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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 6:30 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: Mr. Sandman, cash me a ticket

By Gene Kershner 

Breakfast in Dubai is on tap tomorrow morning at Meydan Race Course as Dubai World Cup Day kicks off a spectacular weekend of thoroughbred racing that includes the Florida Derby (NBC Sports Network, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. EDT) from Gulfstream Park and the Louisiana Derby from the Fair Grounds on Saturday evening.  The Meydan Race Course is home to some of the richest races of the year.  Free past performances for the Dubai races can be found here.  The Dubai World Cup will be part of a Fox Sports 1 telecast between 1 - 2:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Here's the lineup and a bit of commentary, a synopsis of the U.S. horses running, so fill up your bowl with some Lucky Charms and start handicapping…

Race 4: (10:25 a.m. EDT) Group 2 UAE Derby. Run over 1 3/16-mile on the Tapeta, for $2 million large. This race is also part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series, offering the winner 100 points and a gate in the Derby. Last year's winner Lines of Battle finished 11th in Kentucky Derby 139. The race has drawn 12 three-year-olds, including several from the States. 

The best known horse in the race is 5-Giovanni Boldini (USA) (5-2) a horse I loved in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. He has two wins on all-weather surfaces. The son of War Front will stretch out to his longest distance in this one and should be part of the mix for trainer Aidan O'Brien and jockey Ryan Moore. 9-Asmar (IRE) (6-1) has a win at the distance and on the Tapeta at Meydan.  4-Long John (AUS) (3-1) is a son of Street Cry and should be able to handle the distance and also has an impressive win over the surface.

Race 5: (11:03 a.m. EDT) Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint. A 5-furlong turf sprint with a purse of a cool $1 million dollars has attracted 12 runners, including U.S. horse 7-Berlino de Tiger (30-1), who looks to be overmatched in this group. 8-Amber Sky (AUS) (8-1) looks like a solid turf sprinter coming off an impressive Group 1 win at Sha Tin in Hong Kong. 6-Hamza (IRE) (15-1) ships in and is a classy horse that should be in the mix. 12-Shea Shea (SAF) is no stranger to the Meydan turf course and is a win threat at even money odds. 

Race 6: (11:41 a.m. EDT) Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen Classic. A 6-furlong sprint on the Tapeta surface, with a purse of two big bills, encompasses a field of 13 horses. Don’t confuse this race with the Shabeen, an old Buffalo bar and grill on Delaware Avenue, very popular on and around March 17 back in the day. Old war horse and returning defending champ 5-Reynaldothewizard (USA) (5-2) will attempt back to back victories in the Shaheen. 12-Rich Tapestry (IRE) (4-1), a 6-year-old son of Holy Roman Emperor defeated the 'wizard last out in a Group 3 race at Meydan. A horse going from Turf to AW is 4-Sterling City (AUS) (20-1) who has had some recent success at Sha Tin and against tough competition is a long shot worth considering. 

Race 7: (12:39 p.m. EDT) Grade 1 Dubai Duty Free. A nice field of 13 horses will be going 1 1/8-miles on the Meydan turf course for $5 million. 10-Dank (GB) (7-2), the winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf takes on the boys in the Duty Free and should be the one to beat. It'll be her first effort off the layoff, but the 5-year-old by Dansili is a classy mare. She'll be challenged by the 4-year-old colt 11-Vercingetroix (SAF) (5-1) who is undefeated in six career races. This is shaping to be a huge race as 4-The Fugue (GB) (3-1), second place finisher in the Breeders' Cup Turf will also try her fortunes cutting back in distance for trainer John Gosden and top jockey William Buick. 

Race 8: (1:17 p.m. EDT) Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic. A large field of 15 runners will run 1 1/2-miles on the turf for $5 million large.  West Point Thoroughbreds and U.S. hopeful 11-Twilight Eclipse (USA) (20-1) comes off back-to-back graded stakes for trainer Tom Albertrani. He finished sixth in the BC Turf, by just over two lengths to 4-Magician (IRE) (3-1), who will be making his 2014 debut in the Sheema as the favorite.  Ryan Moore is aboard the Deep Impact mare 12-Gentildonna (JPN) (4-1) who finished second in last year's edition. Another Japanese entry, 3-Denim and Ruby (JPN) (8-1) finished a nose behind Gentildonna in the Japan Cup and should be a nice price horse in here. Godolphin will send out 1-Excellent Result (IRE) (15-1) winner of his last two for trainer Saeed bin Suroor. Frankie Dettori will be in the irons on 10-Dubday (GB) (20-1) who ships in after winning three straight Group 1 races in Great Britain. 

