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Running notebook: Bulldog sets a goal

     Before getting to the schedule, a couple of notes:

    * Chris "The Bulldog" Parker of WGR Radio is running the Buffalo half-marathon later this month. He syas it's part of the Endurance for Hope Challenge. Runners can either sign up to help raise money, or people can cansimple donate. Chris says he has covered the distance while training but hasn't done it in an official race. Good luck to him; here's the link to the website.

   * Our thoughts to out to the family of local runner Tim Oehmler, who recently passed away. Tim was a member of the Checkers Running Club.

   Now for the weekend calendar, courtesy of buffalorunners.com:

   * Holland Tulip Festival 5K, Holland Speedway, 9 a.m. Saturday, 537-2264. I've always wanted to try this one, running on the surface of the track at the finish.

   * Heritage Centers Foundation 5K, 101 Oak St. in Buffalo, 10 a.m. Saturday, 856-4202 x228. The organizers have been doing a nice job on this one for years.

   * Stella B. Foundation 5K, 727 Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo, 11:30 a.m. Sunday, 238-1639. I did this race last year. As I recall, it had some growing pains with a relatively late start downtown on a Sunday morning. But they are back after learning some lessons, and it's a good cause.

--- Budd Bailey 

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: A great start

   May 12, 1895 -- If you only attended one game in your baseball-watching life, you would have sworn that Billy Bottenus was headed for a Hall of Fame … and not just the one inside Coca-Coca Field to mark great Buffalo baseball performers.

   The one day in question was in Franklin Park (Genesee and Barthel, if you're looking), and Bottenus had an Opening Day to remember. It would have been good any day, but it particularly good to start the season.

   Bottenus has four homers in the game. It was a Bisons record then, and it's a Bisons record more than 110 years later. He also drove in 12 runs as Buffalo beat Wilkes-Barre, 18-13. Imagine what he could have done had the game not been shortened by cold.

   Bottenus, who was born in Buffalo, never made it to the majors. He was a veteran, though, playing in the minors at least through the age of 41. Four of his nine homers in 1895 came in that one game.

   As for the season, Buffalo finished a mediocre 63-61. The Bisons were accused of throwing a final game to help Springfield in the regular season, but the charge didn't stick ... and Springfield still won the International League title that season.

--- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Destroyed

    May 11, 2003 -- Endings are always sad, and fans of the Buffalo Destroyers eventually had two reasons to be sad about the game the team played on this particular date.

   The Destroyers lost a 49-30 decision to the New York Dragons. That left the team with a 5-10 record, and meant it would not take part in the playoffs that year.

   Buffalo had a 20-10 lead and then went 33 minutes without scoring. In the high-scoring world of Arena Football, such a drought is practically a guaranteed path to a loss.

   "It's like telling a kid that he can't go outside and play," said defensive specialist Dwaine Carpenter, who had an interception and three tackles, to The News' Rodney McKissic about the loss. "Right now it's hurting, and it's going to hurt for a while. It's really disappointing for the team, the city and the whole organization. As hard as we work we should be there, but the ball didn't bounce our way."

   Buffalo would have one more game on the schedule, a road trip to Las Vegas. Then the season ended and so did the Destroyers. The team packed up and moved to Columbus. Arena Football hasn't been back since.

--- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Barnaby erupts

   May 10, 1998 -- Matthew Barnaby had an up-and-down career with the Buffalo Sabres. This was the biggest up of them all.

   Barnaby had a hat trick to lead the Sabres past Montreal, 6-3, before a sellout home crowd. It was the first time Barnaby had ever scored three goals in an NHL game.

   Just to make it even better, the outburst came on Mother's Day, with his mother, Sandra. And the game came only nine days after Matthew became a father.

   "She [Barnaby's mother] came in when we had the baby, and she's staying for a month," Barnaby said. "Hopefully we can convince her to stay for a lot longer than that."|

   Game Two was up for grabs (3-3) when Barnaby single-handedly took control. He was allowed to stand behind the net for a hockey eternity and then came around to the front of the net to score.

   "I was behind the net, and everything seemed to open up," Barnaby said. "Once everybody cleared out, I just came around and threw it five-hole (between the goalie's legs)."

 --- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Ronan's biggest night

   May 9, 1997 -- If you are making up a list of the all-time unexpected playoff heroes for the Buffalo Sabres, here's a name for your consideration.

