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Emirates Team New Zealand advances to America’s Cup

Two powerhouses that have spent the summer trading verbal jabs are finally set to meet in the ultimate grudge match — the 34th America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay.

Emirates Team New Zealand zipped through a thick fog and past Italy’s Luna Rossa one last time Sunday, capturing the best-of-13 Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series 7-1 and advancing to the premier event against defending champion Oracle Team USA.

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The best-of-17 America’s Cup starts Sept 7.

“It’s really important. I mean, it’s really important,” said Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton, who also serves as a grinder even though he is 56. “The team understands that. When you give a speech to a yacht club here in San Francisco, the one thing my granddad always taught me is, you don’t start a speech with an apology — and I always do start with an apology.

“The only reason we’re in San Francisco is to take the Cup away.”

The Kiwis crushed the conditions and the competition in the challenger finals.

The closest margin was 1 minute, 28 seconds, and Luna Rossa’s lone victory came when Team New Zealand dropped out because the electronics system that controls the hydraulics of its catamaran failed.

The Kiwis sounded their horn as they crossed the finish line on San Francisco Bay and took a victory lap.

Horse racing

Game On Dude romps to victory in Pacific Classic at Del Mar

Game On Dude won the $1,001,750 Pacific Classic by 8½ lengths — a record margin for a race that has been run since 1991 at Del Mar, near San Diego.

The 6-year-old gelding, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, ran 1¼ miles in 2 minutes, 0.69 seconds and paid $5.40 to win as the favorite in a field of 12.

Martin Garcia rode Game On Dude, whose owners include former baseball manager Joe Torre. Game On Dude has won six races in a row.

Kettle Corn was second in the Grade I race.


Van Garderen completes sweep of 2 most important U.S. races

BMC rider Tejay van Garderen, who was born in Tacoma, won the USA Pro Challenge, finishing in the main pack in the final stage to complete a sweep of the two biggest races in the United States.

Van Garderen, 25, led the seven-stage race for the final four days. His winning time for 593 miles was 22 hours, 38 minutes, 48 seconds. He finished 1 minute, 30 seconds ahead of teammate Mathias Frank of Switzerland.

Cannondale rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the final stage, a 72.4-mile circuit race in Denver, in 2:27:15.

Van Garderen won the Tour of California in May.

Roche wins Vuelta stage

Team Saxo-Tinkoff cyclist Nicolas Roche of Ireland won the second stage of the Spanish Vuelta and Astana’s Vicenzo Nibali of Italy took the overall lead.

Garmin-Sharp rider Tyler Farrar of Wenatchee finished 122nd in the stage and is 135th overall.

Armstrong, newspaper settle

British newspaper The Sunday Times has reached a settlement with Lance Armstrong after suing the disgraced cyclist to recover damages from a libel settlement.

The paper paid Armstrong 300,000 pounds (now about $470,000) in 2006 to settle a case after printing claims he took performance-enhancing drugs.

Confirmation Armstrong, 41, led a massive doping program on his teams came last year from a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report, prompting a confession by the Texan, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. The Sunday Times announced it was suing Armstrong for around $1.6 million to reclaim the 2006 settlement payment, plus interest and legal costs.

Short-track speedskating

Celski leads World Cup team

JR Celski of Federal Way and Jessica Smith of Melvindale, Mich., finished first in their overall classifications at the U.S. Short Track Single Distance Championships in Kearns, Utah, earning spots on the 12-person Fall World Cup team.

Meanwhile, Olympic bronze medalist Simon Cho of the United States was suspended for two years by the International Skating Union after admitting he tampered with the skates of Canadian rival Olivier Jean in 2011.


Candace Parker scored with 5.7 seconds remaining in the second overtime, lifting the host Los Angeles Sparks to a hard-fought 90-88 WNBA victory over the Tulsa Shock.

In another WNBA game, Plenette Pierson scored 18 points to lead the New York Liberty to a 74-66 victory over the host Connecticut Sun.

Seattle Times news services