Frankel ends perfect career with his 14th straight victory
Frankel finished his dazzling career unbeaten by winning the Champions Stakes at Ascot on Saturday in England for a 14th straight victory, cementing his status as one of the greatest racehorses.
Setting off as a 2-11 favorite in front of Queen Elizabeth II and 32,000 spectators, the world's top-ranked horse coped well with the soft going to come home with a length and three-quarters to spare ahead of 2011 winner Cirrus Des Aigles.
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The 4-year-old colt was slow out of the starting blocks but quickly recovered under jockey Tom Queally before showing his trademark turn of speed to overtake Nathaniel and then Cirrus Des Aigles in the final 2 furlongs.
"He's the best I've ever had, he's the best I've ever seen — I'd be surprised if there's ever been any better," said Frankel's decorated trainer Henry Cecil, who has been handling racehorses for 43 years.
The winning check of $1.19 million takes Frankel's earnings to $4.85 million. After soaking up the applause of the adoring Ascot public, he will lead a life as a stallion.
"That is the end of it and he will retire," owner Prince Khalid bin Abdullah said.
Some analysts are predicting he could earn Prince Khalid more than $160 million at stud.
Named after American Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, the winner of all 14 puts Frankel in the company of some of England's great flat-racing giants, such as Mill Reef, Sea the Stars and Brigadier Gerard.
Frankel never raced abroad, never raced more than 10 furlongs and won only one English classic, the 2,000 Guineas — albeit by six lengths in a devastating performance last year.
"He doesn't just win, he destroys the field every time," jockey Frankie Dettori said. "He's not only got a great physique, he's got that will to win. I've never seen anything like it, and I probably won't for a long time."
■ Lunar Victory won the $250,000 Empire Classic at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., to cap a big international day for Prince Khalid. The 4-5 favorite, Lunar Victory beat Saratoga Snacks, owned by former NFL coach Bill Parcells, by 11/4 lengths to give Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first Empire Classic win. Junior Alvarado was aboard as the 5-year-old scored his fifth victory in six starts this year.
Keselowski still confident at Kansas
Brad Keselowski will have a lot of ground to make up over the repaved surface of Kansas Speedway after a lousy qualifying lap left him starting deep in the field on Sunday in Kansas City, Kan.
The leader in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship thinks he has a couple of things going for him.
He's performed well at Kansas in the past — he won over the 1.5-mile track last year, and his average finish in his last three races is fifth. And he's performed well over tracks that have had a facelift this year, winning at Chicago and finishing fourth at Pocono.
"The track has been very good to me in the past, but obviously it's much different now with the repave," said Keselowski, who enters the weekend with a seven-point lead over Jimmie Johnson. Keselowski will start 25th after struggling to find speed in Friday's qualifying.
"It's a different track today," Keselowski said after practice Saturday, "and I suspect it will be a different track tomorrow."
Johnson said Sunday's race will be "a big guessing game," and that tire wear and fuel mileage are going to be important. So will starting position, given the difficulty that drivers expect in passing, which is why Keselowski understands he put himself in a tight spot.
"We just have more work than we wanted," he said. "If you don't qualify well, you just have to make sure that your car is fast in race trim, and that's what we'll try to do."
■ Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came back from two laps down Saturday to win the Nationwide Series race at Kansas Speedway. The race was extended six laps because of a late caution, which helped Stenhouse grab his sixth win of the season because the cars in front of him didn't have enough gas to make it to the finish.
Sam Hornish Jr. ran out of fuel before the planned restart, which extended the caution period another lap. As the field came to the green, Paul Menard ran out gas. Kyle Busch then pulled away from the field, but his tank ran dry as he exited the third turn of the final lap. Stenhouse, who had lined up in fourth on the restart, zipped past for the victory.
Harrellson hits key three for Heat
Rashard Lewis scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and the Miami Heat rallied for a 104-101 pre-season win against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday. The Heat played without LeBron James, who was out with "general soreness."
Josh Harrellson's three-pointer with 1:01 remaining put the Heat ahead for good at 102-99. The former University of Kentucky standout finished with 10 points and five rebounds in 13 minutes.
Mississippi women's coach put on leave
Mississippi women's basketball coach Adrian Wiggins will "no longer serve as head coach" and is on administrative leave while an investigation continues over "impermissible recruiting contacts and academic misconduct" involving his staff.
Wiggins has not been officially fired, but a statement from the university said the search for an interim head coach is under way.
Mississippi assistant Kenya Landers and director of basketball operations Michael Landers — who are married — were fired as a result of the investigation.
Love, Furyk tied for lead at Sea Island
American Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III made a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Saturday for a 4-under 66 that gave him a share of the lead with Jim Furyk going into the final round of the McGladrey Classic in St. Simons Island, Ga.
For a Fall Series event that features only two of the top 25 players in the world, the McGladrey Classic managed a final group packed with plenty of star power. Love is the tournament host, a Sea Island resident since he was 14, whose 20 career PGA Tour wins include the PGA Championship. Furyk, who also had a 66, is a former U.S. Open champion with 16 career wins.
■ Ernie Els pulled out of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf next week in Bermuda because of a minor ankle injury. He will be replaced in the four-man field by Padraig Harrington. Els is the second player to withdraw from the Grand Slam, which is limited to the year's four major champions. PGA champion Rory McIlroy skipped because he is playing a European Tour event next week in China. He was replaced by Keegan Bradley. The 36-hole exhibition, which starts Tuesday at Port Royal Golf Club, pays $600,000 to the winner.
U.S. women, Germany tie
Abby Wambach and Germany's Anja Mittag scored in the first half Saturday night in Bridgeview, Ill., and the U.S. women had to settle for a 1-1 tie in their first game without former coach Pia Sundhage. The draw in the matchup between the world's top two teams snapped a 14-game winning streak for the U.S. Sundhage is now coaching her native Sweden's national team.
The last word
The New York Jets and New England Patriots are both 3-3 going into Sunday's game in Foxboro, Mass. Jets safety Yeremiah Bell said:
"I'm sure their fans are probably a little disappointed because of what their record is now and are probably yelling at them. But our job is to make sure the fans yell at them some more."