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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:

Post Time: Valentine's day racing notebook

By Gene Kershner

Let's take a little tour around the thoroughbred racing world after last weekend's big day at Gulfstream Parkā€¦

Lea and Lochte were the big winners on the debut broadcast of the Jockey Club Tour on Fox on Sunday. The initial show was heavy on handicapping with TVG's Simon Bray and Greg Wolf and NYRA's Andy Serling and Richard Migliore all part of the show. Overall, the show was a win for racing anytime you can showcase the sport.  The next broadcast on Fox Sports 1 will be the $10 million Dubai World Cup from Meydan Racecourse in late March.

- I thought Will Take Charge gave a valiant effort finishing second in the Donn on a track that certainly doesn't assist his late running style including the short stretch. He will be a force to be reckoned with down the line.

- Good news for the border oval last week as Ontario Racing Commission announced that there will be a full 2014 racing system at Fort Erie Race Track. The Commission notified Ontario Premier Wynne that the funding has been secured for the meet scheduled to start sometime in the spring of 2014.

- The 10-4-2-1 points phase of the Road to the Kentucky Derby will wrap up this weekend with races at Golden Gate (El Camino Real Derby) on Saturday and at Oaklawn (Southwest Stakes) on President's Day Monday.  The Southwest will include solid Derby contenders Strong Mandate, Ride on Curlin and Tapiture.

- Things will start to heat up next weekend with the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream which should have a loaded field including Top Billing, Medal Count, Commissioner, Conquest Titan and We Miss Artie to name a few. This race has typically been a big steppingstone for the winner.  The points increase to 50-20-10-5 for the first four finishers. So a win more than likely puts you in the Derby gate.

- Finger Lakes-based trainer Jeremiah Englehart will send Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies champion Ria Antonia into the Rachel Alexandra Stakes at the Fair Grounds next weekend. Her connections had considered next weekend's Risen Star Stakes against the boys but thought otherwise so she will head down the road to the Kentucky Oaks on the first Friday in May.

- The fifth annual Wireplayers.com Derby Dozen poll has issued the initial 2014 poll, of which I am a panelist. Cairo Prince, winner of the Holy Bull, heads volume I of the poll which is released every three weeks up through the Derby draw.

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

Running notebook; Countdown to the season

It's February, which means two things:

1. It's cold.

2. It's time to look over the Runner of the Year race calendar, as I pick out this year's races.

There may be a change or two in the schedule, depending on how the dates fall as I try to come up with a balanced calendar. The tough part centers around the substitution of the Fleet Feet 15K for the Biggest Loser Half-Marathon. But I am quick to add that the season will begin on March 1 with the Shamrock Run, as usual.

I hope to have the schedule in place in two weeks for that weekend's column. In the meantime, you can read this week about a fundraising effort by a local runner at the Shamrock, and a brand-new area running club.

In the meantime, here's the one race on this weekend's slate, courtesy of buffalorunners.com:

* Snowball Run, 5K, 701 Seneca St. in Buffalo, 10 a.m. on Saturday, 440-7507. It's a new location for this event, as it shifts to the Larkin Center. This has been a nice little race in the past, so it's easy to wish it well in the new home.

-- 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:

Bandits Live: Pregame info at 7 p.m.; Bandits-Knighthawks updates at 7:30 p.m.

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:

Post Time: Gonzalez sends River Seven against stacked Donn field

By Gene Kershner

Trainer Nick Gonzalez stood in the winner's circle for the first time in a graded stake at Churchill Downs last November and will look to duplicate that feat at Gulfstream Park on Sunday. He'll enter his star 4-year-old River Seven into the $500,000 Grade 1 Donn Handicap at 1 1/8 miles, which will be the debut broadcast on the new Fox Sports 1 series, "The Jockey Club Tour on Fox." 

The field for the 59th edition of the Donn is stacked with formidable contenders including 3-year-old champion Will Take Charge, who was assigned the highweight of 123 pounds. Revolutionary, a fixture on last year's triple crown trail will make his first start of 2014, last running in the Belmont Stakes after finishing third in the Derby. 

Gonzalez is more than excited in attempting to win a fourth straight stakes race with River Seven, who set the Gulfstream track record for 1 1/16 miles in the $100,000 Harlan's Holiday Stakes going 1.41.73. The track record was set during his second career start on dirt, his first coming in last year's Prince of Wales Stakes at nearby Fort Erie where he finished second to Uncaptured, who drew the rail on Sunday for trainer Mark Casse. 

The field of 11 will also include Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Will Take Charge trained by the venerable D. Wayne Lukas. "There was supposed to be a whole pile of them last week and then when Wayne Lukas showed up with WTC, it scared a few off," said Gonzalez by phone from Florida on Wednesday.

The defending champion trainer of last year's Queen's Plate winner Midnight Aria isn't scared of taking on the big boys. "That's what you get in those kinds of races, if you're thinking or expecting anything less than a field like that you're just kidding yourself anyways.  You just have to be prepared for the big show when you're entered in a half million dollar Grade 1 race."

River Seven will receive a seven pound weight break from Will Take Charge and three from Revolutionary, which should help his cause. "The weights seemed kind of peculiar to me at first, but I guess when you start at the highweight at 123 and go down that's a realistic weight for River I guess so. We're happy with it," said Gonzalez.

Joe Rocco, Jr., who was aboard during the track record ride in the Harlan's Holiday, will ride River Seven on Sunday. Gonzalez is confident he will give him the best chance to extend his winning streak to four. "He's had three different riders on his last three stakes wins and he's not one of those horses where you have to give him a lot of instructions to anyone who rides him. He's got tracking speed, it's one of those things where you have a smart rider who knows the pace, you just have to figure it out once you go a half a mile and take it from there," said the Fort Erie-based trainer.

River Seven's last breeze was a successful one on Sunday morning and he had a chance encounter with two-time Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf champion Groupie Doll. "They both breezed at the same time Sunday morning. It was funny they were walking back to the barns after their workouts, it was very cool to see them side by side," he said. 

"It's going to be a big day with Groupie Doll running and making her last start in the Hurricane Bertie. It would be great to see a champ like that go out with a win," said Gonzalez.

The Hurricane Bertie and the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap will both be a part of the Fox broadcast on Sunday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. ET.

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

Running notebook: Brief respite

Tell me how many people had this experience this past week:

They saw the sunny conditions on Tuesday and went out for a rare outside run ... only to see eight inches of snow land on the formerly cleared streets and parkways on Wednesday.

And so ... back inside. I felt a little like the Groundhog in Pennsylvania, who saw his shadow and headed back into the ground. Six more weeks of this? Bah humbug, to mix a metaphor.

Here's the weekly race calendar, again on the very small side, from buffalorunners.com:

* The Lockport Y-10, 10 miles and 5 miles, 19 East Ave. in Lockport, 10 a.m. on Satuday, 434-8887. I often hear arguments that this should be a News Runner of the Year race. My reply is that the elements can play too big a role in this race to be a fair test. Besides, I like the idea that the season starts with the Shamrock Run. The Y-10 is a good race, and I'm happy it attracts plenty of runners who are loyal to it. I just don't see it as a great fit for the series. No disgrace in that; it will do fine without it.

* Olean Polar Bear Series, 5K, Wellsville YMCA, 1 p.m. on Sunday, 373-2400.

Finally, our sympathies to local runner Tom Proctor, whose wife recently passed away.

--- Budd Bailey

Bandits Live: Pregame info at 7 p.m.; Rock-Bandits updates at 7:30 p.m.

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:

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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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