Saturday, April 25, 2009

NEW CRACK A “MINOR DEAL”

The Quality Road connections, including trainer Jimmy Jerkens, expressed optimism yesterday afternoon about quality roads latest “quarter crack.” At the moment (key phrase), they believe he will be able to make the May 2 classic after noted hoof specialist Ian McKinlay treated a newly discovered quarter crack in the colt’s right-front hoof.

(A note for you non-horse folks about “quarter cracks.” A quarter crack like the one Big Brown had and Quality Road has in not life threatening in any way. His hoof isn't going to fall off or anything tragic of the sorts. It is most comparable to Ty Lawson’s injured toe. The toe hurts so Lawson can’t practice or play at full speed and that compromises his ability to play his best in a game. It’s the same deal with QR – his foot hurts just enough to slow him down a bit and in a game that’s all about how fast you can go, that’s a problem)

“Ian closed the crack up with laces,” said Jerkens. “We will jog him tomorrow, if there’s no blood we can patch him. He can gallop Sunday and breeze Monday, and if he is sound Tuesday we’ll ship to Kentucky.

“Right now, he’s absolutely sound. But to miss your last work when you wanted to work before the Derby is crucial.”

Quality Road, who appears fully recovered from a slight quarter crack in his right-hind hoof suffered in March, developed this quarter crack, estimated at about one-half inch long, sometime on April 23. It was first noticed after he returned from a routine gallop at Belmont Park.

“He wasn’t sore or anything,” said Jerkens. “We brought him in to pull his shoes afterward and that’s when we noticed it.”

McKinlay, whose client list includes 1997 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Touch Gold and 2008 Derby and Preakness (gr. I) winner Big Brown , said he was fully confident Quality Road would be able to make the Derby.
“The foot is cold, which is a tremendous sign,” McKinlay said. “He’s a little sensitive at the hairline, but now that it is stabilized (with the laces) the pain will go away. It’s not bothering him and I don’t think there’s any infection.”

McKinlay said Quality Road’s quarter crack was far less severe than the ones which affected Big Brown and Touch Gold.

“Compared to Big Brown, this is a nice picnic in Central Park,” said McKinlay. “And compared to Touch Gold, Big Brown was a picnic in the park. This is night and day and should be a minor deal.”

Friday, April 24, 2009

WELL…DUH!

North Carolina guards Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington will take their 2009 NCAA Men’s Division 1 College Basketball Championship celebration to the NBA.

A year ago, each went through the draft process, entering without hiring an agent. Unhappy about their prospects, they returned to school, and in addition to winning a national title, they improved their draft stock.

" I'm just grateful that I did make the decision [to return]," Ellington said. "It was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. There's no better way to end it than the way we did."

UNC coach Roy Williams said the feedback he has received from NBA personnel indicates both would be first-round picks in the June 25 draft.

"It's hard to leave Carolina because of all the great memories," Lawson said. "It's just tough leaving here."

UNC has signed four McDonald's All-Americans -- forward John Henson, wing guard Dexter Strickland, forwards David Wear and Travis Wear -- plus wing guard Leslie McDonald.

QUALITY ROADS DERBY STATUS NOW IN DOUBT

Leading Kentucky Derby contender Quality Road has a new quarter crack on the inside of his right front hoof.

There is an old adage in horse racing that goes "No hoof, no horse."

The reason it's an old adage is simply because it's true. Thoroughbreds can't train adequately or perform at their peak with nagging foot injuries.

Yesterday, blacksmith and quarter crack guru Ian McKinlay said Quality Road's rear quarter crack was a "done deal." Unfortunately, a routine shoe removal following Thursday's exercise at Belmont removed a new problem.

Quality Road's trainer, Jimmy Jerkens said Friday morning at Belmont Park he first noticed the crack April 23 after the big strapping Virginia-bred returned from a routine morning gallop.

“He wasn’t sore or anything,” said Jerkens. “We brought him in to pull his shoes afterward and that’s when we noticed it.”Noted hoof specialist Ian McKinlay, who successfully patched the first injury, is scheduled to treat the crack this afternoon.

McKinlay told our sources early this morning that the problem was "minor and manageable" and that it would not "effect his preparation or performance." In fact, McKinlay suggested that such an injury within a few as four days prior to the Derby could be overcome.

Simply put, the blacksmith to the stars told our sources within Quality Road's camp not to worry.

However, hearkening back to "No hoof, no horse" any foot problem is serious, and by the time McKinlay spoke to the media by late morning, he didn't sound quite a confident.

