Friday, May 1, 2009

RECRUIT CRIME: ANYTHING WORTH DOING IS WORTH DOING TO EXCESS

Angelo: Mom, I don’t want to go to college…It sucks.

Angelo's mom: Well, son go get arrested, and to be sure you get tossed, get arrested twice.

Now that’s good parenting.

For UNC recruit Angelo Hadley getting arrested once was clearly not enough…

After his second arrest in a month, UNC released Hadley, a safety from Thonotosassa, Fla., from his letter of intent on Thursday, school spokesman Kevin Best said. Hadley was charged with three third-degree felonies for burglary and firearms possession by the Hillsborough County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office on Wednesday.

Hadley was previously arrested on April 5 for two felony charges of lewd and lascivious battery, according to the sheriff's office. All five charges, and both arrests, stemmed from the same mid-February incident, according to the sheriff's office.

HELP A BROTHER OUT - OK.

According to the sheriff's office report, Hadley and his two brothers – Aubrey Elijah, 20, and Adrian, 24 – broke into a Hillsborough County residence and stole assorted jewelry, cash and a shotgun, totaling more than $17,000. Angelo Hadley was having sex with a 14-year-old female at the residence while his brothers committed the burglary, according to the report. (Hadley was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious battery for the sexual encounter.)

Nice, Angelo, NICE!

AND THE WINNER OF THE 135TH KENTUCKY DERBY IS…


Who knows? But in the next post, we tell you who can't win, so let's take a shot at who can...

Every year there are horses that we would categorize as “marginal” Kentucky Derby contenders. This year that group includes (in post position order):

WEST SIDE BERNIE (#1 – second to I Want Revenge. The winner fell down coming out of the gate, got blocked in once if not twice, and still beat him. Don’t think the extra furlong will help.)

ADVICE (#4 – Surprise winner of the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland is either improving daily or his Derby prep win was a fluke. Who knows? As Wayne Lukas once said “People have opinions, the horses have the facts.”

HOLD ME BACK (#5 – Has the connections and the pedigree and was second in the Blue Grass Stakes, a major Derby prep.)

REGAL RANSOM (#10 – Upset winner of the United Emirates Derby which means he’s the upset winner of the United Emirates Derby. Good luck figuring that out.)

CHOCOLATE CANDY (#13 – Second to Pioneerof The Nile in the Santa Anita Derby (polytrack), but has never run on good old fashioned dirt.

Which leads us to the real contenders, and they are horses who have either won or been closely placed in the major Kentucky Derby prep races. In post position order, they are:

MUSKET MAN (#2 – Second to I Want Revenge last out)

FRIESAN FIRE (#6 – Won three Derby prep stakes in Louisiana. Not great, but good enough)

PAPA CLEM (#7 – Won the Arkansas Derby)

GENERAL QUARTERS (#12 – Won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland)

I WANT REVENGE (#13 – Won the Gotham Stakes by 8 ½ lengths and then won the Wood Memorial Stakes impressively after stumbling badly from the gate)

DUNKIRK (#15 – A $3.7 million yearling who ran an impressive second to Quality Road in the Florida Derby over a speed-favoring track most likely not to his liking.)

PIONEEROF THE NILE (#16 – Won the Santa Anita Derby - pictured)
Picks: Pioneerof The Nile, Dunkirk, Friesan Fire

STARTING GATE(S) STILL TOO CROWDED FOR KY DERBY 135

Now about those 20 horses – it’s still too many horses, and quite a few of them don’t belong in the race. This year is no different.

At least eight horses don’t belong in this 135th Run for the Roses – Mr. Hot Stuff, Mine That Bird, Join In The Dance, Atomic Rain, Summer Bird, Nowhere To Hide, Desert Party and Flying Private. Don’t look for a winner to come from the far outside as those last four reside in gates 16 through 20.

Typically the Derby winner will have won his/her final prep before heading to Louisville. Not only did this group not do that, five of them (Mr. Hot Stuff, Atomic Rain, Summer Bird, Nowhere to Hide and Flying Private) are still eligible for “non-winners other than.”

For those of you who don’t spend your time with your noses buried in the Daily Racing Form that means they have only won one race against “maidens” (other horses that haven’t won a race either), so they are eligible for any other race for winners.

In horse racing, maiden races are “baby steps.” Allowance races for horses that have “broken their maiden” (won a race) are the equivalent of walking. The Kentucky Derby is the 1500 meters at the Olympics.

