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Undefeated Earthwindfire in $114,000 NYSS at Batavia on Wednesday

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of Earthwindfire courtesy of Jessica Hallett.

When the New York Sire Stakes roll into Batavia Downs on Wednesday (August 16), the undefeated Earthwindfire will be on hand to try and keep her perfect record intact as she lines up in one of two, five-horse, $57,000 divisions of 3-year-old pacing fillies slated to go that night. 

Earthwindfire (American Ideal-Road Bet) has rattled off six straight wins to start her year, including four NYSS events. The other two came in Grand Circuit action at Yonkers Raceway where she won an elimination and the final of the Park MGM filly pace. Those wins have made Earthwindfire the fourth richest filly in North America this year ($186,916) behind only Sylvia Hanover, Ucandoit Blue Chip and Twin B Joe Fresh, and she is less than $3,000 from vaulting into second place on that list. A five-time victor and runner up in the NYSS final as a 2-year-old last season, Earthwindfire has been winning at will in 2023 and is positioned to continue on that path here and add to her already gaudy lifetime earnings of $508,400. 

Jack Pelling will drive from post four for trainer Brett Pelling. 

Standing in her way from another score on Wednesday will be Turn On The Charm, who is also having a breakout year of her own. 

Turn On The Charm (Huntsville-Charming Hill) is the current points leader (217) among the NYSS sophomore distaff pacers this year and has won four out of her five NYSS starts. She too competed in the Park MGM filly pace and finished a very respectable third in the final. In her last start at Yonkers, Turn On The Charm overcame a very slow start where she got away last, spotting the field 20 lengths at the half. But she rallied to finish fifth and was beaten only 3-¾ lengths. With a post one draw in this race, Turn On The Charm should get a perfect trip behind the assumed frontrunner Earthwindfire, and be in the perfect spot to strike late. 

Trainer Bruce Clarke has Marcus Miller in the bike once again. 

Team Pelling also has the filly to beat in the other division and her name is Southwind Bella. 

Southwind Bella (Huntsville-Southwind Solara) was lightly raced at two, but won three of four starts in NYSS Excel A action in 2022. This year she stepped up to the top level and has won two NYSS races while not finished off the board in the rest. Although her lifetime mark is 1:50.2 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, her last outing at Yonkers was an impressive gate to wire, 3-½ length victory in 1:53.1, which was her best clocking ever over a half mile track. She comes into this race as one of only two fillies in this field to win a NYSS race this year. 

Team Pelling sends out Southwind Bella from post one. 

The other 2023 NYSS winner in the race is Vivians Dream (American Ideal-Sports Chic) who was a state series star at two who won six legs. So far this year she has won only one of those races and it was her very first start of the year. Since then, Vivians Dream has been racing well and is currently fourth for earnings and points among this group, but she has not been able to find the winner’s circle again since May. She finished second to Southwind Bella Last week at Yonkers and looks to be the main rival again this week.

Jim Morrill Jr. picks up the lines for this start for trainer Kevin Lare.

There are also two $20,000 NYSS Excelsior divisions on the program and those splits will be contested in races six and seven. The NYSS main events are carded as races eight and 10. 

Free full card past performance programs for every live card of racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website ( under the “Live Racing” tab and all the racing action can be viewed as it happens for free at the Batavia Downs Live Facebook page

BHS grad and aspiring sports broadcaster encouraged by ESPN legend at Jim Kelly Classic

By Howard B. Owens
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Jim Kelly welcomes golfers to the annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic at Terry Hills in Batavia.
Photo by Howard Owens.

After Jim Kelly, the Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer and host of the annual tournament at Terry Hills that bears his name, the celebrity who invariably gets the most attention upon his arrival year after year is sports broadcasting legend Chris Berman. 

On Monday, after local businessman Russ Romano introduced him, Berman took extra time to talk with Griffin Della Penna, a Batavia High School graduate now working on his Master's degree in broadcasting and digital media at Syracuse University. 

Della Penna said Berman was his earliest inspiration.

"I’ll never forget watching Sportscenter for the first time with my dad when I was six years old, and Chris Berman was on the screen," Della Penna told The Batavian. "I loved his passion and how you could tell that he genuinely loved his job. Since that day, I’ve admired him, and he ignited a dream of being in his shoes someday."

It was Della Penna's first time meeting Berman, though he had hoped to meet him last year.

"For years, I’ve known that he’s been to the tournament and spent time in Western New York, but our paths never crossed," Della Penna said. "I worked the tournament last year and was bummed to know that he wasn’t going to be in attendance. To be able to meet one of my heroes today is something that I’ll never forget. While people are coming up to him telling him where to go for registration or to sign autographs, he politely told them to wait because he wanted to learn more about me and my broadcasting journey! That was the best feeling in the world when he asked me about my time at Canisius and how my program at Syracuse has been so far. He asked how much I love this profession, and he had a huge grin when I told him, 'this isn’t work to me because I’m so passionate about it.' He told me how he had that same mentality with his first job at a small market in Rhode Island and carried that into his big break at ESPN. At the end of our conversation, I told him how much it meant to me to talk to me, and he said, 'I look forward to hearing you when you make it big, Griffin.'”

