team recently registered his third perfect game of the year and first 800 series – 300-279-234—813.

It sure is encouraging to see that young people are embracing the sport and excelling at it as well. Hopefully, more adult bowlers – parents and coaches – will make it a priority to volunteer their time to helping these kids improve and to give back to a sport that has given them so much over the years.


The Rose Garden I team of Bergen rolled past Batavia Fire & Ice, 18.5 to .5, last Sunday at Legion Lanes in Le Roy to expand its lead over Batavia Strike Force to 7.5 points after six of 14 sessions of the Genesee Region Youth Travel League.

Devon Zinter, Madelynn Pimm and Michael Sardou all bowled over their averages, with Zinter (141 average) shooting 501, Pimm (124 average) rolling 461 and Sardou (126 average) posting 398.

High scores for the week:

Boys – Matt Hurlburt 223—651, Skylar Laesser 232—597, James Townsend 587, Ben Lennox 221.

Girls – Paige Snook 185—517, Samantha Hyde 179—486, Logan Cadieux 168—480.

The league bowls again on Dec. 31 at Mancuso Bowling Center.


The Beat the Champ show from Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia featuring Batavians Rich Wagner and Rob Stefani and Brockport’s Chris Bardol is up next on WBBZ-TV (MeTV), airing this Saturday at 4 p.m. and repeated on Sunday at 11 p.m.

The reigning "champ," two-hander Dana Voytovich of Cheektowaga, puts his five-match winning streak on the line, facing left-hander Wagner in the first match. The winner will take on Bardol in the second match, with the winner advancing to meet Stefani in the show’s final match.

Mike Pettinella, bowling writer for The Batavian, joins hosts Paul Peck and Sue Nawojski for commentary on this weekend's show.

On Dec. 30-31, eight members of the Turnbull Heating Junior League at Mancuso Bowling Center will be featured on the show.

The competition was taped on Nov. 29.


Cousins Paul Spiotta and Fred Gravanda of Batavia manufactured a couple “firsts” last Sunday in the 60-and-Over Tour tournament at Bowl-A-Roll Lanes in Rochester.

Spiotta, bowling in his second event since turning 60, rolled the Tour’s first 800 series in the qualifying round – 279-267-256—802 – and Gravanda, a regular member of the Tour, captured his first victory by defeating John Feola of Rochester and Ken Ball of Avon in the finals.

After his big series, Spiotta posted a 207 game in the 12-man semifinals, but it wasn’t quite good enough to advance (as half the field moves on).

Gravanda, however, who qualified with a 664 series for having the best score in the 65-69 age group, went on to bowl 268 and 246 to reach the three-man final round.

In the finals, Gravanda posted 211, edging Feola by seven pins and defeating Ball by 33 pins. Prior to Sunday’s tournament, Gravanda had several runner-up finishes.

Bob Hodgson of Medina (791) and Joe Trigilio of Attica (705) also qualified for the semifinals but lost in the first and second round, respectively, with Trigilio officially placing fourth.


Defending champion Scott Culp of Lima is in fine form as the 64th Genesee Region USBC Scratch Memorial Tournament nears. The singles event is set for Jan. 6-7 at Letchworth Pines in Portageville.

Culp, who won last year’s tournament at Medina Lanes, is averaging better than 240 in the Wednesday Night JCI League at Livingston Lanes in Geneseo, with a 300 game and a pair of 800 series (805 and 837) to his credit.

The Scratch Memorial offers a $1,000 top prize, based on 80 entries, and the entry fee is $55. Qualifying squads are noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 6 and 10 a.m. on Jan. 7, with one in five bowlers from each squad advancing to the semifinals.

The tournament features two oil patterns – the 39-foot Kegel “Middle Road” during qualifying and the 45-foot Kegel “Route 66” during the semifinals and finals.

To enter, call Mike Pettinella at 585-861-0404 or send an email to [email protected].


