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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Secretariat - Belmont Stakes 1973...Hughes wins semifinal...Softball today...Belmont PP's and picks




("He is moving like a tremendous machine." ). One of the best race calls in history to go with the best race in the history of the sport. Chick Anderson was the race caller on CBS at Belmont Park that day. He also was track announcer at Churchill Downs for 17 years.


THURSDAY @ CARDINAL COUPLE:

-Hughes, Okoro in NCAA Championships

-Ky. State Girls Softball Championships begin today

-2011 Belmont Post Positions and Predictions

-Cierra Warren undergoes knee surgery.

Okoro is a senior on
the women's track
and field team at UofL.
Two University of Louisville track and field athletes participated in the NCAA Championships yesterday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, IA. Men's distance runner Matt Hughes won his semi-final heat in the 3,000 meters and will run in the finals Friday night. Hughes won the event last year. Thrower Chinwe Okoro placed ninth in the discus throw after a sixth place finish in the qualifying round.

Today's action includes Cardinal high-jumper Rachel Gehret. Gehret won the high jump in the BIG EAST Championship earlier this year. The women's throwing team will also compete in the shot put and hammer tosses during the championships.


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Sixteen teams from across the state will vie for the title in the 2011 Kentucky State Softball Tournament beginning today at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro, KY. Locally, Louisville Ballard and PRP will take part in the action. The tournament runs three days...with the championship game scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday. The first round pairings:

Three Ballard Bruins,...Walker, Wise and Fairley
PRP vs. Montgomery County
Allen County-Scottsville vs. East Jessamine
North Laurel vs. Central Hardin
Walton-Verona vs. Hopkins County Central
Lexington Lafayette vs. Owensboro Catholic
Calloway County vs. Ashland Blazer
Ballard vs. Letcher County Central
Ryle vs. Magoffin County

Ballard is ranked #1 in the state and went 35-4 during the regular season. They are led in the pitching circle by senior Kayla Fairley. Fairley is a dominating pitcher who went 26-3 on the season with a 1.11 ERA. She's also not too bat at the plate...hitting .308 for the season with four home runs. Fairley was the Seventh Region Player of the Year. She has yet to commit to a college...but Louisville is her first choice.

Never can have enough good arms, Sandy....go after this girl and put her in the Cardinal red...

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The post positions and odds for the 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes have been assigned and ANIMAL KINGDOM has been made the favorite at 3-1. The Kentucky Derby winner narrowly missed in the Preakness...running second to SHACKLEFORD who will also try the Belmont and is listed at 5-1. The post positions, jockeys and odds below:

Post 1:  Master of Hounds.  Garrett Gomez on board.  10-1
Post 2:  Stay Thirsty.  Javier Castellano rides.  22-1
Post 3:  Ruler On Ice.  Jose Valdivia, Jr. gets the assignment.  25-1
Post 4:  Santiva.  Shaun Bridgmohan in the saddle.  15-1
Post 5:  Brilliant Speed.  Joel Rosario is the jockey.  20-1
Post 6:  Nehro.  Corey Nakatani has the reigns.  9-2
Post 7:  Monzon.  Jose Lezcano in the stirrups.  35-1
Post 8:  Prime Cut.  Edgar Prado guides.  25-1
Post 9:  Animal Kingdom.  John Velazquez returns.  3-1
Post 10:  Mucho Macho Man.  Ramon Dominguez has the mount.  15-1
Post 11:  Isn't He Perfect.  Rajiv Maragh takes the call.  45-1
Post 12:  Shackleford.  Jesus Castanon goes for two straight.  5-1

Paul's Predictions:

I'm picking NEHRO here. He ran second in the Derby, sat out the Preakness and will love the added distance. He'll have to contend with ANIMAL KINGDOM, a threat in the long Belmont stretch. The question is how tired is ANIMAL KINGDOM after the Derby and Preakness? Look for MUCHO MACHO MAN to be gobbling up the speed at the end and just behind these two. I don't see SHACKLEFORD liking this extra distance and he'll fade late...Longshot special is PRIME CUT, with Edgar Prado on board. Prado knows Belmont and this horse has had six straight third place or better finishes in a row.

Sonja Says:

ANIMAL KINGDOM is my selection to win the Belmont Stakes. This horse can run forever and would have won the Preakness if Velazquez had moved him earlier. I can see NEHRO putting in a huge effort here but couldn't catch Velazquez in the Derby and won't here. I'll take SHACKLEFORD and SANTIVA battling for third. BRILLIANT SPEED is a live longshot to respect.

(David Watson is on vacation and has no selections for the Belmont Stakes.) We did ask CARDINAL COUPLE handicapper Tommy Boy about his picks but he hasn't finished his research and studies on the race as of this column posting. Respected charter Alan Patterson is trying to narrow it down between five horses as of yesterday and has MASTER OF HOUNDS, ANIMAL KINGDOM, NEHRO, SHACKLEFORD and MUCHO MACHO MAN on his short list...

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Lady Cards post Cierra Warren recently underwent knee surgery but is already up and around on crutches. We aren't sure what procedure was performed or her status for fall ball...but have some feelers out to try and find out. Up and around already is a good sign...

We absolutely love this collage that Charlie Springer
created last year of Cierra Warren! (Photo from UofL Card Game)
You can read Charlie's site daily at http://www.uoflcardgame.com/
Warren transferred to the University of Louisville last year after her freshman season at North Carolina. The bright and bubbly 6'5" center is expected to make a significant contribution to the Lady Cards in the 2011-12 season...after sitting out the mandatory year required for transfers from one D1 program to another. We had reports all last season that she was a force on the court during practice and look forward to her Lady Cards debut.

Warren was the "greeter" at the end of the huddle during UofL Cardinal pre-game introductions and...along with Shawnta Dyer, who returns after a red-shirt season...should give the Cards some pretty spectacular front line power.

GOOD NEWS! We have received confirmation from UofL that the surgery was minor, all things are GOOD on Cierra and she'll be ready to go for fall ball!

LOOK OUT, BIG EAST and LADY CARDINAL OPPONENTS...

FRONT LINE COMING TO GET YA...
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