Mine That Bird (pictured) gets our boot based on the fact that he lost back-to-back races in New Mexico which is not exactly a Kentucky Derby proving ground. Historically speaking, that is…

Join In The Dance has won one race at 5 ½ furlongs and Desert Party is winless beyond the distance of one miles (the Derby is one and one-quarter miles). Also, Desert Play is owned by the ruler of Dubai – Sheik Maktoum – who has won almost every important horse race in the world, but has never so much as hit the board in the Derby. While there is a first time for everything, this isn’t the time.

Those eight nice colts should stay in their stalls where they belong on Saturday afternoon and let the others sort this one out.

QUALITY ROAD OUT OF PREAKNESS

Quality Road, who was forced to miss the Kentucky Derby due to a quarter crack in his right front foot, has not yet returned to the track and will not be ready to run in the Preakness on May 16.

"If we could get him back [training] early enough, we wouldn't rule the Belmont out, but he has to get going pretty quick that's for sure," trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Thursday by phone from Belmont Park.

Equine hoof specialist Ian McKinlay put in a new set of laces to secure the crack on Thursday, and Jerkens said Quality Road would be equipped with a bar shoe. Since Monday - when the horse was ruled out of the Derby due to soreness in the foot - Quality Road has been walking under tack in the shed row.

"Once he gets the bar shoe on and he's good and sound, we'll jog him," Jerkens said.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

DON’T BE FOOLED. Last February, Animal Planet aired a new reality series called Jockey. It focused on the jockey colony at Santa Anita during their Oak Tree meet in October of 2008. AP would have you believe that a teenager newly arrived from Cajun Country was a rube looking to hit the big time.

Mission accomplished.

That young jock was one JoeTalamo who will be riding morning-line Kentucky Derby favorite I Want Revenge.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

IN A HURRY. Kentucky Oaks favorite Rachel Alexandra is ridden by exercise rider Rudy Gallegos Jr. during her workout for the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs Thursday, April 30, 2009, in Louisville, Ky.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

AND NOW THE GOVERNMENT IS POKING FUN AT DUKE

Yesterday, the North Carolina State Senate passed a resolution honoring the 2009 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Champions, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

To say it’s a bit comical would be an understatement as it begins with “Whereas, Dr. James A. Naismith created the sport of basketball in 1891…” and ramps up from there. They even take credit for the Michigan State-driven record attendance of over 72,000.

Of course, as you might have expect, there are a few not so thinly veiled jabs at rival Duke. As in…

“Whereas, the 89-72 Carolina win over Michigan State was a convincing and thorough victory but one that left intact Duke's record for the worst loss in Final Four history (103-73 to UNLV in 1990);”

and

“Whereas, the senior players named above were undefeated in all away games played within a 12-mile radius of Chapel Hill;”

Ouch.

Here at T.A.H. we have to take a bit of umbrage with this item…

"Whereas, Carolina now has the most NCAA men's basketball championships in the
26 "modern era" (defined to be that period after UCLA's last championship under John Wooden);"

Hey, why don’t you just say the most NCAA men’s basketball championships since the Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor became a fashion statement and not the “official sneaker of college basketball.” We’re pretty sure Coach Wooden is still with us and wouldn’t appreciate his amazing run of championships being excluded from the “modern era.”

There might have been a more diplomatic way to say the Heels championship record is second best to U.C.L.A., but who would expect a bunch of politicians to figure that out?

For the most part – good clean fun! To read the entire resolution (and it’s worth it) click here.

THE KY DERBY BY THE NUMBERS: SMALL ONES, BIG ONES, UNLUCKY ONES

There is always a fair amount of hullabaloo about the post position draw for the Kentucky Derby. Conventional wisdom says you want to avoid the first two far inside post positions as well as the “auxiliary” gate which holds horses 13 through 20.

As one may have come to expect in our ever-changing-at-break-neck-speeds world, conventional wisdom isn’t always all it cracked up to be and this case it’s not much different.
For example, last year Big Brown won the race convincingly from the 2oth post position – as far outside as one can get.

While trainers tend to choose the middle of the racetrack if they are lucky enough to draw early, Funny Cide and War Emblem have recently won from as far inside as the 5-hole.

Conventional-middle-of-the-first-gate wisdom has recently produced Giacomo (10), the ill-fated Barbaro (8) and Street Sense (7).

Those that are superstitious and backing I Want Revenge may have winced when the colt drew the 13th post position, but they should take comfort in the fact that thirteen (13) is still considered in the middle, and Smarty Jones won from that very spot just five Derbies ago.

From 1999 through 2001, Derby winners did their best to debunk the “far outside” worry when Fusaichi Pegasus won from the 15 post position in 2000, and both Charismatic and Monarchos won from the 16-hole in 1990 and 2001 respectively.

VIRGINIANS AT THE KENTUCKY DERBY


While Kentucky is the clear winner with the most Kentucky Derby winners produced (101) to date, the Commonwealth of Virginia, which produces many fewer foals annually (10,400 for KY and only 380 for VA in 2006 when this year's Derby horses were born), is third on the list.

