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August 24, 2018 - 12:30pm
posted by Steve Ognibene in muckdogs, sports, baseball.

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The Batavia Muckdogs, starting their final homestand of the season spilt a doubleheader with Williamsport on Thursday, losing 3-2 before taking the night-cap 1-0.

Peyton Culbertson was the starting of the nightcap, a seven-inning contest. He pitched three innings and didn't give up a run or a hit. Jameson McGrane gave up two hits and walked one, but also blanked Williamsport and was given credit for the win, making him 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA on the season. Elkin Alcala pitched a perfect seventh for his fifth save.

Sean Reynolds's groundout in the fourth helped Brayan Hernandez score for the game's lone RBI. Reynold's also notched his 114th strikeout of the season, putting him three shy of the league record of 117, set by Dave Cochrane in 1982 when he played for the Little Falls Mets. Reynolds has 41 RBIs on the season and 13 home runs, both tops in the league.

In the first game, Tyler Kolek took the loss, surrendering all of the Crosscutters' three runs in the sixth inning. Davis Bradshaw had two hits and an RBI for the Muckdogs.

Batavia plays the Crosscutters two more times, at 7 o'clock tonight and tomorrow. There's a 4:05 p.m. game Sunday against State College and night games Monday and Tuesday before the Muckdogs head to Mahoning Valley to close out the season.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

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August 24, 2018 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Wiener Dog Race, Batavia Downs, sports.

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Press release:

It’s time to release the hounds at Batavia Downs.

On Sunday afternoon, 80 speedy dachshunds will go to post in 10 heats trying to become one of the 10 finalists in the 2018 Batavia Downs Wiener Dog Races, sponsored by Genesee Feeds of Batavia. 

The Wiener Dog Races will begin at approximately 4 p.m. at the conclusion of the live harness races and are the final event of the annual Family Fun Day at the Races at America’s oldest lighted harness racetrack.

Admission and parking are free for the afternoon of entertainment that always produces the largest on-track attendance of the year. Family Fun Day includes many free kids activities set up trackside in front of the new Batavia Downs Hotel. 

All those who enter will receive a doggie bag courtesy of the official race sponsor, Genesee Feeds of Batavia.

The owners of all heat winners will receive $25 in gaming Free Play and the top three finishers in the championship race will receive two Clubhouse buffet certificates and $100, $75 and $50 (first through third) in Free Play for the gaming floor. The top winner’s total prize package including the gaming Free Play is valued at $200.

Please note: If you have a dog racing, you must check in to the dog “paddock” tent near the valet parking lot and the dogs are not allowed on the apron of the track during the live horse races. 

Dachshund racing was first held in Australia during the 1970s and rose in popularity in North America after a 1993 Miller Lite commercial made the “sport” nationally known. In 1995 there was a national circuit formed with a final held in Ft. Wayne, Ind., as part of their German-fest celebration. The Wiener Dog Nationals were held there in 2018 for the 23rd year.

Batavia Downs is the first harness track in North America to present wiener dog racing as a promotion and has done so annually since 2005. The popularity of this event has grown exponentially since then with many other racetracks now putting on their own races. However the first and now longest running dachshund meet held at a standardbred track will continue its tradition of excellence once again this year.

Photo: File photo.

August 23, 2018 - 4:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

Repentance with driver Scott Zeron.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) 3-year-old trotting fillies visited Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 22) to compete for a combined $119,300 in purses that was distributed between two heats. Not everything went the way participating punters thought but one thing was for certain: Scott Zeron came to play. 

In the first $59,100 division, post time favorite Repentance (Chapter Seven-Swan Hot Mama) lived up to her billing. With Fury Road taking early control, driver Scott Zeron took Repentance to the pylons and tracked the proceedings from there until the group hit the half in :59 flat. 

Repentance pulled first up in front of the stands and incrementally advanced towards the leader from there, up the backside and around the last turn when she finally drew even at the head of the stretch. From there, Repentance trotted away from the pack under no urging whatsoever from Zeron to win by two lengths in 1:57.3. 

“I knew she could come first over so I didn’t hesitate to pull where I did. She trotted handily parked and had a lot finishing. She raced well” said Zeron after the race. 

It was the third win of the year for Repentance ($4.10) pushing her earnings to $77,559 for owner Diamond Creek Racing. Newly elected Hall of Fame member Linda Toscano trains the winner.

White Cheetah with driver Jim Morrill Jr.

The second division carried a purse of $60,200 and some of the bettors may have made as much through the windows as some of the check-getters in the race as White Cheetah (Muscle Mass-Wheely Quick) blew up the tote board at 36-1. 

