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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

In brief: Joe Gibbs Racing will release Stewart

The Spokesman-Review

Tony Stewart is expected to be released today from his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the season, freeing the two-time NASCAR champion to purchase his own race team.

Stewart’s contract runs through the 2009 season, but he was reluctant to commit to the extension Gibbs officials have been pushing for since last summer. He instead explored free agency, where numerous options were presented to Stewart ranging from ownership to seats driving for other top teams.

While exploring his options, Stewart was most intrigued in potential ownership opportunities and he’s had an offer on the table since April to purchase the fledgling two-car team of Haas-CNC Racing.

Boxing

De La Hoya teams up

Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions announced a strategic alliance with USA Boxing, reuniting the 1992 gold medalist and his sport’s national governing body.

Golden Boy Promotions will lend its considerable industry clout to USA Boxing in marketing, event scheduling and sponsorships.

De La Hoya also announced plans to spend time working with the Olympic fighters and other athletes in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the U.S. boxers are down to their last two weeks of preparation for next month’s trip to the Beijing Games.

NHL

Lightning sign Recchi

Mark Recchi signed a $1.25-million one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning, part of a massive roster overhaul for a team with new owners and a new coach after finishing with the worst record in the NHL.

Recchi, a seven-time All-Star who has played 19 NHL seasons, had 14 goals and 48 points in 72 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Atlanta Thrashers in 2007-08.

“The Ottawa Senators signed defenseman Jason Smith to a two-year, $5.2 million contract.

The 14-year NHL veteran was an unrestricted free agent. He was captain of the Philadelphia Flyers last season.

“Center Brendan Morrison, who has had 50-plus points in six of the past seven seasons, signed a one-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks.

Morrison, 32, played in 542 consecutive games for Vancouver from 2000-07 before injuries limited him to 39 games with the Canucks last season.

“The Vancouver Canucks retained forward Steve Bernier by quickly matching the one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet the young forward signed with the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues tried to pluck the 23-year-old restricted free agent away just four days after the Canucks acquired him in a trade with Buffalo.

Football

Arrest in Walker case

A second man was arrested on charges of abducting, beating and robbing Oakland Raiders wide receiver Javon Walker in Las Vegas last month.

Deshawn L. Thomas, 40, was arrested Monday in Las Vegas and held without bail at the Clark County jail.

Police released a grainy surveillance videotape June 24, identifying the man in it as a second suspect after the arrest of 30-year-old Arfat Fadel.

Horse racing

Curlin will race on turf

Curlin is set for his turf debut in the first step of an ambitious attempt that could prove he’s the best horse anywhere – regardless of the surface, competition or continent.

The reigning Horse of the Year will run in the $500,000 Man o’War Stakes over the turf at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., on Saturday, part of a plan by the owners that would make him the sport’s all-time leading money winner and secure a place among the racing’s pantheon.

Curlin has won nine of 12 career races on the dirt, including the Preakness and the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year and the Dubai World Cup in March.