Campbell: Horse Racing, Little League, Phils, & More
By Bill Campbell
Horse Racing News
It was announced late last week that Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome will run in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on September 20th. We all remember Chrome coming to within two lengths of winning the Triple Crown just a few months ago at the Belmont Stakes. Now he's coming back east to vie for a big purse at Parx race track. When trainer Art Sherman was asked why Chrome's owners would go to the bother of bringing the horse such a long way to run, he said that the money was a big part of the decision. A day that was destined to bring out racing fans has been made even more interesting with Chrome's scheduled appearance. The $1 million Cotillion, a race that will decide the three-year-old filly champion, has taken on a new meaning with California Chrome's participation. It will be big day in Pennsylvania racing history, for sure.
Trainer Sherman said that the colt is scheduled to fly in during the week of the race and to be at Parx by September fifteenth. He will be housed in Barn 10, the same stable that housed the 2013 Pennsylvania Derby winner and eventual three-year-old champion, Will Take Charge. Sherman never has been to Parx or any of the racing venues in New Jersey either, even though he's been in racing since the fifties when he was a stable boy for the legendary Swaps. That was the colt who won the Kentucky Derby in 1955. California Chrome took five weeks of compete rest at the farm in the San Joaquin Valley where he was born after the Belmont. Then he returned to training at Los Alamitos where he awaits his trip to Pennsylvania. He was schedule to have his third workout since his return last Friday morning and Sherman said that he will be worked once a week until he gets on the plane for Philadelphia. It should be a banner day at Parx on September twentieth.
Little League World Series
The Taney – Las Vegas game in the Little League World Series last Wednesday night, with thirteen-year-old female star Mo'ne Davis pitching, delivered a record rating for ESPN. The game, won by Las Vegas 8-1, had a 3.4 overnight national rating, the highest rated LLWS game ever on ESPN. That number is up 143% from last year's viewership. It topped the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on CBS and the Yankees-Red Sox game which both were played last Sunday. In Las Vegas, the game got a 16.4 rating. In Philly, it was a 14.9. These are Little League World Series records in those television markets. The 2012 Flyers-Rangers Winter Classis got a 9.1 when it was played. How's that for some perspective? While the Taney Dragons lost their next round to the team from Chicago and were eliminated from the rest of the competition, they gave baseball fans in Philadelphia a lot to cheer about during their amazing run. The young players and their coaches showed tremendous poise, grace and sportsmanship and exemplified the best that youth sports has to teach and provide. It was great to see the city of Philadelphia and the Phillies honor the team with a parade and presentation at Wednesday night's game in Citizen's Bank Park. Way to go, Dragons.
Last Friday night Ryan Howard drove in a pair of homers and Kyle Kendrick overcame a shaky start to lead the Phillies to a 5-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Kendrick allowed three runs in the first inning but settled down and got some help from the offense. Ben Revere, who started the day at second in the National League in batting, went 3 for 4 to increase his average to .315. Chase Utley and Marlon Byrd also drove in runs for the Phils, who won their third in four games. We should give some recognition to Howard who has been digging out of a slump and producing hits where it matters this month. In early August, he drove in multiple runs against the Astros as the Phillies swept that series. While the team lost to the San Francisco Giants on August 11th, Howard hit an RBI single in the top of the third inning, a two-run single in the top of the fifth and a double in the top of the sixth. On the thirteenth, he hit a two-run homer against the Washington Nationals at home. On Saturday, he went 1 for 2 with a walk but slammed in a solo homer in a 6-5 loss to the Cardinals. He also lined one to center on Wednesday night that allowed Chase Utley to round the bases for home against the Nationals. It's encouraging to see Howard getting some hits since he has been struggling most of this season.
On Saturday Joe Torre, a baseball guy I've always thought well of, became the eighteenth person to have his number retired by the New York Yankees. Beyond the center field fence in Monument Park, Torre stood and watched as a plaque with his likeness was unveiled and his number, six, was retired. Torre had an undistinguished managing career with he joined the Yankees, having been fired from three previous jobs. But when he left the Yankees after twelve years at the helm, he had four World Series rings. Torre was presented with praise, gifts and a declaration that August 23rd was Joe Torre Day in New York. Expressing his gratitude, Torre said, "When you know the neighborhood you're in out there, it's pretty cool," Torre said of Monument Park. "It's unbelievable. I mean, this is the Yankees. You start talking about number retirements. This is the New York Yankees." Way to go, Joe.
In an announcement that was a surprise to no one, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said on Friday that his starting quarterback will be Geno Smith. Now comes the tough part for Smith, who will play with high expectations on his shoulders while veteran (and former Eagle) Michael Vick waits for his chance from the sidelines. Vick appears willing to accept his back-up role though he has to be more than a little anxious for his chance to take the ball.
Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji is out for the season after tearing the right bicep in last week's preseason meeting. St. Louis starting quarterback Sam Bradford looks like he injured his left knee in the Rams loss to the Vikings, 33-14, on Saturday night. Bradford missed the first nine games last season with an ACL tear. In the Ravens-Redskins preseason game on Saturday, Ravens QB Joe Flacco threw his final pass to Steve Smith for a touchdown and a 23-17 win. New Orleans ran in from the one yard line with 1:45 left for 35-20 win over the Cowboys. Here in Philly, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is running out of time and decisions will have to be made about the starting squad.
I'm counting the days till it's Eagles-Jaguars at the Linc to get the NFL season going. I'm sure you are too.
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