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place again." The Spurs

  • 12 June 2019
    ELMONT, N.Y. -- Hoppertunity got away from California Chrome and got back to the winners circle, outfinishing Effinex to take Saturdays Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.After racing along the inside and within two lengths of the pace-setting Protonico in a bunched field, Hoppertunity, under John Velazquez, tipped to the three-path turning for home. He gradually gained through the stretch on Protonico and Effinex and beat the latter to the wire by a half-length.It was 2-1/2 lengths back to Protonico in third. Mubtaahij and Watershed completed the order of finish.Jockey Javier Castellano dismounted from Protonico past the wire and he was vanned off. Dr. Anthony Verderosa, the chief examining veterinarian for the New York Racing Association, said Protonico was lame.For Hoppertunity, the win was the sixth from 22 starts and it pushed his career earnings to $3,562,675. The win also earned a fees-paid berth to the $6 million Breeders Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5, where he will face California Chrome. Hoppertunity finished third to California Chrome in this years Dubai World Cup and fourth to him in the Pacific Classic.Hes earned his spot in the Breeders Cup, hell be in the game, trainer Bob Baffert said from Southern California, where he watched the race on television. Well get him back here, see how hes training. Hes always right there, he always gets a piece.In addition to getting away from California Chrome, Baffert shipped Hoppertunity here believing he would like the deeper surface and the wide turns of Belmont Park.Baffert told jockey Velazquez that Hoppertunity doesnt run the turns well, and Velazquez said he wanted to keep the horse closer to the pace so that he wouldnt have so much to do in the stretch.Protonico set a modest pace of 24.87 seconds for the quarter, 49.03 for the half-mile and 1:12.18 for six furlongs while being pressed by Effinex, under Mike Smith.Protonico proved a stubborn foe and it wasnt until the sixteenth pole that Effinex was able to get by him. But his lead was short-lived as Hoppertunity wore him down.Hoppertunity, a 5-year-old son of Any Given Saturday owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman, covered the 1-1/4 miles in 2:00.68 and returned $9.60 as the 7-2 third choice.They told me he doesnt run really well around the turns so, okay, I kept that in mind and hopefully I can keep him close enough without overdoing it and he did everything I asked him to do, Velazquez said. When I pulled him out, he responded.Hoppertunity did have an abrasion on the back of his left foreleg after the race.He ran down through the bandages a bit, said Jimmy Barnes, Bafferts assistant who was here to saddle the horse. It should be superficial.Hoppertunity was scheduled to be flown back to Southern California on Sunday to prepare for the Classic.Effinex, who finished second in last years Classic, may have had to expend more energy than his connections had hoped to get by Protonico, leaving him vulnerable for Hoppertunity to wear him down.I had hoped to hopefully spurt away when headed for home, but that thing was on me and kept grinding me down little by little, Smith said.Still, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said, Effinex did enough to earn himself a trip to the Breeders Cup Classic, a race in which he finished second to American Pharoah last year.Well give it a shot, Jerkens said. Hes tough.Effinex will likely need a new rider for the Classic as Smith will probably ride Arrogate, dominant winner of the Travers, in that race. Hydro Flask Cyber Monday . The 26-year-old Ireland striker, who has four goals this season, has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with his new club. Swell Black Friday Sale .C. -- Todd Fiddler scored a hat trick, including the overtime goal, as the Prince George Cougars survived an 8-7 win against the Kamloops Blazers in Western Hockey League play Sunday. .ca looks back at the stories and moments that made the year memorable. Hydro Flask Cyber Monday Sale . -- Three close looks at the bucket, three misses. Cheap Hydro Flask . -- Cam Newton pranced into the end zone, placed his hands over his chest and did his familiar Superman pose.OAKLAND, Calif. -- Forgive the San Antonio Spurs if they arent that excited about holding a 3-2 series lead over the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals. After all, theyve been ahead twice before. If the Spurs want to close out the Warriors in Game 6 on Thursday night at rowdy Oracle Arena, theyll have to do what neither team has in this series: win consecutive games. Golden State also is 4-0 after a loss in the playoffs. "Nobody talks about getting this over with like youve got a rash," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Like you can take a pill or put some cream on it, its going to be gone. This is a war. Theyre a class team. They bust their (butts) at both ends of the floor. Its not about getting rid of anything. Its about going and playing and thats about it." San Antonio has increasingly shown its veteran savvy the last three games, and Golden State has looked like its finally wearing down from all its injuries. Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and the rest of the Spurs overwhelmed the Warriors in Tuesday nights 109-91 win in San Antonio. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson -- described by Coach Mark Jackson as the "greatest shooting backcourt in NBA history" -- combined to score just 13 points on 6-of-22 shooting. Curry has refused to use the left ankle he sprained late in Game 3 as an excuse, but anybody who has watched can clearly see he has been slowed by the injury. Thompson, who failed to even attempt a 3-pointer for the first time all season Tuesday, has been shut down by San Antonio since scoring 34 points in Game 2. Neither Curry nor Thompson was made available to speak to reporters during the teams light shootaround Wednesday in Oakland. The rest of the Warriors insist theyre not worried about the "Splash Brothers" or the teams ability to respond. "Were never going to quit. Were never going to die. Weve got a lot of fight left. This isnt the end," Warriors forward Carl Landry said. "Actually, were excited about having the opportunity to play in a Game 6. Everybody in that locker room is excited and ready." The odds are not in Golden States favour. Teams that have won Game 5 of a best-of-seven series that was tied have gone on to win the series 88 out of 99 times. However, those teams are 50-49 in Game 6. The Spurs have won 11 of 12 best-of-seven series when leading 3-2. The last time the Warriors came back from a 3-2 deficit was against the Chicago Bulls in the 1975 Western Conference finals, when the franchise went on to win its only NBA title.dddddddddddd Despite all the doubt, Golden State has overcome every obstacle it has faced this season -- from forward Brandon Rushs season-ending left knee injury in the home opener to centre Andrew Boguts sore left ankle throughout the year to All-Star forward David Lees hip injury in the first round against Denver. "We are our habits and we have a tight-knit group that is able to make adjustments, own it when they dont play well and bounce back," Jackson said. "I have no doubt that will take place again." The Spurs are getting production from others besides Parker and Duncan, and that might be the biggest turnaround in a series that has been full of them. The length of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green has bothered Curry and Thompson. Duncan and Tiago Splitter have put Bogut in foul trouble in two straight games, and San Antonios team defence has displayed the "maniacal" effort that Popovich has preached in leading the franchise to four NBA titles. "Thats how its supposed to be," said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, who is starting to find success as a facilitator with his shot not falling. "We are not a team thats going to have somebody scoring 40 every game that we can rely on. We need everybody to contribute because we are not the most talented team in the league, so we need a contribution from everybody." Standing in the way of a second straight Western Conference finals appearance for San Antonio is a gritty Golden State team that has nothing to lose. Jackson is relying on a phrase he has repeated since the playoffs started: few people expected the Warriors to be a serious contender in the preseason, so theres no pressure on his players, who echoed those sentiments. For a franchise that has made the playoffs just twice since 1994, the Warriors are relishing the opportunity to push the conference semifinals to a decisive Game 7, which would be in San Antonio on Sunday. "Its almost like an NCAA tournament game," Landry said. "We just have to go out there and never take any possessions off. After the game, we shouldnt have anything left. We shouldnt even be able to walk to our cars. Everything should be left out on the floor." ' ' '