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Video: Katherine Creighton wins BDGA golf championship

<p>Katherine Creighton speaks of her winning effort in the BDGA golf championship.</p>

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Post Time: Queen's Plate notebook

By Gene Kershner 

As we approach next weekend's Queen's Plate at Woodbine, let's take a look at the latest happenings up north as we near Plate week in suburban Toronto.

  • Two Plate contenders dropped out on Wednesday and will point at Ontario-sired stakes races up north.  Power Phil, trained by Bob Tiller looked like he could carry the classic distance decided to pass on this year's Plate. In addition, Niigon's Glory also decided to pass up the Gallop for the Guineas for a similar path as Power Phil.
  • According to the Daily Racing Form, it looks like Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will be using his passport to ride Sam-Son Farm's His Race to Win for trainer Malcolm Pierce. Velazquez has never won the Queen's Plate.
  • Nipissing, the Woodbine Oaks winner, has been confirmed and will try and keep up the strong showings of recent fillies in the Plate. Inglorious won the 2011 edition and Irish Mission finished a strong second last year. 
  • Eurico da Silva looks to have the mount aboard likely favorite Up With the Birds. The Woodbine-based da Silva won back-to-back Plates in 2009 and 2010.
  • Trainer Mark Casse, winless with 13 starters in the Plate could send as many as four starters in the gate, including two for owner John Oxley. The two Oxley starters are probably the best chances to get the monkey off his back and win the Plate. Dynamic Sky, a horse that didn't embarrass himself on the Derby trail, comes off a nice win in the Plate Trial and will have dynamite jockey Joel Rosario aboard. The other potential filly starter, Spring in the Air, is another Casse horse that could make some noise. She finished second to Nipissing in the Oaks.
  • The post position draw for the oldest race in North America is slated for 9:30 a.m. on the Fourth of July in the Woodbine Walking Ring.  The field looks like it will be upwards of 14 starters as of today, pending further dropouts from the current contender list.
  • Looking ahead to the Prince of Wales Stakes on Tuesday, July 30 at Fort Erie Race Track, it appears that the talented Uncaptured, will run on the dirt at the border oval. Uncaptured lost a head bob in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 15 against the highly regarded Code West from the Bob Baffert barn. The winner of the Plate will face a fresh Uncaptured on his preferred surface.
  • Both of Nick Gonzalez' potential starters, Midnight Aria and River Seven worked out on Thursday morning as their final preparation for the Plate. The duo worked in company with Midnight Aria taking the lead covering five-panels in 59.40 (best of 17 efforts on the day) as River Seven chased the pace to stop the clock in 59.80, according to queensplate.com.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

IJM: A How-Not-To

By Bob DiCesare

Standards are usually upheld on the golf course, particularly in tournaments such as the International Junior Masters. A prime example came Wednesday morning, when leader Camilo Aguado turned himself in and sustained a four-stroke penalty for finding an extra club in his bag that wasn't even his.

Unfortunately in Thursday's Sweet Sixteen we saw the other extreme. Ryan Borg of Caledon, Ont., needed to drain about an 8-foot putt on the 19th hole to prolong his match with Pablo Torres of Colombia. Borg knew he had missed the putt as soon as it left the blade. It hadn't even rolled even with the hole when he walloped the ball into a bunker, screamed and threw his hat. Then he looked away while offering a congratulatory handshake to Torres, who had remained alive by making an 8-footer of his own on 18 (see Mark Mulville photo below),

294414 JUNIOR MASTERS MULVILLE 015

Borg's a heckuva player. He was probably the longest hitter in the field. He's coached by Sean Foley (who coaches Tiger Woods). He's headed to South Florida on a golf scholarship. One can only hope Thursday's episode was a first and a last. Otherwise, he's got a lot of work to do on things other than his golf.

Lacrosse: The Stealth move again

The Stealth of the National Lacrosse League are starting to do an impression of the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association.

The Kings started in Rochester way back when. They moved to Cincinnati, then to Kansas City-Omaha, and finally to Sacramento. The team motto practically has been "Go West, Young Men."

The Stealth started as the Albany Attack in 2000, and lasted four years. Owners couldn't make the team go there, so it was off to San Jose. Instead of moving West after that (Honolulu?), the franchise went north to the state of Washington.

Alas, that didn't work well either. The team announced today that it was moving to the Vancouver area. The Vancouver Stealth will play in Langley Events Center in Langley, British Columbia. If that sounds familiar, the championship game was played there in May when Washington's facility was booked.

Everyone associated with indoor lacrosse figured Vancouver would be a natural stop for the league. The area has a pool of players, which means the fans don't have to be introduced to the game. Vancouver's rivalries with Edmonton and Calgary will jump a couple of notches.