Race 9: (2:05 p.m. EDT) Dubai World Cup. Run at the classic 1 1/4-mile distance on the Tapeta for $10 million. Yes, you read that correctly, $10 million. 16-Ron The Greek (USA) (5-1) sold after last year's 6-year-old season  to Saudi Arabian interests along with 10-Surfer (USA) (30-1), a Distorted Humor gelding are the two US-bred horses vying for the biggest purse of the race year. It will be Ron the Greek's first race on the Meydan Tapeta, a surface that not many US dirt horses have had much luck on since Curlin's win in the 2008 World Cup. He drew the far outside post and will have some work to do if he is to cash a big check. 

Three horses I favor are 1-Prince Bishop (IRE) (10-1), 11-Hokko Tarumae (JPN) (12-1) and 4-Akeed Mofeed (GB) (10-1), all who have won multiple times at the Classic distance . Another horse that you can't discount due to the connections and breeding is 12-Ruler of the World (IRE) (9-2) by Galileo out of a Kingmambo mare, the slight morning line favorite. This race looks wide open and a great betting opportunity. 

You can also check out the Dubai Race Night website for full World Cup day analysis on each race.

Saturday is a terrific day of racing, be sure to check out tomorrow's print edition for previews of the huge Derby prep races from Florida and Louisiana. 

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

Running notebook: Justice coming?

For those of you who are still waiting for a refund for the half-marathon in Orchard Park in June 2012 that was never staged by the original organizer, help may be on the way.

The Indiana Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Rapid Running, claiming that runners in five events including the one here lost almost $100,000 in entry fees. More details will be printed in Friday's editions of The News.

The weekly race calendar is still a week away from picking up, but here's what is going on this weekend - courtesy of buffalorunners.com:

* The Mustache March, 5K, Mang Park in Kenmore, 10 a.m. Saturday, 877-0477. Can't say I've seen many races that hand out mimosas after events, so this first-year race has a chance to be interesting even for the clean-shaven among us.

* Bemus Point 5K, Long Point State Park in Bemus Point, 9 a.m. Sunday, 488-0788.

Recently I had the chance to interview Frank Shorter, the 1972 gold medalist in the marathon. He certainly ranks as one of the most interesting people I've ever questioned, to the point where I couldn't put everything he said into one story. So Part One comes on Sunday in The News, when he discusses that marathon and its effect on him. Then in two weeks, I'll have his thoughts on the upcoming Boston Marathon. He'll be one of the television commentators for Universal Sports.

-- 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 6:30 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 6:30 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: Spiraling down the Derby trail

By Gene Kershner 

This weekend's major prep race is the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky just outside of Cincinnati proper which has attracted 12 hopeful colts. The 1 1/8 mile race is one of the last two races of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series worth 50-20-10-5 points to the top four finishers. The other final prep at this point level is the Sunland Derby in New Mexico on Sunday.

The Spiral is run on the polytrack at Turfway and produced 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, breaking a drought of 18 years between Derby winners. Lil E. Tee won the 1992 version of the Spiral with Pat Day aboard. The race has produced some well known victors aside from those two including Hard Spun (2007), Flower Alley (2005), Stephen Got Even (1999), and Summer Squall (1990).

Let's take a look at the field (jockey, trainer, odds in parenthesis)…

1 - Big Bazinga (Contreras, Vassilieva, 30-1). Long shot who faltered badly in the Holy Bull but redeemed himself in an optional claimer at Gulfstream returns to the friendly confines of polytrack. Sports a couple decent efforts at Woodbine last fall and could outrun his odds.

2 - Asserting Bear (Rocco, Jr., Baker, 12-1). Another Woodbine shipper threatened momentarily at Tampa in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis finishing 3 3/4-lengths behind Vinceremos. The Ontario-bred colt has a win at the distance in the Coronation Futurity at Woodbine in November and could be a nice price on Saturday afternoon.

3 - Poker Player (Hill, Catalano, 5-1). The son of Harlan's Holiday ran second in the local prep as the favorite after finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita. Has a graded stake win coming from off the pace at Keeneland on the polytrack last fall in the Grade 3 Bourbon. Contender.