In addition to a stint as "The Voice of the Muckdogs," Della Penna has held down various internships and freelance sports journalism gigs while attending Canisius. He's also received a couple of awards and scholarships while in college.

Berman, along with the other sports stars and celebrities in attendance, was at Terry Hills for the annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic, which is a fundraiser for the Kelly for Kids Foundation. The foundation provides grants to assist disadvantaged and disabled youth in Western New York.

sports broadcasting legend Chris Berman and griffin della penna
Griffin Della Penna poses with ESPN sports broadcasting legend Chris Berman.
Photo by Howard Owens.
sports broadcasting legend Chris Berman and griffin della penna
Chris Berman speaking with Griffin Della Penna.
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Thurman Thomas arriving at Terry Hills.
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Former Pro Bowler receiver Gerald McNeil at the autograph table.
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Kato Kaelin, with his wife Shengyi Xue, waits to step up to the autograph table behind Scott Norwood and Willie "Hutch" Jones. Jones is a former NBA player born in Buffalo who now runs the Willie Hutch Jones Sports and Education Program, a non-profit in Buffalo. Norwood is a former Bills kicker. Xue is a model and actress. And Kaelin, is, well, Kato Kaelin. 
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Johnny Damon, former star centerfielder with the Oakland As, Boston Red Sox, and New York Yankees, at the autograph table. Russ Romano on the left.
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Johnny Damon with WBTA's Nici Johnson.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Batavia Downs features go to Lougazi and Villiam

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of Villiam courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery.

A stout Saturday night (August 12) card at Batavia Downs was highlighted by a pair of $15,000 Open Handicap races that were divided by gait, and the winner of each needed a season’s best effort to get the job done.

In the top trot, Lougazi started slow but finished fast to take the winner’s share of the purse. 

Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) got away sixth while Johnny Boy (Kevin Cummings) wrestled with Dewanslittlelorie (Joe Chindano Jr.) for a good portion of the mile. While Mr. Contestant (Keith Kash Jr.) watched the mayhem from the pocket, Lougazi and Dewanslittlelorie matched strides through quarters of :27.4, :57 and 1:26.1 with no one cutting any slack. At that three-quarter mark, Lougazi was out and rolling fourth, while also going three-deep around the fading Dewanslittlelorie. As they made their way around the last turn Johnny Boy continued to trot in command, but his lead was diminishing as they reached the top of the stretch. Johnny Boy had Mr. Contestant closed along the pylons, but Lougazi was also trotting up a storm in the middle of the track and blew past them both to win by one-half length in 1:56.4. 

It was the 55th lifetime win for Lougazi ($6.10) who is owned by Mary Warriner and trained by Ryan Swift. 

Fisher led all drivers on Saturday with three wins while Swift was the top trainer after claiming two victories of her own.

Then in the premier pace, Villiam got his second straight win after a hard-fought battle. 

Villiam (Joe Chindano Jr.) tucked away fourth as Sporty Deal (Keith Kash Jr.) parked out Soul Assassin (Jim Morrill Jr.) right off the bat. In a heated duel, Sporty Deal and Assassin went at it in :28, :56.3 and 1:25.1 before Villiam went three-deep around them, and The Longest Yard (Kevin Cummings) went four-wide around Villiam. While pacing through the fourth bend, Villiam, and The Longest Yard overtook the top two positions and broke away from the pack before Villiam gave The Longest Yard the slip at the top of the stretch. Then under a highly animated drive by Chindao, Villiam paced away to a 1-½ length victory in 1:53.3.

Villiam ($17.40) got his sixth win of the year for owner Anthony Evgenikos. Chindano also trains the winner.   

Chindano had two driving wins during the proceedings on Saturday along with Jim McNeight Jr. and Jim Morrill Jr. 

When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (August 16) at 6 p.m. there will be a $3,385 carryover in the Jackpot Hi-5 pentafecta in the 15th race. Also on Wednesday, two divisions of the New York Sire Stake 3-year-old filly pacers will be on hand to compete for a total purse of $114,000.  

Free full past performance programs for every live card of racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website ( under the “Live Racing” tab and all the racing action can be viewed as it happens for free at the Batavia Downs Live Facebook page.

Photo of Lougazi courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery.

Donna P. Warner, who was a member of the founding family of Batavia Downs, passed away August 5 at the age of 86

By Tim Bojarski

Ms. Warner lived a full and diverse life. Born on March 3, 1937 to her parents Pat E. Provenzano and Barbara Hetzler Provenzano, she joined her sister Barbara in completing their special family that spent most of their lives at the family homestead at 714 Seneca Parkway in Rochester.

Her father Pat was one of the original founders of Batavia Downs in 1940, which continues to operate as the oldest lighted harness track in North America. Ms. Warner became involved in the track in the early 1980’s and became much more involved with her sister, Barbara Samberg, after the Provenzano family took over complete ownership from 1984 through 1997. One of the many highlights during that time was being awarded a Breeders Crown race in 1988.

Ms. Warner enjoyed raising her children, nieces, and nephews and watching them become involved in harness racing in all different aspects of the day-to-day operations. Her son Eric Warner is still involved and currently serves as the Senior Director of Racing at Monticello Raceway.