To all my Pin Points readers and to all in the Genesee Region, have a blessed and Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa -- and a Happy New Year. And to all my Jewish readers, I hope you had a wonderful Hanukkah (which ended on Wednesday).

The next column will be posted on Jan. 4.


COKE VS. PEPSI: Members of the StrikeForce Academy team in the North Pole League at Mancuso Bowling Center had some fun with team captain Tom Fluker, center, who also is a longtime Pepsi employee. Members of the team, which rolled a 1,201 scratch game recently in the league, are, from left, Tom Baker, Nate Wright, Fluker, Jerry Harding and Eric Kraus.

December 20, 2017 - 12:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The 2017 Batavia Downs summer-fall meet that ended on Saturday (Dec. 16) left track management feeling good after setting records for total betting and purse money paid out during the year.

The track’s export signal drew an increased handle of 15.9% over 2016 and total betting was up 8.1% (over $600,000) with 17 less races than last year. That produced $8.2 million dollars wagered on the live harness racing product, which was the most ever handled at Batavia Downs during a meet since Western Regional OTB purchased and reopened the track in 2002. 

The Downs also set a record handle in their Pick-5 wager when the pool reached $25,312 as a result of being part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Program on Wednesday (Nov. 22).   

Total purses paid out including New York Sire Stakes were $6,072,800, the first time ever the track distributed in excess of $6 million in purse money.

The 2017 meet was also the first time Batavia Downs adopted a new 5 p.m. post time on Wednesdays and that seemed to contribute to the better numbers witnessed from the off-track outlets as handle was up 25 percent from the export signal midweek. It was also a big reason the track eclipsed the $8 million mark in total handle.

A quality product on the track drove those numbers along with a closely contested driver’s race that saw three reinsmen with a shot at the title all year.

When the dust had cleared, Larry Stalbaum won his first ever Batavia Downs driving title with 134 wins. Second was Ray Fisher Jr. with 124 and just one back in third was Drew Monti with 123.

On the conditioner side, Kim Asher also won her first Batavia Downs training title in a romp with 94 wins, 52 ahead of JD Perrin who was second with 42. Maria Rice was third with 40 victories.

Post one won 201 out of the 808 races run followed by post four with 135 and post three with 123.

Favorites won 45 percent of the time during the course of the meet.

“When the lights went down for the last time this year and we looked at the numbers, we were very happy with the results we saw” said Todd Haight, director/general manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs.

“We had great action on the track with competitive, bettable races and the money wagered through the windows shows our customers felt the same way.”

Upon approval of the New York State Gaming Commission, live racing will resume at Batavia Downs on Monday, July 23.

December 19, 2017 - 11:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in hockey, sports, news, batavia.


Members of the Genesee Amateur Hockey Beginners celebrated Christmas during practice at Falleti Ice Arena on Monday night with a visit from Santa Claus, who led the 3- to 9-year-old hockey players on a skate around the rink. There are 75 players participating this year.





December 18, 2017 - 4:44pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, sports.

Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion has produced a bunch of perfect games and 800 series over the past few seasons, thanks to a commitment to reinvest into the lanes by proprietor Randy Hanks.

On Dec. 11, Hanks joined in on the fun by posting a 300 game in the Sneezy's Monday Night League en route to a 753 series, which was second to Curtis Foss; 760 for the night.

Hanks, a 51-year-old right-hander, used a Roto-Grip Uproar for games of 211-242-300. He now has three USBC-certified 300 games -- two at Bowl-A-Roll Lanes in Rochester and one at Oak Orchard Bowl, a center he has owned since 2006.

At Scopano's Lanes in Oakfield, righty Steve O'Dell stayed hot with a 300 game to cap a 778 effort in the County Line Stone League.

O'Dell, who had his eighth perfect game and 816 series in November, recorded 212-266-300, rolling the final 22 strikes with an IQ Tour Pro ball. He also had a 299 game recently in a league at Clarence Bowling Academy.

