Saturday, May 30, 2009
“While she is in great shape ... we feel Rachel deserves a well-earned vacation,” the Preakness-winning filly’s co-owner Jess Jackson said a statement issued late Friday afternoon.
Calvin Borel will get back on Mine The Bird with a chance to become the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and the Belmont on different horses.
Mine That Bird, meanwhile, will attempt to become the 12th horse to complete the Derby-Belmont double and first since Thunder Gulch in 1995.
“Now that this decision is made, I am excited to come to New York and ride Mine That Bird (pictured below) in the Belmont Stakes,” Borel said, thanking the gelding’s trainer Chip Woolley and co-owners Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach for their patience before naming a rider.
Even though a 31st consecutive year has passed without a Triple Crown champion, this season has certainly captured the public’s attention – TV ratings were up as Rachel Alexandra became the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness, and that came two weeks after fans were still buzzing over Mine That Bird’s incredible 6¾-length win in the Derby.
“It may not be a Triple Crown year, but it’s as far as you can get without having one,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “It just all adds up to a lot of great stories going into the Belmont.”
The field for the 1½-mile Belmont, the longest and most grueling of the three races, is just about set with as many as 10 3-year-olds challenging the Derby winner, including Peter Pan Stakes winner Virginia-bred Charitable Man and several horses who ran in the Derby or the Preakness.
Jackson said it was a tough call, but he pointed out that Rachel Alexandra has had a tough schedule — five races and five wins since Feb. 15 — and added “we will always put her long-term well being first. And, of course, we want to run her when she is fresh.”
Mine That Bird is a son of 2004 Belmont winner Birdstone, who spoiled Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown bid with a dramatic come-from-behind, one-length upset.
Nick Zito, who trained Birdstone for owner Marylou Whitney, is pointing three horses to the race — Brave Victory, Miner’s Escape and Nowhere to Hide.
Friday, May 29, 2009
We say absolutely nothing.
Two weeks ago, she became the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness off a stunning 20.25 length victory in the filly version of the Kentucky Derby – the Kentucky Oaks.
How would winning another jewel of the Triple Crown over the archaic, and now little used, distance of 12 furlongs (1.5 miles), add to her value? Simply put, it wouldn’t.
Her appearance in the Belmont could be good for the game if she wins or loses gamely. It would be a disaster if anything goes wrong.
If you own her, you have to ask yourself: Will winning the Belmont enhance her value or the value of her offspring? Winning the race couldn’t possibly enhance her value since she is already worth more than $10 million and she is owned by a multi-multi-millionaire in wine baron Jess “Kendall Jackson” Jackson.
Winning a “classic” race at 1 ½ miles against the boys could make her future offspring more valuable as it would add an important “stamina” influence to a pedigree now overly influenced by “speed” horses and speed races. But the general public and most horse racing fans don’t care about such nuances, nor should they.
More importantly, let’s look back at the last time a filly won the Belmont – it was the 2007 dramatic stretch duel where Kentucky Oaks winner Rags To Riches (outside) narrowly defeated Preakness winner Curlin. After that race Curlin ran poorly in the $1 million Haskell Gr. 1 at Monmouth in July and so-so in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup in September.
Curlin would rally back to win the $5 million Breeders Cup Classic Gr. 1 in October, but Rags to Riches would never race again.
It could be a coincidence that both horses lost their form following that exhilarating (for us, but, no doubt, taxing for them) Belmont stretch drive which came in the last quarter mile of a 1 ½ mile race. Or it could clearly send the message that three major races in five weeks is taxing the point of requiring some substantial r&r.
Look, it ain’t 1845. Thoroughbreds don’t run in multiple heats, nor are they any longer physically capable of doing what Conquistador Cielo did back in 1982 when he won the prestigious Metropolitan Mile on Memorial Day and then won the Belmont Stakes just twelve days later.
So Rachel’s owner Jess Jackson (who also owned Curlin) has a dilemma. Which way is he leaning?
Meanwhile, Mine That Bird’s trainer Chip Woolley waits. “I’m gonna give Calvin (Borel) as much time as possible to ride 'Mine' and also to keep him from losing two mounts. It just wouldn’t fair to him if they don’t make a decision until the last minute and decide not to go. He won me the Kentucky Derby and I owe him the opportunity if it’s possible. I don’t want to see him sitting on the sidelines when I get to Belmont.”
As for Rachel Alexandra running in the Belmont, Woolley said it doesn’t matter to him one way or other except for how if affects his rider situation.
Simply put, from humble beginnings in Canada and New Mexico, the month of May has made me a celebrity. Now, like most celebrities, I feel compelled to utilize my untested intellect and world wide fame to influence other issues on which I have little or no expertise. Are the cameras and microphones on?
On what subject will I be sharing my wealth of now famous knowledge? Why, college football, of course.
Look, my win in the Derby clearly demonstrates to the American people, and one idiotic blog that shall remain nameless (T.A.H.), that it’s a wide open competition and the only way to determine the best horse/team is to let ‘em play. Yes, Mr. BCS, I’m advocating a playoff system for D1 football, because if horse racing utilized an exclusionary system controlled by the fat cats to determine the winner, I’d of been standing in my stall munching hay while Pioneerof the Nile won the run for the roses. How stupid would that be?
