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Video: A special 1-hour 'Bucky & Sully' Show on WBBZ, by segment

News Sports Columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan have a live show that airs on WBBZ-TV twice weekly, at 7 p.m. Mondays and Fridays.

Find out where to find WBBZ here.

Here are segments from tonight's show:

Continue reading "Video: A special 1-hour 'Bucky & Sully' Show on WBBZ, by segment" »

Post Time: Super Saturday undercard is loaded

By Gene Kershner 

Super Saturday at Belmont Park serves up a plethora of graded stakes races, six in total, for racing fans on the east coast this weekend. Starting at 3:09 p.m. with the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes through the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup which will go postward at 5:49 p.m. each of the six stakes races are Breeders' Cup Win and You're In (WAYI) races.  

The Beldame and Gold Cup will be covered in tomorrow's print edition of The Buffalo News so we'll preview the other four races here with our thoughts on the stuffing of the day's Oreo. 

Race 6 - Grade 2 Kelso Handicap (1 mile - dirt)

One of the qualifying races for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile has attracted seven older males looking for a share of the $400,000 purse. The morning line favorite 2-Graydar (7-5) has not raced in six months since the New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds in March. He is on a three-race winning streak for trainer Todd Pletcher and his only career defeat came at Belmont Park in an allowance race last September. His main two challengers are 1-Easter Gift (5-2), who is coupled with 1A-Jackson Bend; and 5-Souper Speedy (7-2). Is Graydar worthy of a single play in multi-race bets off the long layoff? That's the question in my mind and I think Royal Delta in the Beldame is the better play when looking for a single. I'll likely include Easter Gift, with Mike Smith aboard, who has had success at a mile along with Graydar in the Kelso. 

Race 7 - Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational S. (6 furlongs - dirt)

This race will put the winner in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and is a very deep race. I tend to struggle with the sprint races in multi-race sequences and will spread in this race. 1-Forty Tales is undefeated in two races at the distance for loaded trainer Todd Pletcher and sports a win over Big Sandy on Belmont Stakes day in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens albeit at 7 furlongs. From a pure speed figure notion, it's hard not to include 2-Justin Phillip with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez aboard. He touts a 7-3-2-0 record at Belmont Park. Grade 1 Forego winner 4-Strapping Groom who has never missed the board at Belmont, is worthy of a look and will be on my tickets. 5-The Lumber Guy hooked up in a speed duel on Travers weekend off a layoff and could be more of a factor at his favored 6-furlong distance coming in second off the layoff. I could be talked into going five deep in here with 8-Private Zone, but hesitate on west coast sprinters shipping in, although he appears to have the class and speed to contend.  

Race 8 - Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational S. (1 1/4-miles on the inner turf)

This $600,000 race will put the winner in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita. At first glance, the entry with 1A-Laughing (8/5) looks to be the one to beat even though she has lost her only effort at the distance. Her breeding suggests the 10 furlong distance shouldn't be an issue, but the lack of a win gives me pause. Back up selections would include 6-Qushchi (3-1) who should be coming late to catch the front running favorite and Christophe Clemente's 2-Mystical Star (4-1) who comes off a victory at Kentucky Downs. Clemente is a 25 percent winner after winning his last race.

Race 9 - Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational S. (1 1/2 miles on the outer turf)

Another race loaded with quality horses including several Grade 1 winners. This race serves as a WAYI for the Breeders' Cup Turf. I'm favoring the Brown entry (2-Big Blue Kitten, 2B-Real Solution) over the Shug entry (1-Imaging, 1A-Boisterous) and will include 3-Nutello (first time Lasix) and 5-Twilight Eclipse in case a wicked pace scenario unfolds. Little Mike hasn't been himself since going to Dubai in March and King Kreesa seems to be more of a miler. There's lots of speed in here, but the Brown duo looks extremely strong. 

It should be a terrific day of racing on Super Saturday, be sure to check out tomorrow's News for coverage of the bookend races, the $1 million Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes for fillies and mares. 

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

Running notebook: Cash on the line

As you are about to read below, it's a crowded field of races this weekend. That's to be expected in September around here, perhaps our best month of the year for staging races.

The ECMC's Lifetime Foundation race is of the most interest. That event has tried to strategy of handing out prize money in an effort to attract runners. This year the number is up to $4,000.

