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A nice nose job at Illinois Derby finish

Written By kom Namsat on Minggu, 20 April 2014 | 16.44

Perhaps Joel Quenneville had a premonition.

After his defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks lost Thursday's first game in their opening round playoff series to the Blues in triple overtime he likened it "to getting beat on a bob of the head in the Illinois Derby."

That's what happened to his horse Saturday at Hawthorne Race Course.

About 15 minutes after the Hawks suffered another overtime loss in Game 2 in St. Louis, Midnight Hawk, the horse the coach co-owns, was beaten by a bob of the head in the Illinois Derby.

"With a head bob you never know if you're going to get it," said Dynamic Impact's jockey, Miguel Mena, after his mount thrust his nose in front at the wire to win the Grade III $500,000 race by a nose.

Falcons line coach Mike Tice, who owns Midnight Hawk in partnership with Quenneville, Hawks assistant Mike Kitchen, high-profile thoroughbred owner Mike Pegram and brand-name Kentucky breeder John Sikura, was philosophical.

"That's why they call it horse racing," said the former head coach of the Vikings and offensive coordinator of the Bears. "Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. When they hit the wire I was afraid we lost."

Although Midnight Hawk stumbled leaving the starting gate, jockey Martin Garcia offered no excuses for the defeat of the overwhelming favorite at odds of 2-5.

"He tried to break sharply," Garcia said. "The ground was kind of loose. He recovered (from the stumble) right away and he hit the lead."

Dynamic Impact was close behind and they dueled for the remainder of the 11/8-mile race.

"I was hoping someone would chase the favorite instead of me but no one did so it was up to us," Mena said. "I was able to put some pressure on him."

With a quarter mile to run, Mena took Dynamic Impact from inside Midnight Hawk to outside the front-runner. He believes that was the key to victory.

"That's when the running started for him," Mena said. "From then on I got excited. I knew we were going to be dangerous."

At the stretch call Midnight Hawk led by 11/2 lengths but Dynamic Impact was on the move and in the late stretch he moved alongside. Still, it wasn't until they arrived at the finish line that the 9-1 fourth choice in the eight-horse race bobbed his nose out front.

Going the distance in 1:49.07, Dynamic Impact paid $21.20, $6 and $4.80 in winning for the second time in his six-race career. His other conquest came in his preceding outing, a $60,000 maiden race, at Oaklawn Park.

"He's finally starting to come around," Norman Casse, son and top assistant of trainer Mark Casse, said of the son of 2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow. "There's a reason we came here. This could be a serious horse down the road."

Finish lines: For the first time in Midnight Hawk's six-race career Mike Smith wasn't his jockey. Smith was in West Virginia to ride Game on Dude for trainer Bob Baffert in Saturday night's $1.5 million Charles Town Classic. Garcia is Baffert's morning exercise rider on Midnight Hawk and is a successful jockey in Southern California. … Hawthorne's premier race for fillies and mares, the Grade III $150,000 Sixty Sails Handicap, also was on Saturday's card and Flashy American was a 3/4-length winner over Sonja's Angel. … There were two major races restricted to Illinois-breds, both 6 furlong sprints: C'Mon Feet won the $85,049 Third Chance Handicap for fillies and mares in a three-horse photo-finish with Missjeanlouise and My Option and 9-year-old River Bear captured the $102,725 Robert S. Molaro Handicap for older males, coming from far back to defeat runner-up Four Left Feet by 1/2 a length.


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Fabricio Werdum overwhelms Travis Browne in Fox UCF Saturday bouts

UFC women's bantamweight fighter Miesha Tate talks about her first UFC victory over Liz Carmouche.

UFC President Dana White promised its most exciting fight card in company history at the Amway Center Saturday night and delivered.

The appetizers were equally as satisfying as the main course event, a bruising five-round bout that ended with Brazilian heavyweight Fabricio Werdum as the victor and left Travis Browne with a broken hand and a possible broken rib.

Werdum won by unanimous judges' decision. He will face heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in Mexico at a date to be announced.