Four Derby winners have been born in Virginia, and only Florida with six homegrown Derby winners has a better record.

But, other Virginians have been to the winners circle at Churchill Downs or been affiliated with the horses that find thier way there.

As previously mentioned here on more than one occasion, Quality Road (prior to his foot problem and withdrawal from the race) was seeking to become the fifth Virginia-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby.

That stellar group includes Triple Crown winner Secretariat (1973), Pleasant Colony (Derby and Preakness 1981), Sea Hero (1993) and Reigh Count (1928), but it leaves out other important Derby winners with Preakness connections.

But, the trail from Commonwealth to Commonwealth for the most famous horse race in America starts in 1918 when Kentucky-bred Exterminator (aka Old Bones) won the Kentucky Derby for Virginian Willis Sharpe Kilmer who made his fortune selling the popular medical tonic “Swamp Root.”

Before his sophomore campaign, Kilmer’s future Hall of Fame trainer Henry McDaniel purchased a “work horse” for his Derby hopeful Sun Briar. McDaniel bought Old Bones and two other fillies in a package for $9,000, a huge price for the times (approximately $128,000 in current dollars) and well outside Kilmer’s $700 budget ($10,000 current)!
Kilmer was never a fan of Exterminator calling him “that Truck Horse” and we don’t know if it was because of the huge price tag or because the future Horse of the Year was…well, how do we say this gently…unattractive.

None the less, Exterminator (right) went on to show up Sun Briar in the morning and to beat all his rivals in a muddy run for the roses. Before he retired his jockey would say, "When he was at his best, Exterminator could have beaten Man o' War or Citation or Kelso or any other horse that ever lived on any track doing anything." No hyperbole there!

As a gelding, Exterminator went on to compete in 99 races, winning 50, finishing second and third, 17 times each. His lifetime earnings amounted to $252,996 which was a big pile of money back in his day (about $3.6 million).

Kilmer would find his way back to the winner’s circle on the first Saturday in May with Virginia-bred Reigh Count who was born in the Shenandoah Valley somewhere near New Market, VA.

In 1934, Isabel Dodge Sloan of Brookmeade Farm in Upperville won the Derby with the New Jersey-bred Cavalcade. Brookmeade is now Joe Allbritton’s Lazy Lane Farm which produced Preakness winner Hansel, but before Sloan’s tenure at the Upperville nursery ended, she bred Belmont winner and Horse of the Year Sword Dancer who is happily ensconced in the Virginia Racing Hall of Fame.

Fast forward 32 years to 1966, when Dr. Frank O’Keefe of Pine Brook Farm bred the Kentucky Derby winner. For reasons unknown to us now (we’re pretty sure son Will can explain this), O’Keefe decided to foal his mare Sweep in Maryland. She crossed the Potomac and delivered a colt by Native Dancer who would be named Kauai King. In addition to the Derby, Kauai King would also win the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes.

Six year’s later the world’s Kentucky Derby focus landed on Virginia and it was there for two straight years. Back-to-back Derby winner’s are rare for owner’s and it has only happened a two other times in the history of the race. On three occasions, the double involved future Triple Crown winners.

Virginia’s The Meadow Stud was represented in the Churchill Downs winner’s circle in 1972 by Kentucky-bred Riva Ridge and again in 1973 by Virginia-bred Secretariat. Only two others have won back-to-back Derbies.

Calumet Farm in Lexington, KY has done it twice with Ponder in 1948 and Triple Crown winner Citation in 1949 and Iron Liege in 1957 and Tim Tam in 1958. E.R. Bradley won consecutive renewals of the Kentucky Derby 1931 with Twenty Grand and 1932 with Gallant Fox. Secretariat, Citation and Gallant Fox were all Triple Crown winners.

In 1980, Bert and Diana Firestone of Catoctin Farm in Waterford, VA captured the Derby and the hearts of American’s horse racing fans when their Kentucky-bred filly Genuine Risk (left) became just the second girl to win the roses breaking 65 year distaff drought. A $32,000 yearling, Genuine Risk would lose a controversial Preakness to Codex and finish second in the Belmont to eventual champion Temperence Hill.

One year after Genuine Risk’s popular victory, Thomas Mellon Evans’ Virginia-bred Pleasant Colony and his boisterous and colorful trainer Johnny Campo would capture the Derby (with an incredible move – see video linked here) and the Preakness only to lose the Belmont at the hands of Summing and a questionable judgment of the pace by jockey Jorge Velasquez. We won’t say that Summing stole the race, but he stole the race while PC’s jock napped back in third place.

