Rachel Alexandra gets rematchwith Zardana in La Troienne
Reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra will head a six-horse field in Grade II, $400,000 La Troienne on Friday at Churchill Downs. The La Troienne will be the first of six graded stakes races on the 12-race card highlighted by the 136th running of the Kentucky Oaks.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Rachel Alexandra will be ridden by Calvin Borel in the La Troienne and break from post position four. She'll get a rematch with Zardana, the John Shirreffs-trained filly that handed Rachel Alexandra a loss in her 2010 debut in the New Orleans Ladies on March 13 at Fair Grounds. David Flores, who rode Zardana to the win at Fair Grounds, has the call Friday and they'll break from post position three.
Never miss a local story.
Other horses in the field are Be Fair, Morena, Unrivaled Belle and Distinctive Dixie.
■ Three horses that ran in last year's Kentucky Derby are among nine horses entered in Friday's Grade III, $150,000 Alysheba at Churchill Downs. Chocolate Candy, fifth in last year's Derby, will be making his 2010 debut with Rafael Bejarano aboard. Friesan Fire, who finished 18th as the Derby favorite, will be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan. And Terry Thompson will ride Flying Private, the only horse other than Derby winner Mine That Bird to complete in all three legs of the Triple Crown last year. Also in the field is 7-year-old Arson Squad, who won the Grade III Skip Away at Gulfstream Park on April 3.
■ Chamberlain Bridge will face 10 foes as he tries to repeat last year's victory in the Grade III, $100,000 Churchill Downs Turf Sprint on Friday. Trained by Bret Calhoun and ridden by Jamie Theriot, Chamberlain Bridge is undefeated in three starts over the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs. A leading contender will be Silver Timber, who won the Grade III Shakertown on April 10 at Keeneland.
■ Nine 2-year-olds are entered for the 22nd running of the Grade III, $100,000 Kentucky Juvenile, the first graded stakes race for 2-year-olds in North America. Trainer Wesley Ward, whose fillies Aegean and Jealous Again finished first and second in last year's race, will have Nina Fever going this year. The rest of the field are Saturday Dance, Lou Brissie, Wetzel, Weekend Wildcat, Boys At Tosconova, Final Mesa, The Freak and Twelve Pack Shelly.
Costas speaking at UK on Thursday
NBC sportscaster Bob Costas will be at the University of Kentucky's Memorial Hall on Thursday to deliver the inaugural Gidel/Lombardo Sports Communications lecture. The program, at 6:30 p.m., is free and open to the public. Earlier this week, Costas was awarded his 21st career Emmy Award and second consecutive for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Host. This weekend, he will again co-host NBC's coverage of the Kentucky Derby.
Georgetown golfer wins Mid-South title
Georgetown College's Christian Heavens closed with a 2-under par 70 to win the Mid-South Conference men's golf championship by six strokes on Tuesday at Cherry Blossom Golf Course in Georgetown. Heavens, who shot 6 under for the tournament, qualified to play in the NAIA National Golf Tournament on May 18-21 in Silvis, Ill.
"It has been since 1963 to my recollection," Georgetown Coach Flash Williams said of the last time a Tiger went to the national golf tournament. "He was on a mission."
"This is exciting," Heavens said. "The tournament is around my birthday, too, so it would be a birthday present to me to go and play well."
Cumberlands' men beat Lindsey Wilson's by one shot for the team title. In return, Lindsey Wilson's women cruised to a 19-shot victory over second-place Cumberlands. Lindsey Wilson's Jessica Smith, an Assumption graduate, won the women's title.
■ Kentucky men's golfer Chase Parker was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team. Parker, a native of Augusta, Ga., had one of the best freshman seasons in school history, playing in 10 events with a team low season-stroke average of 74.41.
UK baseball seeks season sweep of U of L
Kentucky will go for a two-game sweep of Louisville this season when the two teams meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Jim Patterson Stadium at Louisville. The Wildcats (23-17) won the teams' first meeting 5-0 on April 6 at Lexington in front of a season-best crowd of 3,819 fans at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Freshman right-hander Jordan Cooper and junior lefty Mike Kaczmarek combined on the shutout. Cooper (2-3, 6.49 ERA) will get the start again. Louisville (32-7) has not announced a starting pitcher.
■ Transylvania's Heartland Conference baseball matchup with Mt. St. Joseph at Applebee's Park on Tuesday was postponed after officials with the Lexington Legends declared the field to be unplayable after several days of rain. The game will be rescheduled, but will not be played at Applebee's Park.
■ Kentucky's softball game against Eastern Kentucky at Richmond was cancelled because of rain. The teams are not expected to schedule a make-up contest.
Federer opens clay court season with loss
In his first singles match of the clay-court season, Roger Federer lost to 40th-ranked Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 2-6, 6-1, 7-5 Tuesday in his Rome Masters opener. The top-ranked Swiss will play two more tournaments — in Estoril, Portugal, and Madrid — before the start of the French Open on May 23.
"I hope I can come back from this. That's usually what I do after a loss like this," Federer said. "Sometimes it takes a loss to wake up and shake you up for your approach the next week. When you always win, sometimes you forget how hard it is. That's why today I don't get too worried about this loss."
Novak Djokovic, seeded second and trying to reach a third consecutive Rome finals, defeated France's Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 6-1.
Tebow sets jersey sales record for draftee
Tim Tebow already has surpassed one of the records Mark Sanchez set as a rookie quarterback with the New York Jets last season. A first-round pick of the Denver Broncos, the former Florida star sold more jerseys during the National Football League's draft weekend than any other rookie or current player.
"It's a pretty substantial difference between him and the next guy," NFL spokeswoman Joanna Hunter said of Tebow's jersey sales.
A distant second to Tebow in sales from April 22-25 was defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions. Quarterback Sam Bradford, who was the No. 1 overall pick of the St. Louis Rams, was third, followed by Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant.
■ The Cincinnati Bengals added a running back to their roster by claiming Cedric Peerman off waivers from the Detroit Lions on Tuesday. The 5-foot-9, 210-pound halfback was Baltimore's sixth-round pick last year.
■ The Arizona Cardinals agreed to terms with free-agent left guard Alan Faneca, a nine-time Pro Bowl pick, on a one-year contract Tuesday, three days after he was cut by the New York Jets. Faneca spent his first 10 NFL seasons with the Steelers and has 128 consecutive starts over the past eight years, the last two with the Jets.
The last word
Golfer Sandy Lyle, to the London Guardian, after shooting his career-worst round — an 86 — at the Masters:
"For the first nine holes I thought I was playing with a square ball."