Friday, May 15, 2009

ACC 2008 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR HERZLICH BATTLING CANCER

From ACC NOW: Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, the 2008 ACC defensive player of the year, made a shocking announcement Thursday.

He disclosed that he has been diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a malignant tumor most often found in bone or soft tissue.
"Obviously, I was shocked," Herzlich said in a statement released by Boston College.

"I had been extremely focused on preparing for my senior season at Boston College and for life beyond that. Now, I must channel all that energy into facing my toughest opponent yet, and that is exactly what I will do."

Herzlich said he will return home to Pennsylvania for tests to determine the best course of action for treatment. He asked for his privacy to be respected.

Coach Frank Spaziani released a statement saying the Boston College community was "stunned."
"His integrity, determination and focus are unmatched. I know he will face this challenge with that same attitude," Spaziani said.

CAN MINE THAT BIRD BE RACING’S MUCH NEEDED NEW HERO?

Of course, the sport of horseracing could use a Triple Crown hero.

The Sport of Kings started declining in the 1950's when it failed to a) embrace television as a way to communicate with its fans (and potential fans) and b) notice that racing no longer had a monopoly on legal betting. Years of intense competition for people's time and entertainment dollars haven't helped.

Throw in some well documented calamities like Barbaro and Eight Belles, and horse racing finds itself over in the "dust bin" with boxing and track field - two other sports that once held prominent spots in the nation's sporting conscience.

So, of course, the sport could use a Triple Crown winner, but that's not as simple a solution as it seems. While a Triple Crown winner increases media coverage and fan interest and, theoretically, ultimately grows the sport, for the folks in the horse racing and breeding industry it's important that the "next big thing" also have a positive impact on the breed.

Virginia-bred Secretariat was an incredible racehorse - undeniable a freak of nature in terms of his athleticism. However, he wasn't a big success at stud and only his daughters (which have proven to be good broodmares especially when mated with stallions from the popular Northern Dancer line) will have a lasting impact on the breed.

Seattle Slew who won the Triple Crown in 1977 was a prominent sire and his blood still flows in the veins of famous thoroughbred sires via his son A.P. Indy. Affirmed the Triple Crown winner of 1978 was a useful sire, but his bloodline is hard to find today.

That brings us to the “what if” game. Many horses have come close to winning the Triple Crown. Back in 1981, Virginia-bred Pleasant Colony won the Derby and Preakness, but finished third in the Belmont. He went on to be a very productive Thoroughbred sire and his bloodline via his sire His Majesty was, and still is, an important outcross. Had he won the Triple Crown, he may have gotten more and better mares and he may have been an even more successful sire.

Then there's Real Quiet. In 1998, he lost the Triple Crown in the Belmont by a nose to Victory Gallop, and, in spite of being a product of the prolific Mr. Prospector sire line, his stud career has not produced a major champion or a high number of stakes winners.

And so it goes.

Enter Mine That Bird - a gelding. Perhaps he's the new Seabiscuit? Perhaps he can pull of the Triple Crown and the long term impact on the industry will be a happy moot point as he can't reproduce. Talk about nice and simple.

Without the crushing burden of future syndication value, maybe the little gelding-from-New-Mexico-that-could can become a populist hero the likes of Kelso, Forego, John Henry or, more recently, Funny Cide.

No, his owners aren’t as warm and fuzzy as the Funny Cide bunch that travelled the Triple Crown trail in a school bus. And, yes, it seems unlikely that T.A.H. Pop Culture Editor Young A.T. will deliberately march across an NTRA cocktail party in Saratoga to meet Mark Allen as she did Knowlton, but if Mine That Bird keeps winning that chip that clearly weighs heavily on the Derby winner’s connection’s shoulders might get a bit lighter and in some public relations sunshine might sneak. OK, it’s a longshot, but a horse has gotta dream.

Not that this week helped. First there was the “block Rachel Alexandra” news early in the week, and since then the Derby winner has been virtually ignored by the media.

