Informed Decision making 2010 debut in Vinery Madison
Augustin Stable's Informed Decision, the 2009 Eclipse Award winner as champion female sprinter, will kick off her 2010 campaign on Thursday against five rivals in the ninth running of the $300,000 Grade I Vinery Madison at Keeneland. The Vinery Madison is a 7-furlong sprint on the main track.
Trained by Jonathan Sheppard, Informed Decision never has lost in four starts at Keeneland. Three of the victories have come in stakes, and a triumph Thursday would make her the second horse to win four stakes at Keeneland, joining Take Charge Lady.
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With Julien Leparoux aboard, Informed Decision will carry top weight of 123 pounds and concede six pounds to the field.
The field for the Vinery Madison, from the rail out, is: Starlarks, Dubai Majesty, Direct Line, Dr. Zic, Witty and Informed Decision.
Aikenite, Odysseus arrive for Blue Grass
Dogwood Stable's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes hopeful, Aikenite, arrived at Keeneland on Sunday afternoon with five other horses trained by Todd Pletcher. Aikenite, who turned in his final work for the Kentucky Derby prep on April 3 at Palm Meadows in Florida, galloped on Monday morning about a mile on the main track with exercise rider Melvin Hernandez aboard. The son of Yes It's True, who has earned $251,000 with one win in six starts, ran second to Noble's Promise in the Grade I Dixiana Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last October. He finished third to stablemate Eskendereya in the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes.
Padua Stables' Odysseus also made it to Keeneland on Sunday and wasted little time Monday morning getting acquainted with the racing surface. With assistant trainer Dan Blacker up, Odysseus jogged a mile before a leisurely 1½ -mile gallop. Odysseus, trained by Tom Albertrani, has wins in his last three starts, the last coming in the Grade III Tampa Bay Derby on March 13.
■ Ellen and Peter Johnson's Make Music for Me had his final tuneup for Saturday's race by working six furlongs in 1:13 on Sunday morning at Hollywood Park. The move was the best of eight at the distance. Make Music for Me, who ran fourth at Keeneland last fall in the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity, is scheduled to arrive in Lexington on Tuesday.
Matz's Kawiye to run in Beaumont
Manning Racing Stables' Kawiye will make her North American debut Wednesday in the $150,000 Grade II Beaumont after beginning her career in Peru. "She looks nice," trainer Michael Matz said about the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred filly. "She's obviously done well enough that they want to give her a try in a stakes race here. We'll see where she fits in." Kawiye, who was bred in Kentucky by Warren McIntyre and Mike McIntyre, opened her career in October at the Hipodromo de Monterrico in Lima, winning a maiden race at about five furlongs. In January, she scored a nine-length victory over three rivals in an allowance race at about six furlongs.
■ Lael Stables' Nicanor, a full brother to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, will make his 4-year-old debut on Thursday in Keeneland's seventh race.
Phillips says Evans' injury not serious
Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips said on Monday that defensive end DeQuin Evans incurred a mild knee sprain, but no serious injury, during Saturday's practice. Evans, who will be a senior, is the team's top returning defensive lineman.
"He'll be ready to go in about three or four days," Phillips said. "He got lucky. He got rolled up on, but rolled out of it, so he'll be fine. It didn't swell at all, so we'll give him a couple of days and see how it goes."
Phillips also gave an update Monday on the competition among quarterbacks Mike Hartline, Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski.
"All of them did some good, we're progressing the right way," Phillips said. "The ball has to come out of our hands a little bit better but the thing is, they're throwing the ball where it is supposed to be. All I want to do is see if they are throwing the ball to the right spot. We'll get it coming out of their hands better later."
Gators sticking with two-QB system
John Brantley waited three years behind Tim Tebow for his turn as Florida's quarterback. Now, he might have to share the position. Coach Urban Meyer plans to play two quarterbacks this fall, much like the Gators did with starter Chris Leak and Tebow in 2006.
"We're going to try and play two quarterbacks this year," Meyer said. "We have to. On third-and-3, we know what we want to do, and John probably is not going to do it because he's not that kind of player."
Those single-wing formations that became a staple of Florida's offense during Tebow's tenure aren't leaving with the former Heisman Trophy winner. The Gators have turned those short-yardage plays over to freshman Trey Burton and tight end Jordan Reed.
"Everyone says we ran Tim because he's a great player. That's partially true. The other part is single-wing offense gives you plus one in the run game," Meyer said. "Jordan Reed has proven he can do it, and Trey Burton can run well, too. This is the year I think we actually will play two like we played Tim and Chris Leak."
Rams cut Bulger, may target Bradford
The St. Louis Rams released quarterback Marc Bulger on Monday, perhaps clearing the way for them to take Sam Bradford with the first pick of the draft. Last month the Rams signed A.J. Feeley, presumably as next year's backup on a team that was 1-15 in 2009. The Rams were among the teams impressed by Bradford's workout last week in Norman, Okla. Bulger started eight games last season, but was sidelined the last six with a fractured left shin bone, finishing the year on injured reserve. Rookie Keith Null started the last four games, and veteran Kyle Boller also made four starts.
High school basketball
Justice, Slaughter win AP player awards
Shelby Valley's Elisha Justice, Kentucky's Mr. Basketball and the MVP of the Sweet Sixteen was named The Associated Press boys' Player of the Year. Justice's coach, Jason Booher, won the boys' coaching award for the second straight season. Justice averaged 20.1 points, 5.9 assists, 3.9 steals and 3.9 rebounds per game this season. Justice has committed to walk on at Louisville, but was recently received interest from Kentucky. Booher, 35, guided Shelby Valley to a 32-4 record in his sixth season as head coach.
■ Antonita Slaughter, a 6-foot-1 senior forward at Louisville Christian, and Jeff Haile, the head coach at Henderson County, won the AP's girls' awards. Slaughter, who averaged 15.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, will play for Louisville next season. Haile, 50, led the Colonels to their sixth straight 2nd Region title.
UK freshman gets start vs. Louisville
Kentucky freshman right-hander Jordan Cooper (1-1, 5.70 ERA) will make his second career start Tuesday when the Cats host Louisville at 7 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium. A 6-foot-3, 205-pounder, Cooper has appeared in 10 games. He has allowed 31 hits and 15 earned runs in 232⁄3 innings. Kentucky (18-11) and No. 8 Louisville (24-3) have split their home-and-home series the past three seasons.
The last word
With six national titles and a record 77-game winning streak, Connecticut Coach Geno Auriemma has practically conquered it all in women's college basketball. And at 56, Auriemma said Monday he has no interest in trying his luck on the men's side. That's not to say Auriemma hasn't thought about it:
"I just have one huge advantage over everybody else. I never had to make that decision because nobody ever asked me."