“I saw Quality Road (Thursday) morning and that’s when we noticed the crack," McKinlay said. "I did him up with Animalintex (poultice), which draws out the infection. This morning, the crack was very clean. Obviously, he didn’t go to the track, so they tubbed him. They’ll dry him up and I’ll see him later this afternoon.

“It was a straight crack, with no infection. I really don’t think it is as serious as the other one (right-hind quarter crack). If we were able to get right on top of it, I’ll probably lace it this afternoon. You have to remember that we are dealing with a living organism and it has a mind of its own. There is only so much we can do, and then we hope for the best. I’ll know more when I see him this afternoon, and Saturday morning will tell us a lot.”

Jerkens was matter-of-fact about it saying, “If Ian can lace it this afternoon, and the horse can gallop tomorrow, he could put a patch on right away and he can breeze on Sunday (April 26). If he wants to wait another day, he can gallop Sunday, and then breeze Monday.”

PICTURE OF THE DAY

STAY OUT OF THE SAND. Ferrari Brazilian's driver Felipe Massa drives during the second practice session of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Sakhir racetrack, on April 24, 2009 in Manama.

(Photo by Bertrand Guy/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

QUALITY ROAD'S HOOF CRACK A 'DONE DEAL'

According to various sources, Quality Road's quarter crack is fully healed. Hoof specialist Ian McKinlay said that the quarter crack is a "done deal," and the colt is on schedule for his next appearance, the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 2.

McKinlay made news last year when he treated Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown for the same ailment.

Considered one of the favorites for the Run for the Roses, Quality Road developed a crack on his right-hind quarter during his track record-setting victory over Dunkirk in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park on March 28.

"It's ice cold," McKinlay said. "He's moving well and he's ready to go."

T.A.H. sources close to the horse said earlier this week that the hoof was "cool and tight" and showing new growth from the coronet band. You horse guys/gals will understand that stuff...

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens is planning on heading to Louisville, Kentucky, on Tuesday, and may fit one more breeze into the bay colt before he ships.

If you want to go all veterinarian/blacksmith here's a video of a quarter crack repair...not QR's, but all of them are similar. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLqOOtfOL84

PLEASE PASS THE WEED…

…a good solid buzz helps me run a faster 40…

The draft stock of UNC’s Brandon Tate may have taken a hit…literally.

Two sources told FOXSports.com that Tate tested positive for marijuana in February at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Tate was one of only two high-profile players (the other was WR Percy Harvin of Florida) to flunk their combine drug tests, the sources said. Fewer than a dozen players tested positive for recreational drugs, one source said.

NFL teams received the drug-test results earlier this week. Players who failed are subject to entry into the NFL's substance-abuse program.

Tate was having a monster season for North Carolina before tearing two knee ligaments midway through his senior campaign. He averaged 23.5 yards on his 16 receptions and was even more dangerous as a punt and kickoff returner. Tate's 397 all-purpose yards against McNeese State set a single-game record at UNC. Tate didn't work out at the Combine while still recovering from his injury (and smoking dope.)

TITLE GAME REMATCH HIGHLIGHTS ACC/BIG 10 SNOOZEFEST

A rematch of the national title game will highlight the 11th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Michigan State will travel to national champion UNC on Dec. 1.

UNC beat Michigan State 89-72 for the Tar Heels' fifth NCAA title on April 6. The Heels also beat the Spartans in last year's Challenge. In all likelihood, the Heels will beat them again blah, blah, blah. (Actually, next go ‘round the Spartans might be favored…)

The ACC has won every year of the Challenge. Duke, which is 10-0 in Challenge play, goes to Wisconsin on Dec. 2. N.C. State, which was left out of last year's Challenge, will host Northwestern on Dec. 1. Northwestern has never made it into the Big Dance, so that seems appropriate right about now.

In addition, Maryland visits Indiana on Dec. 1, a replay of the 2002 championship game won by the Terps which, according to several trusted sources, was the last time Gary Williams really smiled.

Monday, Nov. 30
Penn State @ Virginia
Tuesday, Dec. 1
Maryland @ Indiana
Michigan State @ North Carolina
Northwestern @ N.C. State
Virginia Tech @ Iowa
Wake Forest @ Purdue
Wednesday, Dec. 2
Boston College @ Michigan
Duke @ Wisconsin
Florida State @ Ohio State
Illinois @ Clemson
Minnesota @ Miami

DUKE CONFIRMS NERD STATUS

Twelve Duke teams received an NCAA Public Recognition Award for their multi-year Academic Performance Rate.

