Flat Out heads to Metropolitan
Flat Out will attempt to continue his reign over Belmont Park when he faces eight competitors, including seven graded stakes winners, on Monday in the Grade I, $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap for 3-year-olds and up. The Met Mile will be one of four graded stakes on the Memorial Day card, which also includes the Grade I Ogden Phipps Handicap, Grade I Acorn and Grade II Sands Point.
Flat Out already has a win in the Grade II Suburban Handicap and a pair of triumphs in the Grade I, Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park to his credit. After Flat Out finished fourth in the Grade I Donn Handicap in February at Gulfstream Park and fifth in the Grade II New Orleans Handicap in March at the Fair Grounds to begin his 2013 campaign, trainer Bill Mott entered the 7-year-old in the Grade III, one-mile Westchester, Belmont's prep race for the Met Mile on April 27.
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Always within 2½ lengths of the leader, Flat Out moved up to challenge Cross Traffic nearing the quarter pole and used nearly every step of Belmont's 1,097-foot stretch to wear down the pacesetter and prevail by a head.
"We ran him at a flat mile last time, and he ran very well," Mott said. "I had always wanted to try him at that distance. He's doing well and the Met Mile is a very important race, and he's a horse who won't be compromised by distance, which bodes pretty well for him."
Flat Out was made the 5-2 favorite with Junior Alvarado aboard.
Cross Traffic, the only horse in the field who hasn't won a graded stakes, will have the chance to avenge his Westchester defeat.
Green Bay coach mostly cleared
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay men's basketball coach Brian Wardle will keep his job after an independent review largely cleared him of allegations that he mistreated his players, university officials said Friday.
At least one player had accused Wardle of using vulgar and obscene language, and a second player told officials Wardle forced him to work out until the player lost control of his bowels and then ridiculed him. There were no allegations of physical abuse.
An independent review led by attorney Joseph Nicks, a former local prosecutor, concluded that "a good deal of what was alleged did not occur as it was stated," Chancellor Tom Harden said.
Wardle will not be fired, but the university will place a disciplinary letter in his personnel file and assign him an adviser to help him improve how he motivates players. The school also said Wardle's contract, which expires in 2017, would not be extended during 2013.
Harden said the coach acknowledged using unacceptable language in criticism and comments to players.
Three Americans make French Open
Three U.S. men have qualified for the French Open for the first time in more than 30 years.
Jack Sock of Lincoln, Neb., Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., and Steve Johnson of Orange, Calif., all won their qualifying matches Friday to earn berths in the main draw at Roland Garros.
A trio of American men hadn't done that together in Paris since 1982. That year, all three lost in the first round of the main tournament.
Kudla tweeted: "Americans on clay. We are not that bad!"
Sock's first opponent will be Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain, Kudla meets Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic and Johnson plays Albert Montanes of Spain.
Sock and Kudla are both 20; Johnson is 23. None has played in the French Open before.
They'll be joined in the main draw by Rhyne Williams, a 22-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn., who lost in qualifying but got into the tournament as a "lucky loser" — a player who sneaks into the field via someone's withdrawal.
In the first round, Williams will face Michal Przysiezny of Poland, who just so happens to be the player who beat Williams in qualifying.
Vandy, LSU advance in SEC Tourney
Tyler Beede tossed 71⁄3 innings of two-hit baseball with eight strikeouts Friday to lead top-seeded Vanderbilt to a 3-0 victory against ninth-seeded Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Vanderbilt (50-8) faces fifth-seeded Mississippi State on Saturday.
Six Vanderbilt players had two or more hits in the game, including a 3-for-5 performance from Tony Kemp at the top of the lineup.
Second-seeded LSU rallied from a one-run deficit with two outs in the top of the ninth inning Friday to defeat seventh-seeded Alabama, 3-2, and advance to the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals.
LSU (50-9) faces third-seeded Arkansas on Saturday.
Nate Fury (2-1) picked up the win for LSU, pitching an inning in relief of starter Ryan Eades and striking out two.
Penguins pummel Senators to advance
Eight playoff wins down, eight to go for Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
James Neal had a hat trick and the Penguins finished off the lifeless Ottawa Senators 6-2 on Friday night in Game 5 of the Eastern conference semifinals to take the best-of-seven series 4-1.
Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Brenden Morrow also scored, and Tomas Vokoun made 29 saves as top-seeded Pittsburgh strolled to the next round.
The Penguins will face Boston or the New York Rangers in the conference finals.
Minor league baseball
Legends shut out by Suns again
Hagerstown starter Pedro Encarnacion and two relievers teamed up to shut out the Lexington Legends 6-0 on three hits Friday night. It was the second straight shutout win for the Suns, who blanked the Legends 7-0 Thursday night.
The Suns took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a triple by Tony Renda and a ground out by Wes Schill. The rest of the scoring came in the bottom of the fifth.
Legends starter Aroni Nina (1-3) earned the loss.
FIFA asks to beef up racism ban
FIFA's new anti-racism task force will ask soccer's governing body next week to approve a mandatory five-match minimum ban for any player found guilty of racist abuse, a person with knowledge of the situation said Friday.
The anti-racism task force is to report to the FIFA Congress in Mauritius next week, aiming for FIFA to introduce the mandatory ban in all 209 member nations.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the sanctions ahead of the congress.
Jeffrey Webb, who heads the FIFA task force, would not confirm the exact minimum sanction being recommended. FIFA's disciplinary code currently has a five-game minimum ban for racist abuse, but it only applies for players in international competitions.
The last word
NASCAR driver Ryan Newman doesn't believe a championship makes you a leader. When asked if he looked up to defending Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, Newman joked:
"Only when I'm standing next to him."