Women of Troy head east for ITA National Indoors

first_imgDuring her career, recent USC graduate Maria Sanchez received national recognition for her play, including winning the 2010 singles championship of the USTA/ITA National Indoors Intercollegiate Championships.Thursday, four Women of Troy will have an opportunity to make a little history of their own at the same tournament. The tournament, which runs through Sunday, features 32 of the nation’s best collegiate singles players and 20 doubles teams from universities across the country.Junior Danielle Lao, along with freshmen Zoe Scandalis and Sabrina Santamaria, will play in the singles bracket, while sophomore Kaitlyn Christian will team up with Santamaria for doubles action. The Women of Troy will try to fill the void left by Sanchez, who defeated California’s Jana Juricova for the 2010 singles title. Juricova enters this year’s tournament as the top-seeded player.Lao is competing in the NIIC for the second consecutive season after qualifying for an at-large bid. She is eager to improve on her 2010 first-round exit.“I feel like I’m a much more complete player in general,” Lao said. “And above all, I’m mentally stronger.”Lao said she enjoys traveling to New York for the competition and the opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation for the professionals who take to these same courts every year.“Going over there [the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center] and looking at the lockers of the professional players really gives me chills,” Lao said. “It’s a trip I really look forward to. I work toward this tournament.”USC coach Richard Gallien echoed Lao’s sentiments and reiterated the importance of the NIIC.“This and Riviera are the two biggest [tournaments],” Gallien said, referring to the Riviera All-Americans in early October. “This one is special for a different reason. It’s neat that it’s in New York at the site of the U.S. Open. And the fact that we have three players in the [singles] draw and the draw is only 32 players is very good for our team.”Meanwhile, Santamaria is coming off a victory at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships, a win that guaranteed her a spot in the NIIC.“I still can’t believe it. It feels so surreal,” Santamaria said. “I’m super happy that I could win it for [USC] and my teammates.”Santamaria admits she is less familiar with indoor courts and the challenges that come with playing on a different surface, but is eager to give it her best shot.“I feel pretty good right now, coming off those wins,” Santamaria said. “I feel pretty confident. I’ve never played in Indoors actually, so this will be my first time competing [there]. We’ll see how it goes, I’m hoping for the best.”In the first round of the singles bracket, Scandalis will face off against Notre Dame senior Kristy Frilling, Santamaria will take on SMU senior Marta Lesniak and Lao will play Columbia sophomore Bianca Sanon. In the doubles bracket, USC’s duo of Christian and Santamaria drew the Tyler JUCO tandem of Kerrie Cartwright and Audrey Leitz.“Everyone’s tough,” Lao said. “This is usually the top 32 girls in the nation. Maybe not in the preseason rankings, but the top 32 girls that are playing their best tennis right now. Anyone can win this tournament.”last_img read more

Dodgers rally to beat Mets on Jedd Gyorko’s RBI single in the 9th

first_imgNEW YORK — Sitting in the dugout at Citi Field before Friday’s game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was asked about the starting pitchers his team would face in the weekend series.“I always say every day is a test. But this is a good test for us,” he said, calling the New York Mets’ trio of starters (Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler) the Dodgers would face the type of quality starters “that you’re going to run into in the postseason.”The Dodgers got to Syndergaard that night and won. But they were shut out by deGrom and a pair of relievers Saturday and were held to one run in seven innings by Wheeler Sunday night.But they rallied against the Mets bullpen, scoring once in the eighth and again in the ninth on a two-out RBI single by Jedd Gyroko, giving them a 3-2 win. Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco center_img “I don’t think so,” Roberts said. “Obviously he’s had some outings where he’s throw up zeroes. But the way the ball was coming out these last two — like he’s said, he’s figured some things out. He and Honey (pitching coach Rick Honeycutt) have worked through some things. He’s peaking I think at the right time.”Jansen said things “clicked” during a throwing session in the outfield before Wednesday’s game.