Ms. Warner had many interests and hobbies. She loved her friends and family unconditionally and there were no strangers to her. She was always willing to step up by volunteering for many different agencies and was a member of many different committees. Her faith was always front and center and she always led by example, never afraid to share her opinions or input.

Prior to her involvement in racing but after her children were older, Ms. Warner enrolled at the Isabella Graham Hart School of Nursing. This was her way of comforting people at their worst times. There she made lifelong friends with co-workers and patients that she had met through her years at Rochester General Hospital. Later in her career, she worked in private practice with Dr. Brenda Ianucci and Dr. Holly Garber.

Ms. Warner was a dear friend to the Sisters of St. Joseph her entire life and was on a first-name basis to many of their congregation there as she was on the medical staff at their Motherhouse. She was also a dear friend to Nazareth Academy where her mom, daughters, and granddaughters all graduated from and served as president of their alumni association for many years.

Aside from all that she accomplished during her life, Ms. Warner’s proudest achievement was that of motherhood. She taught her kids to be unselfish, caring, and loving. She led by example by volunteering at homeless shelters and by opening her home and heart to any and all. Her kids, grandkids, great grandkids, nieces, and nephews always came first. She was a great friend to many and will be missed dearly.

Ms. Warner was predeceased by her parents, Pat and Barbara Provenzano, sister and brother-in-law Barbara and Jim Samberg, and son Gary and daughter-in-law Mary Beth Warner. She is survived by children Melissa Warner of California, Amy (Carl) Munding, Julie Miller, David (Gayle Steele), and Eric (Julie Poli); 9 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Calling hours will be held 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, August 17 at Farrell-Ryan Funeral & Cremation Services located at 777 Long Pond Road, Rochester, New York. A memorial mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 18th at St. Theodore's Church, 168 Spencerport Road, Rochester, New York.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Sisters of St. Joseph and sent to the office of Admission Advancement in care of Dawn Gruba in memory of Donna Warner, 150 French Road Rochester, NY 14618.

Kevin Cummings scores a six pack at Batavia Downs

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of Imprincessgemma A courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery.

Batavia Downs winningest driver of 2022 is on a mission to repeat this year and Kevin Cummings substantially added to his numbers on Wednesday night (August 9) by winning six races on the card including a natural hat trick right out of the box in races one, two and three. 

The biggest win of the six came in the featured $15,000 fillies and mares Open Handicap pace where after coming up short in her first two tries at the Downs this season, Imprincessgemma A finally closed the deal.

Similar to her initial pair of outings, Imprincessgemma A was sent to the front by Cummings and then led for the duration. After getting to the half in a pedestrian:58.2, Imprincessgemma A was met by a challenge from Bet I’m Lucky (Jim McNeight Jr.) who came first-over from fourth and was only a length behind the leader in the breeze at three-quarters. But that was as close as Bet I’m Lucky would get because Imprincessgemma A was on a mission and pulled away to an easy 1-¾ length victory 1:55.2. 

Imprincessgemma A ($4.80) got her seventh win of the year for owner Elite Harness Racing and trainer Shawn McDonough. 

Cummings also won with Sevenare (1:58.1, $3.30), R U Talkin (1:56.3, $4.40), St Lads Maggie Mae (1:56.1, $3.70), Alexander Hanover (2:01.2, $13.40) and Xenia’s Chip (1:55.1, $2.70). 

The co-feature on Wednesday’s card was an $11,500 conditioned pace for distaff competitors that saw American Jazz trip out to victory. 

American Jazz (Denny Bucceri) got away in the garden spot as Carbon Cider (Joe Chindano Jr.) and Center Attraction (Jim McNeight Jr.) would battle side-by-side the entire mile. The pair bickered through fractions of :27, :56.2 and 1:25.3 at three-quarters where Mcdelicacy (Kevin Cummings joined the fun three-deep. American Jazz continued to follow the wall of three around the last turn and into the stretch where the passing lane opened up like the Red Sea, allowing American Jazz a clear and direct path to victory. Bucceri simply steered the mare along the cones to a 1:55.3, three-quarter length victory. 

American Jazz ($11.00) is owned by Julie Wagonblott and is trained by Joe Alba. 

When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (August 12) at 6 p.m. there will be a $2,430 carryover in the Jackpot Hi-5 pentafecta in the 13th race. 

Free full card past performance programs for every live card of racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website ( under the “Live Racing” tab and all the racing action can be viewed as it happens for free at the Batavia Downs Live Facebook page.

Photo of American Jazz courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery.

Metal Man was golden in $119,800 NYSS at Batavia

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of Metal Man courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery

An early move by driver Jim Morrill Jr. put Metal Man in the perfect spot to win the lone $119,800 division of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Batavia Downs on Tuesday night (August 8). 

