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Bandits Live: Pregame info at 6:30 p.m.; Roughnecks-Bandits updates at 7 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: Derby trail heads west

By Gene Kershner

The Derby trail turns to the Great Race Place on Saturday afternoon with the 76th running of the $1 million Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.  A talented field of eight horses will square off in the nationally televised race (NBC Sports Network, 5:30 p.m. ET) with 170 Kentucky Derby qualifying points at stake. The winner will take away 100 points, the second place finisher will earn 40 and the third (20) and fourth (10) place finishers will generate lesser amounts.

Three colts have been at the forefront of the California 3-year-old racing scene and they will tee off against each other for the first time. California Chrome (6-5) is the morning line favorite and the San Felipe winner is the one to beat. He currently sits in 12th place in the Derby standings with 50 points.

Hoppertunity (3-1, 55 points), the Rebel winner at Oaklawn Park, comes back to California to get in his last prep before the Derby.  Mike Smith who was in the irons for the big win at Oaklawn gets the nod at Santa Anita from trainer Bob Baffert.

The horse that has the most at stake is Candy Boy (9-5, 10 points), who needs to finish first or second to secure a Derby berth. The Robert B. Lewis winner has been idle since early February and faces the pressure to perform on Saturday afternoon.

Here's a look at the field and our thoughts….ML odds, trainer and jockey in parenthesis.

1-Rprettyboyfloyd (20-1, Breuer, Bejarano). The son of Bluegrass Cat has yet to break his maiden in five career races and steps up to face the big boys. He's finished second in four of the five races and a beaten third in the Grade 2 San Vicente.  Adds blinkers and a top jockey, but not sure it's enough against these monsters.

2-Friendswith K Mill (20-1, O'Neill, Baze).  Flashy Bull colt also steps up into graded stakes company after winning a maiden claimer two back. Enough said. Pass.

3-Hoppertunity (3-1, Smith, Baffert). This well-traveled colt is about to run his third Derby trail race at a third different track.  His impressive win in the Rebel catapulted him into the Derby, so this race is just a tightener. Connections are lethal together, but not sure this is the target. Contender.

4-Big Tire (20-1, Glatt, Maldanado).  Hi name makes me think of 2008 Tampa Bay Derby winner, the late Big Truck, but this is a son of Candy Ride who broke his maiden last out for trainer Mark Glatt. Another horse making a big step up, but actually has the pedigree to go long as Giant's Causeway is his damsire. Worth a shot underneath in the exotics.

5-California Chrome (6-5, Sherman, Espinoza). A definitive win here could vault this son of Lucky Pulpit into the favorite's role at Churchill Downs. Ran a huge one winning by over 7 lengths in the San Felipe. He's been working sharply for trainer Art Sherman and is the one to beat tomorrow afternoon.

6-Candy Boy (9-5, Sadler, Stevens). The Lewis winner is desperate for points and this is likely his last chance to earn valuable points. He drew outside of California Chrome, so he'll be able to sit a stalking trip. Has the Hall of Famer in the saddle sports some solid workouts since his last race. Looks fit to pull the mild upset.

7-Schoolofhardrocks (10-1, Holmans, Talamo). Has some positives on his past performances in the workout area and running second off the layoff, second-time Lasix, but the lightly raced son of Rock Hard Ten appears to be overmatched in here. Would consider only in the superfecta slot.

8-Dublin Up (30-1, Miller, Desormeaux). Longest price in the field is in over his head in this race. Still a maiden who has yet to crack an exacta in four career races. Looking elsewhere.

Post Time Outlook: 1 -Candy Boy; 2-California Chrome and 3-Hoppertunity

Long shot: Big Tire

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

Running notebook: What's the secret?

Here's a story about the nicest surprise of the 2014 race season so far.

The Mustache March was held on Saturday in Kenmore. First-year races sometimes struggle (to put it mildly), but this one didn't. The cap of 500 runners was hit well before race day, and the shirt promised to the first 200 runners were gone weeks before the start. About the only problem that I saw was one that many races would like to have - the building was a bit small for the crowd.

Let's hope it's the first in a series of success stories of 2014.

The calendar has flipped to April, which means the racing season begins in earnest. Here's the weekly rundown, courtesy of buffalorunners.com:

* Health Fair 5K Run, 1500 Vanderbilt Ave. in North Tonawanda, 9 a.m. Saturday, 807-3715. This has to be the cheapest race of the year, with a $5 charge for residents and $10 for non-residents. At a time when race fees have been going up, we'll see how this strategy works.

* Niagara University 5K Run Against Hunger, Dwyer Arena, 10 a.m. Saturday, 286-8711. It's nice to see Niagara back on the race calendar.

* Feel the Spirit 5K, 921 Cleveland Dr. in Cheektowaga, 11 a.m. Saturday, 380-0231. This is the current champion for most turns in a 5K race, although the Mustache March isn't far behind. The Feel the Spirit race also is very well done, with plenty of food and nice raffles.

* Boys on the Right Track 5K, 5324 Rogers Road in Hamburg, 8 a.m. Sunday, 316-1789. One of the earliest races of the year. No race-day registration, by the way.

* Canisius College Shoes for the Shelter 5K, Koessler Athletic Center, 10 a.m. Sunday, 888-2977. It's a News Runner of the Year series race. The course was moved last year out of Forest Lawn, and I can say first-hand that few people missed the big hills on the revised layout.

-- Budd Bailey

Macker Tournament agreement near

There is an 80-90 percent chance there will be a Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Buffalo this summer, according to Buffalo Police Athletic League Executive Director Modie Cox.

Cox said an agreement is almost in place which will enable the event that is as much a part of Western New York as Beef on Weck to continue for a 24th straight year. Cox said his organization is just waiting for the PAL's attorney to sign off on the deal before inking the contract.

"I'm pretty confident it's going to be signed off on," Cox said.

An official announcement will be made as soon as possible, but it's to PAL's benefit to make it official quickly so that it can begin to secure sponsorships for the event that serves as one of the organization's main fundraisers for PAL activities. The tournament date is still to be determined but the ideal weekend for PAL would be the second-to-last one in June. The event has been in peril due to economics, as PAL lost a main sponsor of the Macker the past four years in ex-Buffalo Bill Terrance McGee and has been looking for a way to maximize profit while cutting tourney costs.

- Miguel Rodriguez

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: 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:

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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