"This was the best fight of my career. I trained so hard for this one. I worked hard on every part of my game. Boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, everything. I knew how good Travis was and I wanted to show everyone that I'm ready for the title shot," Werdum said.

White announced a sellout crowd of 17,000 fans and a $1.65 million box gate — the biggest Fox gate ever.

"I'll come back next weekend," White said. "I'm sold [on Orlando]."

Although the main event didn't start until around 9:40 p.m., that didn't stop fans from showing up at least six hours earlier to watch a strong pre-show card. All three bouts featured fighters with perfect records — and main card was highlighted by Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone.

Cerrone, one of the UFC's most popular fighters, forced Edson Barboza into the night's only tapout with a rear-naked choke 3 minutes, 15 seconds into the first round of the main card lightweight bout. He also earned his 11th finish as a UFC/WEC lightweight to tie Nate Diaz for the most finishes in the combined history of the lightweight division.

Popular women's bantamweight fighter Miesha Tate took her first UFC win since joining the organization last year with a 29-28 unanimous decision against Liz Carmouche.

"It was a very tough fight," Tate said. "We both have such a strong fighting spirit and I knew neither one of us would quit. It took me a little bit to get going and then finally, in the third round, I really got my energy up and was able to do what I do best. It feels great to finally get this first UFC win."

It was an equally big night for the four Florida fighters on the 26-man card, with all winning their respective bouts. Welterweight Thiago Alves, who returned from a two-year absence, and lightweight veteran Jorge Masvidal won their respective fights during the prelim rounds broadcast on Fox Sports 1.

South Florida fighters and American Top Team teammates Mirsad Bektic and Yoel Romero represented the youngest and oldest fighters on the card at ages 23 and 36.

Bektic made history in his UFC debut as the first fighter of Bosnian descent to win a bout in the organization's history. He survived three physical rounds — one during which he sustained two illegal knee kicks to the head that left him dazed — against Chas Skelly during a preshow featherweight fight. Bektic kept a spotless professional record at 8-0 and handed Skelly (11-1) his first loss.

"Honestly I was hurt, but I was so caught up in the moment, that I just thought … [I've] just got [to]hit hard," Bektic said. "I was like man, I gotta defend myself and protect myself and get back in the game."

Romero pulled off the upset of the night when the 36-year-old snapped the five-fight win streak of middleweight Brad Tavares, who is 10 years his junior. He won by a 30-27 unanimous decision.

Romero improved his record 8-1, while Tavares dropped to 12-3.

sjowens@tribune.com


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Wolves win AHL's Midwest Division

It took every game of the regular season, but the Wolves finally overtook the Grand Rapids Griffins to win the AHL's Midwest Division title for the second time in three years.

They completed the improbable comeback with a 6-0 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals in the regular-season finale Saturday night at Allstate Arena.

The triumph , coupled with the Griffins' shootout loss to Lake Erie, clinched the Wolves' fifth division title since joining the AHL in 2001. Grand Rapids, which led the Wolves by 13 points on Jan. 18, spent the previous 167 days in first place before faltering at the finish.

"We knew we had the right team in the dressing room to do it," said rookie Ty Rattie, who sparked the victory with two second-period goals. "As long as you have faith in the team, and you have confidence in the team, and you play the way we're supposed to, I think we can beat any team in the league."

The Wolves learned during the second intermission the Griffins had lost and that the division was theirs for the taking. Thanks to modern technology and social media, coach John Anderson didn't have to bother to tell them.

"These guys, they have Twitter and whatever the heck else they have, and I heard a roar in the room and I knew the guys knew," Anderson said.

Rattie continued his remarkable season, becoming the first rookie to lead the Wolves in points for a season. He finished with 31 goals to became the first Wolves rookie to hit the 30-goal mark since Brett Sterling scored 55 in 2006-07.

Goalie Jake Allen stopped 20 shots to earn his franchise-record seventh shutout of the season. He also became just the second goalie in AHL history to lead the league in wins (33), goals-against average (2.03), and save percentage (.928).

