Second choice scratched
Bob Baffert is down to one horse for the Kentucky Derby after early 6-1 second choice Hoppertunity was scratched Thursday because of a sore left front foot.
The colt was to have been ridden Saturday by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.
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“Bad news travels fast,” Baffert said outside his barn, where onlookers gathered as word spread around Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. “The horse is OK. He’s just not 100 percent and it’s too close to the race, so I pulled the plug.”
With the scratch, Pablo Del Monte may join the field of 20 for Saturday’s race, and Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia bumped Wicked Strong to a 6-1 second choice.
The Kentucky Derby is the main event, but it’s possible the week’s dominant star turn could come in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks. Untapable is an overwhelming 4-5 favorite in the $1 million stakes for fillies, and the question around Churchill Downs hasn’t been if she’ll win but by how much.
Her trainer, Steve Asmussen, has been here before. In 2009, he watched his filly, Rachel Alexandra, burst onto the national scene with a 20-length victory in the Oaks. Two weeks later, she won the Preakness on her way to Horse of the Year honors.
Doubling down on the girl-power story line, Rosie Napravnik, the nation’s leading female jockey, will ride Untapable.
New Hall of Famer Walter Jones will announce his former team’s second-round draft pick at next week’s NFL draft. Jones spent his entire pro career with the Seahawks. Jones will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 1.
Vince Young, once one of the NFL’s rising stars before personal problems sidetracked the quarterback’s career, signed a one-year contract with the Cleveland Browns. Young hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2011.
The Denver Broncos exercised their 2015 option on pass-rusher Von Miller. He now has two years remaining on his rookie deal. He will make $3.25 million this season and $9.754 million in 2015 if he’s on the Broncos’ roster next March.
Quarterback Eli Manning will miss all of the New York Giants’ spring activities. General manager Jerry Reese said that Manning’s left ankle surgery will keep him “out of spring ball.”
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice pleaded not guilty to assault charges stemming from an incident with his then-girlfriend in an Atlantic City casino elevator. His lawyer said Rice is “ashamed” and “sorry” about his conduct.
Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez has been indicted in Fall River, Mass., in an alleged jail assault in February and an alleged threat at the jail last November. Hernandez is being held without bail at the jail after pleading not guilty to murder in the June 2013 death of Odin Lloyd, 27, of Boston.
The United States will host a special 16-nation edition of the Copa America in 2016, marking the soccer tournament’s centennial. The tournament will take place from June 3-26, overlapping the European Championship.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann intends to call a full complement of 30 players for his team’s pre-World Cup training camp at Stanford University.
Klinsmann plans to announce his preliminary roster May 12, a day before it must be given to FIFA and two days before the training camp opens. He must submit a final 23-man roster to FIFA by June 2.
He said some players who are coming back from injuries need to be evaluated.
The final of Europe’s No. 2 club tournament will be an all-Iberian matchup, just like in the Champions League. Benfica and Sevilla will meet in the Europa League final in Turin on May 14, 10 days before Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid play in the Champions League final in Lisbon.
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