   This is the anniversary of Ed Ronan's biggest moment as a Sabre.

   Ronan, a journeyman forward not exactly known as a scorer, got a goal at 6:24 of overtime to give Buffalo a 5-4 win over the Flyers in Philadelphia. The Sabres were still down, three games to one, but they at least had a little hope.

   Ronan had not scored a goal for the Sabres all season.

   "We were able to get the puck in deep," Ronan said. "Philly tried to clear it, but Garry Galley blocked it. I got to the net free and put the rebound in."

   This was Buffalo's first playoff win ever in Philadelphia. It also was the Sabres' first second-round win since 1983. They had been swept by Montreal in 1993 in their other second-round appearance since then.

--- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Switch in coaches

   May 8, 2000 -- The Buffalo Destroyers had gotten off to a poor start in its year-plus of existence, and that might be an understatement. The team had lost 17 of its first 18 games in the Arena Football League.

   Clearly, there is a scapegoat in such situations, and head coach and general manager Dave Whinham figured to be it. Still, owner Mark Hamister had a surprise coming when it came to a replacement.

   Hamister called former Buffalo Bills' lineback Ray Bentley to discuss what might happen next.

   "I just thought we were going to talk about the team in terms of me being a consultant," Bentley said. "But it moved quickly in another direction."

   Hamister offered Bentley the job, leaving Bentley "stunned." That's probably due to the fact that Bentley had never coached at the pro or college level. He had been working as a broadcaster.

   "I had no intention at this time of being a head coach," Bentley said following a news conference. "But I talked to my family and to Fox [TV], and we all decided this was too good an opportunity to pass up. I love a good challenge, and no one is going to put more into it than I am.

   "It's not going to be easy. There's a lot of work to be done. But I went through the process of turning a losing team into a winner when I was with the Buffalo Bills. I believe history can repeat itself."

--- Budd Bailey

Live blog from HSBC Arena: Bandits vs. Rock

7:28 p.m. -- Greetings from the downtown arena, as we're minutes away from the start of the game between the Bandits and the Toronto Rock in the East final. It must be a big game -- columnist Jerry Sullivan is here. The company is always welcome.

The one pregame story was John Tavares' leg injury, which sent him off the floor for a while last week. Tavares was a gametime decision, but he was in the initial lineup that was handed out. But he was not introduced, and Kyle Clancy -- initially a scratch -- is on the floor. 

I spent part of the past hour talking with George Daniel, the commissioner of the league. I'll have the highlights of that talk in Sunday's Bandits notebook. I'll add for now that he seems relieved that Calgary got through the season, and that his top priority is to work out a long-time solution there. The Roughnecks are playing Washington later tonight. If Calgary wins, it hosts the NLL final. By the way, a championship game probably would be held on Friday night if the Roughnecks host. Elton John has the building on Saturday, and it would be tough to get the facility ready on Sunday at noon so that the game could be shown on Versus. So Friday night is the best alternative. If the game is in, say, Buffalo, I would guess it would be Sunday afternoon for live TV -- although I haven't heard anyone say that.

7:44 p.m. -- Kyle Clancy has seen some action on offense in place of Tavares so far. Buffalo's defense was superb ... until Rob Marshall just got an unassisted goal to open the scoring at 4:37.

7:55 p.m. -- All Toronto so far. The Rock has a 3-0 lead, and the Buffalo offense has been a bit disorganized.

8:05 p.m. -- The first quarter is over for the Bandits, and they look like a team in trouble. Toronto has a 4-0 lead -- four different players have scored -- and has a 19-6 edge in shots. Well, Buffalo can't play much worse, particularly on offense, so we'll see if the new quarter has an effect.

8:11 p.m. -- Toronto has padded the lead to 6-0. Angus Goodleaf has come on in goal.

8:13 p.m. -- OK, Buffalo has a goal. Clancy got it from close range.

8:16 p.m. -- OK, two more Bandits' goals. Roger Vyse and Chad Culp got them, so we're at 6-3, Toronto, and the building has come alive.

8:20 p.m. - Darryl Gibson made a horrible giveaway, handing the ball over to Colin Doyle in the slot. Bad idea. Doyle easily beat Goodleaf for a 7-3 Toronto lead.

8:30 p.m. -- The Bandits have gotten goals from Vyse and Clancy to get to 7-5. Clancy, who probably didn't know until 7:25 p.m. that he was even playing, is having a nice game. And Vyse has scored from long range and close range -- just like he talked about in Friday's article.