Let me take you back. I came from humble beginnings. While my daddy is a Belmont Stakes winner, I’m a bit puny and thus drew a meager $9,500 bid at a Kentucky yearling auction. That's chump change by racehorse standards. That clod Dunkirk I humbled in the Derby cost $3 million!
So a savvy Canadian, Dave Cotey, buys me and takes me to Canada where I show everybody I’m pretty talented winning $324,000 and some important stakes races. Now Mr. Cotey subscribes to the Tyson Gilpin horse business mantras of a) “take the money” and b) “it’s always better to have sold and regretted then to have not sold and regretted” so he sold me to these New Mexico cowboys for $400,000 (a much more respectable figure, I might add.)
Which brings me to the clowns I won’t name here (T.A.H.), and how what they said demonstrates the same attitude you BCS snot noses have about an NCAA Football National Championship, and I quote: “Mine That Bird 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…”
Well that’s like saying the road to the NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball National Championship doesn’t go through New Mexico…er…um…OK, bad example, but you get my point. You never know where the next champion is going to come from if you let the best horses/teams compete. That’s exactly why they let 20 horses run in the Kentucky Derby, and guess what? America loves it.
So, Mr. BCS, figure it out and have a football playoff. It might be the most compelling thing (not to mention profitable, and Lord knows we all gotta watch the bottom line) sporting event of the year.
Who knows, some big hearted, overlooked, lovable underdog might even win! As Nick Zito, who trained my dad Birdstone to an upset victory over Smarty Jones in the Belmont a few years back said after I won the Derby:
LOSE EARLY AND REMOVE ALL RIDICULOUS TITLE HOPES FROM UNREALISTIC STUDENTS, FANS, ALUMS, COACHES AND PLAYERS
It's all apart of the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff, which was started by the Atlanta Sports Council and ESPN in 2008.
"I like it," Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien said. "You've got to play one major game that gets you on television. It's great exposure for our program."
State also opens the '09 season on national TV but it's a home Thursday date with South Carolina.
UNC opened with a lower-level Division I team in Butch Davis' first two seasons and will again in '09, with The Citadel, a Championship Subdivision program. The '10 opener in Atlanta would be against LSU, Georgia or Ole Miss.
"We're in the preliminary stages," said UNC assistant AD Larry Gallo, who works with Davis on the Tar Heels' football scheduling. "There's a lot still to work out."
UNC has six home games and six road games in '10. The Heels can't afford to lose a home game, Gallo said. They are working with South Carolina and Rutgers — who are scheduled to host UNC in '10 — about the possibility of moving their game to accommodate the Atlanta opener.
"We want this to be a win-win," Gallo said. "We want the teams we are dealing with to be treated fairly and happy with the solution."
Virginia Tech takes on Alabama in this season's college kickoff in Atlanta on Sept. 5. The Crimson Tide beat Clemson in last year's inaugural game at the Georgia Dome.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Under Florida State Athletics Department policy, “a student-athlete charged with a felony, absent extraordinary circumstances as determined by the administration, is not permitted to represent Florida State Athletics in game competition until such time as the charge is resolved and all court, university and athletics department conditions for reinstatement have been met.”
So if Goodman was a victim of extraordinary circumstances as determined by the administration - lawyer talk for “really, really, really good” - he could play. But, he’s not, so he’s suspended until some judge that is an FSU alum throws his case out or gives him probation and a stint at washing the cars of booster club members.
However, the mainstream media has spent zillions of words on whether or not he should be allowed to return the NFL when his sentence (now home confinement) concludes. Well, the answer is obviously "yes."
To read Haywood’s post, click here.
Of course, one would be wrong…It’s a new football stadium in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. The stadium will host the Euro 2012 soccer championship matches.
(Photo by Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP/Getty Images)
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The league assessed Denver's defensive specialist a flagrant foul for sending the Lakers' star sprawling through the lane with a trip late in the third quarter that Bennett Salvatore's officiating crew missed.
Jones was drafted 20th by the Celtics in the 2003 NBA draft after playing at Duke.
Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson complained about Jones' (show here tackling Kobe in the first quarter) "unacceptable defense, tripping guys and playing unsportsmanlike basketball" during a rant about the officiating after Los Angeles fell 120-101 to Denver to tie the Western Conference finals at 2.
Asked if he felt Jones went out of his way to trip Bryant, Jackson replied: "Yes. It's not the first time it's happened in this series."
Bryant kept things light when asked if Jones tried to trip him.
"I just fell on my face for no reason," he said. "I'm a klutz."
Evidently, based on the photographic evidence left, he wasn’t so mellow about it just after it happened.
Was Jones playing him dirty?
"Good defense," Bryant said.
Bryant had beaten Jones cutting to the basket when Jones stuck out his right foot.
Jones called it an accident, an instinctive move that lacked any malice or even forethought. (Just like Coach K taught him!)
"It wasn't intentional," said Jones, who was at a loss to explain his actions.