In 1993, Sea Hero (below right) gave Virginia breeder Paul Mellon the victory in the last major race unconquered by Mellon’s Rokeby Stables. The Upperville Virginia multi-millionaire, philanthropist and horsemen had won most of the major races in America including the Belmont Stakes as well as some important races in England and France.

The Polish Navy colt’s win in the Derby made owner-breeder Mellon the only person to ever win the Kentucky Derby, the Epsom Derby, and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, having captured the latter two with Mill Reef in 1971. He still posthumously holds that record.

In 1994, a horse named Go For Gin (below left) won the Kentucky Derby and you would have to dig deep to figure out his Virginia connection. A Kentucky-bred, Go For Gin was purchased by Virginians Anne and Richard J.M. (Dick) Poulson of Hare Forest Farm in Orange, VA.

The sales ticket was signed by John Finney the long-time president of the Fasig-Tipton auction company that conducts the famous Saratoga yearling sales. Finney picked out the colt at the Keeneland November Mixed Sale in Lexington, KY for a final bid of $32,000. The Poulsons then entered the colt in the Saratoga Select Yearling Sale the next August where he was purchased for $150,000 – a tidy gross profit of $118,000 in a little over eight months time.

The Poulsons have never voiced publicly any regret about having sold the eventual Kentucky Derby winner, and recently Anne Polsoun said, “My husband put it perfectly when it happened saying ‘We are commercial breeders and we want to be known for the horses we sell not the ones we keep.’ That’s it in a nutshell.” She pointed out, rightfully so, that the horse’s modest pedigree made his resale price and their subsequent profit a “home run.” Derby, schmerby.

Somewhere after a glass of wine or two, we wager we could get Dick to fess up that he wishes he still owned the Derby winner…but, maybe not!

Oh, and the name – Go For Gin? Finney, a larger-than-life iconic character who was internationally famous in equine circles, was known to have a fondness for martinis, so eventual owners William Cornacchia and Tom Condren tacked on the moniker in Finney’s honor.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

T.A.H.’S PICK? We like I Want Revenge to win the Derby, but his trainer Jeff Mullins won’t do the sport any favors. He’s due to serve a week-long suspension starting the day after the Derby for senselessly breaking a well-known rule in New York. He’s a bit of a rouge like Big Brown’s trainer Rick Dutrow, but Mullins is not as compelling or entertaining.

So we’ll go with Pioneerof The Nile and his trainer Bob Baffert. A lot people don’t like Baffert saying he’s cocky and aloof. Well, he is a bit aloof, we know that from personal experience, but his record is clean and he’s good with the media.

...or we could make a case for Dunkirk, Friesan Fire and a few others...

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

NICE COMBACK. Last year trainer Larry Jones tragically lost the filly Eight Belles just after she finished second in the Derby to Big Brown. Jones was cleared of any wrong doing and post mortem tests have never really shown out why the filly suffered two such catastrophic injuries after running such a good race.

Jones is slated to retire after this year, so a Derby win with Friesan Fire would be a nice going away present.

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

THE FEEL-GOOD STORY. If you thought Seabiscuit was a tearjerker, load up on tissues and check out a horse named General Quarters.

The big gray colt with the distinctive white diamond splashed on his forehead cost $20,000. He was claimed after his first race last May by a 75-year-old retired local high school principal who dabbled in the thoroughbred business for more than a half-century without ever turning up even one very good horse.

To read the whole story click here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

UNC: ONLY 93,722 FEWER SPRING FOOTBALL FANS THAN OHIO STATE

So, the Buckeyes set a record for the largest crowd at the Scarlet & Gray spring football game with 95,722 fans, while the University of North Carolina (the home of the 2009 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Champions) draws 2,000.

That must of tickled Coach Butch somethin’ special!

Yike, even Duke drew more fans for their spring football game.

The Hokies came closest to drawing something that vaguely imitated a real game closing out spring football practice on Saturday with 41,000 showing up for a scrimmage. The Hokies topped Florida State's turnout of 36,000 for its spring game.

Attendance at a spring game indicates devotion, or a lack of alternatives. Either way, here's how the ACC schools fared in the spring:

Virginia Tech 40,000
Florida State 36,000
Clemson 24,000
N.C. State 21,075
Maryland 10,323
Georgia Tech 8,500
Virginia 8,000
Duke 4,162
UNC 2,000

Miami, Wake Forest and Boston College did not give attendance figures for their respective spring games.

OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE ALL-AMERICAN HEADED TO N.C.STATE

Since UNC and Duke seems to have the market on McDonald’s All-Americans cornered, Sidney Lowe and N.C. State have branched out into the international market.

