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Jim Kelly at his football camp today: "When it's my time, it's my time ... I'm not scared to die."

Jim Kelly at his football camp Thursday. (James P. McCoy)
Jim Kelly at his football camp Thursday. (James P. McCoy)


The News' Bucky Gleason was at Jim Kelly's football camp today at Sweet Home High School as the Hall of Fame Buffalo Bills quarterback, who is battling cancer, met the media.

Below are Gleason's tweets from this morning. 

Read more from Gleason on Jim Kelly in his column for Friday's Buffalo News.

And watch News photojournalist James P. McCoy's VIDEO of Kelly addressing campers Wednesday night.

International Junior Masters champ Thomson becomes youngest qualifier for U.S. Amateur

Will Thomson of Pittsford during the final round of the International Junior Masters. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)
Will Thomson of Pittsford during the final round of the International Junior Masters. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)


By Keith McShea

Will Thomson of Pittsford, who became the youngest winner in the 62-year history of the International Junior Masters in East Aurora 11 days ago, had another landmark day on the golf course on Monday. 

Thomson, 13, became the youngest qualifier in the history of the U.S. Amateur when he won the 36-hole sectional qualifier at Mendon Golf Club.

Thomson shot rounds of 68 and 66 on the par-71 course for a total of 8-under-par 134. Thomson finished four shots ahead of Gavin Hall (69-69-138), a Pittsford-Mendon graduate who will be a sophomore for the University of Texas golf team this fall.

The United States Golf Association confirmed in an email to The Buffalo News that Thomson's age would make him the youngest qualifier; the USGA record book shows 2004 qualifier Ryota Ito as the youngest U.S. Amateur competitor at 14 years, 1 month, 13 days.

The 114th U.S. Amateur will be held Aug. 11-17 at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

The U.S. Amateur begins with stroke play followed by match play; that is the same format in which Thomson prevailed at the five-day International Junior Masters.

Thomson was also the only seventh-grader to qualify for this year's New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships. 

* * * 

Bob DiCesare's story (with photo) on Thomson winning the International Junior Masters.

A live blog account of the final day of the International Junior Masters.

Running notebook: An ideal day

It was a typical July 4 for runners in the area, as hundreds turned out this morning under almost perfect conditions. It seems as if the Depew-Lancaster Boys & Girls Club race is always 90 degrees when I run it, but there were no such complaints today.We'll have the result in Saturday's Scoreboard page of The News. The Dick Bessel Independence Day race, another Independece Day tradition, also went off as planned.

The busy July 4 apparently scared off race directors on July 5 & 6 ... with one exception. The Independence Run will be held in Akron at 10 a.m. Saturday. The starting point is listed as Vetean's Park on Skyline Drive in Akron. Call 390-7510 for information. I did this race last year, and it's a nice event. Just one reminder - watch out for the hills. Whew.

Coming up in Sunday's running column, there's a story about how some Western New Yorkers are helping a friend take cross-country running to a new level.

-- Budd Bailey

Post Time: Big field set for Sunday's Queen's Plate

By Gene Kershner

TORONTO – The post position draw for Sunday’s 155th running of the $1 million Queen’s Plate, the oldest continuously run race in North America took place in the walking ring at Woodbine Racetrack this morning. A large field of 14 colts and one filly will head to the post at 5:38 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. We Miss Artie (8-5) was made the morning line favorite with the filly and Woodbine Oaks winner Lexie Lou (4-1) made the second choice. 

Here are some quick hitters from the post draw:

  • Trainer Mark Casse sends out three horses in hopes of capturing his first Queen’s Plate after 17 attempts. Casse will send out the filly Lexie Lou, Matador (8-1) and Majestic Sunset (15-1) in attempt to break the drought.
  • Roger Attfield, who has a record-equaling eight Queen’s Plate training victories always the showman, selected post No. 12 for Tower of Texas, stating he has won two plates from that gate in his storied Hall of Fame career. John Velazquez, a Hall of Famer himself, will fly in to ride the son of Street Sense.
  • In addition to Velazquez another big name jockey will be heading north to Woodbine this weekend, as Javier Castellano, the current leading rider at Belmont Park, will be aboard We Miss Artie for trainer Todd Pletcher. Both Pletcher and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey will be making the trek up north for Canada's biggest race. Pletcher will be seeking his second Queen’s Plate, winning his last 14 years ago with Archers Bay in 1998.
  • Julien Leparoux, who will make his second Plate appearance, will fly in to ride Matador for Casse.
  • The Plate will be a family affair of sorts for the Attard family. Father Sid trains Cap in Hand (50-1) for last year's Plate winning owners Tucci Stables and his two sons will also saddle horses in the race. Cap in Hand will break from the rail, the same spot last year's winner, Midnight Aria started from in giving the owners their first Plate victory.
  • Attard's sons will saddle Niigon Express (Paul) and Lions Bay (Jamie) and have bet each other a round of golf on the outcome. Paul Attard selected post No. 13 for his horse, the same spot that his sire, Niigon, won the Plate from in 2004.
  • Trainer Reade Baker who recently won his 1,000the career race is also seeking his first Plate with two contenders.  Asserting Bear (10-1) will have jockey Chantal Sutherland-Kruse in the irons and Baker describes his colt's best quality in one word, "guts." Baker will also send Man o' Bear (30-1) postward for Bear Stables and will have the other female jockey in the race, Emma-Jayne Wilson, who won the 2007 Plate aboard Mike Fox.