For all of the week's high scores, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of the page.

Watch for more local bowling news on Thursday in Mike Pettinella's Pin Points column.

December 18, 2017 - 3:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in charity, pembroke, news, sports, girls basketball.

Submitted photo and press release:

During the last six seasons, the Pembroke High School Girls’ Basketball Team has focused on winning—not just league games, but the battle against breast cancer. It’s a cause that is personal to the team and their school district because of the number of faculty and community members who have been affected by the disease.

Yet according to Senior Captain, Olivia Kohorst, this year’s fundraiser -- 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, Pembroke vs. Oakfield-Alabama (at Pembroke) -- is particularly important as it marks the final season she will be able to play in the event.

“I was only in sixth grade when the first varsity team came up with the idea to host the first Shooting For A Cure! game in support of Toni Funke’s battle with breast cancer,” said senior Olivia Kohorst.

The team spent that inaugural season seeking support from the community and local businesses in hopes of funding research efforts at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in honor of Mrs. Funke.

“I remember being on the PYA team at the time with my friends. A lot of us went to that first game and I remember wearing pink and that the gym was really crowded! As a young kid, to see our community come together the way they did in support of Mrs. Funke made a lasting impression on me. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of that, part of something bigger than just me playing basketball with my friends,” Kohorst said.

“This fundraiser means more to our team every season.  It gives us an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and it gives us greater purpose not only as student-athletes but as people. Cancer affects us all, my family included, and to be a part of a team that supports those fighting means more to me than I can express in words..

"Being a part of Shooting For A Cure! has affected me in such a positive way. Playing in this game was the highlight of each season I played basketball at Pembroke and I look forward to still being involved after I graduate.”

The 2017-2018 Shooting For A Cure! donors list numbers more than 70 merchants and individuals including ADPRO Sports, AdWorks, Batavia Country Club, Batavia’s Original Pizzeria, the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bandits, Buffalo Bisons, Courage of Carly Foundation, Chef’s, Dave & Adam’s Card World, DuPont, Insty-Prints, M&T Bank, Original Pizza Logs, Pembroke Youth Association, Terry Hills, Yancey’s Fancy and the YMCA to name a few.

Many of the product donations will become game night auction baskets and raffle prizes. Monies will also be raised from apparel sales and food sales with the generous support of local pizzerias and vending companies. Additionally, the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation has revamped their online platform and developed a Team Roswell site.

Direct online donations are now being accepted in support of Shooting For A Cure! at:

The team hopes Shooting For A Cure! will continue its tradition of topping the previous years’ fundraising total.

“All of the money raised that evening goes directly to support cancer research at Roswell Park,” sophomore Mackenna Johnson said. “Playing basketball for Pembroke is not just about trying to win games, it’s about giving back to the community and showing our support for those in need.

"My oldest sister Breanna and her teammates started Shooting For A Cure! back in 2011 in support of Mrs. Funke, and what they started has become one of the largest Team Roswell fundraising events. Last season, we raised over $20,000 in one night, it was amazing! Our community is so supportive and we truly can’t thank all of the volunteers and donors enough for all that they do to support this game."

Roswell Park has officially sanctioned Shooting For A Cure! as a Team Cure fundraiser and as a valuable example of the way that young people can make a difference. “We continue to be impressed by the Pembroke Girls’ Basketball Team each and every season. They push themselves, not only on the court, but off the court as well, going above and beyond for the benefit of others.

It’s inspirational to have a group of teens who are so passionate about raising funds for cancer research at Roswell Park.These girls continue to demonstrate an incredible amount of compassion,” said Alex Hoaglund, Team Roswell special events coordinator. “This team is special and their community is remarkable.

"Although the players may change each season, Shooting For A Cure! has remained constant, with the girls leading the charge for six consecutive seasons. To think that they’ve has raised over $60,000 in six seasons with this game is a testament to the benevolence of the entire Pembroke community as well as this special team.”