The Wolfpack’s newest recruit is Jordan Vandenberg, a native of Australia who grew up in Melbourne. Although he has never played a game in the U.S. he has some expeience “up over” playing in pick-up games at the University of Nevada Reno and at Boise State.

Vanderberg brings a number of important items on his resume starting with simple fact that he’s 7-feet tall. The 235 pounder exchanged some email with the Raleigh N&R this week.

“[The ACC] is said to be the hardest competition in college basketball and it is always fierce, fast and strong,” Vandenberg said.

The opportunity to play in the league is one of the things that made State attractive to him, he said.

But to play in the ACC, Vandenberg knows he needs to gain weight. He hopes to be able to contribute next season.

“I bring length so I would be able to change shots and rebound most importantly, and I know I will be playing limited minutes until I can fully hold my own physically,” he said.

Vandenberg chose State over Utah Valley, Boise State and Nevada-Reno.

State assistant coach Pete Strickland spotted Vandenberg during the center’s one year at the Australian Institute of Sport.

KENTUCKY DERBY 135 POST POSITIONS

Here is the full post positions list for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby. The morning line favorite I Want Revenge drew the lucky/unlucky #13.

The #4 horse, Advice, was bred in Florida by Sam and Carolyn Rogers who live in T.A.H. country – Leesburg, Virginia. They operate White Oaks in Leesburg and The Acron Farm near Ocala, Florida.

1. West Side Bernie (30-1)
2. Musket Man (20-1)
3. Mr. Hot Stuff (30-1)
4. Advice (30-1)
5. Hold Me Back (15-1)
6. Friesan Fire (5-1)
7. Papa Clem (20-1)
8. Mine That Bird (50-1)
9. Join in the Dance (50-1)
10. Regal Ransom (30-1)
11. Chocolate Candy (20-1)
12. General Quarters (20-1)
13. I Want Revenge (3-1)
14. Atomic Bird (50-1)
15. Dunkirk (4-1)
16. Pioneerof the Nile (4-1)
17. Summer Bird (50-1)
18. Nowhere to Hide (50-1)
19. Desert Party (15-1)
20. Flying Private (50-1)

ELEVEN ENTERED IN 84th VIRGINIA GOLD CUP

Eleven timber steeplechase horses have been entered in Saturday’s 84th running of the $75,000 Virginia Gold Cup at Great Meadow in The Plains, VA. The two previous winners – Virginia-bred Salmo in 2007 (pictured) and Bubble Economy in 2008 – will face-off against nine “wanna-bes” tackling the four mile course that features 23 timber fences.
Interestingly, Salmo was born in Casanova on a farm directly next door to Spring Hill farm that produced now-injured Kentucky Derby contender Quality Road (must be the water.)

One of the contenders looking to grab the cash and the Gold Cup trophy is Seeyouattheevent who won the International Gold Cup over the same Great Meadow course in October of 2007. The field is also slated to include Incomplete, an 8-year-old bay, who is 3-for-3 in National Steeplechase Association-sanctioned races since beginning his career over timber two years ago. In his last start he won the 99th running of the My Lady’s Manor Steeplechase. Runner-ups at My Lady’s Manor South Monarch and J. Alfred Prufrock are also entered.

As predicted here five weeks ago, EMO Stables’ Orison has successfully made the switch from hurdles to timber and he to is entered in the Gold Cup.

Last time out, 2008 Gold Cup winner Bubble Economy defeated the International Gold Cup winner Seeyouattheevent in the Middleburg Hunt Cup at the Middleburg Spring Races. Gold Cup entrant Erin Go Bragh (NZ) was third in that race. Scratches for the day’s card are due in at the National Steeplechase office later today.

To see all the entries for the day’s six races click here.

MOVE OVER BIGGIE, HERE COMES LT

UNC football prodigy Lawrence Taylor didn’t win Dancing With The Stars, but he didn’t get tossed off for failing a drug test either.

Taylor didn’t go into mourning after being eliminated from “Dancing With the Stars.” The Giant legend, considered by some to be the best NFL player of all time, was spotted with Tiki Barber and their agent, Mark Lepselter, at the Sunset Marquis with executives from State Street Pictures.

The movie moguls are interested in turning LT’s life story into a film, the way they turned Biggie Smalls’ story into “Notorious” earlier this year.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

THE FAVORITE. Kentucky Derby hopeful "I Want Revenge" gets a pat on the head from jockey Joe Talamo before their early morning workout at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, April 28, 2009.

(Photo by John Sommers II/Reuters)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG JOHN!

April 28, 1966.

DUKE WINS ACC LAX TOURNEY

Senior Mike Catalino and freshman C.J. Costabile both recorded hat tricks to lead the defending champion Blue Devils to their third straight Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Lacrosse Championship. Duke held off a determined North Carolina team, 15-13, on Sunday afternoon at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. to once again land the Jon “Chainsaw” Bierman Perpetual Trophy.