8:55 p.m. -- We're at halftime of this one, and the Bandits have to feel relatively good about only trailing 9-6. Stephan Leblanc scored twice in the final minute for Toronto to make a three-goal lead. The big question now -- who does Kilgour start in goal in the third quarter? Do you go with Thompson, who has been number one throughout the season? Or do you stick with Goodleaf, who was around for the rally but who still gave up three goals in less than a quarter? This is why coaches make the big bucks.

9:01 p.m. -- Goodleaf led the Bandits out the door and headed to the goal. So that question has been answered.

9:04 p.m. -- Two goals in less than a minute have started the second half well for the Rock, and badly for the Bandits. It's 11-6, Toronto.

9:09 p.m -- Clay Hill has the Bandits on the board with a goal. I liked his motion of shooting an arrow into the air after the goal. Still plenty of time - 9:28 in the third quarter.

9:22 p.m. -- The Rock has an 11-7 lead, with another goal waved off for a crease violation. With 4:45 left in the third quarter, there's still time to do something but the Bandits' offense has gone cold once again.

9:34 p.m. -- Garrett Billings has scored a big short-handed goal for Toronto in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Buffalo is down, 12-7, and the dream of a trip to the final feels like it is fading.

9:41 p.m. -- A Kyle Clancy goal has cut the lead to 12-8. It was Buffalo's first goal in almost 15 minutes. Kudos to Clancy, who has come through on short notice tonight.

9:48 p.m. -- Buffalo has cut the lead to 12-10. There's 6:32 left. It's getting loud again.

9:51 p.m. -- Clancy strikes again to make it 12-11. It's getting louder.

9:55 p.m. -- We have 48 seconds left, and it is still 12-11, Toronto.

9:59 p.m. -- Bob Watson stopped Brett Bucktooth's shot, so Toronto has the ball with 14.1 seconds left.

10:05 p.m. -- Toronhto wins 12-11.

11:33 p.m. -- Quite a rollercoaster of a night. Darris Kilgour after the game said that Roger Vyse tweaked his leg during warmups, and he felt he couldn't afford to go with two offensive players who weren't 100 percent. Since Vyse was better off than Tavares, Vyse played and Clancy came in for Tavares.

As of this writing, Washington is up, 8-4, on Calgary with 12 minutes to play in the game. If that holds, the Stealth would play in Toronto next week. In the what if game, Buffalo would have hosted the championship game had it won tonight. The fates had other ideas.

It's been an interesting season, as usual. I've gotten several kind e-mails from fans throughout the year, and they are all appreciated. I'll be around to follow the offseason, which I guess is underway.

Good night from downtown Buffalo.

--- Budd Bailey

Post Time: Live from the Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE --- Good morning from Churchill Downs and Happy Derby Day to you! The weather is currently partly cloudy and the chance of thunderstorms later in the afternoon is 60 percent. The Garland of Roses just arrived at Gate 18 and will be on public display here at the Jockey Club Balcony for the next three hours.

Some early morning Derby notes, with the scratch of Uncle Mo yesterday, the two outside horses, Nehro and Watch Me Go will move inside one post each. After yesterday's advance wagering money is already pouring in on Calvin Borel and Twice the Appeal who is down to 7-1 from his 20-1 morning line.

We'll keep a live bankroll today and make a $2WPS wager on a horse in each race, so follow along and we'll pass on information as the day progresses.

Race 1: The opener is a 1 mile allowance race named after Genuine Risk, only the second filly to win the Kentucky Derby. We'll try and build our bankroll by taking a shot with #2 Wicked Dreams and the Leparoux/Maker combination who's drifting up on the board over his morning line.

Uncle Pink (no relation to Uncle Mo) going turf to dirt takes the opener going away, was considering but was scared off his trainers 0 percent turf/dirt angle. Wicked Dreams didn't fire at the eighth pole and finished in the back of the field. Bankroll: (-$6.00).

Race 2: The Funny Cide is a 1 1/16 mile allowance and this one's all about Bind with Rosie Napravnik up. He's the speed of the race for trainer Albert Stall Jr., who trained Breeders' Cup champ Blame. By the way, the undercard is being televised on VERSUS starting at 11am.