“I’ve been searching the whole year,” he said. “This year was pretty tough for me, searching for something all the time. Now that it has clicked, you start to see the life (on his fastball) again. … It took a little time this year.”It took a little time for the Dodgers’ offense to strike Sunday.The Dodgers had six hits in seven innings off Wheeler. Four of them came from the first batter in an inning. But the Dodgers went 2 for 14 with seven strikeouts with a runner on base, 1 for 10 (with six of those strikeouts) with a runner in scoring position.“Wheeler looked like he had really good stuff,” said Gyorko who entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, drew a walk and scored the tying run on Taylor’s hit. “Good teams just keep grinding out at-bats right until the end and make something happen to get a win and that’s what we did tonight.”In the ninth, Kike’ Hernandez doubled with one out and scored the winning run on Gyorko’s single through the middle off reliever Seth Lugo.“I had faced him a few times,” said Gyorko who was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts against Lugo before Sunday. “He got ahead early. I wasn’t looking for fastballs early and he made a couple good pitches. But I was able to get something out over the plate on that last pitch and put a good swing on it.”Related Articles “The takeaway is our starting pitching did really well and matched their pitching — or they matched our pitching,” Roberts said after Sunday’s win. “It’s tough to put hits together against those arms. Even Wheeler tonight came out and threw the ball really well. I thought we did a good job. But I think our pitching kept us in ballgames.”Sure. But Roberts would have plenty of time on the cross-country flight home to think about the real important takeaways from the weekend in New York. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenley Jansen — two pitchers who could prove crucial to the Dodgers’ October fortunes — both looked like the pitchers the Dodgers will need them to be.Ryu’s seven scoreless innings Saturday night put to rest concerns raised during his four-start slump. Jansen, meanwhile, has had a more fraught summer, struggling to find consistent reliability.Roberts told him before Sunday’s game he would pitch the eighth and Jansen came in even thought the Dodgers had tied the game 2-2 on Chris Taylor’s RBI double in the top of the inning.Following up on a scoreless inning Thursday in Baltimore, Jansen retired the Mets in order in the eighth. Opposing batters are now 2 for 17 against Jansen this month and the Dodgers might not have seen two more dominant outings back to back from Jansen all season. Pedro Baez having pitched earlier in the game and Jansen having pitched the eighth as pre-planned, Roberts turned to Adam Kolarek to get left-handed Michael Conforto leading off the ninth and then handed the ball to Kenta Maeda. The last of five relievers who would allow just one hit over four innings, Maeda got the final two outs for the save. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more


first_imgSMOOVE IT RETURNS IN FILLY & MARE TURF SPRINTSmoove It returns to the races Saturday in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint after a six-month absence. The five-year-old Square Eddie mare trained by Doug O’Neill for owners/breeders Paul and Zillah Reddam last raced on Aug. 16, 2015, finishing fifth in the Solana Beach Handicap at a mile on grass.“She just got a little body sore so we freshened her up,” explained O’Neill. “But she obviously likes this course with two wins and five in-the-money finishes in six starts, and she’s doing very well, so we’re excited to see her back at the races.”Mario Gutierrez has ridden Smoove It in all of her 20 starts.“That shows the loyalty Reddam has for Mario,” O’Neill said. Their union dates back to 2012, when Gutierrez piloted the Reddams’ I’ll Have Another to victory in the Kentucky Derby.The field: Smoove It, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; Chati’s On Top, Santiago Gonzalez, 5-1; Heaven’s Stairway, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Velvet Mesquite, Kent Desormeaux, 7-2; Singing Kitty, Gary Stevens, 5-1; Jenna’s Faith, Drayden Van Dyke, 30-1; Light One, Flavien Prat, 12-1; Qiaona, Victor Espinoza, 8-1; Ashley’s Sassy, Alonso Quinonez, 12-1; Nite Delite, Edwin Maldonado, 12-1 and Princess Bertrando, Abel Lezcano, 30-1.Yana, My Fiona and Sheer Pleasure were scratched. George Papaprodromou1932216%37%$79,030 TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won (Current Through Thursday, Jan. 28) Vladimir Cerin1661238%56%$154,690 Steven Miyadi2436513%58%$124,384 