Duke was the only ACC football team to be honored and one of three from a BCS conference. The men's basketball team was also recognized (as was North Carolina's).

According to Duke's press release, the 12 teams that were honored were the most for one ACC school. The ACC list went: Boston College (11), UNC (6), Virginia and Wake Forest (5), Miami (4), Georgia Tech (3), N.C. State (2), Florida State, Maryland and Virginia Tech (1) and Clemson (0).

Um...Clemson, that's a big "0" were lookin' at here. Oh, and no gigging FSU, MD and Tech cause "1" kinda sucks as well.

The awards were given to teams finishing among the top 10 percent of their respective sport based on the most recent multi-year APR reports.

THE ORIGINAL FRIDGE

Former Clemson Tiger and Chicago Bears defensive lineman William "The Refrigerator" Perry remains hospitalized in South Carolina. Aiken Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Melissa Summer said Wednesday, April 22, 2009, that Perry is in serious condition.

The 46-year-old Perry has been hospitalized to deal with complications from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a chronic inflammation disorder of the peripheral nerves.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

BIG LAW SUIT. Rumor has it that New York Yankee short stop Derek Jeter is suing McDonald’s for $400 million dollars after he spilled scalding hot coffee all over his pinstripes.

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

IT WOULD EXPLAIN THE INK. Chris Andersen of the Denver Nuggets had his headband pulled down during action against the New Orleans Hornets during Game Two of the Western Conference.

(Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

OH SO NATISH. After Washington won the first two of a three-game series against Atlanta, Mike Hinckley, part of the Nationals' new-look bullpen, walked Kelly Johnson with the bases loaded in the ninth inning Wednesday night, giving the Braves a 1-0 victory.

Doh!

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

IF BOBBY BOWDEN DIED AND CAME BACK AS A CHIUAUA

So Uncle Bobby croaks and comes back as a Chiuaua in a Carolina Blue sweater and he thinks the curb is the NCAA…

Here’s what would happen.



Nice, Bobby, NICE!

KENTUCKY DERBY UPDATE

T.A.H.’s Kentucky Derby favorite Quality Road is doing great. According to sources close to the Virginia-bred Florida Derby winner, he hacked around the horse paths at Belmont Park yesterday when rain made both the main track and the training track soup.

Paul Moran (with a fair amount of coaxing from T.A.H.) wrote a nice piece about Quality Road, his Virginia connections and his public relations/media campaign be orchestrated by the Virginia Thoroughbred Association.

Down at Churchill Downs, the other two favorites Pioneerof The Nile both and I Want Revenge both worked five furlongs impressively. Pioneerof The Nile has a win last time out in the Santa Anita Derby bolstering his resume and I Want Revenge won the Wood Memorial in a very impressive fashion last out after falling down coming out of the gate. It’s worth watching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUUdR0fXCNo

Hook up with QR on Facebook to become a FAN OF QUALITY ROAD and Twitter.
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=75003471943&ref=ts
http://twitter.com/Quality_Road

ROGER GOODELL SPEAKS ON VICK REINSTATEMENT

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Michael Vick has paid a significant price for doing an “egregious thing” and will have to show genuine and rehabilitation in order to get a chance at resuming his playing career.

Goodell appeared Tuesday night at Washington & Lee University, engaging in a panel discussion about leadership in sports and taking questions from the audience.

Afterward, Goodell said he has not kept up with Vick’s legal issues since suspending him from the league after his conviction in a federal dogfighting case. (Really? Tell us the college kids gave him a rousing guffaw over that one!) Vick is serving a 23-month prison term and has a team of lawyers trying to settle his finances in bankruptcy court.

A major component of the bankruptcy lawyers’ efforts to find a way for Vick to satisfy his creditors is based on his ability to again earn millions in pro football.

Many have speculated that Vick would become a lightning rod for animal rights groups and others if he is reinstated and added to a team’s roster, but Goodell said he think the public will apply the same standard he’ll use when determining whether to allow him to return.

“Our issue is trying to do the right thing and represent the NFL in the best possible way,” said the commissioner.

“Michael did an egregious thing. He has paid a very significant price for that. If he’s learned from that and is prepared to live a different life, I think the general public is forgiving on that when people are genuine and they show remorse and are prepared to live a different life,” he said. “That’s something he has to prove to myself and the general public.”