For more information go to:  Facebook,



                                              Team Roswell,

ABOUT PEMBROKE HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS’ VARSITY BASKETBALL TEAM: The Pembroke High School Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team is comprised of nine outstanding girls, ages 14 to 17. Their 2017-2018 captains are Olivia Kohorst, Sam Ianni, Mackenna Johnson, Mackenzie Jurek and Casey Wurtz. They are coached by Ron Funke. Team colors are green and black and their nickname is Dragons. The team began Shooting For A Cure! as an annual event in 2011, and they are committed to the hard work and dedication it will take to win the battle against breast cancer.

ABOUT ROSWELL PARK CANCER INSTITUTE: RPCI is among the first and only upstate New York facility to hold the National Cancer Institute designation of "comprehensive cancer center" and to serve as a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Many RPCI faculty serve on the NCCN panels that create the Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™ — the internationally recognized standards for clinical policy in oncology, and the most comprehensive, most frequently updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine.

The RCPI campus spans 25 acres in downtown Buffalo and consists of 15 buildings with about 1.6 million square feet of space. A new hospital building, completed in 1998, houses a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment center. In addition, the Institute built a new medical research complex and renovated existing education and research space to support its future growth and expansion.

December 18, 2017 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, basketball.

Le Roy suffered its first loss of the boys basketball season, falling to Avon 49-47. 

For Le Roy, Reece Tresco 15 points and 14 rebounds, Cole Biggins 12 points and 4 assists,  andT.Y. Williams 11 points.

Connor Taylor scored 22 points, had five rebounds and six steals for Avon and Aaron Ghent added 13 points and 11 rebounds.

December 18, 2017 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, sports, basketball.

Press release:

The Genesee Community College men's basketball team improved its winning streak to five before having it snapped in Niagara County Community College's tournament Dec. 15-16.

The Cougars started with a 99-87 win over Onondaga Community College Dec. 15 with their fifth-consecutive win. Although it was not another 100-plus point win, the victory allowed the Cougars to average 102 points over the course of those five-consecutive wins.

Current National Junior College Athletic Association Region III Player of the Week Brian Fobbs was on fire in both games scoring 36 points in the win over the Lazers and 30 points in the 92-81 loss to Henry Ford College, Dec. 16. In addition, Fobbs posted team-highs in rebounds and earned double-double performances in each contest with 15 boards against the Lazers and 16 against Henry Ford. In the latter game, Fobbs also recorded a pair of bocks, assists and steals.

Rahmel Thompson finished second in scoring in both contests to Fobbs with 44 total points. Thompson recorded 27 in the win and 17 in the loss. Joining Thompson with 17 points in the Henry Ford contest was Jarett Haines, while Caylen Williams added 15 points and a team-high three assists against the Hawks.

In addition to Fobbs and Thompson, two other Cougars recorded double-digit scoring performances with Williams adding 10 and Jaheem Page scoring 11 in the win against the Lazers. Williams registered a team-high seven assists and three steals against Onondaga.

The Cougars hit the semester break with a 9-4 overall record and 4-1 conference record.

December 18, 2017 - 12:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, soccer, sports.


Press release:

Genesee Community College men's soccer captain Glenn Holmes was named to the United Soccer Coaches Junior College Men's Scholar All-America First Team Dec. 15 by the national chair of the USC Junior College Men's Scholar All-America Committee, Chris Handy. Holmes will be honored by the UCS at its 71st convention in January 2018.

The 2017 National Junior College Athletic Association National Champion Cougars were co-captained by Holmes, who hails from Kildare, Ireland. The sports management major was just one of four overall junior college players who were recognized as first-team selections both on the field and in the classroom by the USC. At the junior college division-three level, he was just one of two to achieve the feat and the lone defensive player in the country.

