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Sports briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 18, 2001


Songandaprayer never trails in Derby prep

HALLANDALE BEACH -- It sounds like a Final Four matchup: Bobby Hurley against Rick Pitino. The former Duke star and former Kentucky coach own Triple Crown contenders, and both will likely race in the March 10 Florida Derby.

Songandaprayer, owned by Hurley, went wire to wire as a long shot Saturday in winning the $200,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The more highly touted A P Valentine, owned by Pitino, finished third making his 3-year-old debut in a 7-furlong allowance race that followed the feature.

A P Valentine began the weekend as the co-favorite in pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby future book. He'll likely lose ground to Songandaprayer, who ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43 2/5 and won the Grade I feature by 2 1/2 lengths.

Songandaprayer paid $38, $14 and $9. Outofthebox, who was left at the gate, paid $4.20 and $3.20. City Zip paid $3.80.

MORE HORSE RACING: Lakenheath rallied to beat Morning Sun by a nose in the $125,000 Grade III Silverbulletday Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Beloved By All was third. ... Xtra Heat posted her 10th victory in 11 starts, winning the Dearly Precious Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct in New York.

TRACK AND FIELD: Olympic champion Stacy Dragila raised the world record in the women's pole vault to 15 feet, 5 inches, twice breaking her own indoor world marks, at Pocatello, Idaho. Dragila cleared the record height on her third attempt.

FIGURE SKATING: Irina Slutskaya was more consistent throughout at the Grand Prix finals in Tokyo, and she defeated Michelle Kwan three times within 24 hours to win the title. In the men's event, Yevgeny Plushchenko beat Alexei Yagudin in the long program. They will meet today for the men's title. In ice dancing, Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio won easily.

SOCCER: The Mutiny played even through 53 minutes with the Chicago Fire before Yuri Lavrinenko buried an open opportunity to give the visitors a 1-0 victory in an MLS exhibition game at Town 'N Country. After the match, the Mutiny announced midfielder Eric Quill will have arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle this week. He will miss Tampa Bay's exhibition trip to Colombia next week but is expected to be ready for spring training. ... Three Premier League teams -- West Ham, Leicester and Tottenham -- advanced to the quarterfinals of the Football Association Cup.

TENNIS: Venus Williams was ousted in straight sets by Magdalena Maleeva in the semifinals of the Terazura Open at Nice, France. Maleeva won 7-6 (10-8), 6-4, with Williams double-faulting twice in the final game. Maleeva faced Amelie Mauresmo in today's final. Mauresmo beat Anke Huber 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the other semifinal. ... Yevgeny Kafelnikov beat Roger Federer 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4 and advanced to the Marseille Open final in France. He was to face Sebastien Grosjean in today's title match. Grosjean defeated Max Mirnyi in the other semifinal 6-4, 7-6 (9-7). ... Martina Hingis defeated Barbara Schett 6-1, 6-1 to reach the final of the Qatar Open at Doha. She was to face Sandrine Testud, a 6-1, 6-1 winner over Adriana Gersi. ... Defending champion Andreas Vinciguerra beat Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 to advance to today's Copenhagen Open final against Tim Henman. Henman defeated Jan Siemerink 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

BOWLING: Jason Couch of Clermont advanced to the title game in the Tar Heel Open at Burlington, N.C., finishing one victory short of PBA Tour's 32-game match-play record. Couch had a 26-6 record. Parker Bohn III set the record of 26-5-1 in 1992 in Tokyo. Couch had a 48-game total of 11,628. Ricky Ward had an 11,454 total to take the second spot in today's five-man stepladder final. Mike Aulby was third (11,282), followed by Eric Forkel (11,259) and Bohn (11,191).

FISHING: Chuck Economou of Redington Beach didn't catch a fish on Saturday, but managed to finish fourth in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour at D'Iberville, Miss. Economou won $16,000. Tommy Biffle of Oklahoma won the event with two bass weighing 2 pounds, 8 ounces.

WINTER SPORTS: Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann broke her world record at 3,000 meters, leading a German sweep at Hamar, Norway. She was timed in 4 minutes, 00.26 seconds at the World Cup meet, surpassing her mark by 25-hundredths of a second. She recorded her 100th World Cup victory. ... Silke Kraushaar won the final women's World Cup luge race of the season at Lake Placid, N.Y., holding off German teammate Sylke Otto to win the overall title for the second time in three years. ... Per Elofsson won the men's cross-country pursuit at Lahti, Finland, for his second gold medal at the World Nordic Ski Championships.

BOXING: Takanori Hatakeyama retained his WBA lightweight title by salvaging a draw with Rick Yoshimura. One judge scored the fight 116-111 for Hatakeyama, another 115-112 for Yoshimura, and the third called it a 114-114 draw.

RUNNING: Deena Drossin easily won her fourth straight U.S. cross-country title at Vancouver, Wash. In the men's 4K, Tim Broe, the defending NCAA steeplechase champion, was the winner in his first try at the distance.

ETC.: Cyclist Javier Ochoa reportedly was in a coma in Malaga, Spain, two days after he was hit by a car while training in an accident that killed his twin brother and teammate, Ricardo. ... Respectful prayers replaced the usual victory celebrations at Brooklyn, Ohio, after Cleveland Heights' 7-0 playoff win -- its first hockey game since three players -- Brendon Benner, 18; Milton Carter, 18; and Kyle Barden 16 -- were killed last week in a car accident. ... A flame was lighted in Athens, Greece, for the Winter Games of the Special Olympics slated for March 4-11 in Alaska.

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