Vick, 28 and once the NFL’s highest paid player with a seven-year contract for $130 million, is scheduled to be released from the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., on July 20, but could be transferred to home confinement in Hampton as early as May 21.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

THE LATEST PIONEER. In this photo provided by Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby hopeful, the Bob Baffert-trained Pioneerof the Nile, with Joe Steiner in the saddle, works out at Churchill Downs, Tuesday, April 21, 2009 in Louisville, Ky. Pioneerof The Nile went the five furlongs in 1:00 4/5.
Before you ask about the odd spelling of Pioneerof The Nile, here's the answer. A Thoroughbred's name is restricted by the registering agent, the Jocky Club (and no, not the restaurant in the Ritz Carlton in NYC), to 18 letters and spaces. Pioneer Of The Nile is 19 letters and spaces hence the "smooshing up" of Pioneerof.
Now you know.

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

I WANT TO GO FAST. In this photo provided by Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby hopeful I Want Revenge, ridden by Jo Talamo, works out at Churchill Downs, Tuesday, April 21, 2009 in Louisville, Ky. He breezed five furlongs in 1:01 3/5.

The 135th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May. 2.

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

CLOSE YOUR EYES AND GRAB THE OTHER GUY'S PRIVATES. And watch out for the guy in the gloves who also has his eyes closed.

Australian football club Central Coast Mariners forward Dylan Macallister (C) vies for the ball with Japanese club Kawasaki Frontale goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima (R) during the second half of their AFC Champions League group H round in Kawasaki, suburban Tokyo, on April 21, 2009. Frontale won 2-1.


(Photo by Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

GEORGIA TECH’S LAWAL TESTING NBA WATERS

It figures Georgia Tech would have to have somebody testing the NBA waters, and all told maybe their lucky that it’s only sophomore forward Gani Lawal. Lots of folks think freshman Iman Shumpert is a likely early draft candidate.

Interestingly, of the 10 one-and-done players in ACC history, five went to Georgia Tech (Stephon Marbury, Chris Bosh, Dion Glover, Javaris Crittenton and Thad Young).

Lawal's news interrupts what has been a lull in ACC declarations. With the deadline looming on Sunday, it's sure to pickup.

The UNC duo of Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington and Duke's Gerald Henderson, are all expected to leave for the NBA but have been silent.

A UNC spokesman said Monday there was no update on Lawson or Ellington. A Duke spokesman said Henderson "was still in the process of evaluating his options."

We understand the Henderson hold up, but what’s up with Lawson and Ellington. It seems unlikely, following Lawson’s great season and Ellington’s great Dance, that either’s NBA stock could ever be higher. Back-to-back championships a la Florida a few year’s back is nice, but if you’re looking to cash a check (and who ultimately isn’t?) does it make ANY SENSE for those two to return to UNC?

TO DATE:

Leaving: James Johnson, Wake Forest; Brandon Costner, N.C. State

Testing: Jeff Teague, Wake Forest; Greivis Vasquez, Maryland; Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech; Dwayne Collins, Miami

Staying: Ed Davis, UNC; Trevor Booker, Clemson; Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest; Kyle Singler, Duke; Solomon Alabi, Florida State

Undecided: Ty Lawson, UNC; Wayne Ellington, UNC; Gerald Henderson, Duke

THE FRIDGE HAS A FEW CHOICE WORDS FOR FSU

Not everyone in the coaching profession is on board with Bobby Bowden keeping all 382 of his career victories. Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen told CBSSports.com that Bowden and Florida State deserve to vacate any victories they gained while playing ineligible players.

FSU was placed on probation in March as the result of a widespread academic fraud scandal. Sixty-one total athletes were involved. FSU suspended 23 football players from the 2007 Music City Bowl after the wrongdoing was discovered. Pending an appeal, Bowden might have to vacate as many as 14 victories, the combined number of games won in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

"Is it fair?" Friedgen said. "Yeah, they played ineligible people ... They orchestrate 36 guys -- academic fraud by the academic counselor -- and they lose one or two games? That's not right."

Actually, the NCAA has told Florida State to determine how many players competed while ineligible and when. While Bowden might lose up to the 14 games won in those two seasons (seven each season), the total could be less (or none). In addition, FSU president T.K. “Couldn’t Stand The” Wetherell recently proposed a blue-ribbon committee to examine the issue but was turned down by the NCAA.

You go, no committee.

*Rumor on the street is that about fifteen years ago, the FSU coaches under the auspices of Bowden senior pulled a little prank on Ralph. Seems they kidnapped a case of Hostess Twinkies from Fridge's personal stash and held them for ransom. These were no ordinary Twinkies either.