4 - Tamarando (Baze, Hollendorfer, 3-1). Morning line favorite won the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate on a Tapeta surface and ships in for jockey/trainer connections winning at a 44 percent clip over the past 60 days. The Bertrando colt will be looking to add to his current Derby point total of 12 on Saturday. The colt to beat.

5 - Coastline (Stewart, Casse, 8-1). Ships over from Oaklawn where he fared poorly in the Southwest Stakes after a third place performance in the Smarty Jones. Appears to be more of a miler based on his pedigree, has a sharp workout for Casse who is winning at a 24 percent clip going dirt to synthetic. Sometimes milers can steal a 9-furlong race.  He broke his maiden on poly at Keeneland. Would be a minor upset.

6 - Smart Cover (Lanerie, Romans, 20-1). Son of Any Given Saturday will try and go turf to synthetic for the first time. Past efforts include a second place finish ahead of the highly regarded Tapiture in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill. Stranger things have happened and Romans is capable of big wins in Kentucky.

7 - All Tied Up (Saez, Pletcher, 12-1). A Pletcher colt that's 12-1 on the Derby trail? Pedigree doesn't exactly scream router, but Todd Terrific knows how to have them ready and is a whopping 31 percent turf to all-weather surfaces. This colt has not run on any surface other than turf in his seven race career. Will swallow hard and pass.

8 - Solitary Ranger (Geroux, Catalano, 6-1). Won the local prep over the surface and has only missed the board once in five tries on the fake stuff. He won the prep handily by four lengths and could continue to improve for trainer Wayne Catalano who worked him six furlongs last time out so he's likely very tight and ready to roll. Win threat.

9 - Almost Famous (Borel, Byrne, 6-1). His past performance lines read like a rollercoaster, so not sure which colt is going to show up on Saturday. I'm going to bet against on Saturday due to his lack of consistency and first try on the polytrack.

10 - Harry's Holiday (Napranik, Maker, 20-1). Rosie ships in the ride for Maker's horse that finished third in the local prep. He would need to take a big step forward in this company to make any noise. There are others more likely and thinking he'd be more successful at shorter distances off first glance.

11 - We Miss Artie (Velazquez, Pletcher, 4-1). Pletcher hopeful desperate for Derby points takes the polytrack route. Absolutely has a shot in here coming in third off the layoff and returning to a surface that may be kinder to him than dirt. The Ramseys won the 2010 Spiral with a similar horse, and Johnny V comes in to ride. Should hit the board.

12 - Arctic Slope (Jimenez, McPeek, 30-1). Chestnut colt comes off a long layoff and jumps right into the fire. Has only one win in five tries and speed figures don't indicate he'll threaten the classier horses. Sitting this one out.

Post Time Outlook: 1-We Miss Artie; 2 - Solitary Ranger; 3 - Tamarando

Long shot play: Asserting Bear

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

Bandits notebook: A game away

Derek Keenan represents the biggest link between the two best starts in the history of indoor lacrosse.

Keenan was a member of the Buffalo Bandits in 1993, which won all 10 of its games in recording the first and only perfect season in league history. Buffalo won all eight of its regular season games, plus two playoff games.

Now Keenan is the coach and general manager of the Edmonton Rush, which has won its first 10 regular season games. Number 11 on Friday would be a statistical first for the league. Keenan sees some similarities between the two teams.

"They both have the ability to overcome some adversity, and not get rattled when things don't go their way," he said. "The Buffalo team was very much like that. We had a lot of veterans with the mixture of some young guys. These guys here have learned to grow together. ... They have the ability to not look at what happened and find what's next. That's a similarity with the '93 team."

* * * *

The Bandits stood pat at the trading deadline on Tuesday. Assistant coach Rich Kilgour said Buffalo wasn't too tempted to make a move.

"We're going pretty well, and the locker room is really good," he said. "Guys really enjoy spending time with each other. When you are 8-2, a lot of things are fun. When you're 2-8, things are not fun. My opinions were asked about a couple of things ... but we decided at this time that no deal blew our socks off. We're ready to go for the second half of the year."

There was only one transaction on a quiet deadline day. Toronto acquired goalie Brandon Miller from Philadelphia for transition player Kyle Belton and a couple of draft choices.