I do wonder about that. Last year, that race did 213 runners. That's not bad, but remember the prize money comes off the top of any charitable donation. And it's easy to wonder if the mediocre runners out there (that would be someone like me) wouldn't find prize money attractive, since they'd have no chance of winning, and go elsewhere. The Linda Yalem Run, again held the day after the ECMC race, did more than 1,000 runners last year. Granted that race has a large college campus as a target audience -- more than 200 women and 150 women in the 15-24 age-groups took part in the event. Other races have tried prize money as well, with similar results. 

I like the idea of having some sort of 5K championship among local runners, featuring the best of the best, but I'm unconvinced that such a race leads to mass participation. Hope I'm wrong.

Here's the busy weekend slate, courtesy of buffalorunners.com:

* Give for Greatness 5K, Hamlin Park in East Aurora, 9 a.m. Saturday, 491-5794.

* Run in the Country, 5K, 3755 Tonawanda Creek Road in Amherst, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 860-0524.

* ECMC Lifeline Foundation WNY Runs for Heroes, Parkside Lodge at Delaware Park in Buffalo, 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, 898-5800.

* Autum Challenge, Sprague Brook Park in Glenwood, 10 a.m. Saturday.

* Jill Mattice Memorial 5K Run, Cleveland Hill High School in Cheektowaga, 11 a.m. on Saturday, 435-9023.

* Parkside Oktoberfest, 5K, Delaware Park in Buffalo, 5 p.m. on Saturday, 838-1240.

* Bemus Point 15K, Long Point State Park's Upper Pavillion, 9 a.m. Sunday, 488-0788.

* Linda Yalem Safety Run 5K, Alumni Arena at UB's Amherst Campus, 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 645-2731.

* Miles for Haiti, 2-Hour Run, 9535 Clarence Center Road in Clarence Center, 2 p.m. Sunday, 868-1232. I'll have more on this race in Sunday's column.

-- Budd Bailey

Bandits' Harasym calls it a career

Whenever I went off on a speech about the working class nature of indoor lacrosse players, I usually pointed to Jon Harasym of the Bandits, who announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Harasym worked in suburban Toronto, often driving a snow plow truck during those winter days and nights. You know how much applause that job gets. Then, on Friday, he'd pack up the car, drive to Buffalo, and play lacrosse - where he would be cheered by 15,000 fans in the First Niagara Center.

Harasym wasn't the biggest guy on the field by any means. But he was relatively quick, which made him a threat to take off on transition, and played with an edge to his game. Plus, Jon was always a friendly guy. We just didn't have many reasons to talk to him after games, as others got the glory. Our loss.

Harasym finished with 48 points in spending most of six seasons here. 

"Jon is the epitome of what being a Buffalo Bandit is all about," said Bandits General Manager Steve Dietrich.  "It’s guys like him who teammates appreciate the most.  He’s a blue collar, hard working guy who gave everything he had each and every time he came to the rink.  You don’t come across guys like Jon Harasym everyday." 

-- Budd Bailey

Video: 'Bucky & Sully' on WBBZ, by segment

News Sports Columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan have a live show that airs on WBBZ-TV twice weekly, at 7 p.m. Mondays and Fridays.

Find out where to find WBBZ here.

Here are segments from tonight's show:

Continue reading "Video: 'Bucky & Sully' on WBBZ, by segment" »

Video: 'Bucky & Sully' on WBBZ, by segment

News Sports Columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan have a live show that airs on WBBZ-TV twice weekly, at 7 p.m. Mondays and Fridays.

Find out where to find WBBZ here.

Here are segments from tonight's show:

Continue reading "Video: 'Bucky & Sully' on WBBZ, by segment" »

Post Time: Philly takes racing's center stage

By Gene Kershner  

Racing turns its sights to the east coast this weekend where Philadelphia will host the weekend's biggest action. Parx Racing features three big graded stakes races highlighted by the Grade 1 Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies and anchored by the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby for 3-year-old colts. The day will feature $3 million in purse money over the 12-race card. The Pennsylvania Derby will serve as the stage for the rematch of the 1-2 photo finishers in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga as Will Take Charge and Moreno will face off in the $1 million race. 