Duke, ranked No. 6 in the latest Inside Lacrosse and USILA polls, captured its sixth ACC crown and improved to 12-3 on the year with the win. North Carolina slips to 11-5 overall.

“What a difficult tournament to play and win in three days,” said Duke head coach John Danowski. “We just think the world of Carolina. We’ve played them now seven times in the past three years and every game is a battle and every game is 60 minutes up and down.”

The Blue Devils feature the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player Costabile and the 2009 ACC Player of the Year Ned Crotty.

AND THE NFL DRAFT WINNERS ARE…

Maryland and North Carolina.

Maryland and North Carolina led all ACC schools with five players chosen each, followed by Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia and Wake Forest with four each; Boston College and NC State with two as well as Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech with one each.

With five players selected in the first round overall, the ACC has had more first round selections in the NFL Draft than any other conference with 30 first rounders chosen since 2006, the first year the Conference became a 12-team league. The SEC is second with 29 first round selections.

And the loser is…Dan Gronkowski of Maryland. He was the 255th pick overall by the…Detroit Lions.

Sorry, dude.
Key: Pick in Round, overall pick, player, school, NFL team

ROUND 3: 6 (70) Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech, Cincinnati Bengals; 16 (80) Kevin Barnes, Maryland, Washington Redskins; 19 (83) Brandon Tate, North Carolina, New England Patriots.

ROUND 4: 3 (103) Dorell Scott, Clemson, St. Louis Rams; 16 (116) Chip Vaughn, Wake Forest, New Orleans Saints; 18 (118) Stanley Arnoux, Wake Forest, New Orleans Saints; 22 (122) Anthony Hill, NC State, Houston Texans; 29 (129) Andre Brown, NC State, New York Giants;

ROUND 5: 20 (156) Garrett Reynolds, North Carolina, Atlanta Falcons; 21 (157) Macho Harris, Virginia Tech, Philadelphia Eagles; 24 (160) Brooks Foster, North Carolina, St. Louis Rams; 5 29 (165) Chris Clemons, Clemson, Miami Dolphins; 30 (166) Michael Hamlin, Clemson, Dallas Cowboys.

ROUND 6: 3 (176) Spencer Adkins, Miami, Atlanta Falcons ; 8 (181) Andrew Gardner, Georgia Tech, Miami Dolphins; 12 (185), Cedric Peerman, Virginia, Baltimore Ravens; 22 (195) James Davis, Clemson, Cleveland Browns; 35 (208) John Phillips, Virginia, Dallas Cowboys.
ROUND 7: 1 (210) Vance Walker, Georgia Tech, Atlanta Falcons; 21 (230) Moise Fokou, Maryland, Philadelphia Eagles; 25 (234) Darryl Richard, Georgia Tech, New England Patriots; 27 (236) Jaimie Thomas, Maryland, Indianapolis Colts; 46 (255) Dan Gronkowski, Maryland, Detroit Lions.

BEAMER IS THE BEST COACH IN THE ACC?

J.P. Giglio of the Raleigh News & Observer has nice things to say about Frank Beamer based on the fact that he’s won the most since expansion with very few NFL first rounders.

As in exactly one more than Duke...

To read the story click here.

DUKE’S JAY WILLIAMS: IT WASN’T ME

So imagine you have the same name and once shared the same career in the highly scrutinized and publicized world of professional sports. Imagine your namesake is a total screw up and you wake up to a headline that says “Jayson Williams Tasered by cops, hospitalized.”

You would be Jay Williams, and that would suck.

The Duke guard who was drafted by the Chicago Bulls only to have a horrific motorcycle crash in 2003, must get tired of former New Jersey Net Jayson Williams making news – bad news.

The Duke version, who tried to come back from his injuries in 2006 only to be eventually leave basketball in 2006 after being released by the Austin Toros, has quietly become a functioning member of society. Williams now is working for 24 Houre Fitness and as an analyst for CBS College Sports Network and ESPN.

The other Jason Williams? Well, besides being tasered after reportedly being drunk and suicidal in a “swank hotel suite?"

Who knows?

Police were called to the hotel in lower Manhattan's Battery Park City neighborhood around 4 a.m. when a female friend reported that the former New Jersey Nets player, who was convicted in 2004 of trying to cover up a shooting at his home and whose wife recently filed for divorce, was acting suicidal.

When officers arrived, the 6-foot-10, 325-pound Williams appeared drunk and agitated, police said. There were empty bottles of prescription drugs strewn around his disheveled hotel suite and several suicide notes.