"I'll probably take the next couple of days and figure out what my stats were," said Allen, who also led the league in shutouts and minutes played. "I honestly really don't pay attention to them during the year."


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Photos: Rangers 6, White Sox 3

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16.44 | 0 komentar | Read More

Adam Eaton hurt in White Sox's 6-3 loss to Rangers

White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton on his strained hamstring.

11:15 p.m. CDT, April 19, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas — White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton is expected to sit out at least a few days with a lower left hamstring strain that caused him to make an early exit from Saturday night's 6-3 loss to the Rangers at Globe Life Park.

The absence of the Sox's leadoff hitter comes at an inopportune time as the offense has lost some luster from a hot start. The Sox scored just four runs in their last three games in stumbling to a four-game losing streak against the Red Sox and Rangers.

"He's an important part, so you don't want to lose him," manager Robin Ventura said. "We've had enough injury stuff around here to last us a year. Just be careful with him, and we're not going to run him back out there for a few days."

Eaton also left Friday's game early after injuring himself while rounding first base. He said his ankle and hamstring bothered him. He returned to start Saturday but said he could feel a tweak above the back of his knee. He left in the fifth inning after pulling up while running to first base.

"I knew it was going to be kind of a struggle, but of course I wanted to be like a hockey player and battle through it," Eaton said. "… The third at-bat, I tried to get on it out of the box, and it felt like someone was strumming the bottom of the hamstring."

Quintana has rough fourth: Sox left-hander Jose Quintana classified his fourth outing of the season as "OK."

He lasted just five innings after allowing a season-high five runs on nine hits.

The fourth inning was Quintana's biggest problem, starting with Prince Fielder's home run to right field, his second of the season. Josh Wilson added a two-run single and Shin-Soo Choo had an RBI double for a 5-1 Rangers lead.

"I want to do better in the game for the team, the situation," Quintana said. "The fourth inning changed the game for me on one pitch. But now I think about the next start."

The Sox cut into the lead on Dayan Viciedo's bases-loaded, two-run single in the eighth, but they couldn't do more as shortstop Alexei Ramirez grounded into his second double play of the night. The Sox shortstop's 17-game hitting streak to open the season was halted.

Extra innings: Right-hander Tommy Hanson, 27, joined Triple-A Charlotte on Saturday night after a stint in extended spring training. … The Sox outrighted left-hander reliever Donnie Veal to Charlotte on Saturday, three days after they designated him for assignment.


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Wolves defeat IceHogs 5-3

Written By kom Namsat on Sabtu, 19 April 2014 | 16.45

Chicago Wolves

Chicago Wolves (Tribune illustration / April 13, 2013)

Sports Xchange

9:43 p.m. CDT, April 18, 2014

Both teams came out firing Friday night as the Chicago Wolves claimed a hard-fought 5-3 victory over the Rockford IceHogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

With Rockford fighting for its playoff life, Chicago tried to take over the top spot in the Midwest Division.

The Wolves (44-21-5-5) opened the scoring 1:07 into the game as left winger Sergey Andronov faked out IceHogs goaltender Jason LaBarbera and beat him with a forehand shot.

Rockford (34-32-5-4) was the team to take a lead into the first intermission, however, as they scored twice late in the period -- at 14:09 and 15:27 -- to grab a 2-1 advantage.

Center David Gilbert made it 1-1 as he rung a shot off the far post and in. Right winger Ryan Hartman gave the IceHogs the 2-1 lead with a top-shelf shot from just in front of the net over the shoulder of Wolves goaltender Matt Climie.

Chicago again opened scoring the second period as right winger Michael Davies was sprung on a breakaway to tie it at 2 at 5:28.

IceHogs center Phillip Danault briefly regained the lead for the home team at 9:42 as he poked the puck in around a sprawled Climie, but Wolves right winger Tyler Shattock's goal at 15:57 evened the score again at 3, which is the score stayed entering the third period.