Heavy post time favorite Lima Novelty (Scott Zeron) made a break just as the gate opened, leaving Natalie Hanover (Jim Marohn Jr.) loose on the lead and White Cheetah (Jim Morrill Jr.) tucked in second behind for the ride. Then at the eighth pole, the second betting choice Tribute To Seven (Drew Monti) who was third made a break as well, leaving Natalie Hanover and White Cheetah sitting one-two, a gapped five-lengths on the field. 

Nothing much changed from the quarter to the top of the stretch but then it happened quickly. Morrill pulled White Cheetah and in a couple strides she went right by Natalie Hanover ending up a one-length wrapped-up winner in 1:59.1. 

“When I saw the break, I went with Plan “A” all the way; I dropped in second and took my best shot. I drove her once before and knew she could trot and when I pulled her I had a lot of horse” Morrill said. 

White Cheetah ($74) got her third win of the year but it was first NYSS victory. The winner’s share pushed her bankroll for 2018 to $63,165 for owners Paul Kelley Racing Stable, Joe Sbrocco and Stable 45. Paul Kelley conditions the winner. 

White Cheetah’s large win mutuel prompted a $498 Exacta, $7,681 Trifecta and $12,210 Super. 

Scott Zeron had a huge outing at Batavia, grabbing five races on the card. Besides winning with Repentance, he also won all three divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior “A” series with A Gift For You (Credit Winner-Soprano Hanover) who is owned by Ken Jacobs and trained by George Ducharme, Sevenbuyeleven (Chapter Seven-Muscleini) who is also owned by Ken Jacobs and trained by Linda Toscano and Ithinkthatsmine (RC Royalty-Super Starlet) who is owned by Ray Campbell Jr. and trained by George Ducharme.

Zeron’s fifth win was in Excelsior “B” action with Good Luck Ginny (Lucky Chucky-Classical Ginny) who is owned by Phillip Hale and David Dewhurst, who also trains the winner. Good Luck Ginny finished in a dead-heat with Financial Impact (Muscle Mass-Steuben Miss) who was driven by Drew Monti for owner Marie Houghtaling and trainer Ron Houghtaling.

August 23, 2018 - 2:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, batavia, Batavia HS, batavia bulldawgs.

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The Batavia Blue Devils hosted the Batavia Bulldawgs for their annual "Blue Devils Experience" at Van Detta Stadium in Batavia on Wednesday night.

The Blue Devils open their season Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m., at home against Hornell.

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August 21, 2018 - 11:45am
posted by Andy Helwig in baseball, sports, muckdogs.

The second shutout victory of the season came for the Batavia Muckdogs on Monday night. Batavia came away winners 1-0 over West Virginia, their second win by that score this season. The previous one came just two weeks prior at Monongalia County Ballpark.

Chris Vallimont put up another strong start for Batavia. He went three innings deep, without allowing any hits or runs while walking just two batters and striking out two more. Batavia’s bullpen was just as dominant, giving up only four hits in the entire ballgame that went a total of 10 innings.    

Scoring opportunities came few and far between for either team, with just a combined two runners reaching third base through the first nine innings for each team. It was a stellar day on the mound for both squads in the game. Nicholas Economos going six shutout frames again against the Muckdogs in his second start against Batavia this season. He struck out eight batters this time around, one shy of the nine he had at Dwyer Stadium in the first game after the All-Star Break.

After going scoreless through the first nine innings, Batavia broke open the scoring in the top of the 10th inning. The first runner to start on base in extra frames was Bubba Hollins. Michael Donadio came out swinging to open the inning. His ground ball to the right side did the same job as the bunt, moving Hollins over to third base. Gunnar Schubert came to bat looking to plate the first run of the game in the 10th. His ground ball to second base pushed Hollins home in safely under the tag of Black Bear catcher Grant Koch and gave Batavia a 1-0 lead. Jameson McGrane took care of the final six outs of the ballgame for Batavia on the mound. He finished out the ninth inning just giving up a walk, and retired the Black Bears in order in the 10th to seal the win for Batavia, and the first game of the series.

The Muckdogs have now won four of their last six games, all working from lockdown starts from their pitching staff. Game two of the series in Morgantown starts on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at Monongalia County Ballpark. Alberto Guerrero is scheduled to throw for Batavia, looking for the series win.

August 21, 2018 - 8:14am
posted by Steve Ognibene in sports, jr blue devils, basketball, batavia, steve ognibene's blog.

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The Batavia Jr. Blue Devil Basketball Camp was held Aug. 13th-17th at the John Kennedy Gymnasium.

Kids in grades 3-8 from various towns participated in drills, games and contests. The basic fundamentals of the game, sportsmanship, safety, and fair play were emphasized.

August 19, 2018 - 9:47am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.
Sir Ziggy's Z Tam with driver Drew Monti in foreground.
 
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
 
Driver Drew Monti and trainer JD Perrin teamed up to put on a show Staurday night (Aug.18) winning five races on the 10 race card. 
 
