Dullahan puts in sharp work ahead of Belmont Stakes
The horse with possibly the best chance to spoil I'll Have Another's bid for a Triple Crown posted a strong workout six days before the Belmont Stakes. Dullahan blazed 4 furlongs in 45.97 seconds Sunday morning at Belmont Park.
"He looked like he was galloping, and then we got back to the barn and he recovered quickly," said trainer Dale Romans, who won the 2011 Preakness with Shackleford. "He wasn't blowing. I think he's ready."
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Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another went for his usual gallop, but first visited the paddock where he will be saddled before attempting to become the first Triple Crown champion in 34 years.
Trainer Doug O'Neill said I'll Have Another "continues his great energy and great stride, and I'm very happy with the way he looked today."
Dullahan finished third in the Derby, 1¾ lengths behind I'll Have Another. He did not run in the Preakness.
Several other Belmont contenders posted final workouts at Belmont, including trainer Bob Baffert's Paynter, who went 7 furlongs in 1:25.00.
Union Rags breezed 5 furlongs in 59.00 at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. John Velazquez, who will be riding the colt for the first time in the 1½ -mile Belmont, made the trip from New York for the workout. Union Rags had a troubled trip in the Derby and ran seventh with Julien Leparoux aboard. He was held out of the Preakness.
"Johnny seemed to like him and he seemed to do that easy enough," said trainer Michael Matz.
■ Nonios defeated Liaison by a half-length to win the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park on Sunday. Ridden by Martin Pedroza, Nonios ran 11⁄16 miles on the Cushion Track in 1:42.99 at 15-1 odds. Liaison, the even-money favorite, lost for the first time in three starts on the synthetic surface for trainer Bob Baffert. It was the colt's first start since finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby on May 5.
Holy Candy was another 11/4 lengths back in third.
■ Jim McAleney and River Rush stole the show Sunday at Woodbine in Toronto. McAleney guided River Rush, a 21-1 shot, to an emphatic victory in the $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes, crossing the finish line in a track record of 1:48.97 despite drawing the outside post in the 11-horse field. River Rush's outstanding performance upstaged Irish Mission's win in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, the marquee race on the card.
"This horse ran tremendous for me," McAleney said. "Reade (trainer Reade Baker) gave me some instruction, if you can save some ground it would really help, so I opted to do as he suggested.
"We had such a wonderful trip. It was just great."
The Plate Trial Stakes is for Canadian-foaled 3-year-olds hoping to compete in the $1 million Queen's Plate, the crown jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown that's slated for June 24 at Woodbine. While Baker said ultimately the decision whether to send River Rush to the Plate will lie with owner Stronach Stables, he sounded very confident the horse will run in Canada's top thoroughbred event in three weeks.
"I'm sure he (Stronach) will let me go to the Plate," Baker said.
Djokovic rallies for five-set victory
Novak Djokovic won even though he felt like nothing was working. A much less-known player named David Goffin lost, but he walked out of Roland Garros feeling like the luckiest guy in the world. It was a strange, gray Sunday at the French Open that didn't always fit the script — and even included an early exit by the top-seeded woman, Victoria Azarenka.
The top-seeded man, Djokovic, punctuated the weirdness, in need of his third career comeback from two sets down to post a fourth-round victory over 22nd-seeded Andreas Seppi, 4-6, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-5, 6-3. "Today, I played a very poor match," Djokovic said.
Goffin, in the draw as a "lucky loser" after falling in qualifying, found himself with a one-set lead against none other than his childhood favorite, Roger Federer, before falling 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4. At the end, the 21-year-old, 109th-ranked Goffin got a hug from the 16-time major champion that left him smiling.
"I've had an extraordinary week," he said. "I went through the quallies with a bit of luck. Then I played my best tennis. I played three great matches. The icing on the cake was to play here with Roger.
"I won't hide from you that I had photos of Roger everywhere in my room" growing up, Goffin said.
Across the way from Djokovic, at Court Suzanne Lenglen, Azarenka got off to a similarly bad start, except she never recovered — and wound up with a 6-2, 7-6 (4) loss to No. 15 Dominika Cibulkova.
NCAA men's Golf Championship
20-foot birdie putt gives Texas title
Texas won its third NCAA men's golf championship defeating Alabama on a 20-foot birdie putt by senior Dylan Frittelli on Sunday at Rivera in Los Angeles. With the match tied at two, Frittelli came to the 18th hole all square with Cory Whitsett. After Whitsett's birdie chip came up well short, Frittelli drained his birdie opportunity.
"I don't even know what happened," Frittelli said. "It was all a blur. I just wanted to make that putt. It was amazing."
Former St. Xavier star Justin Thomas, a freshman for Alabama lost his matchup with Jordan Spieth, 3 and 2.
Texas also won NCAA Championships in 1971 and 1972, when PGA Tour golfers and major championship winners, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite were on the team.
Father of ex-Cat LeRon Ellis dies
LeRoy Ellis, who played 14 years in the NBA after a standout career at St. John's, died Saturday of prostate cancer. He was 72. Mr. Ellis was born in Brooklyn and played at St. John's from 1959-62. He still holds the school single-season record for rebounding with an average of 16.5 in his junior year. Mr. Ellis appeared in 1,048 NBA games over 14 seasons with the Lakers, Baltimore, Portland and Philadelphia. Two of Mr. Ellis' children, LeRon and Lisa, played for the University of Kentucky.
Alabama, Oklahoma reach softball finals
Jackie Traina homered and threw a two-hitter, Kaila Hunt and Jazlyn Lunceford also connected and Alabama beat top-seeded California 5-2 on Sunday to reach the Women's College World Series finals for the first time. The best-of-three championship series starting Monday night will pit the Tide against fourth-seeded Oklahoma, which beat defending champion Arizona State 5-3 on Sunday.
■ Scott Dixon won IndyCar's Detroit Grand Prix that was marred by poor track conditions that stopped the race for a little more than 2 hours on Sunday. Belle Isle's 2.07-mile road course that hadn't hosted a race since 2008 had chunks of asphalt and concrete missing.
■ The Jacksonville Jaguars' No. 1 draft pick, receiver Justin Blackmon, was arrested on an aggravated DUI charge Sunday after authorities in Oklahoma said he had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system. Blackmon agreed to take a breathalyzer test and blew a .24 — three times the legal limit of .08, police said.
The last word
Manager Dale Sveum is running out of explanations for his team's recent rut after the Chicago Cubs were shut down by the Giants' Barry Zito on Sunday:
"It's a broken record. I don't know what to say to come up with something different to make it ... . Just frustrating. I mean, golly. We hit a few balls good. Other than that it wasn't a lot of good at-bats going on."