Hurrikane Hunter (Joe Chindano Jr.) grabbed the front off the gate and sped to the quarter in :27.3. But the lead was about to change as Metal Man charged hard from fourth in the turn and got to the top as they passed the grandstand at the half. Metal Man was well in gear and opened up a 1-¾ length lead heading to three-quarters as Duval Street (Jason Bartlett) moved into second outside of Hurrikane Hunter and It’s A Me Mario (Lauren Tritton) became a player three-deep around them both. Metal Man extended his lead to three lengths at the top of the stretch, but It’s A Me Mario was cutting into the deficit. As they headed down the lane, It’s A Me Mario could only get close to Metal Man, who cruised to the wire well in control and won in 1:53.

It was the first NYSS win, albeit the fifth overall this year for Metal Man ($4.60) who is owned by Fiddlers Creek Stable and trained by Travis Alexander.  

Morrill ended the night with two wins on the card. 

There were also three $20,000 NYSS Excelsior races on the card. The first was won by Storm The Court (Huntsville-Soft Wind Hanover) in 1:54.1 for driver Jason Bartlett, trainer Mark Silva and owner Dune Road Stables. The second went to Heisonthehunt (Huntsville-Hot Lemonade) in 1:56.1 for driver Jordan Stratton, trainer Claude Huckabone III and owner James Crawford IV. And the third was won by Bullville Stephano (Artiscape-Bullvillestephanie) in 1:54.4 for driver Jason Bartlett, trainer Steve Crevani and owner Crevani Farms. 

When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 9) at 6 p.m. there will be a $2,125 carryover in the Jackpot Hi-5 pentafecta in the 13th race. 

Free full past performance programs for every live card of racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website ( under the “Live Racing” tab and all the racing action can be viewed as it happens for free at the Batavia Downs Live Facebook page.

NYSS glamour division at Batavia Tuesday for $119,800

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of It’s A Me Mario courtesy of Ken Weingartner.

The most anticipated division of New York Sire Stake horses will be at Batavia Downs on Tuesday (August 8). That’s when the 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings will assemble for one, $119,800 dash that headlines a 14-race card beginning at 6 p.m. 

The track handicapper has given the nod to Metal Man as the early choice, a horse that has shown some great speed this year, but also inconsistency. 

Metal Man (Huntsville-Apple Delight) was unraced at two, but started his 3-year-old season a winner in an overnight at the Meadowlands in 1:52.3. In his next start he broke and then was subsequently scratched in back-to-back races. He qualified back after five weeks off and then won back to back overnight races at Yonkers, one in 1:52.4 over the hilltop half mile. Since that time he has made consecutive breaks again and was forced to qualify on July 12. He just won his last outing in another overnight at Yonkers in 1:53.2, but he has yet to win a NYSS event. 

Jim Morrill Jr. will be up behind Metal Man for the first time for trainer Travis Alexander and has drawn post five. 

It’s A Me Mario (American Ideal-Nf Salsa) is one of only two horses in this race that has won a NYSS event this year and has already faced the best 3-year-olds in the country. After starting the year with four straight wins at Yonkers, It’s A Me Mario won his first NYSS event at Vernon in a lifetime best 1:49.4 effort to run his streak to five. He then headed to the Grand Circuit and had some bad draw and racing luck. In the Messenger at Yonkers he drew post seven and was 11-¼ lengths off the leader at the quarter before taking air for almost the rest of the mile. Then in the Meadowlands Pace elimination, he drew post seven again but was able to finish a very impressive third, timed in 1:48.3. Then in that final, It’s A Me Mario drew post eight, was tenth at the half and chased an impossible :52.2 back half and :25.4 last quarter set by Confederate. His next outing was a NYSS race at Monticello where he drew post seven and was interfered with before the quarter, but still was able to grab a check. 

He still drew post six in here, but It’s A Me Mario looks for some better racing luck this week for driver Lauren Tritton who will steer for trainer Shane Tritton.  

The other NYSS winner from this year is Duval Street (Huntsville-Native Bride) who got that 1:52.4 tally at Saratoga on June 24, but that wasn’t his best outing of the season. Duval Street has a pair of 1:50.2 victories; one at the Meadows in a 7-½ length romp and one at Mohegan Sun Pocono. He finished third in his last two starts, which were both NYSS events, behind Thunder Hunter Joe and Storm The Court, neither of which are entered here this week. His versatility allows him to either leave or race from behind, giving him a big advantage if the inside speed develops early. 

Regular driver Jason Bartlett is back behind Duval Street for trainer Ed Hart and they will start from post three. 

There are also three $20,000 NYSS Excelsior divisions on the program and those splits will be contested in races six, seven, and eight. The NYSS main event is carded as race 10. 

Free full past performance programs for every live card of racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website ( under the “Live Racing” tab and all the racing action can be viewed as it happens for free at the Batavia Downs Live Facebook page.

Chindano stars in Batavia double feature

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of Dewanslittlelorie courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery.

The Batavia Downs spotlight shone brightly on Joe Chindano Jr. Saturday night (August 5) as he trained and drove the winners of both weekly features while producing one record-breaking performance in the process.

First, in the $15,000 Open, I trot, Chindano won with Dewanslittlelorie, who was the lone mare in the race that showed up the boys as she went gate to wire in track record time. 