Peter Miller5183516%31%$270,890 William Spawr1865133%67%$152,414 Mark Glatt3543111%23%$137,220 Santiago Gonzalez11223141121%43%$825,498 Rafael Bejarano811616820%49%$829,610 David Lopez761461218%42%$407,228 Jack Carava1432121%43%$70,360 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS Flavien Prat761161314%39%$575,588 Tiago Pereira452624%22%$163,962 Brayan Pena1520013%13%$36,170 Fernando Perez73851211%34%$435,526 Peter Eurton35511514%60%$238,860 Joseph Talamo8512121014%40%$520,964 Mike Smith4653611%30%$502,240 Richard Baltas4676315%35%$471,634 Martin Pedroza3952113%21%$94,440 UNBEATEN SMOKEY IMAGE TRIES TWO TURNS IN CAL CUP DERBYUndefeated Smokey Image seeks his sixth straight victory and his first for Carla Gaines when the son of 2004 Santa Anita Handicap winner Southern Image goes two turns for the first time in Saturday’s $250,000 California Cup Derby at 1 1/16 miles.“He’s been here since the first week in November,” Gaines said of the chestnut colt owned by Betty Irvin of Pacific Palisades, who campaigns as Irvin Racing Stable. Smokey Image won his first four races by daylight margins, and his last, the seven furlong Golden State Juvenile at Del Mar on Oct. 30, by three-quarters of a length after he bobbled at the start and steadied at the 5/16 marker.“We have a good feeling about his going two turns,” Gaines said. “We’ll find out Saturday. His pedigree indicates he’ll do it and we’re hoping he’ll improve going two turns, but if he doesn’t, he’s still a good sprinter. He’s always galloped out beautifully from his workouts.”Gaines also has Record Highs entered in the Derby. Son of another Santa Anita Handicap winner, Heatseeker in 2008, the chestnut colt owned and bred by Harris Farms came out of his disappointing sixth-place finish in the King Glorious on Dec. 12 a bit under the weather, so Gaines feels he had a legitimate excuse in that one mile race.In other Derby news:Richard Baltas admits Demonslayer faces a tough task in the race, coming off two career sprints, but feels conditions merit a go.“I think he’ll probably get the distance,” Baltas said of the son of Tale of the Cat owned by Perry Ranck and Barbara Ron of Berkeley, who race as Cicero Farms. “Obviously, he’s lacking on seasoning, but these kinds of races don’t come up very often.“He ran a good number last time. He sat off the pace and he’s had longer works, so we’ll see. I’ve got Bejarano. How bad a shape can we be in?”The Derby field: Tough It Out, Santiago Gonzalez, 6-1; Smokey Image, Victor Espinoza, 4-5; Record Highs, Joe Talamo, 10-1; Demonslayer, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; Glory Bound, Edwin Maldonado, 4-1; Xingontothebone, Martin Pedroza, 8-1;and Loyalist, Flavien Prat, 12-1. FINISH LINES: Fans can obtain California General and VIP packages at santaanita.com/events for Saturday’s Sunshine Millions & Wine Festival, which will offer food from some of the best local wineries and food vendors. First post time is 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. . . . Three-time champion Beholder arrived at Santa Anita today from Julie Adair-Stack‘s facility in Chino Hills. “She’ll gallop here tomorrow,” trainer Richard Mandella said . . . Jerry Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward said unbeaten champion Songbird may or may not work “an easy half Tuesday, depending on the track conditions,” prior to her three-year-old debut next Saturday in the Las Virgenes Stakes . . . Richard Baltas has engaged Mike Smith to ride Imperative in the $500,000 San Antonio Stakes a week from Saturday . . . Bob Baffert says he’ll know more about Dortmund‘s status for the San Antonio after the Santa Anita Derby winner breezes this week . . .Happy 49th birthday to trainer Keith Desormeaux . . . Brice Blanc worked Flamboyant six furlongs on the main track Friday in a bullet 1:13.20 for Paddy Gallagher, who has the San Gabriel winner ticketed for the Grade II San Marcos Stakes next Saturday . . . Santa Anita was in the news last Friday in the form of the New York Times’ mobile crossword puzzle. Readers had to fill in the correct missing word in “California’s Santa _____ racetrack.” Did you guess Anita? Duh! WIN MACHINE G.G. RYDER SET FOR TURF CLASSICBettors and horsemen alike have one thing in common about horses like G.G. Ryder: confidence. When a Thoroughbred wins 11 of 25 starts, his consistency and will power are noteworthy features.Jerry Hollendorfer and assistant Dan Ward hope that trait continues in Saturday’s $250,000 California Cup Turf Classic presented by City National Bank.