The Wolves went up 4-3 in the final frame as forward Nathan Longpre broke through the defense for a partial breakaway and game-winning goal at 10:12. Center Alexandre Bolduc sealed the game with an empty-net power-play goal at 19:42.

Climie (11-10-2) earned the win with 32 saves while LaBarbera (15-16-3) stopped 25 shots is the loss.


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Photos: Rangers 12, White Sox 0

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Felipe Paulino rocked again in 12-0 White Sox loss to Rangers

White Sox pitcher Felipe Paulino plans to move forward after rough outing vs. Rangers Friday.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Felipe Paulino needed to prove himself to the White Sox after a poor start to the season.

Instead, Paulino pitched himself out of the game Friday night against the Rangers after allowing 10 earned runs in 32/3 innings in a 12-0 loss at Globe Life Park. Whether the right-hander also pitched himself out of the Sox rotation remains to be seen.

Paulino gave up 13 hits, including two home runs, walked three, hit a batter and threw two wild pitches before he was pulled in favor of right-hander Zach Putnam.

Manager Robin Ventura said afterward that the Sox would talk later Friday about whether Paulino will make another start. Ventura said he doesn't think Paulino working out his issues in the bullpen is an option.

"It's unfortunate, but we'll see where we're going after this," Ventura said. "There are other options, so we'll talk tonight and figure something out."

Paulino signed a one-year, $1.75 million free-agent contract with the Sox in December. He had missed most of the last two seasons with elbow and shoulder injuries but was deemed healthy to start spring training. The Sox treated his signing as a reclamation project, but it unraveled quickly as he allowed 12 earned runs over his last two starts before Friday.

"I'm trying to understand what's going on with me right now," Paulino said. "I'm really, really in a bad stretch right now."

As if to highlight Paulino's troubles, 23-year-old Rangers left-hander Martin Perez pitched a shutout, allowing three hits in his second career complete game.

"(Perez) was sharp, low in the zone," Ventura said. "Once it gets out of hand, it changes the way the at-bats go, but he's sharp. He knows how to take a little off when he has to and then add. So he was tough."

Paulino got into trouble early, allowing two runs in the first.

The Rangers added seven more in the third, which started with Paulino hitting Prince Fielder with a pitch. Leonys Martin hit a two-run triple, and Robinson Chirinos followed with a two-run homer to left field. Alex Rios had a two-run single, and Fielder, hitting for the second time in the inning, added an RBI double to push the Rangers ahead 9-0.

Paulino returned to pitch the fourth, giving up a home run to Martin before exiting to hasty pats on the back from Ventura and teammates.

"Location is probably the biggest thing, not being able to throw a strike when you know you're going to throw a strike and put it where you really want to," Ventura said. "This is a league that punishes you if you don't do that."

Putnam made his Sox debut after being called up from Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday to try to provide relief to some downtrodden Sox relievers. He and left-hander Scott Downs each gave up a run.

Center fielder Adam Eaton left in the fifth with a left leg injury, suffered while rounding first on a single to lead off the game, after Ventura said he looked awkward playing on it. Ventura said he believes Eaton will return Saturday.

ckane@tribune.com

Twitter @ChiTribKane


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Anthony Rizzo continues fast start with 2 hits

Cubs manager Rick Renteria says he wants his hitters to relax at the plate Friday against the Reds after being blanked in both ends of a double-header against the Yankees.

Anthony Rizzo was one of the few bright spots for the Cubs on Friday.

He went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to five games and also made back-to-back sparkling defensive plays at first base in the seventh inning.

"He did a really nice job again. He continues to move forward in a consistent manner," manager Rick Renteria said. "They are all striving to get better, but he is certainly showing that he's having a nice start."

He's 20-for-58 in 15 games for a .345 average.

Fast and furious: The Reds' combination of speed and power has befuddled the Cubs.

The visitors stole five bases and seemed to affect the concentration of the Cubs defense, which committed two errors.

"Certainly with Billy (Hamilton) leading off … we've seen how Billy sets the table," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "How he has affected the pitchers and the defense … having to hold him close … rushing balls to the plate, getting good pitches and getting some of our hitters better pitches to hit. Not necessarily just fast balls, but more mistakes within the strike zone."