While it’s easy to dismiss Mine That Bird’s victory as a fluke due to weather and track conditions and a brilliant ride, history tells us that Derby winners are good horses. A few have been a bit inconsistent (Virginia-bred Sea Hero comes to mine), but generally speaking, if you can win the first Saturday in May at Churchill you’ve got yourself a damn nice horse.

No reason, Mine That Bird can’t be that horse.

Don’t be fooled by the cowboy hats and the horse trailer. As jet setting Triple Crown vet and Hall of Fame nominee Bob Baffert recently said, “It doesn’t matter if he wears a cowboy hat or if he vanned the horse. I used to wear a cowboy hat and van my own horses. I started the same way. He did a good job and nobody’s giving him any credit for it. I think the horse is legit. You can’t throw him out.”

So the question is can Mine That Bird knock off the Super Filly? Can he become this generation’s Seabiscuit?

Maybe he's the "perfect" Triple Crown winner for right here, right now…

Paul Moran of ESPN also weighs in on racing's need for a hero.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO…

Hmmm

Welcome the Lingerie Football League – the LFL for you pigskin types.

The LFL's inaugural season kicks off soon with 10 teams. They are currently holding mini-camps in places like Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlant next week and the 20-week season of Friday night games gets underway September 4th.

According to LFL chairman Mitch Mortaza, "The actual uniform is a basic sports bra and boy shorts." And, of course, the LFL is appealing to a certain demographic while utilizing the time honored tradition of huckstering their sport as “family friendly.”

Who knew Heff had kids?

"No. No. We're certainly not catering to everyone,” Mortaza told a Philadelphia radio station. “But could you bring your 15-year-old son or daughter to this? Absolutely. You're going to be exposing them to a similar environment as if you were to take them to an Eagles game."

Has he ever been to an Eagles game?

According to Mortaza players have to be “eager, athletic, confident, and obviously, beautiful" and about 125 pounds.The rules differ a bit from the NFL -- it's seven-on-seven, no punting, no field goals.

(Photo: Lingerie Football League (LFL) aspiring players take part in training drills during an open tryout session, for aspiring players to be selected to join the New York Majesty team, in Freeport, New York, May 14, 2009. Photo by Emanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

THE END OF AN ERA: AND THEN DEPRESSION SET IN...

The Preakness infield has long been famous for one of the biggest and most raucous parties in horse racing. Participants in this time honored tradition are worried that the glory days may be over.

Gone are the morning lacrosse game and scaffolding which allowed those so inclined a view of more than the Preakness horses’ ears and the jockeys’ caps assuming they could scale their creation by late afternoon.
But the party has long been fueled by Pimlico’s policy of BYOB.

Not anymore.

Josh Bacott of the popular sport’s blog Joe Sports Fan had this to say:

For the first time in recent memory, those grizzled horse racing fans that make up the infield crowd at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course on Preakness day will not be allowed to bring in their most effective handicapping tool: booze.

If the Preakness had one clear-cut advantage over its more famous counterpart in Kentucky, it was that those who chose to brave the infield in Pimlico were rewarded with a free pass to haul in as much alcohol as they could shove into a cooler. While both the Derby and the Preakness still managed to crank out their fair share of YouTube clips featuring the time-honored tradition of port-a-racing, it remained a safe bet to assume that the Preakness was topping the trifecta in the race to see which Triple Crown event could produce more drunken meatheads.

To read the blog post, click here.

Sometimes, the more things change, the more things don’t stay the same…

PICTURE OF THE DAY

THE FAVORITE SCHOOLS. Evidently, Rachel Alexandra, the morning line favorite for the Preakness tomorrow, is likely to be saddled inside in the Pimlico paddock instead of outside on the turf course with the other starters for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. Why else would her connections have schooled her in the indoor paddock yesterday at the Baltimore track?

Here she is led from the barn to the paddock by groom Javier Espinoza, left, and assistant trainer Scott Blasi.

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

NICE DAY. England's Oliver Wilson chips out of the bunker on the 15th green during the second round of the Irish Open at Baltray in County Louth, in Ireland, on May 15, 2009.

Nice, Ireland, NICE!


