Other Sports

Sports briefs: Sept. 30

Horse racing

Mine that Bird prepares for Santa Anita's Goodwood Stakes

Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird completed his first workout at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., galloping five furlongs in preparation for the $350,000 Goodwood Stakes on Oct. 10.

Jockey Joe Talamo was aboard Mine That Bird on Tuesday morning in place of regular rider Calvin Borel. The 3-year-old gelding was timed in 1:014⁄5 for the distance over the synthetic surface.

"It went just right," trainer Chip Woolley said. "I really like the way he's striding out on this racetrack. It really seems really kind, and he's getting a good hold of it."

Woolley said Mine That Bird's next scheduled workout would be on Oct. 6. The winner of the Goodwood Stakes earns an automatic berth in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 7.

Golf

Former NFL star Rice to play Nationwide Tour tourney next year

Hall of Fame-nominated wide receiver Jerry Rice will make his professional golf debut next year as a tournament host and player at a Nationwide Tour event in Hayward, Calif.

The Stonebrae Classic announced Tuesday that the Jerry Rice 127 Foundation has been named the primary receiver of the tournament's charity proceeds. Rice agreed to be tournament host, and he received a sponsor's exemption. The tournament is scheduled for April 15-18 at the TPC San Francisco Bay at Stonebrae.

Palmer loosens up Bay Hill course

As the proud owner at Bay Hill, Arnold Palmer doesn't want to see PGA Tour players light up the scoreboard. As one of the game's great entertainers, Palmer also appreciates that the fans like to see birdies. Entertainment won this round.

Bay Hill will return to being a par 72 for the Arnold Palmer Invitational after the tournament host reluctantly agreed that fans would rather see players score below par, and that a par 5 on the finishing holes could make the PGA Tour event more exciting.

The club switched to a par 70 the last three years by converting two par 5s into par 4s, including the 16th hole, which often is pivotal in deciding the tournament.

"We're going to go with four par 5s again, with the thinking that the galleries and the people enjoy seeing players make birdies," Palmer said Tuesday. "We're going to give them an opportunity to make birdies."

■ Also, Palmer will be going back to the White House to meet another president and collect another medal. Palmer said Tuesday that he has been selected to receive a Congressional Gold Medal, an honor that has been around since the American Revolution and recognizes distinguished achievements and contributions.

Beyond his seven major championships, Palmer used his charisma and hard-charging style to make an elite sport popular with the masses. In golf circles, he is known simply as "The King."

Palmer said the presentation from President Barack Obama would be Wednesday at the White House.

He also received the National Sports Award from former President Bill Clinton in 1993, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President George W. Bush in 2004.

"I didn't know George Washington," Palmer said with a grin. "But if I did, I would shake his hand and say, 'You're the first, and I won't be the last.' "

Etc.

Sharapova in, Dementieva out in Japan

Maria Sharapova cruised past Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-0, 6-1 Tuesday in the second round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. The former top-ranked Russian, who has been struggling since returning from a 10-month injury layoff, will next face Alisa Kleybanova, who beat sixth-seeded Vera Zvonareva 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Sharapova won her first tournament as a professional at the Japan Open in 2003 and won in Tokyo in 2005. With more seeded players losing Tuesday, including third-seeded Elena Dementieva, she is positioned well for another shot at a title.

Dementieva became the latest highly ranked player to lose in the second round, falling to Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-1.

Phoenix's Taurasi named WNBA's MVP

Diana Taurasi has been named the WNBA's most valuable player.The Phoenix Mercury star was presented the award Tuesday prior to the team's WNBA Finals opener against the Indiana Fever. Taurasi, a four-time WNBA All-Star, led the league in scoring at 23.8 points per game.

■ Indiana's men's soccer team got two goals from Andy Adlard, and the No. 6 Hoosiers (5-2-1) defeated No. 13 Kentucky (7-2) 3-0 in Bloomington, Ind., on Tuesday. Nick Blevins scored Indiana's third goal. It was Kentucky's first non-conference loss of the year and its second in the last 18 matches.

■ Former Major League Baseball player Chuck Knoblauch has been charged with assaulting his common-law wife. According to a criminal complaint, Knoblauch's wife told police the 41-year-old hit her in the face and then choked her at their Houston home on Friday. Knoblauch's attorney did not return a telephone call Tuesday.The former infielder is a Houston native and a four-time All-Star who played for the Yankees, Twins and Royals from 1991-02.

The last word

The Washington Redskins have been so bad this season that the home crowd booed even when they beat the St. Louis Rams a couple of weekends ago. Washington, which has struggled against a weak schedule, lost to the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Cornerback Fred Smoot said there's no quick fix for the team's problems:

"It's not college. Nobody is going to come in here and 'Tim Tebow' us and send us on a nine-game winning streak."

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