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May 18, 2007 at 5:59 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 18 (UPI) -- Street Sense favored for The Preakness

BALTIMORE, May 18 (UPI) -- Street Sense goes after his second straight Triple Crown victory in Saturday's $1 million Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore.

The 3-year-old, which is favored, made a historic recovery at the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, coming from 19th place in a 20-horse field to beat Hard Spun by 2 1/4 lengths.

Street Sense, which was at 7-5 odds Friday, will begin Saturday's race from the No. 8 post, as only eight horses are entered in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

"I got a nice post position," said 65-year-old trainer Carl Nafzger. "We're very happy with it. I like the '8.' You can sit there and read everybody, whether the pace is going or not. If the pace is not going, you get going."

Hard Spun is the second favorite at 5-2. Also in the field are Curlin (7-2), Circular Quay (8-1), Xchanger (15-1), Flying First Class (20-1), King of the Roxy (12-1), and C P West (20-1).


Report: Giambi: 'Apologize for steroids'

ARLINGTON, Va., May 18 (UPI) -- New York Yankee Jason Giambi says baseball should apologize about the steroid issue.

The slugger told Friday's USA Today he probably has been tested for illegal performance-enhancing drugs more often than anyone else and baseball should have apologized years ago for a "widespread" drug problem.

"I was wrong for doing that stuff," he told the paper. "What we should have done a long time ago was stand up -- players, ownership, everybody -- and said: 'We made a mistake.' That stuff didn't help me hit home runs. I don't care what people say, nothing is going to give you that gift of hitting a baseball."

That newspaper said Giambi told a grand jury investigating BALCO in December 2003 he used steroids and human growth hormone, and added he is thankful the sport revised its steroid and amphetamine testing program.


Rockets fire coach Van Gundy

HOUSTON, May 18 (UPI) -- Jeff Van Gundy, who guided the Houston Rockets to the NBA playoffs three times in four seasons, was fired Friday as coach of the team.

Van Gundy had an option year remaining on his current contract but team management and the coach were unable to come to terms on a new deal, the Rockets said. He was offered a "senior consultant capacity" slot with the organization but turned that down.

Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey thanked Van Gundy but said during conversations about the coach's future with the team "it became clear that Jeff did not want to continue in any capacity with the team other than as head coach."

Houston was 182-146 over four seasons under Van Gundy. The team made the playoffs in 2004, 2005 and 2007. The Rockets lost to the Utah Jazz in seven games in this year's playoffs.

Van Gundy, who previously coached the New York Knicks, has an overall coaching record of 430-318.


Italy, New Zealand post solid yacht wins

VALENCIA, Spain, May 18 (UPI) -- Boats from Italy and New Zealand posted clear victories Friday for solid leads in the challenger's semifinals series of the America's Cup regatta off Spain.

Italy's Luna Rossa was a 23-second winner over the U.S. BMW Oracle team while Emirates Team New Zealand posted a 42-second win over Spain's Desafio Espanol. Both New Zealand and Italy have 3-1 leads in their best-of-nine series.

Italy led throughout on Friday but the American team was close until the third leg when Luna Rossa moved out to a 29-second lead. Luna Rossa dominated the two upwind legs, beating BMW Oracle by a combined 30 seconds on that half of the race.

New Zealand was even more in control in its race, jumping out to a 25-second lead after the first upwind leg and building a 47-second advantage by the final turn.

The fifth races in the current series are set for Saturday. The semifinal winners move to the challenge finals June 1-11. That winner advances to the 32nd America's Cup finals against Switzerland's Alinghi beginning June 23.


AT&T can use its logo on Burton's car

ATLANTA, May 18 (UPI) -- Telephone giant AT&T Friday received permission to put its logo on Nextel Cup drive Jeff Burton's No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob in Atlanta granted a preliminary injunction that allows AT&T to use its logo at Saturday night's Nextel All-Star Challenge in Concord, N.C.

Cingular has sponsored Burton's vehicle since 2001, and was allowed to continue its sponsorship when Nextel -- a telecommunications competitor -- become the series' title sponsor.

After AT&T and Bell South merged in December, the Cingular name was phased out and AT&T wanted to change the team's logo. NASCAR refused and AT&T went to court.

In a statement, NASCAR said: "NASCAR is disappointed with today's ruling, but will continue to provide a sponsor-friendly environment for the industry and its partners. NASCAR is weighing any and all options for appeal of today's decision. Meanwhile, NASCAR will continue to protect the industry from actions designed to interrupt a business model which has been beneficial to all."


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