The two teamed up to send Cheyenne Louie (1:57, $4.70), Hands Of Frank (1:55, $25.40), Foreign Officer (1:56.1, $2.60), Sir Ziggy's Z Tam (1:53.4, $3.70) and Rock To Glory (1:55.4,$4.60) to the Purple Haze winner's circle for pictures.
 
Sir Ziggy's Z Tam was was the pick of the pack, winning the featured $10,000 Open Handicap pace.
 
Southwind Torque (John Cummings Jr.) took an immediate lead from the pylons and rebuffed a challenge from Sir Ziggy's Z Tam (Drew Monti), making him take a seat. After they hit the half in :56.4, the field was still in single file with no serious challengers in sight. 
 
The top two continued in that order until the three quarters when Monti pulled Sir Ziggy's Z Tam and drew alongside Southwind Torque. However Cummings was up for the challenge and maintained a one length lead to the head of the stretch. But "Drivin' Drew" got to work, throwing the lines at Sir Ziggy's Z Tam in the lane and he swelled up pacing by the leader in deep stretch to win by a neck in 1:53.4.
 
It was the 35th lifetime win for the classy Sir Ziggy's Z Tam ($3.70) who now has $878,791 in purses earned for his career. The 10-year-old altered son of Art Major is owned by Tessa Roland and trained by JD Perrin 
 
Kevin Cummings, who also had three wins on the card, took the $9,000 Open II with Im So Handsome who equalled his season's best effort in the process.
 
Heaven Rocks (Drew Monti) left hard for the lead before Im So Handsome (Kevin Cummings) came out and took the top position from him. After a :28.3 quarter and :57.4 half Tyler (Shawn Gray) pulled at the five-eighths, brought Barry Hanover (Shawn McDonough) with him and they motored up the outside to the three-quarters in 1:26.2. 
 
Im So Handsome and Tyler battled all the way around the last turn when Barry Hanover tipped three wide and took his best shot late. With all three across the track, Im So Handsome outlasted both challengers and hung on to win by a neck in 1:54.3. 
 
Looking good now with seven wins on the year, Im So Handsome ($4.30) has also broken the half century mark in earnings, now boasting $50,549 in loot for owner Mike Torcello and trainer Gerry Sarama.  
 
Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs with a Sunday (Aug. 19) matinee that has a first race post time of 1:15 p.m. It's dollar Day Sunday with cold draft beer, soda or hot dogs served fresh trackside for only $1 each.
August 18, 2018 - 6:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, baseball, sports.

The Muckdogs found both incredible highs and lows in their split doubleheader with the Auburn Doubledays on a late Friday night. The Muckdogs took game one in a sixth-innings comeback that gave them a 4-1 win, but dropped the second game of the twin bill in extras, as Auburn walked it off for the 4-3 win.

The first game saw a pair of incredible starts by both teams’ pitchers. Peyton Culbertson went four innings and allowing just one run. Francys Peguero went the same distance into the game, all shutout frames and gave up just three hits.

In the sixth inning of the first seven-inning game, Batavia found their spark to come back. Ricardo Cespedes took what he thought was ball four, and was able to get to second base because Auburn catcher Adalberto Carillo could not get to the baseball right away sitting at the backstop. He did not go right after it because he had thought the pitch hit Cespedes. Doubleday’s manager Jared Head went to discuss, and in the end, Cespedes was sent back to first after ruling that he was hit by the pitch. It didn’t matter all too much because in the next at-bat, Sean Reynolds blasted his 12th home run of the season to get the Muckdogs in front 2-1.

The rally continued with two outs. Davis Bradshaw, the newest Mukckdog outfielder picked up his second hit of the day with a ground ball through the left side hole. He then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Gunnar Schubert walked and took second on that same wild pitch. Both Bradshaw and Schubert would get home on two more wild pitches from Colin Morse to put Batavia in front 4-1.    

Jameson McGrane and Zach Wolf came in to finish the final three innings of game one. They were both locked in, not allowing a run to score, winning just the second game of the season against the Doubledays.

Game two did not fare as well for the Muckdogs. It was another low-scoring game that did not see runs until the seventh inning. Again, the starters Bryce Howe and Angell Guillen held their opposition scoreless in their starts. Dylan Cyphert was able to lock down the Doubledays as well, setting up for Batavia to take the lead and the win in the last inning.

Angel Guillen, on the other side, went six shutout innings in his second spot start of the season. However, Tanner Driskill could not be as dominant.

The first runs of the game came from Batavia’s bats. Bubba Hollins notched his second single of the day for Batavia with one out in the top of the seventh. That brought Michael Donadio to the dish. He clubbed a monster home run over the right field wall to give the Muckdogs the lead, plus an insurance run.

