America’s Cup likely to be contested in Spain

The most radical, contentious America’s Cup in 158 years is almost certainly going to be sailed in Valencia, Spain.

At about the same time that two cranes were carefully raising an enormous wing sail onto the American challenger’s monster trimaran in San Diego, two-time defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland confirmed to a New York judge Tuesday that it is preparing to hold the best-of-3 showdown against BMW Oracle Racing in Valencia starting Feb. 8.

There still are issues to resolve before billionaires Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp. and Ernesto Bertarelli of Alinghi can ship their multihulls to Valencia for the nautical grudge match in the fastest, most extreme boats ever built for sailing’s marquee regatta.

The biggest is Alinghi’s appeal of the judge’s rejection of its original choice of a Persian Gulf port. Also, the judge needs to approve an expert panel’s report, including whether it’s safe to sail the carbon-fiber giants in Valencia in February.

If those matters are resolved, then a twisting two-year court case will have steered the America’s Cup back to Valencia, where it left off in July 2007.


Top German goalie dies after getting hit by train

A goalkeeper expected to play for Germany at the World Cup died after being hit by a train in what police suspect is a suicide. He was 32.

Robert Enke played for the German club Hannover. Team president Martin Kind confirmed his death, and police later released a statement saying a man had been fatally struck by a train. The statement said the “first police indications are that it was a suicide.”

The train crossing was not far from Enke’s home in Hannover. His car was found near the scene, unlocked, with his wallet on the seat. The two train drivers reported seeing a man on the tracks and applied the brakes while traveling at about 100 mph but could not stop in time, police said.

Enke and his wife lost their 2-year-old daughter to a heart ailment in 2006. The couple adopted a girl in May, who is now 8 months old.

Also: U.S. national team forward Charlie Davies was released from a Washington, D.C., hospital nearly a month after a car accident.

The 23-year-old Davis underwent several surgeries after the Oct. 13 car crash, which killed a 22-year-old passenger. He is expected to need six to 12 months to recover.

Cristiano Ronaldo will miss both legs of Portugal’s World Cup playoff against Bosnia-Herzegovina after team doctors ruled that his ankle is still injured. Portugal plays Bosnia-Herzegovina in Lisbon on Saturday and at Zenica on Nov. 18, with a place in next year’s World Cup tournament in South Africa on the line.


Middleweight champ Pavlik to fight Espino

Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik will defend his titles next month against Miguel Espino, in Pavlik’s first fight since February.

Trainer Jack Loew said that Pavlik (35-1, 31 knockouts) signed the contract Monday for a Dec. 19 bout at the Beeghly Center at Youngstown State University, in Pavlik’s Ohio hometown.

Also: Former Horse of the Year Azeri brought $2.25 million in the opening session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale in Lexington, Ky.

Shunsuke Yoshia purchased the 11-year-old mare in foal to Distorted Humor on behalf of his family’s Japan-based Northern Farm.

All horses that ran in the Breeders’ Cup tested negative for illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

The California Horse Racing Board said testing was completed Tuesday, and all the samples came back clear from the UC Davis laboratory.

Chicago Blackhawks center Dave Bolland had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back and will be out for three to four months.

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