ARCADIA, Calif. -- Mike Smith knows plenty about riding undefeated female horses. He was aboard superstar mare Zenyatta for most of her 19-race winning streak.Now hes on unbeaten Songbird, who takes an 11-race winning streak into the $2 million Breeders Cup Distaff, Fridays headline race on the opening day of the two-day world championships at Santa Anita, which is hosting for a record ninth time.Shes got stiff competition from fellow champions Beholder and Stellar Wind.Songbird is the early 6-5 favorite, with Beholder and Stellar Wind as the co-second choices at 5-2 among the eight fillies and mares chasing the prize in the 1 1/8-mile race.Smith won the 2008 Distaff aboard Zenyatta, and he later guided her to a thrilling victory against males in the 2009 BC Classic at Santa Anita. Her winning streak was snapped in the 2010 Classic at Churchill Downs, where Zenyatta ended her career losing by a head to Blame.The Hall of Fame jockey took the defeat hard, crying and barely able to speak afterward.The pressure of Zenyattas run of victories kept him awake at night. This time, the 51-year-old rider isnt carrying the mental burden of Songbirds streak.For some reason Im more comfortable than I was the last time Zenyatta ran. You learn little things, he said. She has to do her job; I have to do mine. If given the opportunity to do that, I think were going to see something special.With the exception of fellow 3-year-old Land Over Sea, Songbird is challenging older horses in the Distaff.Shes always been above average about everything, Smith said. The way she thinks, she gets it. Shes smart. Mentally, shes ready for it. You hope physically she is. She looks like it.Zenyatta was known for her come-from-behind style, often spotting rivals huge leads before overtaking them down the stretch. Songbird runs at or near the lead. The only time she wasnt first or second in the early going was in her first two races, when she rallied from fourth and sixth, respectively.You really cant plan for how to run the race, because the moment the gates open it could all change, her Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. We know she can go to the front or sit off the pace; were comfortable with her versatility. This really becomes a riders race so you need to have confidence in your jockey. Mike has ridden her in all of her starts and knows her very well.Beholder won the 2013 Distaff at Santa Anita. She has never won outside of her Southern California base, losing both times she traveled to New York and Kentucky, and last year she failed to make her scheduled start in the BC Classic at Keeneland after spiking a fever.Everything is right, right now, so my job is to see if there is anything wrong between here and there, Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said. Hopefully, I am not going to find it or there is nothing to find.Beholder, a 6-year-old, three-time Eclipse Award winner, will be making her 26th and final career start Friday.On paper, this is the best Distaff Ive ridden in, her jockey Gary Stevens said. Beholder is the best horse I have ever ridden.Trained by John Sadler, Stellar Wind has won seven of 11 career starts. She beat Beholder in her previous two starts under Victor Espinoza.She needs a good trip, Sadler said. I dont know what that trip is, but just a nice, smooth one and she should do well.In Fridays other Breeders Cup races:- Oscar Performance is the early 4-1 favorite for the $1 million Juvenile Turf which drew a full field of 14.- Dortmund is the early 6-5 favorite for the $1 million Dirt Mile. Trained by Bob Baffert, the 4-year-old colts five losses in 13 career starts have been to California Chrome (three times) and Triple Crown champion American Pharoah (twice). The nine-horse field includes Gun Runner, third in this years Kentucky Derby, and last years BC Sprint winner Runhappy.- Roly Poly is the early 4-1 favorite for the $1 million Juvenile Fillies, a one-mile race on turf that pits father and sons against each other. Trainer Aidan OBrien saddles Roly Poly and 6-1 shot Hydrangea, while his 23-year-old son Joseph sends out 6-1 shot Intricately, who will be ridden by his brother Donnacha. Joseph OBrien could become the youngest trainer of a Cup winner. His father is the leading international trainer in Cup history, with 10 wins. Cheap White Sox Jerseys Authentic
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. Brett Kulak and Jackson Houck of the Vancouver Giants were each charged with assault causing bodily harm on Aug. 18, according to the B.C. court services. RIO DE JANEIRO -- Gone was the all-offense, all-action play that turned the last two gold-medal games into classics.To get by Spain again, the U.S. Olympic mens basketball team would have to win ugly, so unusual its practically un-American.It was just a real different game today, coach Mike Krzyzewski said.Same result, though.The U.S. advanced to its third straight gold-medal game win an 82-76 victory Friday, another tight matchup between the teams that met in the last two championship games.Klay Thompson scored 22 points for the Americans, who will play Serbia on Sunday for their third consecutive Olympic title. Serbia beat Australia 87-61 in the second semifinal.This is where we wanted to be, Kevin Durant said. We talked about it all summer and to be here for the final game, to win the gold, for all the marbles, we like our chances.The Americans pulled away to win 118-107 in 2008 and held on for a 107-100 victory in London, but the defenses made their mark in this one. The U.S. was just good enough again against Spain, with bodies falling more than shots and several technical fouls keeping the teams from finding an offensive flow.It certainly wasnt pretty, but Olympic gold never loses its luster.Its an amazing feeling now, center DeAndre Jordan said. We really want to accomplish this.It was the lowest-scoring game for the Americans in the Olympics since the 2004 semifinals, when they managed 81 in a loss to Argentina.But Jordan made his presence felt in the middle with 16 rebounds and four blocked shots to go with his nine points.Durant added 14 points on the day he moved past LeBron James into second place on the U.S. Olympic career scoring list. Kyrie Irving had 13 for the U.S.Pau Gasol scored 23 points for Spain, which made it tough on the Americans for the third straight Olympics, but again had to settle for coming close against the worlds No. 1 team.I think the key of the game was their defense, Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said. Their athleticism, their size, they made our offense get difficult during most of the possessions.Gasol said after he believed Spain missed its best chance to beat the U.S.They are not playing as well as other times theyve played, but they are still a very talented team individually, Gasol said. I just (feel) like if we had been a little sharper with our shots, if we would have moved the ball a little better, if we would have boxed out more, and make it a two- or three-possession game, then youre talking about a whole different story.ddddddddddddSpain shot just 39 percent and couldnt get any consistent option other than Gasol, who played with a wrap covering his sore right calf.It was the kind of defense the Americans thought they could play but hadnt much in the tournament. Serbia and France both surpassed 90 points against them and Australia scored 88, as the team with 10 Olympic newcomers took longer than hoped in grasping international offenses.This time they contained a team that was as explosive as themselves over the last four games, as Spain had averaged 97.3 points and won by more than 25 per game after dropping its first two in Brazil.The Americans finally built a comfortable lead when they opened the fourth quarter with six straight points to go ahead 72-57. But Spain was able to keep the gap from getting any bigger and chipped away at it in the final minutes, the margin ending up smaller than in the previous matchups.Spain came to the Olympics an aging team without one of its top players, Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who couldnt make it back from a broken right foot sustained during the season. But the Spanish, as they had in the previous two Olympics, found their stride just in time to run into the Americans.Thompson scored 17 in the first half, including a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left that made it 45-39 at the break.Both teams were called for multiple technical fouls in the tense first half. One of them, on Durant, gave him a third foul, as technicals also count as personal fouls in international play. Nikola Mirotic then picked up a personal and technical on the same play later in the period, sending him to the bench with four after he led Spain with 23 points in its quarterfinal rout of France.The Americans were far off their usual offensive play, shooting only 42 percent for the game and complaining about a wet ball in the first half. But they grabbed 21 offensive rebounds in their 24 straight Olympic victory.Now they need one more to stay on top.You want to get there, two-time gold medalist Carmelo Anthony said. You want to have that feeling.---Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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