The bottom of the seventh did not go as well. Elkin Alcala came on looking for his fifth save of the season. He allowed the first four batters to reach base, partially due in part to an error from Alcala trying to start a double play at second base. Jose Sanchez hit a line drive single up the middle to score the tying run. He would make his way to third as the winning run, but Alcala did get out of the jam by striking out Israel Pineda.           

In extra innings, where the Muckdogs are now 2-3 on the season, Gerardo Nunez reached base on his fielder’s choice bunt, that set up Brayan Hernandez to drive in Pablo Garcia to put the Muckdogs back in front 3-2. Batavia loaded the bases later in the inning after a Sean Reynolds walk, but could not cash in, which proved to be costly.

The bottom of the eighth did not see a single out recorded for Batavia. Pablo O’Connor was swinging to start off the inning, and a ground ball that skipped off of Nunez’ glove put runners on the corners with no outs. Jamori Blash drove in the tying run, putting the winning run on second base. Carson Shaddy drew a walk to load the bases, still with no outs. It felt more of a matter of when, not if, the Doubledays would score that run. Justin Connell had the answer: a four-pitch walk to walk it off for the Doubledays, and win 4-3.

The second day and third game of the series pickup with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch in Auburn. The final game of the series comes Sunday, before Batavia heads back to West Virginia for a three-game set with the Black Bears.

August 17, 2018 - 10:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Southern Palms with driver Kevin Cummings.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Two longtime Batavia Downs regulars put up big numbers on Friday night (Aug. 17) in front of a packed apron and sold out clubhouse on a beautiful late summer evening in Genesee County. 

First, perennial driving leader Kevin Cummings won half the card, scoring five wins on the night, pulling away from his fellow drivers for the dash lead at the meet. Cummings won with Keystone Keen (1:56.4, $4.10), Striker Ace (1:57.2, $5.40), Gold Star Sonata (1:57.1, $4), Southern Palms (1:57, $21.20) and Northern Matador (1:59, $3). 

Cummings is firmly entrenched as the current driving leader to this point with 27 wins; seven ahead of his nearest competitor. He is chasing his fifth title at the Downs and is off to a flying start. 

Then legendary western New York horseman Gerry Sarama conditioned the winners of both featured trots, winning each with ease and returning double-digit payouts to boot. 

In the $10,000 Open Handicap, Southern Palms (Kevin Cummings) got off to a slow start fourth as Ruddy Rusty (Jim McNeight Jr.) was rolling down the road with a four-length lead in a fast :56.4 half. Southern Palms took advantage of the fraction and became second over at three-quarters behind Call My Broker (Ray Fisher Jr.) who was rushing the leader. At the head of the stretch the three were even across the track but Southern Palms trotted home the best and won by two lengths in 1:57, which was a new seasonal mark. 

The very next race in the $8,000 Open II, Sarama decided to send Theresnoway (Ray Fisher Jr.) right down the road and he never looked back. After getting to the half in :58.2, Fisher let out the lines and Theresnoway opened up five by three-quarters and eight by the top of the stretch and from there he cruised to the wire much the best by eight in 1:57.1, which was also a new seasonal mark. 

Southern Palms ($21.20) and Theresnoway ($11.40) are both owned by Mike Torcello.

Bedsides the big nights had by Cummings and Sarama, driver Drew Monti and trainer John Mungillo each added two wins to their meet totals. 

The annual Race to Defeat Breast Cancer fundraiser and silent auction that was held by the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester (BCCR) and sponsored by Batavia Downs was a rousing success as donations collected amounted to over $12,000 and beat last year’s total.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 18) with post time set at 6 o'clock.

August 17, 2018 - 4:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, baseball, sports.

Press release:

Youth Baseball Clinic provides an opportunity to learn from the pros and enjoy exclusive perks as a clinic participant.

The Batavia Muckdogs (Class A Short Season Affiliate of the Miami Marlins) and Genesee County’s only professional sports franchise have announced the return of the popular Youth Baseball Clinic.

The 2018 clinic will take place on Saturday, Aug. 25th from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Dwyer Stadium. The clinic is open to children ages 6 – 14 and will feature a day full of on-field instruction under the leadership of Muckdogs Manager and former Major League Baseball All-Star Mike Jacobs.

The clinic will also provide instruction for youth baseball players from current Muckdogs coaches and players. The clinic will cover baseball fundamentals and will allow participants the chance to learn various aspects of the game in individual stations and drills.

The cost of the clinic is $50 per child and includes additional perks and the chance to take the field with the team for the National Anthem prior to the 7:05 game vs. Williamsport (Phillies) that evening.

Registration forms are due on Thursday, Aug 24th, and available at Dwyer Stadium Mon-Fri during normal business hours or you can register your child by calling 585-483- DOGS (3647). Space is limited.