Word on the street is they were “50th Anniversary Special Edition” Twinkies and T.A.H. has sources that believe they involved chocolate in some way. Fridge did not see this as a harmless practical joke, but as an insult of the highest order and a direct act of conflict designed to hurt him and the things he loved. Although, the case of Twinkies was eventually returned a few Twinks lighter, Friedgen remains upset about the incident.

*Items in italics may not be true.

ONLY NCAA CAN SLOW DOWN WOLFPACK’S WILSON

N.C. State will be a much improved football team this year and one can point to sophomore quarterback Russell Wilson as the primary reason why. We are big believers that the primary difference between college football teams is how much talent and experience they have at the quarterback position.

Even though, Wilson was injured early last season, when he came back the Wolfpack went on a tear with a string of late season wins that included a dismantling of primary rival UNC. Wilson ended up being All ACC.

Wilson also plays baseball and his coaches have figured out how to accommodate all the conflicting schedules. He threw for 195 yards in the Spring Game on Saturday, but had to bolt after the first half and head over to the baseball diamond. Did the two sports schedule conflicting games on the same day? Well…no. But the NCAA says a “student athlete” has a four hour daily minimum…

You know, so they can study the rest of the time…

APPARENTLY DUKE IS GETTING BETTER

And that, of course, is ridiculous…Oh well. White 24, Blue 17...

According to J.P. Giglio of ACC Now:

There's a reason Greg Paulus has to look elsewhere to play quarterback in 2009. Duke quarterbacks Thad Lewis and Sean Renfree were both effective in Saturday's spring game at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Renfree, a redshirt freshman, completed 15-of-24 passes for 210 yards with two touchdowns to lead White to a 24-17 win. Lewis, a senior, hit on 17-of-23 attempts for 257 yards. He ran for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns.

Paulus, who just finished his basketball career at Duke, created headlines last week with a workout for the Green Bay Packers and visit to the University of Michigan. Duke coach David Cutcliffe offered Paulus a chance to play receiver, but he wants to play quarterback.

The Blue Devils weren't overwhelming in its second spring game under Cutcliffe, but they were better. The same progress Duke showed in 2008 — cutting down on self-inflicted errors, penalties and general lack of direction — was evident on Saturday and then some. Consider last year's spring game ended 14-3 with only one offensive touchdown.

"Absolutely, you can see the difference," Cutcliffe said. "Last year, we were just practicing to learn how to practice."

WEEKEND LACROSSE UPDATE

No. 8 DUKE 10, Army 6
No. 2 VIRGINIA 13, Dartmouth 6
No. 14 MARYLAND 9, Penn 2
No. 10 NORTH CAROLINA 13, No. 7Hofstra 8

PICTURE OF THE DAY

I LOVE YOU, MAN! Hungary's undefeated world-class sprinter Overdose (nice name, dude) and his Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon celebrate their victory at Budapest's Kincsem Park on April 19, 2009.

Overdose, who is considered to be the best horse to emerge from Hungary since the great Kincsem in the 1870s, has attracted purchase offers as high as 5 million euros.


(Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

THOSE GAYS, THEY’RE COLORFUL! Brian Gay poses with his wife Kimberly and daughters Brantley (L) and MacKinley (R) with the winner's trophy after breaking the course record at 20 under par with a total score of 264 in the final round of the Verizon Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on April 19, 2009 in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

SPEAKING OF GAYS. Openly gay celebrity blogger Perez Hilton may have cast the deciding vote that made Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton the new Miss USA. There is a bit of controversy after Hilton asked the other finalist Miss California her opinion on same sex marriage. Hilton, the self-proclaimed Queen of Media, didn’t like the answer and now Carrie Prejean says it cost her the coveted beauty queen gig.

Look, that’s silly. Miss North Carolina beat Miss California fair and square. It’s an ACC vs. PAC 10 thing, and if it ain’t a football game (remember USC v. UVA – ughhh!), the ACC wins every time.

It’s got nothing to do with gay marriage…not that there’s anything wrong with that!

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

SPEAKING OF CRAZY. Why don’t we row a boat across the Atlantic Ocean. Who’s in?

That’s what we thought.

Most people aren’t jumping on that bandwagon, but Frenchman Patrick Hoyau did and here he celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the "Bouvet-Rames-Guyane", a transatlantic rowing race from Saint-Louis in Senegal to French Guiana, on April 20, 2009 off the coast of Cayenne, French Guiana.

And after you accomplish this amazing feat, you’re in French Giana. Woo hoo!

What is wrong with these people?

(Photo by Jody Amiet/AFP/Getty Images)

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