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Running: John Beishline dies

I received word of John Beishline's passing with professional and personal sadness today.

John may have done more for running than anyone in Western New York over the years. At the top of the list was that he served as race director for the Buffalo Marathon since 2000, and the events enjoyed great growth over those years.

But that was just the tip of the iceburg. He operated Western New York Finish Line Services for more than 30 years, timing countless races during that time. John formally and informally consulted with dozens of race directors on how to put on first-class events. Beishline was the marathon race director of the World University Games in 1993, and was presiden tof the USATF Niagara Region from 1991 to 1996.

Not too many people know John was a pretty fair runner in his younger days. He completed the Boston Marathon in 3 hours, 20 minutes.

This is all why he was quickly named to the Western New York Running Hall of Fame in its first class in 2011. 

More importantly, at least to me, he had a smile and a good word for everyone for everyone he encountered - particularly when I pestered him on some running-related matter.

To see he'll be missed is a terrible understatement.

-- 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:

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:

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:

Post Time: Friday racing notebook

By Gene Kershner 

Holiday racing has big races today (Clark Handicap) and tomorrow (Cigar) at Churchill Downs and Aqueduct, respectively. 

Clark Handicap 

Game On Dude (8-5) was assigned high weight in the Grade 1 Clark (126 lbs) where he will take on 3-year-old contender Will Take Charge (9-5, 123 lbs) in an attempt to save face after a dismal ninth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic. The 9-furlong race is at the Dude's favored distance where he's won seven of nine starts and finished second in another at the distance. Mike Smith will be in the irons for trainer Bob Baffert on the Dude. 

It will be Will Take Charge's 11th race of a long year that has seen him win four times including a Grade 1 (Travers), two Grade 2 victories (Rebel, Penn Derby), as well as his nose loss to Mucho Macho Man in the Classic. A win here could propel him to the 3-year-old male championship with a second consecutive good showing against older horses. Luis Saez gets the mount for the fifth straight time on the son of Unbridled's Song. 

Other contenders include last year's Travers dead-heater Golden Ticket (9-2, 120 lbs.) and Bourbon Courage (8-1, 117 lbs). There is some pace to the race with the Dude, Prayer for Relief (20-1) and Jaguar Paw (20-1), but it looks like it will come down to the main two challengers.  I like Bourbon Courage's chances to hit the board and pick up the pieces should the race fall apart. 

Cigar Mile 

The Grade 1 Cigar Mile at the Big A on Saturday will feature Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents and Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Groupie Doll, both of whom will try to place an exclamation point on their respective seasons. Talk of a 3-year-old championship with a Cigar Mile for Goldencents isn't out of the question, who is partially owned by Kentucky basketball coach Rick Pitino. 

Groupie Doll, running for new owner Mandy Pope, had her final workout on Monday, going four furlongs in 48.55 for trainer "Buff" Bradley.  Pope purchased the daughter of Bowman's Band during the recent Keeneland November breeding stock sale for $3.1 million. Stay Thirsty nipped the champion female sprinter by a nose in last year's edition of the Cigar Mile, so she's taken on the boys before in this very race. 

Todd Pletcher will send out of trio of challengers including Haskell winner Verrazano, King's Bishop winner Capo Bastone and Forty Tales to the gate to challenge the Breeders' Cup winners. 

Fort Erie Festival Racing Proposal 

On Wednesday the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium unveiled their proposal to the Ontario government for a festival racing concept. The proposal detailed a three-weekend meet to be conducted in August 2014 with an emphasis on "The Year of the Horse," representing this year's Chinese New Year. The Year of the Horse celebration would feature a regal horse as its centerpiece, a man-made horse built via a traditional bamboo scaffolding technique, used primarily in Hong Kong. 

The festival strategy combines marketing efforts to ethnic groups, an interactive gaming site called Horses 101, concerts and special tour packages to draw interest from outside of the area. A link to the proposal can be found here

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

Running notebook: Feast after the feast

The long holiday weekend still has some races on the calendar now that the Turkey Trot is over - with one "event" particularly noteworthy.