Clinic Highlights and Schedule of Events

Check-in will begin at Dwyer Stadium on Aug. 25th at 9:30 a.m. with the clinic beginning at 10. On-field instruction will take place from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided following the clinic.

All participants will receive a camp T-shirt and Muckdogs logo baseball.

In addition, each child will receive a ticket to the 7:05 Muckdogs game that evening as they host the Williamsport Crosscutters (Phillies). Clinic participants will be welcomed to enter the ballpark early at 5:30 p.m. for a private autograph session with the team. Clinic participants will then be recognized on-field before joining the Muckdogs for the National Anthem.

Participants will be required to bring their own glove, bat, plastic or rubber cleats and should wear athletic clothing.

August 16, 2018 - 3:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Although Batavia Downs has had their 2018 live racing season underway since Monday (July 23), this will be the first regularly scheduled Friday (Aug. 17) of the meet due to other events going on at the facility. Friday racing will now be conducted weekly until the end of the meet with a 6 p.m. post time. 

This Friday will feature the best trotters on the grounds vying in Open I, II and III classes. But aside from the racing, there will be much more going on in front of an almost sold out clubhouse. 

The “Races to Benefit the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester” (www.bccr.org) fundraiser will be held at the track raising both awareness and dollars to fight this deadly disease. This annual event is one of the bigger fundraisers held by this organization and Batavia Downs has partnered with them for  years now and is proud to be a part of this very worthy cause. 

“We have partnered with BCCR for several years now and each year this event gets bigger and better” said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing. “It’s an opportunity for us to help raise money to defeat the scourge of cancer in our lifetime. The generosity of our patrons and horsemen always shine through and I’m sure we will see that again this week.”

There will be a silent auction held adjacent to the clubhouse with a list of prizes that will please anyone’s taste. They include: two suite tickets to the Justin Timberlake concert at Key Bank Center on Sunday (Oct. 28); two suite tickets for the Buffalo Bills versus Jacksonville Jaguars game at New Era Field on Sunday (Nov. 25); four suite tickets to the Buffalo Sabres versus Tampa Bay Lightning game at Key Bank Center on Tuesday (Nov. 13); a Buffalo Sabres autographed Jack Eichel jersey; a Buffalo Sabres autographed Danny Gare jersey; one Batavia Downs Hotel night and racing package; two Batavia Downs clubhouse racing packages; and a recliner form Max Pies Furniture in Batavia. 

The track will also be taking cash donations that will be forwarded directly to BCCR. 

Also on Friday, Batavia Downs will be offering a guaranteed $1,750 early Pick-5 pool with an $838 carry over. It's a 50-cent base wager that runs from race one to race five. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.

August 16, 2018 - 3:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, batavia, sports.

Kaitlyn Rae with driver Ray Fisher Jr. in the forefront.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs​

After having no luck in three top class attempts at Batavia Downs so far this year, Kaitlyn Rae had a reversal of fortunes as she knocked the apple cart at 12-1 and won the $9,500 fillies and mares Open Handicap pacing feature on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 15).

Kaitlyn Rae (Ray Fisher Jr.) saw All Charged Up (John Macdonald) whiz by her to take the lead and was content to sit in the garden spot for most of the mile. Positions remained unchanged from there through a :27.4 quarter and :58 half.

Past the stands, Roll With Sparky (Billy Davis Jr.) came to play and hung outside prompting the leader all that way through the top of the last turn. Roll With Sparky tired at that point and Kaitlyn Rae was able to extract herself from the two hole at the head of the stretch. All Charged Up had a two-length lead, but Kaitlyn Rae was pacing out of her hobbles under jack-in-the-box urging by Fisher and collared All Charged Up at the wire in 1:55.

It was the ninth win in 22 starts for Kaitlyn Rae ($26.00) and it pushed her earnings to $44,695 this year for owner/trainer Riley Asher-Stalbaum.

The $8,000 ladies Open II saw Odysseus (Ray Fisher Jr.) get away eighth at the quarter before pulling second over behind Quicksilvercandy A (Ron Beback Jr.) at the half and tip three-deep around the final turn to outpace the leading Aritzia Hanover (John Cummings Jr.) at the wire in 1:57.1.

Odysseus ($9.60) got her third win in her last five starts over three different tracks, but it was the first for her new connections Elm Racing and trainer Russell Bratt.

There was no winner in either Pick-5 wager on Wednesday and as a result, Batavia Downs will be offering a guaranteed $1,750 early Pick-5 pool with an $838 carry over on Friday (Aug. 17). The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester will also be holding their fundraiser and silent auction on Friday with Buffalo Bills, Sabres and Justin Timberlake suite tickets available for bid all night. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.