(Photo by Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

COLOR GREG PAULUS’ FOOTBALL CAREER TURNS ORANGE

Greg Paulus will attempt to play quarterback for Syracuse University this fall, he announced on Thursday.

But the Orange, which hasn't had a winning season since 2001, has a designated starting quarterback and a senior backup who started 11 games in 2008.

"I understand going into it, there are no promises and no guarantees," Paulus said. "I understand what I need to earn."

Paulus' announcement capped off a unique seven-week process before deciding to go back to upstate New York, where he starred in high school for Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse before choosing basketball at Duke over college football.

Paulus finished his prep football career with 152 touchdown passes and a 42-3 record. He was considered one of the best quarterback prospects in his class but he hasn't taken a snap since the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in Jan. 2005.

The NCAA still needs to grant Paulus an academic waiver to be eligible for the 2009 season. Paulus, who graduated from Duke with a political science degree, said he would pursue a post-graduate degree from Syracuse's Newhouse School of public communications.

The quarterback situation at Syracuse is complicated. Senior Cameron Dantley, a former walk-on, started 11 games for the Orange, who went 3-9 in 2008.

But Dantley lost the job in the spring to redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib. First-year Orange coach Doug Marrone tabbed Nassib the starter in March.

How Paulus' arrival will change that equation is unclear. Under NCAA rules, Marrone can't comment on Paulus because he's an unsigned recruit, a school spokeswoman said Thursday.

Paulus started 139 games in four seasons for the Blue Devils' basketball team, helping them to the ACC title in his freshman and senior seasons. He finished his basketball career ranked among Duke's career leaders in 3-pointers (eighth with 210) and assists (ninth with 468).

MIAMI HURRICANES TO PLAY IN “LANDSHARK STADIUM”

Mr. ACC, this is Mr. Jimmy Buffett.

Mr. Buffett, meet the ACC.

Sort of by default, the ACC is doing business with the Jimmy Buffett empire, Magaritaville Enterprises. Buffett has worked a deal with the Miami Dolphins to rename Dolphin Stadium after Buffett’s beer LandShark.

Recently Buffett played a short concert for a select crowd before, the original Parrot Head and Dolphin’s owner Stephen Ross unveiled the new logo for LandShark Stadium, the new name of the Dolphins’ home. The Florida Marlins and Miami Hurricanes also play there.

So you know, Anheuser-Busch brews LandShark.

To read the entire story, click here.

THIS IS SPINAL TAP

Well, sort of...and hello, Cleveland…uh…well…um…Washington, D.C!

Yesterday, T.A.H. got to have lunch with the brains behind the movie This Is Spinal Tap. While it remains both a classic and a true original, having created the genre of “mocumentary,” many film fans are more familiar with the follow-ups from its talented and cast such as Best In Show, A Mighty Win, Waiting For Guffman and For Your Consideration.

T.A.H. Pop Culture Editor Young A.T. is a big fan of This Is Spinal Tap, but the editor has to lean toward Best In Show and A Mighty Wind. But, what do we know?

The movie was released in 1984 and it starred three old friends – Michael McKean (as David St. Hubbins, who also starred as Lenny in Laverne and Shirley), Christopher Guest (as Nigel Tufnel) and Harry Shearer (as Derek Smalls). The three were the guest at Nathans in Georgetown yesterday for the taping of the D.C. Cable Channel’s Q&A Café hosted by Nathans proprietor Carol Ross Joynt.

A full house packed the dining room to hear the three reminisce about various projects and to talk about their current tour “Unwigged and Unplugged.” Not only are the three actors extremely funny, all are also talented musicians.

Every now and then they reunite as Spinal Tap – in 1992 for Break Like the Wind, an album produced in part by T-Bone Burnett. They are conducting a “world tour” this summer comprised of two dates.

We enjoyed the guys and our lunch companion, Jeff Dufour of the D.C. Examiner (the sister paper of the San Francisco Examiner). Here is Dufour’s take on the proceedings.

Here is a brief clip concering LPs and Sir Paul McCartney.
(Photo courtesy of D.C. Examiner)

IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY FOR BASKETBALL NEWS

Looking to challenge the 2009 NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball National Champions, the University of Norht Carolina Tar Heels, N.C. State gets another big man while the Virginia Tech Hokies loses a guard, but gaines a forward.

