Currency Swap reels in Trinniberg in Hopeful Stakes
Currency Swap wore down 68-1 shot Trinniberg with a gritty run through the final yards Monday to win the $250,000 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Race Course and give hometown trainer Teresa Pompay her first Grade I victory. Kept on the outside about four lengths off the lead by jockey Rajiv Maragh, Currency Swap began cutting into Trinniberg's lead on the turn. Trinniberg continued to press, but Currency Swap pulled ahead to win by three-quarters of a length.
"I was so excited I thought I was going to pass out," said Pompay, who began galloping horses at the Spa when she was 16. "It's been exciting and fun because I knew I was bringing a good horse. This horse is so special. I'm so proud of him that he came through."
Trinniberg was 3¾ lengths clear of third-place Big Blue Nation.
■ John Velazquez topped the Saratoga jockey standings for the second straight year, and trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole also successfully defended their titles. Velazquez had 54 winners to become the second leading rider at the Spa with 655 career victories. Pletcher won his eighth Saratoga meet title and set a season record, earning the H. Allen Jerkens training title with 38 winners. The previous mark was 36, which Pletcher set last year.
■ Three-time trainer of the year Jimmy Takter was elected to harness racing's Hall of Fame. The 50-year-old Swede has trained two Hambletonian winners, Muscle Massive and Malabar Man. He also trained two horses of the year — Moni Maker in 1998 and Malabar Man in 1999. This year, he trains harness racing's No. 1-ranked horse, See You At Peelers, a 3-year-old filly pacer.
Manning doubtful for Colts' opener
The unthinkable suddenly seems possible in Indianapolis — opening the season without Peyton Manning. The four-time league MVP who has never missed a start in his NFL career is doubtful for Sunday's game at Houston because of lingering soreness in his back following off-season neck surgery. If Manning sits, it would be the first time the NFL's active iron man missed a meaningful game after 227 consecutive starts including the playoffs.
■ Jets Coach Rex Ryan said he expects fullback John Conner to play in the opener after he missed the pre-season finale with a sprained left ankle. "I've been doing everything," said Conner, who played at Kentucky. "Strengthening exercises, pool workouts, everything I can just to be back as soon as possible."
■ Rookie first-round pick Nick Fairley won't be ready for the Lions' season opener Sunday against the Buccaneers. Fairley, the 13th overall pick out of Auburn, has not practiced since having surgery on his fractured left foot early last month.
■ Rex Grossman will be the Redskins' starting quarterback for the season opener against the Giants. Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday that Grossman won the job over John Beck.
■ The Cardinals signed 10-year NFL veteran running back Chester Taylor to a one-year contract. Also, former Kentucky defensive lineman Ricky Lumpkin was signed to Arizona's practice squad.
Dominicans win game, but lose Sosa
The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico won in the second round of the Olympic basketball qualifying tournament for the Americas on Monday, a day marred by a serious injury to Dominican Republic guard Edgar Sosa. The Dominican Republic beat Panama 92-68, but lost Sosa for at least six months after he broke his right leg with only 37.9 seconds remaining in the game. Sosa was injured when he fell among a pack of players under the basket. Both of his lower right leg bones appeared to have snapped, leaving his leg bent at a grotesque angle.
Sosa was averaging 8.8 points and had 13 points in Monday's game before going down.
"My hope was that Edgar would have NBA opportunities from this," Coach John Calipari said. "I wanted this to help his career."
Tennessee names new athletics director
Tennessee hired Alabama's Dave Hart as its vice chancellor and athletics director. Hart has worked since August 2008 as executive director of athletics assisting Alabama athletics director Mal Moore. Tennessee had been looking for a new athletics director since Mike Hamilton resigned in June in the wake of a lengthy NCAA investigation into the Volunteers' basketball and football programs that resulted in a self-imposed two-year probation for the athletics department.
Hart, 62, has also advised the Atlantic Coast Conference and was athletics director at Florida State for 13 years. He attended Lexington's Morton Middle School while his dad, Dave Sr., was an assistant football coach at Kentucky. The younger Hart graduated from Alabama and played basketball for C.M. Newton.
NASCAR waits out storms in Atlanta
The remnants from Tropical Storm Lee pushed through the Atlanta area with a fury, bringing heavy rain and fierce wind. NASCAR only hopes the miserable weather is gone by Tuesday. The Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was postponed Sunday night when the outer bands of the storm doused the track before the drivers could even start their engines.
Given the gloomy forecast, officials didn't even bother trying to hold the race on Monday. That turned out to be a good call. Most of Georgia was under tornado and flood watches, with thunderstorms expected through the evening.
The outlook for AdvoCare 500 was much better for 11 a.m. Tuesday, though there was still a 30 percent chance of additional showers.
The last word
Coach James Franklin has studied Vanderbilt's opening win, and he can see plenty of room for improvement. The Commodores downed Elon 45-14, coming up with three turnovers and two sacks. But they also gave up 219 of 323 yards total offense in the first half, so Franklin said Monday he didn't really consider the game a win:
"I don't think we're at a point where our guys are walking around patting themselves on the back, and if I see any signs of it I can guarantee you I'll deal with it real quick. We're 0-1. We've talked about this. We have 12 one-game seasons. That game is done ... We're 0-1, and we want to be undefeated at the end of this week."