August 13, 2018 - 2:44pm

The second annual Batavia Boys Basketball Program Golf Tournament will be held Saturday, Aug. 18, at Batavia Country Club. Cost is $70 per golfer and all proceeds benefit Batavia basketball.

Price includes 18 holes of golf -- four-man scramble, cart, lunch and dinner.

Registration starts at 2 p.m.; tee off is at 3 p.m.

The country club is located at 7909 Batavia Byron Road, Batavia.

If interested, please contact Varsity Head Coach Buddy Brasky -- 356-4050; Bryan Falitico -- 201-1075; or Dave Hall -- 703-5063.

Prizes will be awarded to: first-place team; second-place team; third-place team; longest drive; closest to the pin.

There will be a Chinese auction and raffle prizes.

Businesses are wanted to help with $50 hole sponsorships and prizes. To do so, please contact Brasky or Falitico at the numbers above.

Checks should be made out to Batavia Boys Basketball Boosters.

August 12, 2018 - 6:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Shawn Gray had the night of his life on Saturday (Aug. 11) as he won seven of the 12 races he drove at Batavia Downs and during that run, garnered his 4,000th career driving win.

Gray came into the night needing four wins to reach that plateau and once “The Maine Event” got rolling, there was seemingly no stopping him from getting to the winner’s circle. Besides his seven wins (which included the last five straight races of the night), Gray also had a second and two thirds giving him a stellar universal driver rating (UDR) of .685 for the night.

A native of Waterville, Maine, the 44-year-old Gray has been driving since 1993 when he got his first pari-mutuel win with Timer Choice at Presque Isle, Maine. He has been a regular on the New England circuit for his entire life, but in 2012 he came to western New York and made an instant impact on the racing scene here, taking the driving title at Batavia Downs that year.

Gray has also been a regular at Saratoga Raceway and Plainridge Park in recent years and enjoys the same success at those tracks as he does everywhere else.

In 19,230 starts, Gray has now won 4,003, has been second 3,098 times and third 2,709 more times making him more than 50 percent in the money for his career. That high percentage performance has earned him $15,114,821 in purses over that time.

Gray’s best career year was 2012 when he captured 356 victories and earned $1.859 million in purses. A habitual high percentage driver, Gray posted a personal best .440 UDR in 2011 but consistently ends the year in the high .300 range. Gray is currently second in North America in 2018 for UDR with a .404.

There was another horseman making history at Batavia Downs. Trainer James Clouser Jr. won a track record seven races on the card and posted an unbelievable universal training rating (UTR) of .917 in the process.

Clouser won with Freak On A Leash (1:55.2, $7.10), Whosurpapa (1:54.2, $3.20), Lenny Mac (1:57.3, $7.90), Upfront Countryboy (1:53.2, $4.20), Tyler (1:54.4, $2.90), Zipnthruthehall (1:54.3, $3.40) and Autobiographical (1:54.3, $2.60).

Gray drove six of Clouser’s seven winners.

The top Open pacing and trotting features were also contested on Saturday night.

Validus Deo, below, ($4.40) won the $10,500 Open Handicap pace in 1:54.3 for driver Kevin Cummings who also trains and co-owns the winner with Matthew Rosiek and Robert Johnson.

And BZ Glide, bottom photo, $29.60) upset in the $10,500 Open Handicap trot in 1:56.2 for driver Mike Caprio. Alana Caprio trains the winner for owner the Caprio Stable.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Down on Wednesday (Aug. 15) with post time set at 5 p.m.

August 11, 2018 - 1:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

As a result of no winning ticket once again on Wednesday (Aug. 8), Batavia Downs will offer a $2,500 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool when racing resumes on Saturday (Aug. 11) at the oldest lighted harness track in America.

The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager that begins in race one and runs through race five. There is no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners, the entire pool (minus takeout) will be carried over to the Late Pick-5 that begins in race seven. The late Pick-5 is a $1 minimum bet.

Post time for the first race today (Aug. 11) is 6 p.m. 

August 11, 2018 - 9:34am

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Some member of the Batavia cross-country team are looking for vehicles to wash for their fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 2 .pm., today at Empire Tractor 5072 E. Main St. Road, Batavia.

Proceeds will help support the team's New York City trip.

August 10, 2018 - 11:31am
posted by Andy Helwig in baseball, sports, muckdogs.

For the 31st time in 51 games, the Muckdogs had played in a game that was decided by two runs or less. The Doubledays put up three runs in the sixth inning that would end up being the difference in the 4-3 loss for Batavia.

Alberto Guerrero was solid for the Muckdogs on the mound, giving up just three hits in five innings, however, one of them was a home run to Jamori Blash in the second inning to give the Doubledays the 1-0 lead, and that is the way the game would stand until the sixth inning.

Jackson Stoeckinger for Auburn put a quality start in the books going six innings, giving up six hits and two runs in his start. Both runs that he gave up would come at the very start of Batavia’s rally.