Forward DeShawn Painter (left), a top-75 prospect, committed to play for the Wolfpack in the 2009-10 season, increasing its incoming freshmen class to six.

The addition of Painter, a 6-9 and 210-pound power forward, puts State at the scholarship limit of 13 for the upcoming season.

Painter originally signed with the University of Florida but was let out of his Letter of Intent, he said. Painter, who spent the past season at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., grew up an ACC fan in Norfolk, Va.

"I wanted to play closer to home," Painter said. "I love the coaching staff and I fit in with the [N.C. State] players."

Did anybody mention to him that Charlottesville isn’t all that far from Norfolk? Guess not…

Virginia Tech's basketball program lost a guard and added forward this week.

Seeking a bigger role, guard Hank Thorns will transfer, according to The Roanoke Times. Allan Chaney, a forward, will transfer into the program from the University of Florida.

Thorns, a backup point guard, averaged 3.7 points and 2.8 assists in two seasons. He started the first 11 games of his career but was relegated to backup duty when Dorenzo Hudson became eligible in the 2007-08 season.

Chaney, a 6-8 forward, appeared in 23 games with Florida and averaged 3.0 points per game. He missed nine SEC games with a sprained foot and was suspended for the final two games of the season by Florida coach Billy Donovan.

Donovan wanted Chaney to play a traditional forward role, with his back to the basket, according to Chaney, but he prefers to face the basket and play on the wing.

Chaney has sit out the upcoming season, under NCAA rules, and will be eligible in 2010-11.

MORE OF ANYTHING, MORE OF EVERYTHING…

…except regular season ACC basketball games.

The word from the ACC annual meeting on Amelia Island this week was that some of the ACC suits were contemplating an 18 game regular season. They currently play a 16 game regular season. The suits figured the coaches would oppose such a move and, sure enough, they did.

Objections from the ACC's men's basketball coaches squashed the idea of an 18-game conference schedule after discussions stalled when the league's basketball coaches unanimously opposed the idea, according to ACC associate commissioner for basketball media relations Brian Morrison.

ACC coaches are afraid that adding two conference games would make the schedule so difficult that they would be reluctant to arrange games with high-profile non-conference opponents.

However, don’t be surprised if the coaches get force-fed the 18-game format by the TV networks during the next round of contract negotiations. The current contracts expire after the 2010 – 2011 season.

RACHEL ALEXANDRA MORNING LINE PREAKNESS FAVORITE

According to the Daily Racing Form, Thirteen horses were entered in the 134th Preakness Stakes just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, and the last to load will be the favorite, the filly Rachel Alexandra.

The Kentucky Oaks winner, with Calvin Borel named to ride, drew the outside stall, and was installed by Pimlico linemaker Frank Carulli as the 8-5 favorite.

Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird drew post 2, and was made the co-third choice at odds of 6-1 with Mike Smith named to ride.

Pioneerof the Nile is the second choice at odds of 5-1 on Carulli's line, and will break from post 9 under Garrett Gomez.The other horse at 6-1 is Friesan Fire, 18th as the favorite in the Derby. Friesan Fire drew post 5, and will be ridden again by Gabriel Saez.

Big Drama seemed the most likely pacesetter even before the draw, and now seems sure to go to the front after drawing the rail. Big Drama, who will be ridden by John Velazquez and races with blinkers off, was made a 10-1 choice.

Rachel Alexandra won from the outside stall in a nine-horse field last fall at Keeneland, and her tactical speed should allow her to get decent position despite the wide draw.

$1.1 million Preakness Stakes – 1 Big Drama (10-1), 2 Mine That Bird (9-2), 3 Musket Man (10-1), 4 Luv Gov (50-1), 5 Friesan Fire (10-1), 6 Terrain (30-1), 7 Papa Clem (8-1), 8 General Quarters (20-1), 9 Pioneerof The Nile (5-1), 10 Flying Private (50-1), 11 Take The Points (50-1), 12 Tone It Down (50-1), 13 Rachel Alexandra (9-5).