Bind couldn't negotiate traffic trouble and Worldly, a nice looking 4-year old out of A.P. Indy wouldn't let him get to him. We pick up $4.50 for the place and show, but bankroll is down $7.50.

Race 3: Baffert firster C J Russell taking the early money in the first sprint of the day. We'll jump on #2 Golden Triumph who should improve in his second start. The Garcia/McLaughlin combo is always dangerous.

Now we know why CJ was taking all the dough as he was much the best in the third, paying $3.80. Golden Triumph threatened coming up the rail, but much like his first race had nothing left in the stretch. Bankroll: (-$13.50). It's been fairly chalky so far, hopefully we can catch a price horse.

Weather update: It's has been getting gradually darker as the morning has progressed, I have a feeling we'll be getting wet before the day's over.  Just said hello to Jim Gluckson from the Breeders' Cup who will be hosting the 2011 Championships here at Churchill in November.

Race 4: Taking a break to run down to the paddock, we like #7 Perfect Shirl here coming off a super sharp workout at Keeneland. I'm a big fan of Javier Castellano on the turf, and will box him with Persuading.

It's all about the chalk today, Shirl finished third paying $2.60 which will get you a cup of coffee and that's about it. Snow Top Mountain ($5.40) wins for trainer Thomas Proctor with Garret Gomez up, Persuading finished second. By the way, a couple of raindrops falling in the paddock area, which is already a mob scene. Bankroll: (-$16.90).

Race 5: It's as good a time as any to go bombing. We'll take a shot with #6 Lee Chapel and Julien Leparoux, a Ghostzapper colt whose lightly raced.

Wrong longshot! While Lee Chapel threatened in the stretch, he died on the rail in the final furlong. Goodtimehadbyall (well, not me) held off Fusa Code and paid a nice $22.60 to win. First double digit winner of the day. Bankroll (-$22.90)

Race 6: The Grade 3 Twin Spires Turf Sprint is next, run over 5 furlongs. Some very good horses in here, including Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint Champion Chamberlain Bridge who won over this turf course in November. Regally Ready should be a decent price and we'll try and get off the schneid by trying to beat the Bridge.

Ok, the maiden is broken. Regally Ready ($8.80, $4.40, $3.00) made a nice move to jump to the outside after cruising behind Bridgetown and passed him in the final 100 yards for a nice win at 3-1. We're alive on a side Pick-3 ticket that goes 4,6,7/1,2,7,8,11 over the next two races. Bankroll: (-$12.70)

Did you know that during this year’s Derby week, more than 120,000 Mint Juleps are expected to be served at Churchill Downs. Over the past 24 years, more than 2.5 million Mint Juleps have been served between Oaks and Derby Days at Churchill Downs. If I didn't hit that last race I was going to add to that total!

Race 7: Our first Grade 1 of the day, the Humana Distaff, a 7-furlong race for fillies and mares is up next. Hilda's Passion should be the odds-on favorite. Amen Hallelujah adds blinkers for new trainer Michael Nevin, and we'll see if that helps end her case of seconditis.

Wow! Big balloons in the Humana with Sassy Image ($34.20) pulling a major upset at 16-1. Amen Hallelujah got up for third paying $3 and getting half our investment back. Bankroll: (-$15.70).

Race 8: The Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile is next. We'll back Aviate, second start after shipping in from overseas and second time Lasix. Taking over Never Retreat who could get caught wide on the clubhouse turn breaking from the outside gate. 

Still no rain and the sun seems to be trying to sneak out.

Boom goes the dynamite! Aviate comes charging down the four path and overtakes Aruna to win at 5-1! He pays $13.20, $6.40 and $5 to bringing the bankroll into the black. Bankroll: +$3.00.

Race 9: We're staying with the letter A and backing Apriority in the Churchill Stakes. A Grade 2 sprint going 7 furlongs. We'll wheel him in an exacta also with Smiling Tiger, Capt. Candyman and Here Comes Ben (who returns to his favored distance).

Dialed In is still the early Derby favorite at 5-1.

Ouch!! Apriority loses a photo to Aikenite who wins at 13-1, but still pays $7.80 to place and $6.20 to show which takes out bankroll to +$11 for the day, which ironically is the cost of a mint julep plus a buck tip! A tough beat, but how can folks let Pletcher/Velazquez go off at 13-1!  Bankroll: +$11.00

Kentucky Derby update: Some real movers in the early odds, Master of Hounds is down to 13-1 and Midnight Interlude is getting some Baffert love, is down to 8-1.