The catch, of course, is that Langley is not Vancouver. It's quite a distance away - an hour or so by car, according to the stories I've read today, if there's only a little traffic. The building also holds 5,200 people, as that was the sellout number for the championship game. It will be tough for the Stealth to compete against Buffalo and Colorado with that size of a building.

Speaking of those two other teams, they are the obvious blueprint for success -- have the larger big-league teams in town own the lacrosse team, and use marketing synergy to cross-promote the franchises. There are all sorts of savings involved in terms of costs.

I'm sure the league tried to find someone who would put a team in downtown Vancouver. If that option isn't viable, this might turn out to be a good intermediate step. If the franchise sells out in Langley, maybe that could lead to a move to Vancouver proper down the road.

In the meantime, I feel sorry for people back in Everett, Wash., area. That was quite a distance from downtown Seattle, and it was tough for lacrosse to make an impact on the crowded Seattle sports calendar from that distance. That's in spite of the fact that the team did quite well there for the most part, a record that included a championship and a couple of appearances in the finals.

The road to franchise stability no doubt will be easier in British Columbia, and that's good. But it's still not going to be easy. Any more north for the team, and the Bandits will be hosting the Fairbanks Stealth any year now.

--- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: At the halfway point

If our friends at buffalorunners.com are going to keep up the News' runner of the year standings, the least we can do if provide an update on the race through a link as we finish with the first half of the year.

Anyone who has seen Vasilis Kariolis run in the Corporate Challenge in the past two years knows how good he is. That's because he won twice. Kariolis is off to an eight-point lead over David Keenan, with some other runners within striking distance.

On the women's side, Aileen Hoak is in the driver's seat. She is 13 points up on Jennifer Koeppel-Acker, with Allison Carr another two points back. Hoak's second-place showing in the Buffalo Marathon showed that she's running very well.

You can check out the standings at buffalorunners.com. You might notice there are some new faces in the top 10, which is always fun to see.

Now for the list of upcoming races, also from buffalorunners.com.

* Road 2 Recovery Mental Health 5K, Delaware Park in Buffalo, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 883-3331. Sounds like it might be a little soggy, but this is a well-run race under any conditions.

* 50 Yard Finish Half-Marathon & 5K, 1 Bills Drive in Orchard Park, 7 a.m. Saturday, 830-6703. There's a lot less drama leading up to this one, which is more than welcome.

* D&F 5K Challenge 1170 Central Ave. in Dunkirk, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 363-6383.

* Bemus Point 10K, Long Point State Park Bath House, 9 a.m. Sunday, 488-0788.

-- Budd Bailey

IJM: Aguado Takes Hit, Recovers

By Bob DiCesare

First-round leader Camilo Aguado (Colombia/Mexico) bogeyed the first two holes in the International Junior Masters this morning. And then things got worse. Much worse. For awhile.

Aguado was on the third hole when he discovered in his bag an extra 8-iron. Apparently someone had inadvertantly slipped the club into the wrong bag on the range. Still, it's the player's responsibility to make sure he's not over the 14-club maximum.

Aguado brought the penalty to the attention of tournament officials and was assessed four shots (two per hole played to a maximum of four). How did he respond? SNow 6 over after three holes, Aguado played 3 under the rest of the way for a 74 good for co-medlaist honors with Brodie McKinney of Stoney Creek, Ont.

"I figured out on the third hole I had 15 clubs," Aguado said. "One was not mine, it was a different brand. It's something really strange."

He tried to put the episode out of mind. And succeeded.

"I just said to myself to be patient," Aguado said. "I made some good things. I made an eagle on 16. I had two lip-outs."

Video: Golf Tips: Marc Rosa on avoiding thin, fat or slicing shots

PGA assistant Marc Rosa demonstrates how to hit more solid, longer and consistent shots.

Post Time: Friday racing notebook

By Gene Kershner 

We're only two weekends away from the 154th running of the Queen's Plate, the first jewel of Canada's Triple Crown, which will be held at Woodbine Racetrack just outside Toronto on Sunday, July 7. The mile and a quarter Canadian classic, restricted for 3-year-olds foaled in Canada should once again have a big field of competitors looking to win the Gallop for the Guineas.  

Let's look at some of the top contenders vying for a piece of the $1 million purse:

Dynamic Sky - This Sky Mesa colt spent some time on the Kentucky Derby trail finishing second to Falling Sky in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs and followed that up with a distant fourth place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby behind Verrazano, Java's War and the aforementioned Falling Sky. He will be among the race favorites for trainer Mark Casse and owner John C. Oxley after finishing first in the $150K Plate Trial Stakes, the predominant prep race for the Plate.  Super jockey Joel Rosario was in the irons for the Plate Trial.

