Shirreffs has another top mare to face boys in Dubai World Cup
The trainer of Breeders' Cup Classic winner Zenyatta will send out another one of his star females to challenge the boys in the $10 million Dubai World Cup. Trainer John Shirreffs told The Associated Press on Monday that Life is Sweet will be shipped to Dubai to compete in the world's richest race on March 27.
The 5-year-old mare won the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic the day before stablemate Zenyatta improved to 14-0 with a win over the boys in the $5 million BC Classic on Nov. 7.
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The 1¾-mile Dubai World Cup will be held at the new Meydan Racecourse. It is the showcase race of an eight-race card with total purse money of more than $26 million.
"She's just a really nice mare," Shirreffs said. "She's training extremely well. Whoever is in the field, I think she compares well with any of them."
Others expected for the World Cup include Gio Ponti, the champion older male and turf horse who finished second to Zenyatta in the BC Classic, and Japan's two-time Horse of the Year Vodka, a 6-year-old mare.
The World Cup will be run over a synthetic Tapeta surface. Life is Sweet has run many of her races on synthetic surfaces in California and Kentucky, but has never run over Tapeta. She has run 1¼ miles only once, finishing third in the 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup in her only start against males.
"I don't think distance will be an issue, and I think the surface will be in her favor, too," Shirreffs said.
Cats' game vs. Morehead in Lexington
Unbeaten Kentucky (6-0) will host Morehead State at 2 p.m. Tuesday before hitting the road for a three-game California road swing. The Wildcats, ranked 23rd in the Baseball America poll, were supposed to play at Morehead, but the game was moved to Lexington because of poor field conditions at the Eagles' ballpark.
Sophomore right-hander Sean Bouthliette, an Elizabethtown native, will get his first start of the season. He was 2-1 with a 7.79 ERA in 2009. The Eagles (4-5) will counter with sophomore right-hander Josh Schneider (1-1, 22.50 ERA). Schneider has given up five runs on five hits in two innings this season.
■ Louisville's baseball team, which is 7-0, moved up a spot to No. 10 in the Baseball America poll. The Cardinals' Thomas Royse, a Paul Dunbar graduate, was named Big East pitcher of the week after pitching six shutout innings with nine strikeouts in a 2-0 victory against Michigan.
A-Rod to be questioned about doctor
Yankees star Alex Rodriguez has been contacted by federal investigators regarding a Canadian doctor accused of selling an unapproved drug. Rodriguez said Monday he was "aware" of the investigation and plans on cooperating with government officials who are looking into Dr. Anthony Galea. Rodriguez said a date for an interview has not been set.
"I can't really get into that," Rodriguez said. "I have to speak to those guys first. I've just got to wait for instructions."
Galea is facing four charges in his country related to the drug known as Actovegin, which is extracted from calf's blood and used for healing. His assistant also has been charged in the U.S. for having HGH and another drug while crossing the border in September.
A-Rod said the probe won't have an effect on him because "this is about someone else." He declined comment when asked if he has even been treated by Galea.
"I'm focused on baseball," Rodriguez said.
■ Many of the maple baseball bats used in the minor leagues will be banned this season and the reason is safety. Major League Baseball has been studying maple bats that shatter easily and endanger fans, players and umpires. New rules this year ban bats made of ultra-light maple that are more likely to break and send debris flying. Also as part of baseball's safety push, any major-leaguer whose bat broke at least 10 times last year must consult with a panel of bat experts.
■ The Missouri Senate wants to take away Mark McGwire's highway. A stretch of Interstate 70 in St. Louis was designated the Mark McGwire Highway in 1999, one year after the Cardinals slugger hit a then-record 70 home runs. But McGwire has now admitted he used steroids, and the state Senate voted unanimously Monday to rename the section of interstate the Mark Twain Highway. The measure now goes to the House.
Hilltoppers' 2010 schedule released
Western Kentucky's first season under its new head coach, Willie Taggart, will include five opponents who went to bowl games in 2009. The Hilltoppers will open the season at Nebraska on Sept. 4, followed by a trip to Lexington to play Kentucky on Sept. 11. Western's home opener will be against Indiana on Sept. 18.
In addition to Nebraska and Kentucky, other opponents who played in bowl games last season include South Florida (Sept. 25 on the road) Middle Tennessee (Nov. 20 at home) and Troy (Nov. 27 on the road).
Jets to release tailback Jones this week
The New York Jets will release running back Thomas Jones this week, allowing the leader of the NFL's top-ranked rushing offense to become a free agent. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum said Monday that the team told Jones it will cut ties with him when the league's free agency period begins Friday.
Jones was due a $3 million roster bonus on top of a $2.8 million base salary this season. He and the Jets failed to reach a compromise on restructuring his contract; the team wanted him to take a pay cut.
The 31-year-old is coming off a season in which he set career highs by rushing for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns while helping the Jets reach the AFC championship game against Indianapolis.
■ The Chicago Bears waived former All-Pro tackle Orlando Pace after one season in which he was limited to 11 games because of injuries. Chicago signed Pace last season as a free agent to help patch up a faulty offensive line, but the fading star didn't provide much help. Pace was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection with the Rams and one of the best offensive tackles in the league. He was drafted No. 1 overall out of Ohio State in 1997 and went on to play in two Super Bowls with St. Louis.
■ Former Kentucky All-American soccer standout Barry Rice was invited to participate in trials with Major League Soccer's D.C. United. Rice scored 12 goals and seven assists during his career and ranks sixth in school history with seven game-winning goals. Another former Wildcat, Jason Griffiths, was drafted in the second round of the 2009 MLS Draft by the New England Revolution.
■ Doubles specialists Todd Woodbridge, Mark Woodforde, Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva were elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Woodbridge and Woodforde — Australians known as "The Woodies" — won a record 61 ATP doubles titles together, including 11 major championships. Fernandez and Zvereva collected 38 titles together, including 14 at Grand Slams.
■ Greg Rita, the caddie for Curtis Strange when he won successive U.S. Open titles and for John Daly when he won the British Open, died of brain cancer Saturday on his 54th birthday. Rita caddied over four decades on the PGA Tour for players that included Gil Morgan, Scott Hoch, David Duval and Mark O'Meara.
The last word
Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle after Mavericks owner Mark Cuban floated the idea of playing some home games in cavernous Cowboys Stadium:
"Great idea. And let's hold Olympic swimming events in the middle of the Pacific Ocean."