Dewanslittlelorie had little trouble grabbing the lead from post two and cruised in command to the quarter in :28 flat. As Con Air Hall (Jim Morrill Jr.) tracked from the garden spot, Johnny Boy (Kevin Cummings) mounted an outside attack from fourth at the half and pushed the three-quarters to 1:25.3. But that didn’t put a crimp in Dewanslittlelorie’s plans as she rebuffed the challenge before she rounded the last turn. Dewanslittlelorie entered the lane comfortably on top and stretched out to a 2-¼ length margin of victory in 1:55.2. 

The winning time established a new Batavia Downs track record for an aged trotting mare (1:56.1).

It was the third win in the last four starts and the fifth win overall this year for Dewanslittlelorie ($5.30) who is owned by Fox Racing and RBH Ventures. 

Then in the $15,000 Open I Handicap pace, Chindano lit up the board with Villiam, who brushed late to victory in a thrilling finish. 

Villiam got away seventh and trailed the leading Mark Witha K (Todd Cummings) by 11-¼ lengths at the quarter. While Out On Bail (Jim Morrill Jr.) followed closely in second, Mark Witha K paced sharply on the point to the half where Rally Your Crew (Denny Bucceri) made a first-over bid with Villiam following loosely behind in the breeze. Rally Your Crew’s bid fell apart midway up the backstretch, forcing Villiam three-deep before the three-quarters. As the group passed that station, Mark Witha K was still in command by over a length while Out On Bail tipped out, forcing Villiam three-deep again. Heading for the line, Mark Witha K was still the one to catch and Villiam was the one to do it, as he flew down the track and tripped the beam first in 1:54.3 in a seasonal best effort. 

It was also the fifth win of the year for Villiam ($20.20) and owner Anthony Evgenikos.

Jim Morrill Jr. and Dave McNeight III both had driving triples on Saturday. 

When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Tuesday (Aug. 8) at 6 p.m., there will be a $1,662 carryover in the Jackpot Hi-5 pentafecta in the 14th race. Also on Tuesday, the New York Sire Stakes will be back in town featuring the 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings going one division for a hefty purse of $119,800. 

Free full card past performance programs for every live card of racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website ( under the “Live Racing” tab and all the racing action can be viewed as it happens for free at the Batavia Downs Live Facebook page.

Photo of Villiam courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery.

Edge Softball hosting tryouts starting Monday at BHS

By Howard B. Owens

The Edge Softball Travel Team is holding tryouts starting Aug. 7 at Batavia High School.

Tryout times are 6 to 6:30 p.m. for pitchers and catchers, 6:30 to 8 p.m. for all other positions.

Registration begins 15 minutes prior to tryout.


  • Aug. 7, 16u and 18u
  • Aug. 8, 12u and 14u
  • Aug. 9, 16u and 18u
  • Aug. 10, 12u & 14u.

For pre-registration text or email Coach Brian Mruczek, [email protected] or 585-993*1170. Please include the player's name, date of birth, contact information, and position.

Sign ups open for seven-on-seven flag football tournament

By Howard B. Owens

Seven-on-seven flag football returns to Batavia on Aug. 27 for a cash-prize tournament for teams of seven to 13 players.

The tournament is being organized by Ray Williams, Thomas Ognibene, and Noah Talone.

Team sign-ups are being accepted up until the week of the tournament, and the cost is $650 per team.

The total cash prize for the winning team will be announced once organizers know how many teams are participating.  In the past, the first-place prize has been $2,500.

Participants receive a team shirt.

For more information, call Ray at 585-356-5956, Thomas at 585-297-9409, or Noah at 585-813-8733.

Notre Dame HS Sports Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2023

By Press Release

Press Release:

Notre Dame High School is proud to announce its 2023 Sports Hall of Fame Class. The Induction program will be held on Saturday, November 18 on the Notre Dame campus.

The program will begin with a social hour and dinner with the Induction recognition portion to follow.

Inductees to be honored on November 18, 2023 are:

  • Jimmy Fanara '67 Coach & Contributor
  • John Borrelli '86 Athlete
  • Jeff “Bingo” Messina '87 Athlete
  • Margaret Dwyer Niedzwiecki '88 Athlete
  • Carolyn Dwyer Babcock '91 Athlete
  • Maura Flynn Sprague '00 Athlete
  • 1999 NYSPHSAA NYS and NYS Federation Girls Basketball State Championship Team

Ticket information for the November 18th Induction Program will be announced shortly.

Thursday's GLOW Corporate Cup expected to push cumulative donations to more than $200K for YMCA

By Howard B. Owens
GLOW cup steve tufts
GLOW Corporate Cup organizer Steve Tufts last week with the Corporate Cup at the official Genesee County Fair's Media Center.
Photo by Howard Owens.

When the runners take the line today for the 10th GLOW Corporate Cup at Centennial Park Thursday evening, at least a dozen of the participants will share the rare distinction of being the only ones to take to the track every year of the event.

That will make them part of a fundraiser that will surpass this year's $200,000 in cumulative donations to the GLOW YMCA since 2014.

Close to 800 runners and walkers are expected to complete the 5K track, said race organizer Steve Tufts.

Tufts has organized the race since the first year, because Merrill Lynch office partner John Riter approached him about organizing a corporate challenge style 5K more than a decade ago.  Riter came to Tufts because Tufts had experience laying out courses and ensuring they obtain 5K certification.

