Little Mike holds off Afsare to win Arlington Million
Little Mike led from start to finish to win the 30th running of the Arlington Million on Saturday. Britain's Afsare closed fast, but finished 1½ lengths back in second.
Ramon Dominguez steered Little Mike right to the lead from the No. 4 post position in the 11-horse race at Arlington Park.
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"He was running very comfortable," Dominguez said. "Turning for home, when I decided to let him run, he beautifully started opening up."
Little Mike is owned by Priscilla Vaccarezza and trained by Dale Romans. He ran 1¼ miles on turf in 2 minutes, 2.44 seconds. The gelding has won six of his nine starts since joining Romans' barn.
"I felt good about him," Romans said. "He's training so well. His two best races were a mile and an eighth and nobody thought he could do a mile and an eighth."
Afsare, ridden by Kieren Fallon, was antsy just before post position time, rearing up at one point and knocking over a side rail near the gate.
"His antics didn't cost him," Fallon said. "He just acts like a spoiled child sometimes and didn't want the gate."
Two other Grade I races were contested on the turf at Arlington Park on Saturday. I'm A Dreamer held off late charging Marketing Mix to win by a head in the $750,000 Beverly D. Britain's Joviality was third in the 13⁄16-mile race. French-bred Bayrir won the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes by 1¼ lengths over Finnegans Wake.
■ Questing posted an impressive 9-length victory in the 132nd running of the $600,000 Alabama Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. Irad Ortiz Jr. rode the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained filly, who went to the lead at the break and was never challenged while running 1¼ miles in 2 minutes, 1.2 seconds.
In Lingerie was second, followed by Via Villaggio.
Also Saturday, Point of Entry, ridden by John Velazquez, pulled away for a 4-length victory in the $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational. The Shug McGaughey-trained 4-year-old ran 1½ miles over the inner turf course in 2:26.40 for his fourth consecutive win in a so-far undefeated season.
USC ranked No. 1, Cards 25th in AP poll
Southern California earned the top spot in The Associated Press' pre-season college football poll for the seventh time in school history and the first time in five seasons, edging out No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 LSU. The Trojans, who were banned from post-season play the past two seasons, received 25 of a possible 60 first-place votes from a media panel in a close vote. USC received 1,445 points. Defending national champion Alabama had 17 first-place votes and 1,411 points while LSU got 16 first-place votes and 1,402 points.
When Kentucky plays Louisville in the season opener Sept. 2 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, the Cats will be playing a ranked football team. Louisville was 25th. It will be the first time since 2007 that a team has been ranked going into the Kentucky-Louisville game. Louisville was ranked No. 9 that year, but lost 40-34 to the Cats at Commonwealth Stadium.
Thomas loses in U.S. Amateur semifinals
Michael Weaver opened a big lead and hung on to beat former St. Xavier standout Justin Thomas 3 and 2 Saturday to advance to the finals of the U.S. Amateur championship at the Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo. Weaver will face Steven Fox of Hendersonville, Tenn., in Sunday's 36-hole match-play championship. Fox won his semifinal 2-up over Brandon Hagy, who is Weaver's teammate at the University of California at Berkeley.
Weaver opened his semifinal match with Thomas with three consecutive birdies to go 2 up. He stretched his lead to 5 up after the 10th hole and withstood a rally by Thomas, an Alabama freshman who won three of four holes to get within two of Weaver.
"The start was incredible, awesome," Weaver said. "I just kept hitting good shots and kept giving myself chances. That really helped me out a lot because I needed it. Justin came around a little bit and I slipped a little bit. But to start like that in the biggest match I've ever played in, that was an awesome feeling."
Thomas, the Jack Nicklaus award winner as the nation's top college golfer this past season, said Weaver simply outplayed him on the front nine and the deficit proved too much to overcome.
"I didn't battle through it well enough," Thomas said. "Although it hurts a lot to lose, especially this late in the tournament, it's a lot better to get beat than to lose."
■ Sergio Garcia shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to take the lead at 14-under 196 after three rounds at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C. Tim Clark and Bud Cauley were a stroke back, with Jason Dufner, Harris English and Carl Pettersson at 12 under entering the final round of the last event before the FedEx Cup playoffs.
■ Defending champion John Huston shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead over Brad Faxon after the second round of the Dick's Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y.
Federer, Djokovic reach Cincinnati finals
Top-ranked Roger Federer overcame an inconsistent serve and beat Swiss countryman Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (4), 6-3 to reach the finals of the Western & Southern Open near Cincinnati. He'll play Novak Djokovic for the title. The Serb beat Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 6-2 in the other semifinal Saturday, a reprise of their Olympic bronze-medal match that the Argentine won. Federer beat Djokovic for the Cincinnati title in 2009.
SE Lexington wins Babe Ruth opener
Tanner Hart pitched a complete game and supplied a run-scoring triple, and Connor O'Neil cracked a two-run double as Southeastern Lexington beat El Segundo, Calif., 6-5 on Saturday in its opening game at the Babe Ruth World Series for 13-15-year-olds at Van Buren, Ark. Southeastern continues pool play Sunday against Harrison, Ark., at 6:30 p.m.
Giants rout Jets 26-3 in exhibition
Jayron Hosley returned an interception of Mark Sanchez 77 yards for a touchdown, and the New York Giants' defense stifled the Jets' starters in a 26-3 pre-season victory between the hometown rivals. Tim Tebow, making his home debut for the Jets (0-2), didn't fare much better in his six series. But the backup QB led the Jets to their only points of the night — Josh Brown's 30-yard field goal.
■ Michael Bush, who starred at Louisville, scored two first-quarter touchdowns in the Bears' exhibition game against the Redskins.
■ Arizona Cardinals starting left tackle Levi Brown has a torn right triceps and probably will not play this season.
Rome hands Legends' 4th straight loss
Lexington starter David Rollins gave up four runs in six innings and the Legends lost their their fourth straight game, 5-3, to the host Rome Braves. Brandon Drury had two hits, a two-run home run and an RBI single for Rome. Brandon Meredith had a solo home run, walked three times and scored twice for Lexington.
The last word
Rangers Manager Ron Washington on not being able to intervene before Ian Kinsler was ejected for the third time this year, most among big-league players:
"I tried to get to home plate quick enough, but I'm not Speedy Gonzales."