A GRIP ON SPORTS
Eleven horses have done it. Since 1978, 12 more have entered the Belmont with a chance to join them. But none have come through. Will California Chrome be the one to break a 38-year drought today? Will he win horse racing's Triple Crown? Read on.
• One of America's horse racing experts, Andy Beyer, says no. The genes aren't there. OK, I get that. But the way the thoroughbred stock has been diluted after the past 30 years or so, I'm not sure any horse has the lineage to dominate at a mile-and-a-half anymore. So I'm discounting that. And pinning my hopes on California Chrome's heart. No, not the one that pumps the blood through his body, but the ethereal one, the one that equates to courage or competition or the hate-to-lose mentality. Would I risk the house on a horse's heart? Nope. But it is enough to make me root for it as it thunders down the stretch in Elmont, New York. (As an aside, my first Belmont as a copy editor in Southern California didn't go well. I was reading the Associated Press copy from the race in 1981 or '82 and glanced at the dateline. Elmont. That had to be a typo, I figured. So, without asking anyone, I changed it to Belmont. An old gruff copy editor – he must have been in his early 40s – from Connecticut, working the proofs in the backshop, caught my mistake. He came back into the sports department, cursing out the donkeys at AP and made the correction. I kept my mouth shut.) I like athletes – and I put races horse in this category – that hate to lose. California Chrome seems to have that quality. So once again I find myself drawn in, hoping for a Triple Crown winner and an end to all the stories about the impossible nature of the quest. It's been long enough. I was in college when Affirmed – another California-based horse – beat Alydar by a head. That was a long time ago. Besides, the main competition seems to be Wicked Strong, a horse with Boston Red Sox ties. And the Sox have won enough. They don't need a Belmont win. That would be just piling on.
• Thanks for your support. We have received some great Father's Days memories. But we want more. Keep sending them in. We want your memories of your dad and sports. Of times good – and bad – you spent with your father playing catch, watching golf, running Bloomsday. Whatever. The time he yelled at an umpire or told you he was proud of you or embarrassed the heck out of your brother. We'll put them together and run them in their entirety here on SportsLink. Some might even be featured in the Review. Don't worry about polish, just share what's in your heart. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll take care of the rest. Make sure to include your name, as the newspaper needs it for confirmation purposes.
• WSU: It's Saturday, so we have a couple of items to pass along. Jacob Thorpe throws out a Friday Flashback (hey, there's alliteration there), looking back at the loss at Auburn to open the 2013 season. … And the guys at ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog have their mailbag.
• Gonzaga: OK, I know my link yesterday was on Oregon's new women's basketball coach Kelly Graves. Today too. We hope to stop that soon. … I do have one more. David Stockton is going to work out with the Jazz.
• EWU: Today Jim Allen catches up with the happenings at the recent Big Sky meetings, including the ideas about a pre-determined site for the postseason basketball tournament.
• Shock: After a long flight, the Shock are in Jacksonville, a team that hasn’t done very well this season. But as Jim Meehan writes in his advance, Spokane is a bit wary. … Arizona stayed undefeated last night with a closer-than-expected win at Portland.
• Golf: Jim also has his weekly golf notebook with a look at the new owners of Prairie Falls in Post Falls.
• Seahawks: This is scary. Richard Sherman, one of the keys to the Hawks' defense, will be on the cover of Madden this year. Not good. I am superstitious. I played baseball. … Earl Thomas enjoyed his time at the White House.
• Mariners: Erik Bedard? Really? Bedard (pictured) pitched one more good game yesterday for the Rays than, seemingly, he did in all his time in Seattle. And it came against the M's. The Rays snapped a 10-game losing streak and Seattle's five-game winning streak with the 4-0 decision. … The draft continued yesterday and the M's focused on pitching. … Lloyd McClendon has a special place in his heart for Don Zimmer, the baseball lifer who recently died.
• Sounders: Saturday's here, which means it is game day. The Sounders play tonight in Chicago against a Fire team that has struggled recently. … After the match, Seattle and the rest of the MLS takes the next couple weekends off for the World Cup.
• And that's it for us this morning. Have a great weekend. I hope you have plans (including sending us a Father's Day memory). I do. Until later …