Pat Forde of ESPN applauds Jackson’s Preakness move. To read the story, click here.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

BUMMER. Caps lose. Sidney Crosby scored twice to raise his NHL-leading playoff goal total to 12, his teammates shut down his big rival, Alex Ovechkin, most of the night, and the Penguins beat the Washington Capitals 6-2 on Wednesday to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the second consecutive season.

Here Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Caps and Sidney Crosby #87 of the Penguins shake hands.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

ANOTHER SHOT. Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof The Nile will take another shot at Mine That Bird in the Preakness on Saturday.

Here Pioneerof the Nile works out with exercise rider George Alverez at Pimlico Race Course on Thursday, May 14, 2009.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

LEADER OF FREE WORLD HONORS 2009 NCAA DIVISION 1 MEN’S BASKETBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

A pickup game of basketball last spring brought good luck for one basketball team and to presidential candidate Barack Obama, the president said Monday as he welcomed the 2009 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Champion University of North Carolina Tar Heels to the White House.

(For the record, Duke, N.C. State, Maryland, Virginia, Florida State, Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, Virginia, Duke, Georgia Tech, Duke, Virginia, Duke, Virginia Tech, Duke, Duke, Miami, Clemson, Duke, Virginia, Duke were not invited. We aren’t sure why – oh, that’s right, they aren’t the 2009 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Champions!)

“I’m not sure whose luck rubbed off on who,” Obama said Monday as he greeted the team on the White House’s South Lawn. “I think there was just a good vibe going on there.”

Obama said almost everyone was excited to have the Tar Heels stop by. The one exception, he said, was his personal aide Reggie Love, who won a title as a player for UNC’s chief rival, Duke (who, coincidentally was not invited – see above.)

Obama picked North Carolina to win the national championship this year. He thanked them “for salvaging my bracket and vindicating me before the entire nation.” The president’s other picks for the NCAA tournament’s Final Four never made it that far.

Obama praised coach Roy Williams for instilling “the importance of academics into all these guys, which is why they didn’t just plow through the tournament field; they also had the highest graduation rate of anybody in the Final Four.”


(Bottom photo: University of North Carolina men's basketball head coach Roy Williams (L) present U.S. President Barack Obama with a team jersey at the White House May 11, 2009 in Washington, DC. The North Carolina Tar Heels are the 2009 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I national champions. A basketball fan, Obama picked the Tar Heels to win in his March Madness bracket. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST: 2009 ALL-ACC GOLF TEAM

(Listed alphabetically by school)

Kyle Stanley, Clemson (Jr., Gig Harbor, Wash.)

Ben Martin, Clemson (Jr., Greenwood, S. C.)

David May, Clemson (Sr., Auburn, N. Y.)
Matt Savage, Florida State (Sr., Louisville, Ky.)

Drew Kittleson, Florida State (So., Scottsdale, Ariz.)

Cameron Tringale, Georgia Tech (Sr., Laguna Niguel, Calif.)

John Popeck, Maryland (Fr., Washington, Pa.)

Kevin O’Connell, North Carolina (So., Cary, N. C.)

Matt Hill, NC State, So (Bright’s Grove, Ontario)

Darren Blair, NC State (Sr., Johannesburg, South Africa)

Drew Weaver, Virginia Tech (Sr., High Point, N. C.Dustin Groves, Wake Forest (Sr., Keswick, Va.)

ACC Player of the Year: Matt Hill (pictured), NC State (So., Bright’s Grove, Ontario)

ACC Freshman of the Year: Brooks Koepka, Florida State (Fr., Wellington, Fla.)

ACC Coach of the Year: Bruce Heppler, Georgia Tech

FSU WANTS TO REALIGN THE ACC FOOTBALL CONFERENCES, MAKE GOAL POST WIDER

In an e-mail he wrote in February to Florida State Athletic Director Randy Spetman, Andy Miller, the president of Seminole Boosters, Inc., urged Spetman to lobby the Atlantic Coast Conference to realign its football divisions.