"The thing that makes the GLOW Cup unique is we entertain people," Tufts said. "We bring live music. This year it's Groove, a local band, and it's always a local band, and most of the teams bring their own food, have it catered, or cook right on site. It's like a corporate picnic built right into Centennial Park."

A twist this year to the race is the "couples challenge," or as it's known at the Corporate Cup, the "CUPles Challenge." The three married couples with the lowest cumulative times will win prizes, with a random drawing prize that all couples, regardless of time, are eligible to win.

Tufts said some smaller companies now use the Corporate Cup as their company's annual picnic, saving the expense of doing a separate event. One local company used to set up their own horseshoe pits each year.

"It's different things to different people," Tufts told The Batavian last week while visiting the Media Center at the Genesee County Fair. "But I think the thing that makes it successful is it's the GLOW region, and people do enjoy a night where they're not heading all the way over to the Rochester or Buffalo areas. This is in our back yard. From a runner's perspective, people do like the course because it's super fast. It is accurate. It's a certified course, which means it's an accurate distance, but it's not eligible for World Records, I'm sorry to say, because it's got a little bit too much down elevation for the distance. That is because we start out by the Blind School, and it goes down the hill down to Northside Deli and then turns left, and then it's pretty flat after that. So, just a little bit too much down for USA Track and Field Conference."

The certification expires in 2024, so Tufts plans to alter the course to start closer to State Street and end the race further up Ellicott Avenue, which should solve the elevation problem, just in case anybody wants to try and set a world record for his or age bracket.

Merrill Lynch chose the GLOW YMCA because the Y, like the Batavia Merrill Lynch office, serves the entire GLOW region.

The bonus is, the Y comes with a built-in set of volunteers.

"Right now, I'd say I wouldn't want it any other way," Tufts said. "I'm not sure how long I would get 70 people out on my course keeping people safe (without the Y). So it's been a great partnership."

Corporate sponsors help cover event expenses, which ensures all of the $25 entry fees go to the Y, Tufts said. Because of corporate sponsors, the organizers have been able to maintain the $25 entry fee, so it remains affordable for small businesses and individuals.

In the first year of the race, Tufts said they were expecting about 350 participants. They had more than 400.  It went up every year until more than 800 in 2019, the last race before the pandemic. There was no race in 2020, and in 2021 numbers were down.  In 2021, there were more than 700 again, but Tufts doesn't expect to exceed 800 this year because race participation across the nation, he said, is down since the pandemic.

The event has drawn a lot of sponsor support this year, and with anticipated participation from runners and walkers, Tufts expects to raise more than $25,000 for the Y this year, stopping the 2019 record of $23,005.

Last year was the second-best year at $22,963.

Going into this year, the cumulative total was nearly $180,000 raised.

The race starts at 6 p.m. today (Thursday).

Batavia hosts NYSS frosh filly pacers Wednesday

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of Camerican courtesy of Mike Lizzi

For the second consecutive day, the New York Sire Stakes will set up shop at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (August 2) when the 2-year-old pacing fillies come to town. There are two divisions sporting short and evenly matched fields that will go postward for a total of $110,100 in purses. 

The first group will compete for $54,100 and feature three-morning line co-favorites. 

Camerican (American Ideal-Camille) is the top points and earnings filly of this division and comes in off a big effort in a NYSS event at Yonkers Raceway where she took her lifetime mark of 1:55.2. She has two wins and two seconds in four lifetime starts and has flashed some good finishing speed for trainer Ron Burke. Jordan Stratton is in the bike, starting from post three. 

Similarly, Delightville (Huntsville-D D Delightful) has also won in a lifetime best of 1:55.3 at Yonkers last week and has two wins this year as well, justifying her co-favorite status here. Matt Kakaley will steer for Travis Alexander from post one.  

Also in the mix is Peace Talks (American Ideal-Triple V Hanover) who got her initial career win at Yonkers last week while easily pulling away by 3-1/4 lengths in 1:56. She has not missed the board in three starts and drew well for this start with post two. Jason Bartlett will drive for trainer Chris Ryder.  

The second division is a five-horse field with a purse of $56,000. 

Bronx Barista (Huntsville-Apricot Sour) started her year with two wins before a disappointing finish in her last outing at Yonkers, where she finished a distant sixth. The filly qualified at the Meadowlands three days later in a sparkling 1:52.1 mile with a fast last quarter of :26.4. This will be her third start in the last eight days. Mark Macdonald will drive from post four for trainer Ray Schnittker.

Blue Point (Huntsville-Amber Blue Chip) has a win and two seconds this year, all in NYSS action, with her only board miss after an unfortunate break three starts ago. That seemed to be an anomaly as she has since taken a lifetime mark of 1:54.3 at Saratoga. Blue Point is sure to get a lot of consideration here as Jason Bartlett will steer from post five for trainer Ed Hart.  

So Well Dressed (So Surreal-Gotmyreddressontnit) currently sits second for both points and earnings in this division behind Camerican, after winning her first two NYSS events of the year. She has not had the best racing luck since then but still finished an impressive third in her last outing. She drew post two and driver Jim Morrill Jr. will steer for trainer Chuck Connor Jr. 