"I can't. I was just playing basketball. We got tangled up."
The NCAA gave its Committee on Infractions another week until June 2 to respond to Florida State's appeal of sanctions resulting from an academic cheating scandal.
They include taking as many as 14 wins off Bowden's coaching record. That would make it impossible for Bowden to catch Penn State's Joe Paterno in their race for most victories among major college coaches.
The 82-year-old Paterno has 383 wins -- one ahead of Bowden, who will turn 80 in November.
Bowden is due to be replaced by coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher by the 2011 season. Fisher is Florida State's offensive coordinator.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
...and, yes, they're club teams. Jeez, back off already.
The #2 ranked Wahoo squad knocked off previously undefeted #1 Cornell 19-17 to become the 2009 National Women’s Champions. Captain Cristina Fernandez lead her team to victory by scoring 9 goals while senior Leah Hall followed with 5 goals.
Undefeated, and #1 ranked Virginia men’s team took on the also undefeated #2 ranked Texas A&M team securing a 20 to 17 victory to become the 2009 Men’s National Champions.
The UVA Team captained by sophomore Joevy Beh, led at the half by one goal. After a strong third period, Virginia outscored A&M 6 to 3, and took a commanding 4 goal lead. Freshmen CB Scherer, and Mauricio Lopez contributed 6 and 7 goals respectively.
None of these people can throw a football
Inglot and Shabaz are the first unseeded team to win the title since Rajeev Ram and Brian Wilson of Illinois in 2003. Ranked No. 12 entering the tournament, the Cavalier duo is the lowest ranked team to take the title since Auburn’s Andrew Colombo and Mark Kovacs, ranked No. 27, won the championship in 2002, also in College Station.
For a shot by shot recap of the match, click here.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Junior Max Quinzani led all Duke scorers with three goals and an assist for four points, while sophomore Zach Howell had three tallies. Quinzani’s hat trick is the ninth time the Duxbury, Mass., native has registered at least two goals in an NCAA Tournament game. Senior Ned Crotty added two assists in the game, falling just one shy of tying the Duke single season mark.
Cavaliers Fall to Cornell 15-6 in National Semifinals Cornell used excellent shooting and tremendous defense to defeat Virginia 15-6 in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship this afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
The top-seeded Cavaliers see their season end with a 15-3 record, while Cornell improves to 13-3. The Big Red meets Syracuse for the national championship Monday at 1 p.m.
The Big Red shot 40.5 percent (15-of-37) and forced Virginia to commit 18 turnovers, while never allowing the Cavaliers to string together back-to-back goals.
Hilary Bowen scored five goals, and Katrina Dowd and Danielle Spencer had four apiece to lead the Wildcats.
Top-seeded Northwestern (23-0) broke the record for goals in the title game and has won 20 consecutive tournament games, one shy of the record set by Maryland from 1995 to 2002.
Hannah Nielsen added six assists to give her a record 16 in the tournament. Northwestern trailed only once the entire tournament. Jenn Russell had two goals for third-seeded North Carolina (16-5), which was making its first appearance in the title game.
FSU and Virginia entered the final innings tied, 3-3. The Seminoles (42-16) loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but Virginia reliever Tyler Wilson (W, 8-3) struck out pinch hitter Tommy Oravetz and induced first baseman Jack Posey to fly to right, escaping the jam.
It was the third ACC baseball title for Virginia (43-12-1), which last won the ACC Tournament in 1996. It was the sixth conference championship for the Cavalier athletic program this scholastic year -- one more than FSU and Maryland, which claimed five titles each.
· Virginia wins its third ACC Baseball Championship and second in the tournament era (since 1973).
· The league title is the sixth for Virginia this season in all sports which ties a school record for ACC titles in a season and earns UVA the most crowns in the ACC this academic year. The Cavaliers also accomplished the feat in the 2003-04 and 2007-08 academic years.
· The ACC leads all conferences with fourth hosts selected this afternoon for the upcoming NCAA Baseball Tournament. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina were given a home regional for the 64-team tournament which begins next weekend.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Amy Mickelson was diagnosed last week with the disease and received a message of support on Friday from Darren Clarke, who lost his wife to breast cancer in 2006.
"I had a pair, so I figured I'd do that for her today. I thought it would be a good gesture," Daly said of his trousers. "I know Phil very well and I know Amy. I've known them for a long time -- we've played the Tour together. She's a great lady. She has always been a sweetheart to everybody."
(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
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05/24 - 05/31
- RACHEL ALEXANDRA OUT OF BELMONT, BOREL TO GO FOR P...
- OUT ON ANOTHER LIMB: RACHEL ALEXANDRA SHOULD SKIP ...
- A LETTER FROM MINE THAT BIRD TO JOHN SWOFFORD
- LOSE EARLY AND REMOVE ALL RIDICULOUS TITLE HOPES F...
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- NCAA POSTPONES DECISION ON FSU
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- HOOS WIN TWO MORE NATIONAL TITLES
- DUKE WINS NATIONAL TITLE
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- DUKE, UVA KNOCKED OUT OF LAX SEMIS
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