“Please do what you can to realign the conference,” Miller wrote in the e-mail, obtained recently by The Orlando Sentinel through a public records request. “Put Georgia Tech in (the Atlantic) Division. Give them Maryland.”

If there were a movement afoot to realign the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions, it would likely be discussed at the ACC annual meeting this week.

Mike Kelly, the ACC's associate commissioner for football, said realignment could be feasible after the 2015 season, which he said is the last for which schedules have been formatted.
Until then, though, Kelly said talk of realignment is just that.

“I don't think there's a lot to it,” he said. “It could happen any time but we have not (discussed it). I wasn't in the (athletic directors') meeting today, I was in the coaches' meetings. But it wasn't on the agenda. We've never discussed it.”

It has been discussed, though, at FSU. Miller on Monday said he's still supportive of divisional realignment, and he suggested that moving Georgia Tech into the Atlantic Division would help foster a rivalry between the Seminoles and Yellow Jackets.

Florida State's campus in Tallahassee is a remote location for most schools in the ACC but Atlanta, home to Georgia Tech, is the closest ACC city to FSU. Miller said it makes geographic sense for the schools to be in the same division.

Yes, as it would make sense for Virginia, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State to be in the same division since they are all accessible via the U.S. Rt 29 corridor…but, they’re not.

DESPERATE CAPS FORCE GAME 7

Our beloved and beleagured Washington Capitals supposedly can't win without Alex Ovechkin scoring.

They can't win an overtime playoff game. They can't beat the Pittsburgh Penguins when a series is on the line.

All that's ended, and it means a riveting, entertaining series matching the NHL's two biggest names and two of its best teams is anything but over.

David Steckel (left) scored on a deflection of Brooks Laich's shot and the Capitals finally won an overtime playoff game, beating nemesis Pittsburgh 5-4 on Monday night to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"I think it's going to be great game," Ovechkin said. "I think the league wants us to play Game 7."

The Capitals, losers of their previous seven overtime games, failed to hold a 4-3 lead late in regulation when Sidney Crosby scored. They made up for it when Steckel went to the net immediately after winning a faceoff.

Laich wristed the puck from the right circle and Steckel tipped it past Marc-Andre Fleury 6:22 into the overtime for the win.

The Caps turned the game in the first period with a 5-on-3 penalty kill for 56 seconds that netted the Penguins four shots, but no goals.

Game 7 is at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

NICE RAINBOW. The Italian acrobatic air patrol "Frecce Tricolori" performs over the pack during the third stage of 92nd Giro of Italy between Grado and Valdobbiadene on May 11, 2009. Italy's Allessandro Petacchi (LPR/IRL) won the stage to take race lead.

(Photo by Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images)

Monday, May 11, 2009

"GREED ISN'T RIGHT"

Say what?

Via the PaulickReport.com, the following press release was issued on behalf of Mark Allen, co-owner of Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, concerning previously publicized comments by Allen to enter the horse Indy Express in an effort to prevent Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra from securing a starting berth in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

As VA HBPA Executive Director Frank Petremalo said so eloquently this morning in T.A.H. World Headquarters, "In lieu of a circular firing squad."

For immediate release (Sunday, May 10, 1015 p.m.)

INDY EXPRESS OUT OF PREAKNESS

Mark Allen, owner of the 135th Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, will not enter Indy Express in the 2009 Preakness Stakes.

Early this morning Allen was delivered a message to contact another owner “Our conversation consisted of congratulating me on our win in the Derby and talking about a rematch, wanting a chance to hook us on a fast surface. We laughed and joked about what a race that would be,” said Allen.

“When it comes to Rachel Alexandra, I personally don’t think any filly should be in a race against colts at this stage of their careers. I don’t believe in running fillies against the colts. But Rachel Alexandra is a superior filly and could be the exception. Mr. Jackson has a great trainer in Steve Asmussen and I’m sure they will make the right decision and Lord help us all if she does get in.”

“And yes, it’s true that I would like to have my jockey back. Calvin Borel is great and did a great job for us. I also respect him and I completely understand his love for Rachel Alexandra. If the filly gets in we have a commitment from Mike Smith. We have a lot of confidence in Mike, he’s from our part of the country and he’s got some Cowboy in him too, I’ve seen his boots,” said Allen.