* * * *

After Buffalo's game in Edmonton on Friday night, the team heads to Minnesota for a Sunday afternoon date in Minnesota. If the Bandits win both of those games, they would wrap up a playoff spot. It's not certain if just a victory over the Swarm would be enough to get the Bandits into the postseason. Buffalo would have tiebreakers over Minnesota and Philadelphia, but a three- or four-way tie is still possible. The National Lacrosse League is looking into whether there are any scenarios that would leave Buffalo on the outside of the playoffs after a win over Minnesota.

--- 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 6:30 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" »

Live from First Niagara Center: Bandits vs. Mammoth

7:47 P.M. - I have discovered that the usual blog is not appearing on the News home page. Time to do it old school. 

We are six minutes into the game, and the Bandits lead Colorado by either 1-0 or 2-0 depending on how this goal review goes. Kevin Brownell and Aaron Wilson are the Buffalo scratches. Billy Dee Smith is back in the lineup after missing a game with an ankle injury. 

Adam Jones and Casey Powell are out for Colorado. 

Chad Culp has the first goal of the game. The Bandits' forward has 400 career points. The video review overtuned the goal ruling, so we are still at 1-0. 

7:50 p.m - Bandits are wearing green uniforms for St. Patrick's Day. Pretty nice, actually. 

7:54 p.m. - John Tavares got into open space when a Colorado defender missed a chance to intercept a pass. He still knows what to do in that situation. It's 2-0, Buffalo. 

8:06 p.m. - Joe Resetarits thrills the Hamburg contingent with a goal from close range. Then Steve Priolo strikes with a short-handed score. We're at 4-0, Buffalo. 

8;20 P.M. - Resetarits strikes again. It's 5-0 Buffalo, even though the shots are 19-17. And we take a break for the silly blooper reel. 

8:24 p.m. - Just when I started looking up when the Bandits last had a shutout half, John Grant Jr. strikes for Colorado. My fault. 

8:34 p.m. - Mammoth closed to within 5-3, thanks in part of a pair of power-play goals. But Ryan Benesch got the lead back to three goals with a nice cut to the net. We are 6-3 at the half. 

8:48 p.m. - Rochester just had an 8-1 quarter against Toronto, and leads, 13-10, after three. I get the impression that the Knighthawks and Bandits ought to have some fun games the rest of the way, including the postseason.

8:57 p.m. - A couple of veterans - Mark Steenhuis and Grant - have scored in the second half. The net effect is the same; the Bandits lead by three with 9:10 left in the third quarter.

9:07 p.m. - Colorado has cut the lead to 7-5, and has a 5-minute power play coming. A key part of the game is about to begin. There are 3 minutes left in third period. 

9:14 p.m. - John Grant Jr. tied the game with two goals on the Mammoth power play. But Tavares untied it in the final moments of the period. Bandits lead, 8-7, after three periods.

9:20 p.m. - Buffalo leads, 9-8, with 11:26 left. There's one Colorado fan below the press box. His cheers for Mammoth goals, um, stands out.

9:24 p.m. - Time is down to 8:11, score still the same. 

9:29 p.m. - Williams and Steenhuis strike to make it 11-8, but Colorado has a power play. 

9:35 P.M. - Cosmo has been great down the stretch. Good thing I picked him as a star.

9:42 p.m - Bandits win, 12-9. Off to locker room. 

11:32 p.m. - As you'd expect, the Bandits were a satisfied group after the contest. They didn't like most of the third quarter, and five power-play goals against were almost costly, but they still won the game.

“It’s nice to see our team dominate fourth quarters,” Bandits forward John Tavares said. “To me it looks like we know how to win. The last couple of years, it seems like we found ways to lose. This year we’ve found ways to win. That’s the sign of a good team.”

By the way, Colorado's loss tonight means Edmonton has clinched a playoff spot. That's with about eight games left. Impressive. We'll see how the Rush do against the Bandits on Friday night. Good night from Buffalo.

--- Budd Bailey

Post Time: Derby trail served Buffalo-style

By Gene Kershner 

It's that time of the year when we evaluate the current Kentucky Derby contenders Buffalo-style by applying just the right sauce in judging whether each colt is hot, medium or mild on this year's Derby trail. 

There are three races remaining in the 50-20-10-5 leg of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series, including this weekend's Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. After next weekend's races at Turfway Park and Sunland Park, the final seven races of the Series will offer the top four finishers 100-40-20-10 points, respectively. 

