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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Soggy Saturday sets softball back to a 1:30 p.m.start

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SATURDAY @ the COUPLE:


Almost 3 inches of rain in the
last 16 hours in Louisville and
more expected today will
delay the Cards on the diamond

-Softball threatened by rain

-We review the Derby Classic

-Sonja's first look at the Derby contenders

Today's softball games have been moved back to a 1:30 p.m. start and they'll try to get both in against Providence today. (This updated from Lori Korte, assistant S.I.D. at Louisville. )

Buckets of rain, thunder and lightning and more forecast for Saturday here in Louisville...it's been a soggy spring and even though they cover the field at Ulmer...lightning in the area not a great combination with aluminum bats...
Providence is scheduled to fly back home early Sunday morning, so they'll try to eventually get both contests in at Ulmer today. Where's that retractable dome when you need it?

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Louisville fan excited about getting Cardinal post player
Gorgui Dieng's autograph. Dieng (in grey t-shirt) signs for a mass of
appreciative fans during the Derby Classic
About 10,000 fans attended the Derby Classic Basketball shootout at KFC YUM Center Friday Night...most of them seeming to arrive right at tip off. They were treated to a high scoring, slam dunking and
three point fiesta from the high school stars. The Gold Team came back from a double digit deficit to win 126-122 over the UofL stacked White team.

Teams get ready to tip it up in the Derby Classic
Gotta like all three future Cardinals that prowled the paint in the KFC YUM center. 6'8" small forward Angel Nunez had a great game for the White team and showed his abilities to run the court, go inside and create and take the long range bomber. Cardinal fans are going to love his intensity and hustle. Chane Behanan, a 6'7" powerhouse showed his inside skills and will be a solid addition to the guys who prowl the paint on Rick Pitino's squad. Give him a little conditioning and technique work and he'll be a monster. Zach Price6'11" tall and lanky lean mixed it up all night against Cody Zeller and the other Gold team front line guys. He'll get valuable back up minutes as an understudy to Terrance Jennings and Gorgui Dieng next season and he won't back down to either of them.

Cardinal Sports Report favorite Howie Lindsey took care the pre-game introductions and half-time three point and slam dunk public address duties. He did a very good job, we never knew he had that talent. Sean Moth has nothing to worry about in job security...but 'the Howitzer' handled the microphone with confidence and the proper amount of home-town deference to the future Cardinals. WE miss the old "lights flashing, spotlight showing" introductions of years past...new arena, new traditions...we're guessing. They didn't utilize the player point total boards that are in the corners of the KFC YUM either...and that's something they definitely need to work into next year's game. Along with a girls' game. Get cracking KDF!!

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It's time to start doing some handicapping for the upcoming Run for the Roses. I'll admit that I've haven't been following things too closely this spring with work and all. My time here on CARDINAL COUPLE has been almost non-existent as well. I'm still here, though. 

I am looking pretty closely at four horses right now and I'll share them with you. 

1UNCLE MO. I'm going to draw a line through his last race in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct because he wasn't feeling good that day. Intestinal tract difficulties definitely affect a horse's running performance. He's perked up considerably since returning to Churchill Downs and has proven in every other race in his career that he's a capable winner. 

2) PANTS ON FIRE. Beside me loving the name, the horse won the Louisiana Derby over a nice and talented field. Rosie Napravnik knows how to get the best out of the front runner and if she can get a uncontested lead when the horses hit the Churchill stretch, she and PANTS ON FIRE may be tough to catch.

3) NEHRO. If there is a horse that can haul in the front runners, it is definitely NEHRO. His all-out charge in the Arkansas Derby is quite impressive and he almost caught the tiring ARCHARCHARCH.
The extra distance will be in his favor. So is the training of Steve Asmussen. Given a clear trip down the Churchill long and demanding stretch, I expect this one to be gobbling up all of them in front of him.

Stay Thirsty romped the field in New York.
Didn't care so much for Florida. Seems to
be enjoying Churchill Downs.
4) STAY THIRSTY. Another one that I'll give an excuse for in his last effort. He never seemed comfortable on the Gulfstream track and I'm remembering how he slaughtered the field in the Gotham Stakes in New York before that. Todd Pletcher knows how to get them ready and STAY THIRSTY seems very happy to be on the Churchill Downs premises. A key might be on who Pletcher gets to ride STAY THIRSTY. Calvin Borel hasn't been announced on a horse yet and Calvin knows Churchill better than any of them.

OK, there they are!  Please keep in mind that many things can happen between now and the first Saturday in May and these preliminary top four might change. I'll watch the Coolmore Stakes at Keeneland today and see if anything comes out of that Derby prep race that warrants attention.
I'll also watch the horses as they work out at Churchill these next two weeks and see if  any of them look like the incredible, shining,  full of himself Alysheba in the days that led up to the 1987 Derby. That winner looked so powerful, so strong in the final days leading up to the race that I felt he would destroy the competition. He did.

(SONJA'S SELECTIONS are for entertainment purposes only and if you wager on horse racing, please do so responsibly...)
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