John Clay

You, yes you, could buy Affirmed’s Triple Crown trophy

Justify looking good day after winning Triple Crown

One day after winning the Belmont Stakes to complete the Triple Crown, Justify looked bright and alert. Trainer Bob Baffert said the colt would return to Louisville, but there are no set plans for his next possible race.
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One day after winning the Belmont Stakes to complete the Triple Crown, Justify looked bright and alert. Trainer Bob Baffert said the colt would return to Louisville, but there are no set plans for his next possible race.

Random notes:

As of Tuesday, Affirmed’s 1978 Triple Crown Trophy was still up for sale on eBay for $500,000.

The Cartier trophy, awarded to trainer Laz Barrera, is signed by jockey Steve Cauthen. Affirmed defeated Alydar in the Kentucky Derby, Belmont and Preakness to become the 11th winner of horse racing’s Triple Crown. In 2015, after 37 years, American Pharoah became the first horse since Affirmed to accomplish the feat. Justify won the Triple Crown last year.

As a point of reference, a rookie card for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently sold for $400,000.

If I’m Kentucky, I’d rather be a No. 2 seed in Louisville than a No. 1 seed in Kansas City. If I’m a No. 1 seed of another school, I would not be happy about having to play Kentucky as a No. 2 seed in Louisville.

Here’s my stamp of approval on Mark Stoops’ promotion of Brad White from outside linebackers coach to defensive coordinator. Continuity helps. And without the promotion, there’s a good chance another school would have tried to poach the former NFL assistant.

Here’s another idea stamp of approval: UK women’s basketball choosing last Sunday to honor seniors Maci Morris, Taylor Murray, LaShae Halsel and Paige Poffenberger even though the Cats’ final regular season home game is Thursday night against Texas A&M. Sunday games normally draw bigger crowds.

It probably wasn’t smart for SEC basketball official Anthony Jordan to put a picture on social media of himself holding up an LSU T-shirt he found in Europe. But hey, officials are people, too. It happened five years ago. It had nothing to do with Jordan’s foul call on Tennessee’s Grant Williams with 0.6 seconds left in overtime that allowed LSU’s Javonte Smart to shoot the free throws that gave the Tigers an 82-80 win last Saturday.

That reminded me of a line former Auburn coach Sonny Smith used during the 1986 NCAA Tournament after the Tigers lost 84-76 to eventual champion Louisville in the West Regional finals in Houston. In the hallway of The Summit, then former Houston Rockets coach Del Harris told Smith he didn’t think Auburn got many calls.

“We’re used to it. One of the officials in our league has a Kentucky letter jacket,” joked Smith.

Last weekend: Without Reid Travis, Kentucky beat Auburn. Without Tremont Waters, LSU beat Tennessee. Without Zion Williamson, Duke beat Syracuse. Without Nick Ward, Michigan State beat Michigan.

I’m convinced the definition of infinity has something to do with the number of NFL mock drafts between now and April 25.

Kansas’ Big 12 title streak isn’t over quite yet. After being blown out 91-62 at Texas Tech on Saturday, the Jayhawks bounced back to beat conference leader Kansas State 64-49 on Monday.

Classy move by Los Angeles Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, who during Monday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, stopped the game with :09 left and took the public address microphone to pay tribute to retiring Mavs’ star Dirk Nowitzki.

ESPN’s list of the NBA’s Top 25 players under 25 included Karl Anthony-Towns at No. 4, DeAaron Fox at No. 9, Devin Booker at No. 10 and Jamal Murray tied for No. 17. Donovan Mitchell came in at No. 7.

Heading into Wednesday night’s game at Boston College, Louisville has lost four of its last five and five of its last seven. Plus, the Cardinals were outscored 37-15 in the second half of Saturday’s loss to Virginia. Translation: At 18-10 overall and 9-6 in the ACC the Cards could use a win at BC.

After taking his Michigan football team to Italy in 2017 and France in 2018, Jim Harbaugh is taking the Wolverines to South Africa this year. Now if only Harbaugh could take Michigan to Ohio State and get a win.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank spent $180 million on a 240-foot yacht. I guess NFL owners could spend their money on worse things.

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John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.