The post position draw with trainer, jockey and morning line odds is included below: 

PP Horse Trainer Jockey Odds
1 Cap in Hand S. Attard Bahen 50-1
2 Coltimus Prime Nixon Campbell 20-1
3 Athenian Guard DePaulo Moreno 50-1
4 Asserting Bear Baker Sutherland-Kruse 10-1
5 Man o' Bear Baker Wilson 30-1
6 We Miss Artie Pletcher Castellano 8-5
7 Majestic Sunset Casse Boulanger 15-1
8 Lions Bay J. Attard Moran 30-1
9 Heart to Heart Lynch da Silva 30-1
10 Matador Casse Leparoux 8-1
11 One Destiny Fehr Stein 30-1
12 Tower of Texas Attfield Velazquez 20-1
13 Niigon Express P. Attard Olguin 30-1
14 Lexie Lou (f) Casse Husbands 4-1
15 Ami's Holiday Carroll Contreras 10-1
         
  (f) filly      

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

Video: WNY Flash players discuss World Cup

Video: Carli Lloyd talks World Cup

Post Time: Triple Crown among mid-year high points

Editor's note: Our apologies for not posting this earlier. It was published in Saturday's editions of The Buffalo News. 

* * *

By Gene Kershner

We’ve hit the midpoint of the thoroughbred racing season, and the first half of the year gave racing fans plenty to cheer about.

The 3-year-olds, led by California Chrome, took us through a great spring, and the older horses and handicap division will start to take center stage this summer.

The second half of the season will take us first to the summer destinations of Saratoga, Monmouth and Del Mar before returning in the fall to Belmont Park and Keeneland Race Course before the season culminates at Santa Anita Racetrack where the Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

The race for Horse of the Year is wide open with several horses in position to claim the sport’s most prominent award next January at the annual Eclipse Awards ceremony.

Here are some thoughts on the year’s highs and lows in racing at the halfway mark of the 2014 season:

Live from International Junior Masters: Pittsford's Thomson, 13, becomes youngest winner in 62nd annual event

Thirteen-year-old Will Thomson of Pittsford defeated Blake Gerber of Mesa, Ariz., 3 and 2, to become the youngest winner in the 62-year history of the International Junior Masters.  

* * * 

Follow updates from the final day of the International Junior Masters at the East Aurora Country Club, including from The News' Bob DiCesare, Taylor Nigrelli and photojournalist James P. McCoy, in the live blog below.

The semifinal matches began this morning, with the championship match scheduled for approximately 1:30 p.m.

Live Blog Friday's final day of the International Junior Masters

Post Time: Queen's Plate field shaping up

By Gene Kershner 

The 155th running of the Queen's Plate is just over a week away and the field is shaping up to be a competitive one. Woodbine is currently listing 14 probables for the oldest continuously run race in North America to be held on July 6 at the suburban Toronto track.

 Leading the way is Kentucky Derby qualifier We Miss Artie, son of 2005 Breeders' Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller, who won the Plate Trial stakes by 3/4-lengths in the key prep race for the Plate. Trained by five-time Eclipse winning trainer Todd Pletcher, the winter book favorite, will likely sustain that role when he steps in the gate a week from Sunday. Add Eclipse winning jockey Javier Castellano to the mix and you have the ingredients for a potential Canadian Triple Crown run.

On paper We Miss Artie is the one to beat on the Polytrack, but they don't run the race on paper. Several contenders will try and stack up to the favorite and give him a battle in the mile and a quarter race. 

Let's look at the top contenders he will face on Plate day, in no particular order.

Running notebook: Blowing up Facebook

Edna Hyer turned into a media superstar this week.

When the story on her from last Sunday's News was posted on Facebook, about 100 people shared it with others - and more than 1,800 saw the post. I saw her at a race on Wednesday night, I suggested that she start autographing the story ... for a mere $25.

She said she forgot to tell me a story about one of her first races.

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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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