Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sports Digest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sports Digest

Article excerpt

Verrazano, Flashback are Derby prep favorites

Verrazano has a chance to give trainer Todd Pletcher the favorite for the Kentucky Derby.

The unbeaten 3-year-old colt will seek his fourth straight win when he takes on nine rivals in the $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct today a final steppingstone to the Derby on May 4.

Verrazano, who will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, is the overwhelming 4-5 favorite, with unbeaten Vyjack 4- 1, Normandy Invasion 5-1 and the rest of the field ranging from 12- 1 to 30-1. Verrazano will leave from the No. 8 post.

Meanwhile, Flashback is the early 9-5 favorite for today's $750,000 Santa Anita Derby in Arcadia, Calif., although the 3-year- old colt will break from the rail, a position his Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert famously dislikes. In fact, Baffert skipped the post position draw, saying he always gets jinxed when he attends.

Flashback, who will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, is coming off a second-place finish in the San Felipe Stakes on March 9, when he was the even-money favorite, but got caught in a pace duel and lost by a half-length to Hear the Ghost, who drew the No. 2 post and was listed at 5-2. Corey Nakatani will ride Hear the Ghost.

Rutgers AD, interim senior VP resign The Rutgers basketball scandal claimed two more university officials Friday, including the athletic director and an interim senior vice president who were involved in a decision to "rehabilitate" rather than fire the coach whose abusive behavior was captured on a video.

University President Robert Barchi's job appeared to be safe after getting a public nod of support from the school's board of governors.

The day began with a letter of resignation sent to Barchi by AD Tim Pernetti, who said he hoped his tenure at Rutgers "will not be judged by this one incident."

Williams sisters square off in semifinals Top-ranked Serena Williams ended a long and successful day for the Williams family as she and sister Venus both won twice Friday to reach the Family Circle Cup semifinals in Charleston, S.C. and set up their first sibling showdown since 2009.

Serena won her 13th straight match by defeating sixth-seeded Lucie Safarova, 6-4, 6-1. …

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