Although known more for his stealth defensive play, Holmes' offensive numbers were quite astonishing. He led all NJCAA defenders in points with 32 and goals with 13. In addition, the Genesee sophomore was the catalyst behind the team's amazing run that ended with a 10-game winning streak and a 20-game unbeaten streak in bringing the Cougars its first national championship in soccer.

This is the third time Holmes has been honored this season as a first-team all-American. In addition to the two aforementioned USC All-American accolades, Holmes was also named to the NJCAA All-American squad as well.

December 17, 2017 - 2:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Chumlee A in the forefront with driver Larry Stalbaum.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs​

The Western New York “Wonder from Down Under” Chumlee A, proved once again that he is the best pacer currently on the grounds as he led a fast :57 back half under heavy duress on a cold night to win the final $10,000 Open Handicap pacing feature of the meet at Batavia Downs on closing night (Dec. 16).

It took Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) over a quarter of a mile to get the lead as Don’tcallmefrancis (Billy Davis Jr.) played hardball on the front-end. But eventually the Aussie got there after a quick :28 second split before he put on the brakes to the half to get a short breather. Not content with the slowing pace, Focus Power (Drew Monti) pulled at the half and started one heck of a fight.

Drawing alongside Chumlee A, Focus Power pushed the issue as the two matched strides in a :28.1 third panel. Also pacing together around the far turn, Chumlee A’s lead was getting shorter but he continued to look strong on the point. Halfway down the lane the overland route had gotten to Focus Power but Don’tcallmefrancis, who had gotten the perfect two-hole trip the entire mile, popped into the passing lane and made a late bid. However Chumlee A had enough in the tank and hung on by a head in 1:54.2.

It was the second straight Open victory and fourth straight win at Batavia Downs and in northern hemisphere for Chumlee A ($3.60) who has been racing in the United States for just over a month. The 6-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere is owned by Mark Jakubik and Kim Asher, who also does the training.

It was a big night for trainer Kim Asher and driver Larry Stalbaum. Besides winning the feature with Chumlee A they also teamed up to win three other races during the night including the 17th win of 2017 for Saint William A and the 21st victory of the year for Quicksilvercandy A, who now moves back into a tie with Safe From Terror as the winningest Standardbred in North America.

Then after the 10th race, Asher and Stalbaum were honored in the winner's circle as the top dash winning trainer and driver of the meet at Batavia Downs.

The staff and management of Batavia Downs would like to wish everyone a very happy Holiday Season and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Racing resumes at the oldest lighted harness track in America in July.

December 16, 2017 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Closing night of the 2017 racing season at Batavia Downs features a guaranteed $2,500 early Pick-5 pool and a $1,000 Pick-6 contest, both with mandatory payouts on Saturday (Dec. 16).

The $2,500 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool begins in race one and runs through race five. The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager and as it’s the final one of the meet, there will be a mandatory payout. This means if no one picks all five winners, the person(s) selecting the most winners will be paid. (There is no late Pick-5 on Saturday)  

Saturday's guaranteed pool is part of the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster are available on the USTA’s website.

This link will take you directly to those program pages.

Then starting in race four, the free-to-enter $1,000 Pick-6 contest is offered and it too will have a mandatory payout.

In order to win, contestants must pick the winners of races four through nine. Those wishing to play must pick up their entry blank at Player’s Club beginning at 4:30 p.m. and then deposit their completed selections no later than the start of the fourth race. There is only one entry per person. If no one correctly picks all six winners, the person(s) selecting the most winners will be paid.

Post time for the first race on closing night is 6 p.m.

December 16, 2017 - 2:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Longtime western New York horseman Jim McNeight reached a career milestone as he won his 1,000 race as a trainer.

McNeight was at 999 before his pacer Open Water finished second on Wednesday (Dec. 6) and was placed first through a disqualification. But McNeight made it official on Friday (Dec. 15) when his trotter Millbrook Hanover driven by his son Jim McNeight Jr., won easily in the snow to notch his 1,000th career victory.   

