ARCADIA, CA - NOVEMBER 05: A general view during the Mile race on day two of the 2016 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on November 5, 2016 in Arcadia, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Royal Mo romps to win in Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita

Leave a comment

ARCADIA, Calif. — Royal Mo won the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes by 3+ lengths Saturday at Santa Anita, giving owners Jerry and Ann Moss a second contender for the Kentucky Derby.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Royal Mo ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.48. The 3-year-old colt trained by John Shirreffs earned 10 points toward qualifying for the Kentucky Derby’s 20-horse field.

The Mosses’ other 3-year-old, Gormley, won the Sham Stakes by a head last month at Santa Anita. The couple won the 2005 Kentucky Derby with 50-1 Giacomo, tied for the second-longest shot to win the race.

“We haven’t had two horses in this position in a long time and it’s fun,” said Jerry Moss, co-founder of A&M Records. “We don’t really see anyone else coming up that scares us.”

Royal Mo paid $5, $3.40 and $2.20. The colt’s sire is Uncle Mo, who was undefeated as a 2-year-old but got knocked out of the 2011 Kentucky Derby because of illness.

Irap returned $4.20 and $2.60 while 7-5 favorite Sheer Flattery was another neck back in third and paid $2.20 to show in the Grade 3 race.

“Royal Mo just ran lights out,” said Doug O’Neill, who trains Irap, fourth-place Term of Art and last-place Dangerfield. “When you give a horse like Royal Mo an uncontested lead, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Breaking from the rail in the field of five, Espinoza took Royal Mo to the early lead. Irap pulled even with Royal Mo heading into the stretch turn, but soon fell back.

“He’s such a big, heavy horse,” Espinoza said. “He doesn’t have that quickness for the first couple of strides. As soon as he gets into a rhythm though, he’ll keep going.”

Royal Mo ran second in his first two starts and then won by 1\ lengths at Del Mar on Nov. 27. The Mosses purchased the colt for $300,000 at auction.

“He’s improving a lot,” Espinoza said. “From the last few races to this race, he’s really coming along. He’s going in the right direction. Hopefully, we keep going all the way.”

Moss said he wants to separate Royal Mo and Gormley, who is being pointed toward the San Felipe Stakes on March 11 at Santa Anita.

“I like Arkansas and it’s been great for us,” said Moss, whose superstar mare Zenyatta won at Oaklawn Park. “We’ll take one of them back there.”

Sheer Flattery was floated four-wide into the first turn, moved up inside leaving the second turn and just missed finishing second.

In the $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes, 3-5 favorite St. Joe Bay won by 2\ lengths under Kent Desormeaux.

The 5-year-old gelding ran six furlongs in 1:08.75 and paid $3.40 to win in the Grade 2 race.

Moe Candy was second and Ike Walker took third.

US Olympic women’s hockey player Anne Schleper retires

170216-schleper
Getty Images
Leave a comment

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) Olympic defender Anne Schleper retired from the U.S. women’s national hockey team program Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Schleper earned a silver medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and helped the United States win world titles in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

“I will forever cherish the dreams I accomplished with my teammates and the amazing journey we took together. I am so very proud to have been a part of Team USA and representing something greater than ourselves at all times,” Schleper said in a statement. “I’d like to thank my family, friends, everyone at USA Hockey, and those who supported me during the past 11 years.”

From St. Cloud, Minnesota, the former University of Minnesota star had six goals and 18 assists in 68 games for Team USA.

Capitals favored over Wild, Blackhawks on latest Stanley Cup odds

Leave a comment

When it comes to Stanley Cup futures, understanding the distinction between being skilled enough and strong enough is important.

At the two-thirds mark of the regular season, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are atop both the standings and the 2017 Stanley Cup futures board. The Capitals are the +550 favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Goaltending likely isn’t going to be stumbling block for Washington, since goalie Braden Holtby is an all-star. However, teams built around a scoring winger such as Ovechkin often don’t get far.

Also of note, the team with the best regular-season record has won the Stanley Cup only four of 19 times in years when the NHL played an 82-game season. Only one of those instances has occurred during the salary cap era, which began in 2005-06.

The Minnesota Wild, the Western Conference leader, are listed at +700, and the time might be now to back them before their value drops. Minnesota might be better built for the playoffs than Washington with their top-two center-ice tandem of rejuvenated veteran Eric Staal and Mikko Koivu.

The Wild have one of the deepest forward groups in the league and could sail through the Central Division portion of the playoffs, given that the Chicago Blackhawks (+750) and St. Louis Blues (+3300) are underachieving.

No team has gone back-to-back during the cap era, but with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the middle, the Pittsburgh Penguins (+1000) will be heard from in the postseason. The Penguins also have a very good price at this point.

While there hasn’t been a repeat in nearly two decades, one deep playoff run does tend to begat another. Last season’s runner-up, the San Jose Sharks (+1400), could go deep again, especially with Brent Burns as their workhorse shutdown defenseman.

The Montreal Canadiens (+1400) are the highest Canadian team on the board. The Habs have regressed since they won 13 of their first 15 games this season. They rate a strong chance of advancing out of the Atlantic Division, where the second- and third-place teams consist of the overachieving, goalie-dependent Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have extraordinary young talent with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner but are probably too inexperienced to go deep this season.

Three of the last eight champions, including the 2016 Penguins, made a coaching change during the season. That means the way-off-the-board pick would be the Boston Bruins (+4000). Boston fired coach Claude Julien this week and replaced him with Bruce Cassidy. Their chances of making the playoffs were trending upward at the time of the coaching change and all-star goalie Tuukka Rask can be a difference-maker.