Several horses have already fallen off the trail most notably, Top Billing, third place finisher in the Fountain of Youth. Bayern, a top contender from Southern California scratched out of last weekend's San Felipe due to a quarter bruise and it is uncertain whether he will compete in the Santa Anita Derby or at Oaklawn.  Shared Belief, owned in part by Jim Rome's Jungle Racing, hasn't recorded a workout since January and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer confirmed yesterday that he is off the Derby trail due to foot ailments.

Keeping with our mid-March tradition of looking at the current leaders in the chase for the first leg of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, let's check out the 3-year-old colts that are creating a buzz on the Derby trail. In concert with prior years, the colts will be sorted Buffalo-style: Hot, Medium and Mild. 

Hot.  Two horses that are gaining steam as the hot horses have had good fortune in New York and Florida, at the Big A and Gulfstream Park, respectively. 

Samraat,  the son of Noble Causeway out of an Indian Charlie dam, looks to have earned his way into the Derby via his recent win in the Grade 2 Gotham where he defeated rival Uncle Sigh (24 points, t-7th) for the second straight time. Look for him next in the Wood Memorial in early April at Aqueduct. He appears to have the pedigree to capture the Classic distance of a mile and a quarter and has impressed so far in reaching the top of the points standings with 60 points. 

Heading down the coastline to sunny Florida, the Holy Bull winner, Cairo Prince appears to be the best of the Gulfstream colts after Top Billing's defection due to injury. He will take on the top two finishers in the Fountain of Youth in two weeks in the Florida Derby.  The son of Pioneerof the Nile, the second place finisher to long shot Mine That Bird in the 2009 Derby, still needs valuable Derby points. He sits in 14th place with 14 points for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who has never saddled a Derby winner. 

Medium. Our medium horses are those colts quietly moving up the ladder with decent, but not mesmerizing performances in the Derby prep races to date. 

A  horse that meets our "medium" category had the perfect trip in winning last weekend's San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park.  California Chrome (50 pts, 5th place), sired by Lucky Pulpit, grabbed the rail and pulled away from contenders Midnight Hawk and Kristo to win easily. His grand sire Pulpit won the Blue Grass and the Fountain of Youth in 1997, finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby, so there is some indicators in his bloodlines, although he has his doubters out there due to his damline. A much anticipated matchup with Robert B. Lewis winner Candy Boy awaits him in the Santa Anita Derby on Apr. 5.

We'll see our other medium colt this weekend, who could vault into "hot" territory with a win in the Rebel. Tapiture has earned points in each of his last three races, garnering 22 points in winning the Kentucky Jockey Club and Southwest Stakes and finishing third in the Iroquois. A top four finish should get him enough points to qualify for the Run for the Roses. He shares the same grand sire as California Chrome, but was sired by Tapit, winner of the 2004 Wood Memorial, who finished a disappointing 9th in the Derby that same year. 

Mild. The horses fitting the mild category are those that will probably qualify for a spot, but are rather bland at the moment, requiring additional spices and seasoning. 

Staying completely under the radar is a horse who will be challenging Taptiture this weekend at Oaklawn in the Rebel. Strong Mandate, trained by the venerable D. Wayne Lukas who stormed back onto the Triple Crown scene last year with Oxbow, is a horse with huge upside if he stays healthy. With only 6 points currently he'll need strong performances in either the Rebel or the Arkansas Derby to get into the gate on the First Saturday in May. Sired by the great Tiznow, a two-time Breeders' Cup Classic champion, he has the staying power to be there on Derby day as long as he qualifies. 

Rounding out our mild category is Starlight Racing's Intense Holiday trained by the omnipresent Todd Pletcher. After a ho-hum third place finish behind Cairo Prince in the Holy Bull, he captured my attention with a win in the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds vaulting him to top portion of the leaderboard, where he currently sits in second with 53 points. The son of Harlan's Holiday, a 7th place finisher in the 2002 Derby, should show up next in the Louisiana Derby in two weeks. 

Suicide.  If I had to tag a horse in this category it would be Wildcat Red, who backed up his Hutcheson win by winning the Fountain of Youth going gate-to-wire in blazing fractions holding off General a Rod. With a sprinter's pedigree, he may be your leader around the clubhouse turn at Churchill Downs in May setting the early pace. The 50 points he earned at Gulfstream should be enough to qualify for the big race.

Let's grab some bleu cheese, your favorite sauce and settle in for some great Derby preps over the next few weeks. 

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

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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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