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Horse racing

Nasal strip could clog California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid

California Chrome might abandon his Triple Crown bid if New York officials do not allow the colt to wear a nasal strip in the Belmont Stakes.

Trainer Art Sherman made no threats about the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner passing on a chance to become horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, but he said it was a possibility.

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“I’d have to leave it up to the owners,” he said Sunday. “I know they’ll be upset.”

The New York State Gaming Commission and the New York Racing Association stewards have not received a request to use nasal strips in the Belmont on June 7.

“If a request to use nasal strips is made, the decision on whether to permit them or not will be fully evaluated and determined by the stewards,” a Gaming Commission spokesman said.

California Chrome has worn a nasal strip during his current six-race winning streak after co-owner Perry Martin wanted to try it. Sherman is based in California and said he wasn’t aware that using one in New York might be a problem. He said he would talk to New York racing officials and the horse’s owners.

Some horses, like humans, wear nasal strips to assist breathing. The colt wears the strip only during races, not training.


Djokovic, Serena triumph

Novak Djokovic of Serbia extended his recent dominance over Rafael Nadal of Spain by rallying for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory to win the Italian Open for the third time.

Having also been beaten in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, it marked the first time in a decade that the top-ranked Nadal has lost more than two matches on clay in the same year.

In the women’s final, American Serena Williams kept the crowd from being a factor in a 6-3, 6-0 victory over 10th-seeded home favorite Sara Errani. It was Williams’ third Rome title.

Errani was bidding to become the first Italian to win the event in nearly 30 years but No. 1 Williams quickly took control in both sets and Errani appeared slowed by a left thigh problem.


Saints sign top pick

The New Orleans Saints signed first-round pick Brandin Cooks. The wide receiver from Oregon State was the 20th selection in the draft.

Authorities said Tyrone Moore Jr., 21, the brother of Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, was shot and killed outside a Charleston, S.C., nightclub Saturday. Investigators say no arrests have been made.


Fire downs Sporting K.C.

Mike Magee converted two penalty kicks in a 10-minute span of the first half and the host Chicago Fire beat Sporting Kansas City 2-1.

The victory was the second straight for the Fire (2-2-6), while Sporting K.C. (5-4-2) lost for the second time in four days.

College basketball

Top coach dies at 69

Don Meyer, one of the winningest coaches in college basketball who came back from a near-fatal car accident and liver cancer before closing out his career, died Sunday in Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 69. Meyer compiled a 923-324 record during his 38-year career, most of which he spent at Lipscomb in Tennessee and Northern State in South Dakota.

Diana Taurasi scored 23 points, including the go-ahead runner in the final minute, and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Los Angeles Sparks 74-69 to spoil the Sparks’ home opener.

Also, Maya Moore scored 33 points and Seimone Augustus tied it with 2.3 seconds left in regulation in the host Minnesota Lynx’s 90-87 overtime win over the Connecticut Sun.


Justin Gatlin (9.92) cruised to victory in the 100 meters at the Shanghai Diamond League meet, while Chinese hurdler Xie Wenjun (13.23) got the loudest cheers by upsetting world champion David Oliver in the 110-meter hurdles. Gatlin’s time was the fastest of the year.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, a two-time winner of the Australian Open, will miss the French Open because of a left foot injury.

• Defenseman Ryan Ellis scored in overtime to give Canada a 3-2 comeback victory over defending champion Sweden at the ice hockey world championship in Minsk, Belarus, while two goals from Tyler Johnson lifted the United States over Finland 3-1. Also, star right wing Alex Ovechkin suffered a right leg injury during Russia’s 3-0 win over Germany and was taken to a hospital, while the Czech Republic overcame Norway 1-0.

Bradley Wiggins of Britain secured his first race victory in eight months with a pack finish in the eighth and final stage of the Tour of California won by compatriot Mark Cavendish in Thousand Oaks.

Pieter Weening of the Netherlands edged Davide Malacarne to win the ninth stage of the Giro d’Italia in Sestola, while Cadel Evans retained the overall lead.

• Maccabi Tel Aviv dominated in overtime to beat Real Madrid 98-86 in the Euroleague basketball final in Milan.

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