Celebrating Wrigley: The Reds dominated the Cubs last season, winning 14 of 19. Price says his team tries to adjust to the characteristics of Wrigley Field.

"It's a slower grass. It's a higher grass. It's one of the few fields in the National League where you really have to drive the ball through the infield," he said. "A lot of places, the ball just skips through. And then, of course, how the wind plays.

"The one thing I really enjoy about this place is its history, and there is no other place like it. I enjoy playing here for that reason alone."

On the mend: Hard-throwing Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman, who was hit in the face with a line drive in a spring training game March 19, could return to action soon, according to Price.

Chapman suffered a fracture above his left eye when a ball off the bat of the Royals' catcher Salvador Perez struck him.

"Could be soon," Price said. "He pitched back-to-back days for (Triple-A) Louisville. He felt good, his velocity is climbing back up, which is really good to see. His breaking ball has been great. So we are looking … maybe as early as this trip through Chicago."

Extra innings: Emilio Bonifacio snapped an 0-for-13 skid with a single in the first. … Starlin Castro has hit safely in all seven home games. … The Cubs have scored a total of four runs in Jeff Samardzija's four starts this season.


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Jose Abreu's not sweating his little slump

ARLINGTON, Texas — Jose Abreu will have many firsts in his rookie season with the White Sox. The latest to pop up before the club began its seven-game trip to Texas and Detroit was the Cuban first baseman's first mini-slump.

Abreu was back in the Sox lineup Friday after manager Robin Ventura said he needed a breather Thursday as he adjusts to major league play and life. Abreu pinch hit in Thursday night's 3-1 loss to the Red Sox, but he grounded out to end the game and entered Friday 1-for-21 in the Sox's last six games.

Abreu wasn't too worried Friday when discussing any changes he has seen from pitchers since his hot start to the season.

"I don't think they are pitching different, you know, in a different way," Abreu said through a team interpreter. "I just have to become a little more disciplined. I have been chasing pitches a little bit out of the zone, but they are not pitching me any different.

"It's just a matter of adjustments. I started a little bit up and down, but that's part of the game. You have to make adjustments, and that's what this is."

Abreu also was nonchalant about the increased attention he received after he broke out for four home runs and eight RBIs in three games April 8 to 10.

"It has been very normal," Abreu said. "I don't feel like it has been too much. I feel like it's something that I can handle. Right now we are more concentrated on trying to provide collectively for the team, and in doing that then I can go ahead and do my part and make adjustments on my part."

Slow return: Ventura didn't paint a promising picture about right-handed reliever Nate Jones' recovery from a lower back injury. Ventura said Jones hasn't looked good walking around the clubhouse and said the injury — originally thought to be in his left gluteus muscle and hip — is "a little more extensive" than originally thought.

Ventura indicated it will be a while before Jones can return. That's not great news for a Sox bullpen that entered Friday with six losses, a 6.48 ERA and 40 walks, all the worst in baseball.

"It is big," Ventura said of losing Jones. "You lose a guy being able to throw the way he does and the experience that he now has, that's a big guy, especially with people talking about him having closer stuff."

Beckham progressing: Second baseman Gordon Beckham's recovery from a strained left oblique muscle is more promising.

He has played in Double-A Birmingham's last six games. He went 1-for-5 with two RBIs Thursday and 0-for-4 Friday. Ventura said they want Beckham to stretch out his appearances before a return.

Extra innings: Left-handed hitting third baseman Conor Gillaspie received his second straight day off against a left-handed starter. Marcus Semien filled in at third and Leury Garcia played second base. "It's a long year," Gillaspie said. "It's always nice to have a couple of days. Obviously I would like to play, but you have to do what's best for the team." … The Rangers called up left-handed reliever Aaron Poreda, a Sox first-round draft pick in 2007, on Friday. Poreda made 10 appearances with the Sox in 2009 before being dealt to the Padres in the Jake Peavy trade. He hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009.


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