In foal to Curlin, My Baby Baby wins her first stakes race
Aptly named My Baby Baby won the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap by a neck at Churchill Downs on Saturday while in foal to 2008 Horse of the Year Curlin. The 6-year-old mare got her first graded-stakes win in what was probably the last race of her career, and it gave trainer Ken McPeek his third straight stakes victory at Churchill. My Baby Baby was covered on Feb. 12 and is scheduled to give birth early next year. Manny Cruz, who had five winners on the day, rode My Baby Baby to the lead on the outside of the final turn, and the horse finished the 11⁄16-mile $113,900 Grade III turf race in 1:42.40. She paid $17.20, $8.20 and $5.20.
Last Saturday, McPeek swept a pair of Grade III events, the Dogwood and Aristides, with Salty Strike and Noble's Promise, respectively. He now has 20 stakes wins overall at Churchill.
Walk-off homer lifts Mississippi St.
The original plan was for Nick Vickerson to bunt. It's a good thing Mississippi State Coach John Cohen reconsidered. The senior second baseman hammered the first pitch he saw over the fence in left-center for a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday, giving the Bulldogs a 4-3 victory over host Florida and tying their best-of-three NCAA super regional series.
"He had a look in his eye, like, 'I definitely want to swing it here,' " said Cohen, the former Kentucky coach. "And I'm a big believer in letting a player make that decision. 'Do you want to bunt here? Do you want to swing it? How are you seeing this thing?' You have to let your players make good decisions."
The two teams will meet again Sunday with the winner going to the College World Series. Jarrod Parks led off the ninth with a single off Florida reliever and Lexington Catholic graduate Nick Maronde. Gators Coach Kevin O'Sullivan went to the bullpen and got Steven Rodriguez, another left-hander who had struck out Vickerson both times he faced him this season.
■ Michael Roth pitched into the ninth, allowing six hits, and Scott Wingo had two RBI as host South Carolina defeated Connecticut 5-1 in the NCAA super regional on Saturday night. The defending national champion Gamecocks (49-14) are a win away from a return trip to the College World Series.
Pearl, Kiffin meet with NCAA
Tennessee finally got a chance to make its case in front of the NCAA infractions committee Saturday. Former football coach Lane Kiffin spent more than four hours in a hearing room as committee members discussed alleged infractions in the Volunteers' football program. An hour later, former basketball coach Bruce Pearl and his former assistants got their turn. Tennessee officials declined to comment before the hearing or during the lunch break, but Kiffin did talk before heading back to Southern California, where he is now the head coach. He's hoping to arrive before the Trojans' football camp ends Saturday. "It's a very thorough process, and I'm glad it's over," Kiffin said. "It was a lot shorter than the last one I sat through, three days of USC's, and I'm happy it's over."
The committee is expected to make a ruling within eight to 12 weeks. That's when the Volunteers will learn their punishment. Tennessee faces a dozen major rules violations, including accusations that both coaches committed recruiting infractions and that both failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
Olympian Evans, 39, sets world records
Janet Evans hasn't lost her touch for breaking world records, setting new Master's marks in the 35-39 age group 15 years after her last competitive race. The four-time Olympic gold medalist swam the 400-meter freestyle in 4 minutes, 23.82 seconds Saturday at the Janet Evans Invitational in Fullerton, Calif., and shattered the 800-freestyle record with a time of 8:59.06.
"I think it really shows me where my training is, and it's right about where I thought it was," Evans said.
The 39-year old mother of two returned to the pool in October in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. The 400 Saturday was her first competitive race since the 1996 Atlanta Games, where she failed to qualify for the 400 freestyle and finished sixth in the 800 freestyle. Evans tore through the water Saturday with the same voracious strokes that made her famous more than 20 years ago. She was 17 when she set the world record in the 400 freestyle in winning one of three gold medals at the 1988 Seoul Games and later set world marks in the 800 and 1,500 freestyle.
Murray whips Roddick in London
Andy Murray of Britain overwhelmed Andy Roddick 6-3, 6-1 Saturday to reach the finals at Queen's Club in London. He'll play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Sunday. The Frenchman ended unseeded Briton James Ward's run with a 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory in the other semifinal match. Murray, who won the title in 2009, produced a fine all-round display against an error-prone Roddick to win in 59 minutes. He had 13 aces and ensured Roddick failed in his attempt to become the first player to win five titles at the pre-Wimbledon tournament.
Franchitti wins first of two Indy races
Dario Franchitti held off teammate Scott Dixon in a 10-lap shootout Saturday night to win the first of two IndyCar races at Texas in the first doubleheader in major open-wheel racing in 30 years. Franchitti led 110 of 114 laps and finished 0.0527 seconds ahead of Dixon, with the Target Chip Ganassi teammates ahead of Will Power and polesitter Alex Tagliani. The first race on the 1½ -mile high-banked track was on a blistering pace of more than 207 mph, which would have been the fastest in IndyCar Series history, before the Indianapolis 500-winning car driven by rookie Wade Cunningham, not Dan Wheldon, was involved in a crash with first-year driver Charlie Kimball for the only caution to set up the final sprint. Wheldon said before the race that he was surprised the winning car of the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500 was being used. During the TV broadcast, he said the accident was "a case with two rookies." The second race ended too late for this edition.
The last word
White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen isn't sure whether slugger Adam Dunn's batting slump is a mental or a physical thing:
"He's 7-2, 700 pounds. He's got a brain bigger than my body."