Close Hatches (5-2) is the morning line favorite for the $1 million Cotillion, a race many thought Princess of Sylmar would be running in due to her Pennsylvania breeding roots. The Princess' connections decided to pass in favor of the Beldame on Super Saturday at Belmont Park and a date with Royal Delta. The race also has attracted Test champion Sweet Lulu, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who will stretch out to 8 1/2-furlongs for the first time.

The late Pick-3 is an all graded stakes Pick-3 kicking off with the Grade 3 Gallant Bob Stakes, a 6-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds. Let's see if we can string three races together for you on Philly's biggest race day.  

Grade 3 Gallant Bob 

We're going four deep here in the Gallant Bob, which drew 14 horses and turned several away. It should be a great betting race that has plenty of speed in it. We'll mix it up with some speed horses and stalkers as Parx usually has a super fast track on PA Derby day. Our top choice is 11-Rainbow Heir (3-1) will try and rebound from a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Amsterdam after two big performances at Monmouth Park. He's working well and the shorter distance should help the son of Wildcat Heir who will be on the engine at the start. 

We'll stay outside and include 12-Clearly Now (4-1) who could pick up the pieces if the race falls apart. I like the cutback in distance here and Luiz Saez has had a good summer riding at Saratoga. Another horse who should be near the lead and has good middle speed stalking the pace is 2-Distintiv Passion (8-1) who returns to dirt after winning two turf sprints at Del Mar. Trainer Jeff Bonde ships him in with Edwin Maldonado in the irons on the With Distinction colt.  

It wouldn't be right if I didn't include my favorite sprinter, the minute I exclude him he'll win going away, so here we go again with 8-Majestic Hussar (20-1). If the track is off, definitely include him, but I'm taking one more shot with him here. The Majestic Warrior colt did not have the best of trips in the King's Bishop and 6-furlongs appears to be his preferred distance.  

Grade 1 Cotillion

When 6-My Happy Face (9-2) was swung 7-wide in the Test and came charging down the lane to lose by a neck, it was one of those races to make a note of and remember the next time she runs again. Well here she is stretching back out to 1 1/16-miles and should provide a challenge to the favorite, 9-Close Hatches, who is a formidable foe in this race. Trainer Chad Brown is winning 25 percent of the time when he ships in. I'm also going to play against 7-Sweet Lulu on the stretch out and hope that 5-Seaneen Girl ran her top last out. So we'll go two deep in the Cotillion with My Happy Face and Close Hatches. 

Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby

The two top horses are hard not to include, Travers winner 7-Will Take Charge (2-1) strictly based on class and the runner-up 3-Moreno (5-2) who could easily run away with the 1 1/8-mile race on a speed favoring track. To try and catch lightning in a bottle we'll add two more horses (actually three for the price of two) by including the 1-McLaughlin entry and the 2-Speak Logistics who has a trip over the track, albeit over an off track and comes in third off the layoff. The McLaughlin coupled duo of 1-Transparent and 1A-Romansh, both took money in the Travers, but both carry key angles that could put them in the winner's circle. Transparent is running on lasix for the first time and Romansh will be running third off the layoff on the form cycle, both solid handicapping angles to get behind.

Post Time Outlook: The Pick-3 wager is 2,8,11,12 with 6,9 with 1,2,3,7 which will cost $32 for a buck and $16 for 50 cents.

Good luck!

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

Running notebook: Man on the move

It was another day in the life of Ed Russell.

Last Sunday, he drove down to Irving from the Northtowns - no easy jaunt - for a 5K race there. Ed didn't hang around long afterwards, though. He had to get back to Buffalo for another 5K run - the Shea's Race. That's how someone does 90 races in a year before the end of September.

Ed will probably be busy on Saturday. It's September, and everyone wants to have a race in September. Even so, this particular September day is supposedly going to be a wet one. Ed, bring an extra shirt or two.

Here's the calendar from buffalorunners.com:

* Chautauqua Ultras, various, Mayville Lakeside Park in Mayville, 7 a.m. Saturday, 607-0328.

* Hospice Dash 5K, Porter--on-the-Lake Park in Youngstown, 9 a.m. Saturday, 998-5777.

* Dash for Dad/Zero Prostate Cancer 5K, Perry Street in Buffalo, 9 a.m. Saturday, 844-5646. This seemed like a natural for Father's Day, which the race tried last year. We'll see what happens this time around.