“Additionally, my decision to enter Indy Express in the Preakness was strictly business but after consulting with my Dad and Doc Blach, I have decided to withdraw Indy Express to prevent any further miss understandings. They’re advice to me was just to do what’s right, because arrogance and greed isn’t right. Indy Express is a good colt and showing a lot of potential. I’ll just have to look forward to running him later on down the road. The bottom-line for me is that we came here to race and enjoy our win here in Louisville. So, we’ll meet everyone in Baltimore, ready to run,” said Allen.

So there's your life lesson for the day 1) Rachel Alexandra is really good and 2) arrogance and greed are bad.

You might as well go home now, that's as good as it gets on your odd garden variety Monday.

TERPS UPSET GOLDEN DOMERS IN NCAA LAX

All four ACC teams advance to quarterfinals.
First Round
Saturday, May 9, Baltimore: No. 8 Johns Hopkins 12, Brown 11 (OT)
No. 8 Johns Hopkins advances to play No. 1 Virginia in the quarterfinals.

Saturday, May 9, Chapel Hill, NC: No. 6 North Carolina 15, UMBC 13
No. 6 North Carolina advances to play No. 3 Duke in the quarterfinals.

Saturday, May 9, Ithaca, NY: No. 5 Cornell 11, Hofstra 8No. 5
Cornell advances to play No. 4 Princeton in the quarterfinals.

Saturday, May 9, Durham, NC: No. 3 Duke 14, Navy 5

No. 3 Duke advances to play No. 6 North Carolina in the quarterfinals.

Sunday, May 10, South Bend, IN: Maryland 7, No. 7 Notre Dame 3

Maryland advances to play No. 2 Syracuse in the quarterfinals.

Sunday, May 10, Charlottesville, VA: No. 1 Virginia 18, Villanova 6
No. 1 Virginia advances to play No. 8 Johns Hopkins in the quarterfinals.

Sunday, May 10, Princeton, NJ: No. 4 Princeton 10, UMass 7
No. 4 Princeton advances to play No. 5 Cornell in the quarterfinals.


Sunday, May 10, Syracuse, NY: No. 2 Syracuse 11, Siena 4
No. 2 Syracuse advances to play Maryland in the quarterfinals.

Quarterfinal Round
Hempstead Regional
Saturday, May 16, Hempstead, NY.
Noon: No. 2 Syracuse vs. Maryland ESPNU, ESPNUHD
2 p.m.: No. 4 Princeton vs. No. 5 CornellESPNU, ESPNUHD
Annapolis Regional
Sunday, May 17, Annapolis, MD.
Noon: No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 8 Johns Hopkins ESPNU, ESPNUHD
2 p.m.: No. 3 Duke vs. No. 6 North CarolinaESPNU, ESPNUHD

(Photo: Will Yeatman had two assists as Maryland upset undefeated Notre Dame on the road. Photo by Marcus Snowden/ESPN.com)

NOW IT’S GETTING INTERESTING…

Super filly Rachel Alexandra who won the Kentucky Oaks by 20.25 lengths last out is headed to Baltimore for the Preakness and her regular rider, Calvin Borel, is getting off the Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird to ride her in the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown.

And then it got complicated…

Rachel Alexandra, who would be sent off as the favorite for the Baltimore classic, is not nominated to the Triple Crown, but her owners are more than willing to put up the $100,000 supplemental entry fee. However, the field is restricted to 14 starters and the horses pre-entered in the Triple Crown have preference when entries are taken later this week.

Enter Mark Allen, the co-owner of Mine That Bird who has been a controversial character on more than one occasion (including the bribery case of a U.S. Senator from Alaska), he now intends to enter a pre-entered horse to block Rachel Alexandra’s attempt to run for the Black-Eyed Susans.

Allen considered entering Indy Express solely to take away a starting spot from Rachel Alexandra.Allen said his motives were professional, not personal as jockey Calvin Borel, who guided the 50-1 long shot gelding to a stunning 6¾-length win in the Run for the Roses, has already agreed to pilot Rachel Alexandra for the rest of the year.