Officers with the Emergency Services Unit, an elite team trained to deal with emotionally disturbed people, responded and stunned Williams with a Taser after he resisted attempts to be hospitalized.

A spokeswoman for Williams, Judy Smith, had no immediate comment Monday. A telephone call to his attorney Joseph Hayden was not immediately returned.

Williams' friend and manager told the New York Daily News outside the hospital that the athlete was on the mend.

"Jayson is doing fine. He said he was fine," Akhtar Farzaie told the newspaper.

Williams' wife filed divorce papers this year claiming he was abusive and adulterous and had a drug problem.

And then there’s the Jason Williams that went to Florida and played in the NBA for Miami, Sacramento and Memphis when he wasn’t smoking pot…

PAULUS VISTS THE ‘CUSE

The odd odyssey that is the football career of Duke basketball point guard Greg Paulus is heading to the Big East.

Publish reports say Paulus, who visited Syracuse yesterday is “95% likely” to wind up Orange.
Nebraska, and other major Division I programs, are also in the mix for the services of Paulus, an All-American quarterback in high school who hasn't played football in four years.

Professional basketball is also still on the radar of the Duke point guard if a football situation can't be worked out, either because of the NCAA — which has to grant him a waiver — or there isn't a spot where he can get significant playing time.

Syracuse has a new coach Doug Marrone and a new starting quarterback, Ryan Nassib, who is a redshirt freshman. Paulus grew up near Syracuse and played his high school ball there at Christian Brothers Academy.

Nebraska, which is relatively new to the mix, has to replace quarterback Joe Ganz from a team that went 9-4 in Bo Pelini's first year.

A QUALITY DECISION

Jeremy Plonk over at ESPN.com is saying what a lot people are thinking about the withdrawal of Quality Road from the Kentucky Derby...

"A catastrophe involving Quality Road would have been insurmountable for the horse racing industry, Churchill Downs and every single fan amongst us who loves this game. It simply was a risk not worth taking, and believe you me, there are owners and trainers out there who would not have shown the discretion exhibited by Evans and Jerkens."

To read the entire story click here.

Obviously, yesterday was a tough day for everybody in the Quality Road camp.

"It's devastating," trainer Jimmy Jerkens, 50, said about missing out on the chance to run in the Derby. "I don't know if you could ever get a horse for a race like the Derby with his credentials leading up to it."

Ned Evans, the owner and breeder of Quality Road, had been to Jerken's barn three consecutive mornings hoping to get some good news. Instead, he must now think ahead to other races, which could include the Preakness on May 16 but more likely will feature other 3-year-old races later this summer.

"It's very disappointing because everybody, everywhere was rooting for him, wanted him to get there," Evans said. "We raise horses; we got to do what's right for the horses. We're used to being told by the horse what to do. We've got several hundred horses on the farm telling us what to do. We're like the junior partner sometimes."

PICTURE OF THE DAY

AIRBORN. Carl Edwards had a spectacular crash in the final lap of a NASCAR race at Taledega. The champion driver is now voicing his complaints about NASCAR's restrictor plate racing saying that the attempts to keep drivers below 200 mph is actually more dangerous due to the tendency of the cars to travel in packs which leads to multi-car crashes. Most other NASCAR drivers seem inclined to agree.

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

THE PROBABLE FAVORITE, I Want Revenge takes a stroll after a workout at Churchill Downs for this Saturday's 135th Kentucky Derby.

Monday, April 27, 2009

QUALITY ROAD OUT OF KY DERBY

Edward P. Evans' Virginia-bred Quality Road, who figured to be among the top choices for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Gr. 1) will not start in the Run for the Roses, it was confirmed Monday morning by Chris Baker, farm manager of Evans’ Spring Hill Farm.

“There was some tenderness in the foot this morning and he’s not 100%. (Trainer) Jimmy (Jerkens) wasn’t comfortable breezing him, and without a work, he can’t go,” Baker said. “He’s not going to make the race.”

On Monday morning, Jerkens noticed the colt’s foot was sore and that he was favoring it. "You’re just kidding yourself if you think you can go out there and run in the biggest race in the world and haven’t trained,” Jerkens said. “It’s a shame because he’s so talented.”
Quality Road was aiming to become the fifth Virginia-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby and the first Commonwealth-born horse to run in the prestigious race since 1996. Previous Virginia-bred winners were Reigh Count (1928), Secretariat (1973), Pleasant Colony (1981) and Sea Hero (1993).

Quality Road, a homebred son of Elusive Quality has been battling a second quarter crack for the last few days. He returned from a mile and three-quarter gallop on the Belmont Park training track April 26 with a tinge of blood from the newly-patched quarter crack.Quality Road has three wins from four lifetimes starts.