There are also four $20,000 NYSS Excelsior divisions in the program and those splits are in races six, seven, eight, and nine. The NYSS races are carded as races 10 and 11. Post time for the first race on Tuesday is 6 p.m.

Boston Rocks at Batavia with NYSS win

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of Boston Rocks courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery

Overcoming an untimely break that may have cost him his third straight win last week, Boston Rocks (Boston Red Rocks-Scirocco Sarah) got back on track and proved to be the best 2-year-old pacing colt this week after winning the $106,300 New York Sire Stakes at Batavia Downs on Tuesday night (August 1). 

Jason Bartlet left four-deep into the first turn with Boston Rocks and continued to take air up the backside before crossing over before the quarter. Immediately, Avenger Force (Matt Kakaley) took the lead from him and tripped the timer in :28 flat. These two pulled away from the field by two lengths heading to the half. It was there that Howlenthehills (Kyle Cummings) joined the fray as they spun through turn three. 

Avenger Force and Howlenthehills paced side by side to three-quarters while Boston Rocks continued to trip out along the pylons. In the turn, Howlenthehills bid fell apart, giving a clear lane for Boston Rocks to make his move in the lane. Bartlett tipped Boston Rocks, and he came flying at Avenger Force and paced right by him to take the lead and the win by a length in 1:54.3. 

Boston Rocks ($10.60) third win of the year was a huge payday of $53,150, and it pushed his lifetime earnings to $125,685 for owners/breeders Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Mike Deters was the winning trainer. 

Bartlett ended the night with a driving hat trick. 

There were also three $20,000 NYSS Excelsior races on the card. The first was won by Heave Away (American Ideal-Use Your Noodle) in 1:56.3 for driver Drew Monti, trainer Stephen Doyle and owner Walter Walker. The second went to Escape To America (American Ideal-Flirtiscape) in 1:55.4 for driver Jason Bartlett, trainer Debbie Daguet and owners John Darrah and Lawrence Keethe. And the third was won by Spectacular Plus (Huntsville-Spectaculardelight) in 1:56.1 for driver Kevin Cummings and trainer Gary Messenger who co-owns with Ken Weckstein. 

Cummings had a grand slam in the sulky Tuesday. 

When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (August 2) at 6 p.m. there will be a $861 carryover in the Jackpot Hi-5 pentafecta in the 15th race. 

Free full card past performance programs for every live card of racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website ( under the “Live Racing” tab and all the racing action can be viewed as it happens for free at the Batavia Downs Live Facebook page. 

Cummings, Morrill and Smith score big at Batavia Downs

By Tim Bojarski

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Wins were coming fast and furious for three top horsemen at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (July 29) and some impressive performances were put in by the horses they scored with. 

Driver Kevin Cummings had a natural grand slam, winning races six, seven, eight, and nine that included both $15,000 Open I features. 

In the top trot, Cummings drove Special Prosecutor from post four and traded leads with Dewanslittlelorie (Joe Chindano Jr.) to the quarter before settling in second behind that one at the quarter. Special Prosecutor took the pocket trip to three-quarters and made his move in the last turn. Cummings tipped Special Prosecutor on Dewanslittlelorie and grabbed the front at the top of the stretch. From there he trotted strong through the lane and held off a fast-closing Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) to win by one-half length in 1:57.1.

The first start since June 3rd for Special Prosecutor ($7.80) turned into his fifth win of the year for owners Philip Hale and David Dewhurst, who also trains the winner. 

Then Cummings took the feature pace with The Longest Yard who finished in impressive style. After getting away six off the gate, Cummings followed early cover from Idealthecards (Kyle Cummings) who was out and rolling past the three-eighths. The top four maintained their positions around turn two and until halfway up the backstretch where The Longest Yard swung three-wide as they approached three-quarters and cleared before they got to the final bend. Cummings then let The Longest Yard roll into the stretch and he pulled away by 4-½ lengths in 1:53.2. 

It was the second win of the year for The Longest Yard ($7.90) which was recently acquired by current owner Mike Torcello. Sam Smith was the winning trainer.

Cummings completed his consecutive four-bagger with Johnny Boy (1:58.4, $9.10) and Stranger Things (1:55.2, $2.60).

Torcello and Smith saw a total of four from their stable win during the evening. Besides The Longest Yard they added Johnny Boy, Sportskeeper (1:55.2, $3.00) and Ys Lotus (1:53.4, $5.40).

Jim Morrill Jr. also had a hot hand on the lines as he drove four winners on the card as well. He had pictures taken with Da Boogie Man (1:58, $4.40), Northern Sportsman (1:56, $3.70) and the afformentioned Sportskeeper and Ys Lotus. 

When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Tuesday (August 1) at 6 p.m. there will be a $432 carryover in the Jackpot Hi-5 pentafecta in the 14th race. Tuesday also features the New York Sire Stakes and Excelsior 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings who will be on hand to compete for a total purse of $166,300.

Free full card past performance programs for every live card of racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website ( under the “Live Racing” tab and all the racing action can be viewed as it happens for free at the Batavia Downs Live Facebook page. 