* Mighty Niagara Half Marathon, Artpark in Lewiston, 9 a.m. Saturday, 998-5777.

* Lebro's Fall Classic, 5K, 330 Campbell Blvd. in Getzville, 10 a.m. Saturday, 689-4507. It's a flat course, lots of food, and great premiums. No one leaves hungry or with complaints.

* Tails on Trails, 2.5 miles, Birdsong Park in Orchard Park, 10 a.m. Saturday, 662-6450 x2. Oh, and the dogs race free.

* Pheo Para Run, 5K, 3964 California Road in Orchard Park, 10 a.m. Saturday, 677-6788. This is to fight the rare cancer Paraganglioma and Pheochromocytoma, thankfully abbreviated here.

* 4 for the Corps, 4 miles, 145 North St. in Arcade, 10 a.m. Saturday, 912-8172. That should be enoughb of a choice for Saturday.

* Dash for Diversity, 9K relay, Delaware Park in Buffalo, 11 a.m. Sunday, 417-4331. This is an interesting idea - three-person teams take a lap around the Ring Road.

* Tanya's Trot for Epilepsy, 5K, Skyline Drive in Akron, 2 p.m. Sunday, 541-2315. Akron Falls Park is a great place for a run if you don't mind hills. And you should be done in time for the Bills' game, if that matters to you.

-- Budd Bailey

Bandits notebook: Turn back the clock

The Buffalo Bandits had a good 2012 draft -- in 2013.

Stay with me a minute on this one.

The Bandits turned their initial second-round draft pick (the 10th pick overall) in Monday's National Lacrosse League draft into Joe Resetarits, who went sixth overall to Calgary in 2012. Each side gave up a second-round draft choice in the swap as well.

Let's say the second-rounders cancel each other out. So ... the Bandits get a top-six player for a 10th pick. Resetarits also has been in the league for a year, so he'll be more likely to contribute right away. And he's from Hamburg. if my Twitter feed is any indication, the move was a popular one with the fan base.

Joe's brother, Frank, spent parts of a couple of seasons with the Bandits. However, he was cut last year. Frank obviously wasn't too happy about the way things ended here, and understandably so. I would guess that the change in coaches by the Bandits made the trade a bit easier to take, at least around the Resetarits dinner table. And, maybe Frank will pop up at some sort of training camp tryout in December. Stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile, the Bandits also acquired Mitch Jones from Vancouver. He was the Stealth's third-rounder in, you guessed it, 2012. He was a good scorer in junior plan in Ontario. Same logic applies to Jones as Resetaritis, although Jones has more to prove.

Otherwise, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to the draft picks. The second round picks, Nick Diachenko and Mitch Wilde, are said to be good-sized and athletic. Without knowing a thing about them, I'd say the Bandits can use those type of players.

Kevin Pym's name was a familiar one. His father, Dave, is part of the Bandits' front office and used to be the coach at Calgary. If his Twitter feed is any indication, Kevin loves lacrosse. Can't wait to see the contract negotiations there.

When the Bandits announced they had completed a trade with Toronto late in the sixth and final round of the draft, I wondered if General Manager Steve Dietrich had traded his rights back to Toronto. All right, I jest. But it was a sixth-rounder next year for the chance to take Dylan Goddard, a big Junior B scorer in Ontario.

Drafts are tough to judge in any sport, and it's particularly true in lacrosse. Most of the stars have come from the initial picks. But, from what I can tell a mere three hours after this draft's completion, the Bandits come away a better team tonight than they were last night. That's all you can ask.

Postscript: The Luke Wiles trade to Philadelphia took place this weekend. Wiles got off track last year, what with visa and contract problems. He certainly needed a fresh start. I thought he might get one under a new coach here, but he'll certainly get one in Philadelphia. In the meantime, I'll miss his great sense of humor when hanging around the Bandits.  

-- Budd Bailey

Video: 'Bucky & Sully' on WBBZ, by segment

News Sports Columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan have a live show that airs on WBBZ-TV twice weekly, at 7 p.m. Mondays and Fridays.

Find out where to find WBBZ here.

Here are segments from tonight's show:

Continue reading "Video: 'Bucky & Sully' on WBBZ, by segment" »

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