Race 10: The Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, a 1 1/8 mile test on the weeds is up next. The selection is Smart Bid with Edgar Prado up. Prado was aboard Barbaro in my first live Derby so this is a sentimental pick for me. If you're looking for a long shot to recoup some losses, Rahystrada may be the pick.

Another second, but first you cash the ticket then you complain about how small it is. Smart Bid takes second and pays $7.80 and $5.20 to add $7 to our bankroll and assures that we'll end the day in the black. On a positive note I have Get Stormy on a $1 Daily Double ticket with Archarcharch, Dialed In, Mucho Macho Man, Midnight Interlude and Soldat.  Bankroll: $18.00

The big one is up next.

Race 11 - The Kentucky Derby: The purse for the Derby is $2,171,800, with the winner taking home $1,411,800.  The remaining purse disbursement is $400,000 for second; $200,000 for third; $100,000 for fourth and $60,000 for fifth. Chicago's Dave Flores will have an opportunity to bet $100,000 in a dream bet sweepstakes, we'll keep you posted on his selection. Last year, Glen Fullerton placed the $100K on Super Saver and cashed a ticket worth $900,000.

We've broken an attendance record that has stood for 37 years! Today's attendance figure at Churchill Downs is 164,858, besting the record set in 1974 that was 163,628.

As for the Derby, we're sticking with our selections from Friday's paper. We'll stay with Mucho Macho Man (currently at 9-1) for the win and we'll box him with Dialed In, Soldat, Archarcharch and Midnight Interlude. Good luck everyone! 

Mr. Flores just made his selection and put the $100,000 on Mucho Macho Man! Hope I didn't jinx him!

Animal Kingdom ($43.80, $19.60, $13) wins the Derby off a six-week layoff and Johnny Velazquez put on this horse just yesterday wins his first Derby!  Nehro finished second (again) and the Post Time selection, Mucho Macho Man finished third which paid $7 for the show. Final bankroll: +$19.

Thanks for following along all day and hope you cashed some winners.

--- Gene Kershner

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Follow the bouncing puck

   May 7, 1995 -- The Sabres and Flyers have had quite a playoff history over the years. They started to add another chapter to it on this date.

   It was Game One of the first-round series, and the Sabres hadn't been playing well entering the postseason. Their large supply of talent had shown no signs of meshing.

   Then in the playoff opener, Karl Dykhuis added his name to the list of Sabres' playoff villain. With the scored tied, 3-3, in overtime, Dykhuis threw a shot at the net that looked like hockey's answer to a slowly hit ground ball. Somehow, it went through a crowd and into the net. Game over.

    "I was at the blue line, and I saw Roddy get the puck on the hash marks," Dykhuis said. "I yelled for him to give it to me. I got it on my stick and let it go right away."

   Pat LaFontaine of the Sabres deflected the shot, which bounced on the ice between the faceoff circles and went back into the air. Buffalo defenseman Garry Galley swung at and missed the puck. Meanwhile, Hasek had been knocked to the ice and couldn't stop it from floating past him. It landed in the net at 10:06 of overtime.

   Sabres coach John Muckler wasn't feeling too lucky after the game.

   "I'm not going to Atlantic City tonight," he said.

   Buffalo lost that series, and the team made major changes in the offseason.

--- Budd Bailey

Bandits notebook: A new league

I'm not sure what to think about this.

A news released popped into my e-mail today, saying that a news conference would be held Tuesday to announce the creation of a new pro indoor lacrosse league. The league' name will be announced, a Commissioner will be named, and a timeline will be established.

Jim Jennings, former commissioner of the National Lacrosse League, is involved. Jennings is listed as the President of Waterbucket Media, which does some sports public relations and marketing work.

Does this (a new league, that is) make any sense?

Usually new leagues are created when an established league is doing well, and someone wants a cut of the action. The NFL was slow to expand in the late 1950's, and the American Football League was created to fill the void.

This does not apply to this situation. The NLL has been shrinking for the past few years, and expansion possibilities for the immediate future seem limited.

I don't know much about Jennings, except that he resigned as NLL Commissioner a couple of years ago early in the season. The timing of that was quite odd.

The current commissioner, George Daniel, will be in town Saturday for the Bandits' game. I doubt that he'll comment on that situation, but I'll ask the question just to see what he says.

--- Budd Bailey

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