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USA’s Vonn takes overall lead

Sun., Dec. 23, 2007

Lindsey Vonn won’t be able to fly home for Christmas because of the World Cup schedule. Then again, the way things are going why would she want to leave Europe?

The American won a super-combi Saturday in St. Anton Am Arlberg, for her second straight victory, sending her to the top of the overall standings. For the second straight race, U.S. teammate Julia Mancuso finished third. Another American, Stacey Cook, was 13th.

Vonn led after the downhill leg and finished with a combined time of 2 minutes, 20.28 seconds after the slalom. It was her third victory of the season and 10th overall.

Only 17 skiers completed both disciplines on the bumpy and icy Karl Schranz course – super-combi specialists like Anja Paerson, Nicole Hosp and defending World Cup champion Marlies Schild did not finish.

Vonn overtook Hosp at the top of the overall standings and could become the first American woman to capture the overall title since 1983.

•Austria’s Thomas Morgenstern became the first ski jumper to open a World Cup season with six straight victories, taking a large hill event in Engelberg, Switzerland, to equal the record for most consecutive wins.

The Olympic champion won with jumps of 132.5 and 133.0 meters for 260.4 points, beating Austrian compatriot Andreas Kofler (134.5-128.5, 254.4 points).


Yankees struggle to land Santana

Johan Santana is not expected to be the Yankees’ big Christmas present, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

“I don’t see it happening with us,” the source said. “We pulled out in Nashville, and we haven’t put an offer back on the table.”

Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner was not quite as adamant that the Yankees are unlikely to acquire the Minnesota ace, saying by phone: “You never know.”

But even Steinbrenner, who told Newsday earlier this week that it is a difficult decision whether to give up what it will take to get Santana, said he does not anticipate any quick movement on the pitcher. Said Steinbrenner: “I don’t think anything will happen, but if it does, it does. Everything’s quiet except trying to get ready for Christmas.”

As for baseball?

“No, no movement on anything,” Steinbrenner said. “Everything’s very quiet for the holidays. I think that’s everywhere.”

General Manager Brian Cashman, reached Friday, said he could not say if he is happy with the rotation. “Not unless we get crowned a world champion,” Cashman said. And that can’t happen before next October.

The likely Yankee rotation is Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina and two of the following three: Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.

Santana, 28, is clearly a cut above. He won the American League Cy Young Award in 2004 and 2006 and finished in the top seven in both Cy Young voting and A.L. ERA each of the past four seasons.

Acquiring Santana would cost the Yankees Hughes, center fielder Melky Cabrera and perhaps Kennedy. Then the Yankees would have to give Santana a long-term extension worth upward of $20 million per year.


Into Mischief gets upset win

Long shot Into Mischief beat favorite Colonel John and Bob Baffert’s highly touted Massive Drama at Hollywood Park in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity at Inglewood, Calif.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Into Mischief stalked just behind early leader Eaton’s Gift, took the lead in midstretch and held off the favorite handily. The 2-year-old, trained by Richard Mandella, won by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:40.82.

The race is considered one of the early indicators of Kentucky Derby contenders.

•The ATP suspended Italians Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali for making bets – some as little as $7 – on tennis matches involving other players.

Starace, ranked 31st, was suspended for six weeks and fined $30,000.

Bracciali, ranked 258th, was banned for three months and fined $20,000.


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