The hole would be 4-0 by that point, as Tanner Andrews gave up three runs in his first inning of relief. The heart of the Doubleday order featured three All-Stars: Israel Pineda, Jacob Rhinesmith, and Pablo O’Connor. They tagged Batavia for three runs, including three extra-base hits to make it 4-0 going to the Muckdog half of the sixth inning.

The inning started off with a pair of singles from the top of the order in Corey Bird and Brayan Hernandez. A wild pitch advanced them to second and third, allowing Sean Reynolds to hit a sac fly to right field that brought in Bird, then two singles later Denis Karas drove in Hernandez to make it 4-2. One of those singles came from Jerar Encarnacion to extend his hit streak to 10 games. Michael Donadio hit a line drive that was caught by the second baseman Carson Shaddy, and Encarnacion was doubled off at second base to end the inning.

Evan Estes took care of the final six outs for Batavia, not allowing any runs, and keeping Batavia within striking distance of victory.

In the bottom of the ninth, the ‘Dogs got the start they were looking for. A leadoff double for Denis Karas got things going. Donadio kept the rally alive with a single, and a sac fly from Demetrius Sims brought Karas in to make it a one-run game. Igor Baez dropped a single in at the right field line to push Donadio to third with just one out. A ball hit to the outfield is all Batavia needed to tie the game. However, Luke Jarvis flew out to shallow center, not deep enough to bring in the run. Corey Bird then struck out to end the game and drop the game to the Doubledays 4-3. Batavia is now 1-6 on the season against Auburn.

The final game of the series is Friday; first pitch is a 7:05 p.m. at Dwyer Stadium.

August 9, 2018 - 1:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

Thunder with driver Kevin Cummings.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Thrilling stretch drives with close finishes were the order of the day at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 8) when the 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings visited the Genesee County oval to compete in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for the $109,000 in available purses.

Thunder (Conway Hall-Cr Oh Suzanna) won the first $54,500 division with a big brush from behind.

JNR Express (Jim Morrill Jr.) cut a decent first quarter before slowing the half forcing Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr.) to pull first up with Thunder (Kevin Cummings) following right behind. JNR Express and Chip Chip Conway hooked up and went at it toe to toe from the five eighths all around the last turn with Thunder drafting behind. Thunder tipped three deep at the head of the lane and ran down Chip Chip Conway in deep stretch to win in 1:58.3.

"I had to get after him to get him started; he was a little lazy. But he was good once he got started. He's a nice going trotter," said Cummings after the race.

It was the second straight win and a new lifetime mark for Thunder ($9.60) who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Jeremy Day and the VIP Internet Stable. John Butenschoen trains the winner. Thunder was bred by Walnut Hall Limited.

Cavill Hanover (Muscle Mass-Cr Calendar Girl), in photo above with driver Ake Svanstedt, took the second $54,500 split after a very hard fought battle to the wire.

Horns For Three (Kevin Cummings) went right to the front and Cavill Hanover dropped in right in behind him. With the field single file to the half, Cummings backed it off considerably forcing Cavill Hanover to pull and challenge just pass that station. Drawing alongside the leader by the three quarters, Cavill Hanover and Horns For Three were now hooked up in a match race. The two trotted like a mirror image around the final bend, down the stretch and all the way to the wire where Cavill Hanover just got the advantage and won in 1:59.3, with a snappy back half of :57.4.

Svanstedt was complimentary of both his horse as well as Horns For Three: "My horse went good, but the horse we beat went good too. The race was very competitive."

Cavill Hanover ($3.90) has now won three out of his last four races for his connections, Little E, Vanersol Inc. and Wolfgang A Stable. His driver Ake Svanstedt also does the training. Cavill Hanover was bred at Hanover Shoe Farm.

There were also three $15,000 Excel “A” races on the card.

Lucky June Bug (Lucky Chucky-Ebbtide Hall) trotted in 2:00 flat and registered a new lifetime mark for driver John Macdonald and trainer Stanley Zombick Jr. Lucky June Bug ($9.30) is owned by Michael Pozefsky, William Pozefsky and Myron Eckstein. Sam Stoltzfus Jr. bred the winner.

Lights Come On (Chapter Seven-Starlit Eyes) won in 2:02.4 and took a new lifetime mark as directed by Drew Monti for trainer Anette Lorentzen. Lights Come On ($3.10) is owned by ACL Stuteri AB, Theodore Gewertz and Anette Lorentzen. Winbak Farm was the breeder.

Jason’s Camden (Muscle Mass-Palm Beach Chic) went wire to wire in 2:00.3 for team Orange Crush: Andy Miller in the bike for trainer Julie Miller. Jason’s Camden ($2.90) is owned by the Andy Miller Stable, Harvey Eisman and Little E, who also bred the colt.