McNeight got started in the business while in his teens and learned under the guidance of his father Ed McNeight Sr. He got his driver’s license in 1981 and became a go-to catch driver in western New York within a few years.

Focusing mainly on driving for the first part of his career, McNeight added training to his daily duties when he father retired in 1992 and since that time has been a mainstay at Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway ever since.

In June of 2016, McNeight was involved in a bad accident at Buffalo Raceway and came away with a severe back injury that sidelined him for months. After time off and extensive rehab, he has been able to resume jogging and training but his doctors will not clear him to race due to the possibility of further damage in the event of another racing incident.

So now McNeight focuses fully on the training end of his current stable of 10 and is a full time coach for his son who does all the driving now and is a rising star on the same circuit his father excelled on for so many years.

Jim McNeight’s 1,000th training win was the result of 6,450 starts that also saw him finish second 932 times and third another 919. All told his earnings have amounted to just under $3.5 million.

“It’s very special to reach a milestone like this but you can’t do it without good, faithful owners and I have been blessed to have three of them” said McNeight. “Mike Ventura, Mike Calimeri and Dave Sanlorenzo have backed me for over 20 years and made those 1,000 wins possible.”

Mike Ventura owns Millbrook Hanover.

For his driving career McNeight has 3,587 wins and over $13 million earned in purses.

December 16, 2017 - 2:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.


Photo of Lenny Mac and driver Ron Beback Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

It was girl’s night out in a winter wonderland as snow squalls blew through Genesee County. The mare Lenny Mac beat the boys in the $10,000 Open trot and Sportsmuffler scored in the $10,000 distaff Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 15).

In the week’s top trot, Lenny Mac came from off the pace to win handily, overcoming the field and the elements with the greatest of ease.

Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) went right to the front and led to the half in 1:00.2. Lenny Mac (Ron Beback Jr.) then pulled first up from fifth and motored quickly alongside Empire Earl N, and then right by him by the time they hit the backside.

From there it was all Lenny Mac as she opened up four lengths at the three-quarters, six lengths at the top of the stretch and eight lengths when she hit the wire like a runaway train in 2:00.2, blowing up the tote board at 12-1.  

It was the ninth win of the year for Lenny Mac ($27.40) and it padded her bank account to the amount of $54,077 for owner William Emmons and trainer James Clouser Jr.

Photo of Sportsmuffler with driver Ray Fisher Jr.

In the fillies and mares Open pace, Sportsmuffler, who had recently gotten back to her winning ways after not finishing a race on Nov. 22, caught a strong front runner at the wire in a thriller.

Miss Irish Rose A (Larry Stalbaum) left for a familiar front-end position and led the field in post-position order for almost a half mile before Squeeze This (Billy Davis Jr.) pulled and attacked at that station in :59.2.

With Miss Irish Rose A still in command by two, the outer flow stalled and Sportsmuffler (Ray Fisher Jr.) tipped three-deep around and moved to within one length of the leader. The two maintained their positions around the far turn but when they hit the top of the lane, Sportsmuffler dug in and drove on to capture a half-length victory in 1:57.4 in a three-horse photo.

It was the eleventh win in 42 starts this year for Sportsmuffler ($7.80) who now has $59,149 on her card for 2017. LAV Racing Stable Inc. owns the 5-year-old Sportsmaster mare that is trained by Mike Carrubba.

Larry Stalbaum widened his dash win lead again scoring three victories on the night. That pushed him to 130 wins for the meet, now six ahead of Ray Fisher Jr. and 11 ahead of Drew Monti. Barring a monumental turn of events it would appear Stalbaum has his first Batavia Downs driving title just about wrapped up.

One more night of racing remains at Batavia Downs in 2017 and that is Saturday (Dec. 16) with post time is 6 p.m.

There will be a guaranteed $2,500 early Pick-5 pool tomorrow with a mandatory payout. The wager runs from race one to race five and is a 50-cent minimum bet.


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