In brief: Eskendereya states claim as Derby favorite
Horse racing: Eskendereya blew away a strong field to win the $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in New York, making a strong case for being the favorite in the Kentucky Derby in four weeks.
On the turn for home, Eskendereya stormed into the lead and pulled away with authority for a 93/4-length victory over Jackson Bend.
The margin of victory in the 1 1/8-mile Wood topped Eskendereya’s 81/2-length win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 20 in his previous start.
The 3-year-old colt trained by Todd Pletcher went off as the 1-2 favorite in the six-horse field. Pletcher is 0 for 24 in the Kentucky Derby but could have as many as eight horses in the field this time.
•Sidney’s Candy has sweet victory: Sidney’s Candy led all the way in winning the Santa Anita Derby at Arcadia, Calif., by 4 1/2 lengths, with 4-5 favorite Lookin At Lucky finishing a troubled third in a ride by jockey Garrett Gomez that trainer Bob Baffert called “horrendous.”
After bobbling at the start, Joe Talamo took Sidney’s Candy to the lead of the major Derby prep, just as they did in winning the San Vicente and San Felipe on the same synthetic surface.
•Evening Jewel sparkles: Filly Evening Jewel sustained just enough speed to edge fast-charging It’s Tea Time by a neck in the Ashland Stakes at Lexington, Ky., to earn the 3-year-old a likely trip to the Kentucky Oaks.
Evening Jewel never led by more than a length after taking an early lead along the rail at Keeneland.
Thunder’s victory seals playoff spot
NBA: Kevin Durant scored 23 points, Jeff Green added 22 and the Oklahoma City Thunder clinched a playoff spot with a 121-116 victory over the host Dallas Mavericks.
Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison added 17 points each to help the Thunder end a nine-game road losing streak against the Mavericks dating to when the team was in Seattle.
Oklahoma City missed the playoffs last season after relocating from Seattle. The Thunder are the NBA’s most improved team this season, more than doubling their 23 victories in 2008-09.
•Blazers bounce back: Brandon Roy scored 24 points, Andre Miller added 23 and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Sacramento Kings 98-87 at Sacramento, Calif.
Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points each for the Trail Blazers, and Marcus Camby had 15 rebounds. Portland rebounded from a road loss at Denver on Thursday night for its 10th victory in 12 games.
•Bogut seriously injured: Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut was hospitalized with a right elbow injury after falling hard to the floor and awkwardly twisting his arm against the visiting Phoenix Suns.
Bogut took a long outlet pass in the second quarter for a fast-break slam dunk. He hung on the rim afterward, and crashed to the court after light contact from the Suns’ Amare Stoudemire.
Predators clinch spot with overtime win
NHL: Ryan Suter’s goal 16 seconds into overtime gave the Nashville Predators a 4-3 win over the host Detroit Red Wings and a spot in the playoffs.
J.P. Dumont, Shea Weber and Martin Erat also scored for the Predators. Pekka Rinne made 28 saves.
•Rangers in hunt: Marc Staal, Brandon Prust and Chris Drury scored in the third period to lead the surging New York Rangers to a 4-1 comeback win over Florida in Sunrise, Fla.
The Rangers moved into a points tie with eighth-place Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Cal beats Miami for WNIT crown
College women: DeNesha Stallworth scored 21 points and Alexis Gray-Lawson added 17 to lead California to a 73-61 victory over Miami in the WNIT championship game in Berkeley, Calif.
The WNIT title was the first for Cal (24-13), which finished second in 1987 in an eight-team field.
Gray-Lawson was selected the tournament MVP. Gennifer Brandon had 12 rebounds and nine points for the Bears.
Shenise Johnson scored 21 points and Riquna Williams added 20 for Miami (22-14).
Harvick registers victory at Nationwide
NASCAR: Kevin Harvick took advantage of a late caution to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville, Tenn.
Harvick and crew chief Ernie Cope gambled by taking two tires when the eighth yellow flag of the day came out with 34 laps to go. That enabled Harvick to seize the lead from Kyle Busch, who was unable to mount a challenge as the race wound down.
Stupples leads field by one stroke at KNC
Golf: Karen Stupples shot a 4-under-par 68 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Rancho Mirage, Calif., with six other majors winners within seven shots.
Stupples, the 36-year-old English star who won the 2004 Women’s British Open, had a 10-under 206 total at Mission Hills in the season’s first major.