On vacation

I’m off for the next few days. Be back soon.

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Triple Crown Links: One more time in New York

Triple Crown links for Sunday:

My column on how American Pharoah’s Preakness win sets up another Triple Crown bid. “Oh, there was a moment on the backstretch in which the challengers appeared to be gaining ground on the leader — “What’s happening?” said Jill Baffert while watching on the monitor — but when Espinoza asked for effort, American Pharoah responded in a fashion more impressive than the one he displayed in his Churchill win.”

American Pharoah storms past Preakness field, writes Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports. “With sinister timing, the racing gods opened the heavens upon American Pharoah and his seven competitors just before the race. The Pimlico racing surface turned into soup. Water cascaded from the jockeys’ helmets to their goggles to their silks; Espinoza said a lot of the rain ended up in his boots.”

Pharoah shines but leaves room for doubt, writes Andy Beyer of the Washington Post. “Under most circumstances, a Kentucky Derby winner who proceeds to capture the Preakness in a runaway would justly be hailed as a superstar and a strong favorite to complete a sweep of the Triple Crown. Yet the circumstances of his seven-length victory yesterday were so bizarre, and in many ways so ambiguous, that American Pharoah will have plenty of doubters three weeks from now at Belmont Park.”

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Big Blue Links for Sunday

Big Blue Links for Sunday:

UK softball reaches finals of the Notre Dame Regional, reports UK Athletics. Kentucky beat Ball State 5-0 on Saturday after beating Northwestern on Friday. Pitcher Kelsey Nunley was dominant for seven innings.

Kentucky baseball beats Missouri in regular season finale, reports Steve Waltenik of the Columbia Daily Tribune. “The Wildcats chased Tigers starter Peter Fairbanks from the mound after scoring four runs in 12/3 innings, and Kentucky pounded in four more runs in the ninth inning against relievers Austin Tribby and Jace James in an 8-2 victory, taking the rubber game of the three-game series.”

Andrew Harrison nears first round in a new NBA Mock Draft, reports Ben Roberts of Next Cats. “DraftExpress.com updated its 2015 mock draft Saturday morning, and Harrison is now considered the No. 32 overall pick — just two spots removed from the first round.”

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Four takeaways from American Pharoah’s Preakness win

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BALTIMORE — Four takeaways from American Pharoah’s muddy but clear win in the Preakness:

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Updated Preakness odds

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Here are updated odds for the Preakness Stakes:

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Could Preakness be run on a Sunday at Laurel? Yes

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BALTIMORE — Sal Sinatra, vice president and general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club, just met with the media here in the press box at Pimlico and confirmed that a future Preakness at Laurel is a real possibility. Even a Preakness run on Sunday at Laurel.

“It could be, yes,” Sinatra said.

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Big Blue Links: NBA combine news and more

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Big Blue Links for Saturday:

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Former North Carolina coach Bill Guthridge dies

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Three months after the legendary Dean Smith died, his loyal lieutenant at North Carolina, Bill Guthridge, has passed away as well. Guthridge died Tuesday night at age 77.

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Big Blue Links: John Calipari extension edition

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Big Blue and SEC links for Wednesday:

If you missed it, Kentucky is close to a contract extension for head basketball coach John Calipari. News leaked Tuesday night, just hours after the New Orleans Pelicans fired head coach Monty Williams. Calipari’s name has come up as a possible candidate in the Big Easy.

The Pelicans need to explore the Calipari option, writes Sekou Smith of NBA.com. “The first call needs to be to Calipari, an ambitious sort who has coached as many (current and future) NBA players the past few years as just about anyone collecting a NBA paycheck these days. If his relationship to Davis and so many other of the NBA’s stars, young and otherwise, is as rich as advertised, perhaps he can be the key to the Pelicans keeping Davis in the fold for years to come. There is the pesky detail of that five-year contract extension Davis can sign this summer to think about when finding the replacement for Williams.”

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Kentucky close to new deal with John Calipari

Word Tuesday night is that UK and John Calipari are close to extending the basketball coach’s current contract another year at $8 million through 2022.

Calipari is scheduled to earn a $1.6 million longevity bonus on July 1.

The new contract would be a seven-year, $54 million deal.

The news comes on the heels of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans firing head coach Monty Williams on Tuesday. Already there are reports that Calipari is on the list of candidates that the Pelicans will consider.

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