"I just want my rider back," Allen (right) told The Thoroughbred Times on Sunday.

But, Mine That Bird trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr. told The Associated Press late Sunday evening that Allen had changed his mind."He's rethought it and with the best interest of racing and the sport, he feels like it would be unfair to do that and she's going to run," Woolley said.

Allen wasn't the only one having second thoughts.Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas planned to enter a second colt, Luv Gov, in addition to Flying Private, who finished last in the Kentucky Derby.

Luv Gov is owned by Marylou Whitney, who also owned and bred Birdstone, sire of Mine That Bird. Whitney's husband John Hendrickson told several outlets on Sunday that Luv Gov will not stand in the way of Rachel Alexandra's bid to run in the Preakness.

And, now it’s OK.

TAR HEELS HEADED TO WHITE HOUSE

One of the perks of winning a national championship is a meet-and-greet with the president. Today, UNC's men's basketball team gets its moment with President Barack Obama, the nation's gym rat in chief.

Smiles and cameras will flash. A jersey with Obama's name might pop up.

Maybe there'll be some good-natured trash talk about the president's game -- he played a little pickup with the Heels in April while still a candidate and picked them to win it all this year in the March Madness tourney.

OH, THE HUMANITARIAN

The Atlantic Coast Conference has added a bowl to its lineup of nine postseason games.

The league said Friday the Mobile, Ala.-based GMAC Bowl will replace the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, in the conference's postseason lineup.

The GMAC Bowl will have the ninth pick of eligible ACC teams this year, while the EagleBank Bowl in Washington, D.C., which had the final pick last year, moves up to the No. 8 pick of ACC teams.


The ACC champion once again will play in the Orange Bowl unless it is ranked either first or second in the final BCS standings. In that case, it will play in the BCS title game in Pasadena, Calif. Say what?

HaHaaaHaaaaHaHa...Ha...

Whew, that's funny.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

COACHING CLINIC? Have Bobby Knight and his love child protégé Mike Krzycbvng5ski decided to go on tour or is this really a six-month-old southern white rhinoceros calf (Ceratotherium simum) named Lisimba (right) walking with his mother Lulu in their indoor-home at Budapest Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Budapest?

You decide.

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

HERE’S HENRIK! (Que Carson theme song.) Hey, I just won a PGA tour event, and they stuffed me in this locker because my name isn’t Tiger!

Henrik Stenson checked out his new digs in the Champions locker room at TPC Sawgrass Sunday evening.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO...

Hmmm...

WHY THE CAPS MAKE PEOPLE SCREAM…

…and not in a good way.

The Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a third-period deficit, survived Alex Ovechkin’s tying goal late in regulation, then won on Evgeni Malkin’s(notes) power-play tally 3:28 into overtime Saturday night for a 4-3 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Here, Sidney Crosby #87 of the Penguins attempts a wrap around shot on goal against Mike Green #52 and Simeon Varlamov #40 of the Caps during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 9, 2009 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC.

Meanwhile, down in the hockey hot bed known as Raleigh, NC, the Carolina Hurricanes are up 3-1 in their second-round series with the Bruins. Game 5 is tonight in Boston.

(Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

VA-BRED WINNER. Charitable Man, ridden by Alan Garcia, captures the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday, May 9, 2009, in New York. The Virginia-bred colt may now consider the Belmont Stakes.

(Photo by Adam Coglianese/NYRA)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

OOPS. Toro Rosso's Swiss driver Sebatian Buemi, Toro Rosso's French driver Sebastien Bourdais, Force India's German driver Adrian Sutil and Renault's Brazilian driver Nelsinho Piquet crash at the Circuit de Catalunya, on May 10, 2009 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, at the start of the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix.

(Photo by Guillaume Baptiste/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

HE SHOOTS. He scores. Rennes defender Carlos Bocanegra of the US scores during their French Cup final football match Rennes versus Guingamp on May 9, 2009 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, outside Paris.

(Photo by Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)

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