Last year I had the pleasure of attending the fourth annual Mighty Mile at Chestnut Ridge in Orchard Park. I watched as runners gulped down a taco, ran a quarter mile, eat another taco, ran some more, etc. - until they finished the mile. The story might have been my favorite of 2012. It's not a big reason, and not for every taste, but everyone has a lot of fun.

Black Friday is about to arrive, and the Mighty Mile will come with it. Runners will gather around noon, and the race should begin around 12:30. You can find more details on the Facebook page.

Meanwhile, there are a couple of more formal races on the calendar. Here's the review from buffalorunners.com:

* Home for the Holidays 5K, 135 East Center St. in Medina, 9 a.m. Saturday, (585) 590-0699.

* Amy King 5K, 9 Summit St. in Lakewood, 11 a.m. Saturday.

Happy Thanksgiving.

-- 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:

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:

Post Time: Friday racing notebook

By Gene Kershner 

Next week's holiday weekend serves up the last big racing of the year with the Clark Handicap at Churchill on Friday and the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. That will round out the racing year for most of the divisions with very few races in December that should impact Eclipse voters. 

Both races have some star power as Game On Dude will try and regain some traction after another abysmal performance in the Breeders' Cup Classic by coming east to run in the Clark. The only way he doesn't run is based on the weight he is assigned per trainer Bob Baffert. 

The roster of known probable starters for the race includes (with trainers): Bourbon Courage (Kellyn Gorder), Easter Gift (Chad Brown), Finnegans Wake (Romans), Game On Dude (Baffert), Golden Ticket (Kenny McPeek), Prayer for Relief (Steve Asmussen) and Will Take Charge (D. Wayne Lukas). 

In a very close race with Orb, who has been retired to stud, for 3-year-old male divisional honors, Will Take Charge would make a big statement with a Grade 1 win in the Clark against older horses. 

The names being floated for the Cigar Mile include three Pletcher horses, Capo Bastone, Verrazano and Forty Tales, in addition to Clearly Now, Groupie Doll and west coast shipper and BC Dirt Mile winner Goldencents. That is shaping up to be quite the contest next Saturday at the Big A. 

Some other random racing notes and thoughts as we head towards the holidays… 

- This Saturday at Delta Downs features the $1 million Grade 3 Delta Jackpot for 2-year-olds has attracted 10 juveniles. Mark Casse-trained Coastline has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite.

- This year's Prince of Wales champion Uncaptured (7-2), will also be in action at Delta Downs on Saturday, running in the $150,000 Delta Mile. Familiar names Decisive Moment (10-1) and Nates Mineshaft (9-2) join the winner of the second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown at Fort Erie Race Track this past July.

- I was a guest on Capital OTB-TV's Racing Across America last week and discussed various racing topics including ThoroFan, the Breeders' Cup, Fort Erie and the upcoming Eclipse voting. I come on around the 41-minute mark.

- Best wishes to Bill Tallon, the Canadian editor and correspondent for the Daily Racing Form, who announced his retirement late last week. Bill was always a gentleman to me while covering the last three Plates every June. He'll be sorely missed in the Woodbine press box.

RIP turf writer Paul Moran, a former Buffalonian who spent a number of years covering racing for publications such as Newsday, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and most recently, ESPN.com. Moran passed away recently after a long battle against cancer. I ran into him in a back room at the Preakness last May while we were both waiting to go on radio shows in Buffalo and Albany, respectively.  I deferred to him and went outside to conduct my interview so he could have privacy for his call back to Albany. As we exchanged pleasantries about Buffalo and whatnot, he mentioned that the only reason he was at the Preakness was he thought Orb had a great chance to win the Triple Crown, and that it might be his last chance to see a Triple Crown winner.

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

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:

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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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