Sports briefs: Oct. 7

October 7, 2012 

Horse racing

Coil upsets Amazombie in Santa Anita Sprint

Bob Baffert has a lot of decisions to make heading into the Breeders' Cup. Coil and Capital Account made things a little more interesting with their 1-2 finish for the Hall of Fame trainer in the $250,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Saturday in Arcadia, Calif. Coil edged Capital Account by a head in a finish decided by a photo.

Amazombie, last year's champion sprinter, was fourth as the 4-5 favorite ridden by Mike Smith.

Coil ran 6 furlongs in 1:09.89 under Martin Garcia and paid $17.20, $7.60 and $4 after being sent off at 7-1 odds in his ongoing transition to sprinting this year.

"It's a great opportunity to get this horse back and I did my job," said Garcia, who had ridden Coil in five straight races before being replaced by Rafael Bejarano in the 4-year-old colt's previous two.

Capital Account and jockey David Flores returned $5.80 and $3.80, while Jimmy Creed was three-quarters of a length farther back in third and paid $6.40 to show.

The result was a reversal of the Pat O'Brien Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 26, when Capital Account beat Coil by a half-length.

"It was very close at the end, but I knew it would have taken a couple more jumps to beat the winner," Flores said. "I have to give great credit to my horse because when I asked him to go he was responding. Maybe next time I'll have to go a little bit earlier."

Amazombie was being prepared to defend his title in the Breeders' Cup Sprint next month at Santa Anita.

"At the top of the lane I could tell he was starting to get a little bit tired," Smith said. "He kicked on good until the eighth pole and then got really tired at that point.

"You'd certainly like to win, but with these types of horses, you're talking about the first two finishers probably being one of the favorites going to the Breeders' Cup. The important thing was to get a good race in him and move forward."

Coil, winner of last year's $1 million Haskell Invitational, earned an automatic berth in the Sprint on Nov. 3, with his entry fees being paid as part of the "Win and You're In" program.

Pletcher's 2-year-olds sweep at Belmont

Trainer Todd Pletcher swept the $400,000 stakes for 2-year-olds Saturday at Belmont Park with undefeated Shanghai Bobby and Dreaming of Julia. Of the two winners, Shanghai Bobby was the more impressive in the Champagne, easily beating Goldencents by 5 lengths for his fourth victory.

"He's tenacious," Pletcher said. "He has all the tools."

Rosie Napravnik was aboard as the colt ran the mile in 1:35.55.

Dreaming of Julia stretched her winning streak to three with the win by a head over My Happy Face in the four-horse Frizette for fillies. There were two late scratches when Roveing Patrol fell in the starting gate right before the break. She got tangled in the gate before being safely extricated. She was scratched, along with Sweet Shirley May in the adjoining slot.

NASCAR

Kahne, Newman on front row at Talladega

Ride or race was the question NASCAR's title contenders are considering as they prepare for Talladega Superspeedway.

The fourth race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup could be the one that shuffles the 12-driver championship field. The use of restrictor plates bunches the field, and the unpredictability of drafting and relying on partners usually creates a chaotic race that can end a drivers' title hopes.

So when qualifying ended Saturday, and Kasey Kahne sat on the pole for the first time at a plate race, drivers began discussing in earnest how they will attack the 500-mile event.

"We just really need to race and race hard," he said. "We're a long ways back right now, and if we can't make up points at a track like this, we probably aren't going to make them up."

Kahne's lap of 191.455 mph bettered Ryan Newman's 191.145, putting a pair of Chevrolets on the front row for Sunday's race.

Asked what it meant for Kahne's race, he didn't offer many details.

"It means I'm going to start first, that's it," Kahne said. "I'll try to lead that first lap. If we're up there, we'll try to stay up there."

That's the big debate among drivers who differ on strategy for Talladega. Some may ride around in the back of the field waiting to make a late charge in an effort to avoid potential dicey situations, but some want to be aggressive and be out front as much as possible.

Kahne, who is sixth in the standings and trails leader Brad Keselowski by 32 points, insists he'll race.

So will two-time defending race winner Clint Bowyer, who has had Talladega circled as the track that can most help his championship chances. He's fourth in the standings and has talked all week about gaining some big ground on Sunday.

Then he surprised himself with a third-place qualifying run that forced him to reconsider his race strategy.

"I am blown away, shocked, that we were top three," Bowyer said. "I thought, definitely going into today, my whole plan for the weekend was we were going to qualify poorly and ride around in the back. Well, we're in the front, and I'm going to try to stay there."

Golf

Blixt, Moore, de Jonge lead in Las Vegas

Jonas Blixt, Brendon de Jonge and Ryan Moore left everyone else behind Saturday in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. Blixt birdied six of the last seven holes for a 5-under 66 and a share of the lead with Moore and de Jonge — five strokes ahead of their closest rivals in the Fall Series opener.

Moore had a bogey-free 65, and de Jonge birdied four of the last five for a 66 to match Blixt at 19 under.

Steve Pate and Fred Funk shot 3-under 69 to share the second-round lead at 8 under in the Champions Tour's SAS Championship. Funk, the Insperity Championship winner in May for his seventh victory on the 50-and-over tour, birdied four of the last seven holes. Pate is winless on the Champions Tour after winning six times on the PGA Tour. First-round leader Russ Cochran followed his opening 66 with a 73 to finish at 5 under.

Branden Grace shot a 3-under 69 at Carnoustie in St. Andrews, Scotland, to take a four-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Dunhill Links Championship.

Dawn Woodard shot a 3-under 69 at Briggs Ranch to take a two-stroke lead in stroke-play qualifying for the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur in San Antonio. The 38-year-old Woodard, from Greer, S.C., birdied three of her first six holes. Lucy Nunn of Lexington had the only other sub-par round, shooting a 71. The 25-year-old Kentucky assistant coach regained her amateur status in June. The top 64 after the second round will advance to match play in the event limited to players 25 and older.

Bowling

Cracraft rolls 800 series at Southland

Matt Cracraft posted his second award score of the season this past week with an 800 at Collins Bowling Centers-Southland. Cracraft had games of 277, 276 and 247 on Sept. 27 in the Strike Force League. Cracraft rolled a perfect game on Aug. 29.

Philip Thompson bowled a perfect game on Oct. 2 at Southland.

■ The Lexington USBC Hall of Fame had to change its date and location because of a scheduling conflict. The event will now be held at noon Nov. 10 at the Ramada Inn on North Broadway.

■ The entry deadline for the 57th Kentucky State Bowling Association tournament is Oct. 31. The event will be held on Nov. 3-4, 10-11 and 17-18 in Louisville. The entry fee is $25 per bowler per event. Entry forms are available at all area bowling centers.

The last word

The New York Giants' Lawrence Tynes doesn't think coaches calling a timeout to "ice" kickers at the end of the games is a good move:

"If I was a coach, I wouldn't call it. We got to slow down, and do it again better. Plus, why would you ever want to give someone a practice rep on anything? Would you want to practice an 8-foot pressure putt before you had to do it for real? Of course. It's the same thing."

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