Out of the Strawberry Roadmare Kobla, he was a smashing winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) in his 3-year-old debut Feb. 28 at Gulfstream Park and last time out won the Blackberry Presents the 58th Running of the Florida Derby (gr. I).

“The good news is we have a very talented 3-year-old,” Baker said. “We’ll wait and get him right and go from there.”

We haven't had a chance yet to talk to Chris, who we visted at the farm last Friday...Surely he's bummed out beyond words.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE KING…

It was a matter of slight concern in 2008 when the first ACC football player drafted was from Virginia, but this is cause for serious alarm among those that worship “the King.” While Aaron Curry is a stud, it does make you go “Hmm” when you contemplate the simple fact that the first ACC football players chosen in the NFL draft did not come out of a football factory (Miami, FSU, Va Tech), but instead from traditional non-power Wake Forest.

It was a surprise when Darrius Heyward-Bey moved up from a late first round or early second round pick and became the No. 7 pick overall when taken by Al “Holy Cow, I’m Crazy” Davis. Wait a minute…It’s the RAID-AHS, so it not really a surprise afterall.

ROUND 1: 4 - Aaron Curry, Wake Forest, Seattle Seahawks; 7 - Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland, Oakland Raiders; 8 - Eugene Monroe, Virginia, Jacksonville Jaguars; 9 - B.J. Raji, Boston College, Green Bay Packers; 29 - Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina, New York Giants.

ROUND 2: 5 - Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest, Denver Broncos; 8 - Ron Brace, Boston College, New England Patriots; 11 - Florida State, Carolina Panthers; 13 - Clint Sintim, Virginia, New York Giants; 32 - Richard Quinn, North Carolina, Denver Broncos.

(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

DUKE’S HENDERSON TESTING NBA WATERS

Gerald Henderson is entering the NBA draft but is keeping open the option to return to Duke for his senior season.

“Playing in the NBA has been a goal of mine since a young age and I am thrilled to have the opportunity,” Henderson said.

The decision wasn’t much of a surprise, because the swingman was widely expected to test his draft stock after a productive junior year in which he led the Blue Devils with 16.5 points and scored at least 10 points in 31 games.

“Gerald is an impressive young man, on and off the court,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzrh5ski said. “We had great conversations about his NBA prospects, and we are 100 percent behind his decision. Gerald is coming off a great season and he has an extremely bright future as a professional.”

If he stays in the draft, he would be the Blue Devils’ only regular starter not returning for next season.
His decision came a day before the deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft. Those who have not hired agents may withdraw by June 15.

LET’S HURRY UP AND GET THIS TOURNATMENT OVER WITH SO WE CAN GET BACK TO THE REGULAR SEASON

Huh?

Duke attackman Ned Crotty proved just why he was named the 2009 ACC Player of the Year as the senior led the sixth-ranked Blue Devils to an 16-5 victory over top-ranked Virginia Friday night at Kenan Stadium in the semifinals of the 2009 ACC Men's Lacrosse Championship.

With the win, Duke advances to face fourth-seed and long-time rival North Carolina Sunday, 3:30 p.m. at UNC's Kenan Stadium. The Blue Devils, who improved to 11-3 on the season, look to capture their third straight ACC Championship title and fifth overall crown. The Tar Heels seek their first ACC Championship title since 1996 and eighth overall.

Four North Carolina players each scored a hat trick to lead the eighth-ranked Tar Heels to a 16-10 victory past top-seeded Maryland in semifinal action of the 2009 ACC Men's Lacrosse Championship, held on the grounds of the University of North Carolina Friday evening.

With the win, North Carolina improves to 11-4 on the season and marks its first victory against an ACC team since 2004. Maryland drops to 8-6, yet returns to regular-season play as the Terrapins travel to Yale on Saturday, May 2.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

THE KING LIVES WELL IN OHIO. A mere 95,722 (a record not surprisingly) gathered at Ohio Stadium for the Ohio State Scarlet and Gray college football game Saturday, April 25, 2009, in Columbus, Ohio.

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

LOOK FAMILIAR? Bryant University lacrosse coach Mike Pressler, right, speaks to his players during practice on campus in Smithfield, R.I. Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009. Pressler was convinced he'd never coach again after he was forced to resign from Duke University when three of his lacrosse players were accused of raping a stripper.

But three years later, with allegations debunked, Pressler is relishing a resurgent career at Bryant University.

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

LET’S GRAB A PINT AFTER THE RACE? "Sight Winner" (C) wins the Champions Mile race at the Sha Tin race course in Hong Kong on April 26, 2009 in the race leading up to the day's main event, the Queen Elizabeth II Cup. Who knows what the jockeys are saying to one another…?

(Photo by Philipe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

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