Photos courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery

Doubledays score four runs late to sneak past Batavia in first-round playoff game

By Howard B. Owens
muckdogs final 2023

The Auburn Doubledays erased a two-run deficit with two-run rallies in the seventh and eight innings on Sunday to beat Batavia in a first-round playoff game at Dwyer Stadium, 4-2.

Ryan Kinney, who has been perhaps the Muckdogs ' best starter of 2023, took the loss, going 6 1/3 inning, giving up four earned runs and six hits. He had not previously surrendered more than two earned runs and three hits in a game.  He finishes the season at 4-1. His season ERA doubled after today's loss, from 0.84 to 1.64.

The Muckdogs scored both of their runs in the second inning.  Kyle Hetherington reached first on an error after striking out. Matt DeStefano followed with a double to right, scoring Hetherington. Trey Bacon singled. Chad Falcon reached first on an error by the first baseman, and DeStefano scored.

But with Auburn's rallies, the season came to an unexpected early end for the Western Division's #1 seed/

Photos by Nick Serrata.

muckdogs final 2023
muckdogs final 2023
muckdogs final 2023
muckdogs final 2023

Muckdogs repeat as Western Division champions

By Howard B. Owens

With a convincing win over Niagara Power on Saturday and loss by Elmira, the Batavia Muckdogs clinched the Western Division in the regular season finale at Dwyer Stadium.

Batavia won 9-2.

This is the second consecutive Western Division crown of the Muckdogs, coming in their third season in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. The team has posted winning records in all three seasons while being managed by Joey Martinez.

Michael Pedraza came on in relief with one out in the fourth inning with Batavia up 6-0 and got credit for the win. Pedraza went 3 2/3 innings, giving up three hits, one run, and striking out four.  He finishes the regular season at 4-2 and a 3.85 ERA.

Hilton resident Preston Prince started, going 4 1/3 innings, surrendering three hits, five walks and one unearned run.

Caleb Rodriguez went 2-3 for the team's only multi-hit game.

Matt DeStefano, from Westbury, went 1-4 and drove in four runs.  DeStefano ends the regular season with a .321 average, smacking 21 hits and driving in 13 runs while gathering 11 walks.

The playoffs for the Muckdogs (27-16) start at Dwyer Stadium this evening (Sunday) against the Auburn Doubledays (23-19), who knocked off Elmira on Saturday, to help Batavia get the #1 seed in the Western Division postseason.

Muckdogs spilt twin bill, division crown on the line in season finale

By Howard B. Owens

The Batavia Muckdogs close out the regular season at Dwyer Stadium tonight with a chance to repeat as Western Division champions on the line.

Trailing the Elmira Pioneers by mere percentage points, the Muckdogs need a win against Niagara Power after a doubleheader split on Friday against Newark.

Batavia won the first game 2-0 behind the pitching of Rijnaldo Euson and Garrett Beaver.

Euson tossed six innings of shutout ball, scattering five hits and fanning eight. Euson finishes the regular season with a record of 3-1 and an ERA of 2.48. He amassed 35 strikeouts.

Beaver picked up his second save in 12 relief appearances. He's 3-0 with a 1.22 ERA.

Lucas Lopez reached base three times, twice on a walk and once with a hit in three plate appearances.

Newark took the second game 4-2.

For Batavia, Lopez was 2 for 3 and Kyle Hetherington went 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

The Muckdogs are 26-16 and Elmira is 27-16.

Tom Tucker enjoys teaching area kids to learn and love golf at Batavia Country Club

By Howard B. Owens
tom tucker golf Batavia country club 2023

The best part of teaching golf to a bunch of kids is seeing how much fun they had, said local Pro Tom Tucker.

About a dozen years ago, Tucker founded the Batavia Country Club Junior Golf Camp.

"I like seeing the kids have fun, and every once in a while, we have somebody who really has some golf DNA in them, and it's fun watching them progress as golfers," Tucker said. "And I like being with the kids. It helps keep me young."

Tucker has been a United States Golf Teachers Federation certified instructor since 2005. He's been listed as a Top 100 teaching pro by the World Golf Teaching Federation since 2010.

The annual summer camp is broken into two groups.  This week the camp is filled to capacity -- 25 students -- with 7 to 10-year-olds.  Next week, the 12 to 15-year-old group arrives at Batavia Country Club.

Each group gets a week of instruction, practice and competition, with a tournament on Friday.

For the younger students, the focus is more on ensuring the kids learn to enjoy the game of golf while older students are given a bit more instruction.  Both groups compete in chipping, pitching, lag putting, accuracy putting, and drives. The winners of each competition receive a medal. 

"We've produced a lot of good golfers," Tucker said.  Some students have gone on to play for their high school teams, Tucker said.

Tucker, this year is assisted by Roxanne Noth and Dominic NiCastro.

For more information on the golf camp and photos from past years, visit

Photos by Howard Owens

tom tucker golf Batavia country club 2023
tom tucker golf Batavia country club 2023
tom tucker golf Batavia country club 2023
tom tucker golf Batavia country club 2023
tom tucker golf Batavia country club 2023
tom tucker golf Batavia country club 2023
tom tucker golf Batavia country club 2023

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