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Fast Break: Mexican fans stay home

SOCCER

Mexican fans stay home

Thousands of Mexican soccer fans had to forgo a beloved tradition Sunday, forced by a swine flu epidemic to cheer from their living room couches instead of the sun-soaked seats at packed stadiums.

To the south of Mexico City, the Pumas team took on the Chivas at the picturesque Olympic Stadium, decorated by muralist Diego Rivera, but its sold-out, volcanic-rock bleachers were empty. They tied at 1.

Also Sunday, America faced the Tecos team in Mexico City’s enormous Estadio Azteca as fans watched the action on television.

National soccer officials decided to ban fans from the three matches after health experts recommended that citizens avoid large concentrations of people in which the virus could spread.

HORSE RACING

Barbaro statue dedicated

Barbaro is back home at the track where he became a legend.

A bronze statue honoring the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner was unveiled at Churchill Downs, nearly three years after the colt became an icon following a breakdown at the Preakness.

Sculptor Alexa King designed the 1,500-pound statue, which shows Barbaro in midstride with jockey Edgar Prado aboard as the two pulled away from the rest of the 20-horse field.

The horse broke down during the Preakness and spent the next eight months battling for his life. His struggles brought renewed attention to track safety and breeding practices.

HOCKEY

Rangers want Caps disciplined

The New York Rangers want the NHL to discipline the Washington Capitals just as the league penalized John Tortorella, saying poor security led to the confrontation between the coach and fans.

Tortorella was given a one-game suspension for squirting water and tossing a water bottle into the crowd at Washington during Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Capitals.

The Rangers sent a letter Saturday to the NHL asserting “gross negligence” by the Capitals in response to “egregious fan misconduct.” Spectators behind the visitors’ bench used obscene language and spit on team personnel, the letter said, and Capitals security did not act on requests to intervene.

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