His Race to Win - The son of Stormy Atlantic finished a nose behind Dynamic Sky in the Plate Trial after finally breaking his maiden after six tries. Connections will lose jockey Eurico da Silva who will likely ride Up With the Birds, winner of the $168K Marine Stakes. He has never missed the board in  four tries on the all weather Woodbine surface.

Midnight Aria - The son of Midnight Lute, two-time Breeders' Cup Sprint champion, fetched $80K in the Keeneland September 2011 sale.  The colt running for Fort Erie-based trainer Nick Gonzalez finished third in the Plate Trial after giving up the lead at the sixteenth pole.  He finished third in the Wando behind talented colts Pyrite Mountain and Uncaptured. If he peaks at the right time he could be a win threat.

Nipissing - The filly's connections are pondering whether to enter the race after winning the $500K Woodbine Oaks two weeks ago over Spring in the Air, a filly who has a Grade 1 win on her resume. The daughter of 2004 Plate champion Niigon out of a Dixieland Band mare looks to have the  credentials to compete. Two years ago the filly Inglorious won the race coming out of the Oaks. Trainer Rachel Halden will likely have veteran rider Steve Bahen in the irons, who won the 2002 Plate aboard T J's Lucky Moon, should they choose to enter.

Pyrite Mountain - Finished fourth in the Plate Trial after being caught four wide and was only 2 1/2 lengths behind the eventual winner. The Wando winner is trained by Mark Frostad and will likely be ridden by Luis Contreras, winner aboard Inglorious in 2011.

Spring in the Air - This Casse-trained filly won the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland in October with Patrick Husbands aboard. Rosario rode her in the Oaks, but will likely opt aboard Dynamic Sky opening up the mount for Husbands. She's just as dangerous as Nipissing and has the speed figures and pedigree to handle the classic distance. It will be interesting to see if the Casse/Oxley connections will enter her along with Dynamic Sky.

Up With the Birds - the Marine Stakes winner also placed second in the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes on the turf on the opening day of the fall Keeneland meet. Another son of Stormy Atlantic out of a Seeking the Gold mare will be close to the top of the tote board on Plate day.

Belmont TV Ratings

The final television ratings for the Belmont Stakes were down overall when compared to 2012. The Belmont had a 4.5 national rating with a 11 share and 7.0 million viewers. This compared to 4.8/11 and 7.7 million viewers in 2012.

Once again, Buffalo finished with a strong showing, finishing third overall and completing a top 10 finish in all three Triple Crown races. Here's a look at the ratings for the top 10 cities for the Belmont
Stakes:

 City

Rank

Rating

Share

FT.MYERS-NAPLES

1

9.3

18

WEST PALM BEACH

2

8.9

17

BUFFALO

3

8.8

18

LOUISVILLE

4

8.6

17

ORLANDO-DAYTONA BEACH

5

7.6

15

BOSTON

6

7.1

18

JACKSONVILLE

7

6.9

12

RICHMOND

8

6.7

13

NEW YORK

9

6.6

15

ST. LOUIS

10

6.2

15

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Running notebook: The great eight

Brian Moorman is a big fan of the number eight, perhaps because he's usually worn it in his football career. So it was not a surprise that when the ex-Bills punter and his foundation put on its first race Wednesday night, it was an 8-kilometer run. Moorman even took bib number eight for the run. (I was given bib number seven - a matter of alphabetical order and not the fact that anyone confuses me with Doug Flutie.)

In any event, the race went off nicely. Someone put a lot of hills in the first two miles - we were in Orchard Park - but the course calmed down after that. Organizers are already talking about next year, a good sign.

More races are coming up this weekend, although the schedule has turned light. Here's the list, compiled by buffalorunners.com:

* St. Gregory The Great Great Race, 5K, 100 St. Gregory Court in Williamsville, 7 p.m. Friday, 479-2442. It's a News Runner of the Year race, and it might be the flattest course in Western New York. The event usual draws a big crowd.

* MSMH River Run, 5K, 145 North 4th St. in Lewiston, 9 a.m. Saturday, 298-2249.

* ChrisFit Fest 5K, 841 Center St. in Lewiston, 9 a.m. Sunday, 524-3001. When did Lewiston become the running capital of the region? Apparently - this weekend.

And in addition, there's time here for one more shameless plug. The Buffalo Broadcasters Celebrity 5K Run will be held at the Central Wharf on Wednesday. It starts at 7 p.m. The shameless part is that I'm a member of the organization, even if I don't qualify as a "celebrity." It's a nice course on the waterfront that's great for a summer night.

-- Budd Bailey

Video: Golf Tips: Scott Arnold on getting out of a deep rough

Harvest Hill's Scott Arnold demonstrates how to hit from the deep rough.

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