August 7, 2018 - 3:22pm

Arc of Genesee Orleans will hold its 14th annual Friends & Family 5K & Fun Walk on Saturday, Sept. 15 in Elba.

There will be food, fun and music, plus kids' activities, including face painting.

Cost is $20 for the 5K and $15 for the one-and-a-half-mile Fun Walk; but both rates will increase by $5 on race day for those not preregistered. For nonparticipants wishing to attend the post-event party, cost is $5.

There is a small processing fee for online race/walk registrations.

Participants can register for the 5K and Fun Walk online here.

The race will be timed by PCR Timing Service of East Rochester.

Money raised will benefit education through the organization's Mary Anne Graney Memorial Scholarship Fund, and programs and services for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities served by Arc, and their families.

Sign up today for sponsorships, which range from $100 to $1,000. Aug. 15 is the cut-off date to put sponsor's names on T-shirts.

On race day, check-in begins at 8:45 a.m. The 5K starts at 10 o'clock, with the Fun Walk immediately following. The starting line is at the Arc Day Habilitation Center main entrance at 4603 Barrville Road, Elba.

For more information, call Race Director Sandy Konfederath at 343-4203, ext. 223, or email her at:  [email protected]

August 7, 2018 - 2:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of driver Scott Zeron courtesy of Geri Schwarz.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Fresh off his $1 million Hambletonian win with the filly Atlanta on Saturday (Aug. 4), driver Scott Zeron will be competing at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 8) in the $109,000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings. 

Zeron will drive in both $54,500 divisions as well as two of the three $15,000 Excel “A” races on the card. 

The NYSS are in races two and six with post time for the first race at 5 p.m.

Zeron had a huge afternoon at the Meadowlands on Saturday. Besides winning the Hambletonian with Atlanta (who became only the 14th filly to win that 3-year-old trotting stake in its 93-year history), he also won the $286,650 John Cashman Memorial trot with Marion Marauder (who Zeron also won the 2016 Hambletonian with) and the $260,100 Sam McKee Memorial pace with Western Joe.   

In the first NYSS division at Batavia on Wednesday, Zeron will drive Thunder (Conway Hall-Cr Oh Suzanna) for trainer John Butenschoen. 

Thunder has had some issues, making a bad break two starts ago. However last week at Saratoga Raceway he seems to have righted the ship by winning in 1:59.2 to gain his first lifetime win. Zeron drove him last week in that NYSS event and will look for a chance to have him double up in this race, starting from post seven. 

He will have to take on the morning line favorite Chip Chip Conway (Conway Hall-Get Chipped) who is coming in off two strong outings. 

After making two consecutive breaks in his first two NYSS starts, trainer Gary Messenger added trotting hobbles and the gelding qualified back fine. Since then he has won in a lifetime best 1:58 at Tioga Downs and finished second by a head to Thunder last week. Regular driver Jim Taggart Jr. will be back in the bike once again, leaving from post six.

In the second division, Our White Knight (Crazed-Psychotherapist) gets the services of Zeron and looks to up his game. So far this year he is a perfect four for four finishing second and is still looking for that first win. 

Our White Knight got away well last week and became forwardly placed early, which helped his good closing ability to be more effective at the end of the mile. With an inside post this week, look for a similar situation with Zeron up from post two. John Butenschoen also trains this gelding.

The main rival here is morning line favorite Labadee AS (Conway Hall-Smith Hall) who has two consecutive open-length wins in Excel “A” action. However this week he moves back up to the top tier for this race, which is the first time he has been in a NYSS event since his first lifetime start on July 9. Andy Miller, who finished second to Atlanta in the Hambletonian with Met’s Hall, picks up the lines for trainer Anette Lorentzen for the first time behind Labadee AS with post one. 

In the Excel “A” races, Zeron will also drive Simple Kaos (RC Royalty-Ksenia) from post one in the eighth race for trainer George Ducharme and Crazy Every Time (Crazed-Bar Ballad) from post five in the ninth race for trainer Jim Mc Donald. 

Although only driving for 12 years, the 29-year-old Zeron has posted some phenomenal numbers through his career, starting out on the very competitive Ontario tracks and then moving to the Grand Circuit. 

Currently Zeron has 3,390 wins, 2,870 seconds and 2,785 thirds out of 22,014 start with $62,507,595 in earnings. 

Zeron was the youngest Canadian driver to reach 1,000 wins and the youngest driver in history to reach 2,000 wins. He was also the youngest driver ever to win the Little Brown Jug with Michael's Power in 2012. 

In 2012 Zeron received the Rising Star Award from the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) and showed why he got that honor with the biggest year of his career (to that point) in 2016 when he won the Meadowlands driving title and the trotting Triple Crown with Marion Marauder.

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