Lasix banned for 2012 in juvenile graded-stakes races
Next year, 2-year-olds that run in the top Thoroughbred races in the United States, including major Kentucky Derby prep races, will have to do it without controversial anti-bleeder medication.
The American Graded Stakes Committee, which gives the races their designated ranking, announced late Thursday that it will not allow the use of furosemide, commonly known as Lasix. If tracks allow it on race day, the race will lose its coveted graded-stakes status but, otherwise, the move has no enforcement authority.
The use of anti-bleeder medications has come under fire in recent months, and the Breeders' Cup recently announced it will ban their use in the 2-year-old championships in 2012 and the 3-year-old championships in 2013. But the graded-stakes ban is a pilot project that the committee said it will evaluate after one year. Unless state racing jurisdictions or racetracks take action, other 2-year-old races apparently will allow the drug.
SPORTS IN THE COURTS
Village Person to sue Rays
You might remember him as "the Cop." And he is not happy. Victor Willis, lyricist, lead singer and costumed police officer for the original Village People, said Thursday in a news release that he plans to sue the Tampa Bay Rays "within the next 30 days" for misappropriating his voice and image. The current version of the Village People performed after a Rays game last August. Willis, who left the group in 1984, certainly would not be coming to the Trop. But promotions for the event included a 1978 video snippet of the Village People singing YMCA, featuring Willis front and center.
"His voice is very distinctive. People know that song," said Linda Smythe, Willis' publicist. "They get excited, thinking he is going to be there."
Willis, now 58, is not out for money, Smythe said. YMCA alone earns him more than $1 million a year in songwriting royalties. Every time a stadium or arena blasts it through loudspeakers, he earns a little payment. But Willis does want people to stop using his image and voice without his permission, she said. "What we would like ideally from the Rays is to ask them to apologize and give us assurances that they won't do that again."
UK's Miller has 8 boards in U.S. exhibition
Kentucky's Darius Miller scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds for the USA Men's World University Games team in an 88-61 exhibition win over Chinese professional team New Century in Huizhou, China, on Thursday. Vanderbilt's John Jenkins led the Americans with 24 points on 8-for-10 shooting from three-point range.
Pool play for the World University Games starts Saturday. Team USA takes on Mexico at 6 a.m. EDT. There are 24 countries involved in the tournament, which runs through Aug. 22. The United States' group includes Finland, Hungary, Israel, Mexico and South Korea.
Rodman still 'shines' ahead of induction
The acknowledgment list could only belong to Dennis Rodman. There were coaches Phil Jackson and fellow inductee Tex Winter. He mentioned teammate Michael Jordan, along with rockers Eddie Vedder and Motley Crue. And he thanked that guy Stern who's coming to see him Friday night. That's Howard Stern, not the NBA commissioner. Rodman's uncommon blend of basketball and entertainment has arrived at the sport's birthplace, where he will be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame on Friday as part of the 10-person class of 2011.
"I really didn't play the game to be in the Hall of Fame. That wasn't my job," Rodman said. "My job was to go out there and win ball games, have a good time and take care of my family. As long as the people had a good time, that was my main objective."
Dressed in all black, wearing sunglasses, an Ed Hardy tattooing hat and a scarf that read "The Worm, HOF '11" on the inside, the five-time NBA champion was the center of attention during Thursday's news conferences. Exactly the way he likes it.
"I just love living life free. And for me to shine, I shine every damn day," Rodman said. "This is for other people here that don't get to see these famous people that's going to come in this building tomorrow."
Dream Teamer and two-time Olympic gold medalist Chris Mullin is the other headline name in the class. Tara VanDerveer, who has led Stanford to two national championships and won more than 800 games, joins Winter and Division II Philadelphia University coach Herb Magee, the career leader at the collegiate level with more than 900 wins, as the coaches being enshrined. Eight-time NBA champion Tom "Satch" Sanders, big men Artis Gilmore and Arvydas Sabonis; the late Reece "Goose" Tatum of the Harlem Globetrotters, and women's star Teresa Edwards, who won five Olympic medals — four golds — and is entering her fifth Hall of Fame, also will be honored at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Mass.
Canadian league to open in November
A new professional basketball league in Canada plans to open in November with seven teams and a 36-game schedule. The National Basketball League of Canada announced Thursday that Moncton, New Brunswick, will become the seventh franchise for the 2011-12 season. The city joins teams in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Quebec City; Saint John, New Brunswick; and London and Oshawa in Ontario. Another team will be in Prince Edward Island, although the city is not set. The league plans a two-day draft Aug. 20-21 in Toronto. The first day will involve players from outside the country. The second day will be for Canadian players.
JGR merging engine program with TRD
Plagued by a string of blown engines, Joe Gibbs Racing is merging its engine program with Toyota Racing Development. JGR President J.D. Gibbs said in a conference call Thursday that TRD had already helped in several areas but acknowledged there were areas where "we're struggling." Gibbs said the alliance probably won't help much this year and is more focused on 2012 and beyond.
"This is still a work in progress," said Lee White, president and general manager of TRD. JGR, which has had 11 engine failures in practices and races this year, has built its own engines out of its shop in Huntersville, N.C., since joining NASCAR's top series in 1993. All three JGR Sprint Cup teams have had engine problems that began with the season-opening Daytona 500.
Lexington teams to start World Series play
The South Lexington 12-year-old baseball all-stars open play Friday in the Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series at Visalia, Calif.
The Ohio Valley Regional champions meet New England Regional champion Raynham, Mass., in the first of its four pool-play games at 5:30 p.m. EDT. The top three teams in each of the two five-team divisions advance to single-elimination play next week.
South Lexington is one of three youth baseball teams from the city opening play in Cal Ripken World Series this week.
The Southeastern Lexington 10-year-olds open play Saturday in Winchester, Va., and the Southeastern Lexington Major/70 12-year-olds begin their tournament Saturday in Aberdeen, Md.
The last word
Tennessee Coach Derek Dooley turned to a bit of "old English" to teach the Volunteers a lesson about the smallest details of football. Dooley said Thursday he read the Vols the British proverb "For want of a nail," a reference to Richard III's demise in 1485 because of problems caused by his horse missing a horseshoe nail during a battle. The scene is illustrated in Shakespeare's Richard III. Dooley said his point was that a small error in their technique could lead to major problems.
Dooley said the players were very engaged by his reference:
"Trying to read old English and me trying to understand what they're saying, it's about the same."