Zenyatta remains undefeated
with tight win in Hirsch Stakes
Zenyatta improved to 18-0 with the second-closest finish of her career, winning the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes by a neck at Del Mar on Saturday.
The 6-year-old mare defeated Rinterval in a two-horse duel to the finish line in the 1 1/16-mile race at the seaside track north of San Diego. Under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, she covered the distance in 1:45.03.
Zenyatta won the Hirsch for the third consecutive year over the synthetic Polytrack surface. She was first by a head last year in the tightest finish of her career, and won by a length in 2008.
It was her fourth Grade 1 win of the year, to go with victories in the Vanity Handicap, the Apple Blossom on dirt at Arkansas’ Oaklawn Park and the Santa Margarita Handicap.
Also: The Graveyard of Champions claimed another victim as Blame, ridden by Garrett Gomez, rallied in the stretch and overtook heavily favored Quality Road in the final strides to win the $750,000 Whitney Handicap by a head at Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Four-year-old Quality Road, dominant in each of three victories this year and ranked as the nation’s leading older male going into the Whitney, took the lead in the run to the first turn and had a clear advantage at the furlong pole before being confronted by the stretch-running Blame.
Blame, the second choice in wagering behind the 1-2 Quality Road, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.88 and returned $8.80, $3 and $2.20. Quality Road, ridden by John Velazquez, returned $2.40 and $2.10.
Favorite Concord Point led wire-to-wire and won the $750,000 West Virginia Derby by a length in Chester, W.Va. The Bob Baffert-trained Concord Point ran 1 1/8 mile on the dirt track in 1:51.1.
Cejka fires 67 to take lead
in Turning Stone PGA tourney
Las Vegas resident Alex Cejka shot 5-under-par 67 for a 15-under 201 total and a two-stroke lead through three rounds at the PGA Tour’s Turning Stone Resort Championship in Verona, N.Y.
Chris Couch tied the course record with a 63 and was alone in second place at 203. Billy Mayfair (66) birdied six holes on the front nine and was in third place at 204. Former UNLV standout Bill Lunde was in a group at 205.
Also: David Frost and Mark Calcavecchia both shot 6-under 66 and were tied for the lead after two rounds of the Champions Tour’s 3M Championship in Blaine, Minn. Frost and Calcavecchia were at 14-under 130, with John Cook (67), Kirk Hanefeld (64) and David Peoples (66) two shots back.
James returns to Ohio, thanks
fans at charity bike-a-thon
LeBron James finally thanked his fans in Ohio, making his first public appearance since he left the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat.
At his annual “King for Kids” charity bike-a-thon in downtown Akron, James addressed a friendly crowd of several hundred people who cheered as he took the podium.
“To the city of Cleveland, my fans in Cleveland, my fans in northeast Ohio,” James said, “I want to say thank you for the last seven years and the years that continue to go in the future.”
Also: David Nalbandian of Argentina reached his first final in 1½ years by overwhelming 13th-ranked Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-2, 6-2 at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C.
In today’s final, Nalbandian will face Marcos Baghdatis, who beat Xavier Malisse, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
No. 1-ranked Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic are teaming to play doubles at next week’s tournament in Toronto.
The ATP said it thinks it’s the first time the men holding the top two spots in the singles rankings have partnered for doubles since No. 1 Jimmy Connors and No. 2 Arthur Ashe did it in 1976.
Fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland earned a 6-4, 6-2 win over Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova at the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad, Calif. Radwanska, ranked 10th in the world, reached today’s final against unseeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat Flavia Pennetta, 6-4, 6-0.
Ryan Lochte won the 200-meter backstroke at the U.S. national championships in Irvine, Calif. Lochte, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist, recorded the second-fastest time in the world and touched in 1:55.58. Michael Phelps finished fourth at 1:56.98.
Devon Alexander retained his WBC and IBF junior welterweight titles with a unanimous 12-round decision over Andriy Kotelnik in St Louis. Alexander (21-0) won 116-112 on all three cards.
Jeremy Alexander, a 6-foot-2-inch guard from Canyon Springs High School, and Darington Banks, a 6-foot guard from Arbor View, signed to play basketball at Grayson County College in Denison, Texas. Banks is a son of Freddie Banks, a UNLV star from 1983 to 1987.
Tim Carter, a 6-foot-8-inch center from Bishop Gorman, signed to play basketball at Lincoln University, a Division II school in Jefferson City, Mo.