“He’s versatile, and he’s going to have to be,” Ward said, “because there’s a lot of speed in the race. He’s going to get a good trip because he’s going to be up close.”A five-year-old horse sired by the A.P. Indy stallion Chhaya Dance, G.G. Ryder numbers two Grade III stakes among his 11 triumphs for owners George Todaro and Hollendorfer. A win or a second would push G.G. Ryder’s earnings over the $500,000 mark. To date, he has won $455,294.A Turf Classic victory is worth $137,500; second, $47,500.The Turf Classic, one of five stakes races worth a total of $1 million for California-bred or sired horses on Sunshine Millions Day: Tamarando, Edwin Maldonado, 20-1; G.G. Ryder, Santiago Gonzalez, 4-1; Unusually Green, Joe Talamo, 20-1; Image of Joplin, Agapito Delgadillo, 15-1; defending champion Alert Bay, Martin Garcia, 7-2; Grazen Sky, Tyler Baze, 12-1; $25,000 supplemental nominee What a View; Kent Desormeaux, 8-1; Soi Phet, Alonso Quinonez, 15-1; Something Unusual, Iggy Puglisi, 12-1; Poshky, Flavien Prat, 9-2; Boozer, Gary Stevens, 10-1; and Awesome Return, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1.Leonard Powell said that for the first time since he’s trained Soi Phet, a span of 24 races, the eight-year-old Tizbud gelding will race in blinkers for the Turf Classic.FAVORED SAN ONOFRE DRAWS RAIL IN CAL CUP SPRINT            San Onofre, speedy winner of half of his 10 starts including the Grade III Midnight Lute Stakes on Jan. 2, his first race in more than six months, must overcome the rail and additional committed front-runners in Saturday’s $150,000 Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint for older horses at six furlongs.Karen Headley, who trains San Onofre for her mother, Aase, campaigning as Matson Racing, shrugged off any pre-conceived negatives.“I’m fine with the rail,” said Karen, whose father, trainer Bruce, bred San Onofre, making the gelded son of Surf Cat an all-family affair.And as far as Karen perplexing Hall of Fame rider Alex Solis with pre-race instructions for San Onofre, forget it.“A good jockey always knows what to do,” she said.The field for the Sprint: San Onofre, Alex Solis, 4-5; Solid Wager, Victor Espinoza, 10-1; Old Man Lake, Tyler Baze, 30-1; Richard’s Boy, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Raised a Secret, Santiago Gonzalez, 12-1; Sunday Rules, Edwin Maldonado, 9-5; and Pay the Fine, Mario Gutierrez, 12-1. Abel Lezcano3031210%20%$133,620 Alonso Quinonez434739%33%$175,210 Mike Puype2735011%30%$133,920 Kent Desormeaux3757514%46%$368,200center_img Robertino Diodoro1234125%67%$96,090 Mario Gutierrez83915911%40%$486,194 Tyler Baze10111181211%41%$566,952 Philip D’Amato48981019%56%$558,460 Bob Baffert4377816%51%$474,940 Drayden Van Dyke5467611%35%$369,134 JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Victor Espinoza302617%30%$276,880 Edwin Maldonado66126818%39%$392,460 Alex Solis1030230%50%$174,884 Jeff Bonde1342131%54%$96,300 Doug O’Neill67891212%43%$407,902 J. Keith Desormeaux2250623%50%$135,790 John Sadler3445312%35%$197,170 Gary Stevens2643215%35%$521,810 Steve Knapp1431221%43%$97,570 Agapito Delgadillo3145413%42%$123,694 Kristin Mulhall1642125%44%$154,310 Brice Blanc232069%35%$217,500 Patrick Gallagher1642225%50%$265,008 -30- Jeff Mullins1133027%55%$95,980 RUN FOR RETTS TRIES GRASS IN CAL CUP OAKSRun for Retts makes her first start on grass in Saturday’s $200,000 Xpressbet California Cup Oaks at one mile. Trainer Steve Miyadi hopes her breeding lets her adapt from dirt to turf.“She’s actually bred for grass,” said Miyadi, who trains the daughter of Ministers Wild Cat for owner/breeder Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, LLC. “Of horses bred for turf that run on it for the first time, I’d say only 10 percent actually improve on it.“So I’m hoping Run for Retts does improve on turf, because on paper, I don’t think she can compete with these. I’m hoping the turf moves her up. We put blinkers on her and we’re ready to rock and roll.”The lineup: Just Google Me, Edwin Maldonado, 6-1; Patriotic Diamond, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Hurricaine Callie, Santiago Gonzalez, 15-1; Run for Retts, Tyler Baze, 20-1; Roo’s Valentine, Martin Pedroza, 4-1; Run Like the Boss, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Pacific Heat, Flavien Prat, 9-5; and $25,000 supplemental nominee Cheekaboo, Mario Gutierrez, 4-1. J. Eric Kruljac2132514%48%$78,560 Martin Garcia4865713%38%$383,484 Jerry Hollendorfer5655109%36%$325,622 Karen Headley530060%60%$127,700 UNDEFEATED SMOKEY IMAGE IN RICH CAL CUP DERBYG. RYDER SEEKS 12TH CAREER WIN IN TURF CLASSICRAIL NO ISSUE FOR SAN ONOFRE IN VALPREDO SPRINTRUN FOR BETTS MAKES TURF DEBUT IN CAL CUP OAKSSMOOVE IT RETURNS IN FILLY & MARE TURF SPRINTlast_img read more