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Kentucky Derby 2021 odds, top contenders: Legendary expert who nailed Tiz the Law enters surprising picks

Legendary horse racing handicapper Hammerin’ Hank Goldberg goes straight to the source for his Kentucky Derby picks 2021

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Churchill Downs has hosted the Kentucky Derby continuously since 1875, making it the longest-running major American sporting event, but last year it faced one of its most serious challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic. The race was postponed to September and no fans were allowed in attendance, but the Kentucky Derby 2021 brings back normalcy, as the raves moves back to the first Saturday in May. Post time is set for 6:57 p.m. ET and 19 horses will make up the 2020 Kentucky Derby field.

Essential Quality and Rock Your World both enter Saturday undefeated and are the favorites in the 2021 Kentucky Derby odds, with Essential Quality at 2-1 and Rock Your World at 5-1. However, other major stakes winners include Florida Derby champion Known Agenda (6-1), Louisiana Derby victor Hot Rod Charlie (8-1), and Arkansas Derby winner Super Stock (30-1). Before making any 2021 Kentucky Derby picks, you need to see the latest horse racing predictions from legendary handicapper Hammerin’ Hank Goldberg.

The former horse racing analyst for ESPN and NBC, Goldberg became a legendary handicapper by going straight to the source. In 2004, he had dinner before the Belmont Stakes with trainer Nick Zito at a pizzeria in Queens. The dinner led Goldberg to play Zito’s 36-1 monster longshot Birdstone to win and on top of his exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets. When Birdstone shocked the world, Goldberg won $24,000.

His success has continued at SportsLine. In the San Felipe Stakes in March, Hammer gave out a $20 exacta that paid 9-1. In the Belmont Stakes in June, Goldberg was all over Tiz the Law, who scored a convincing victory in the year’s first Triple Crown race. In the Blue Grass Stakes, Hammer nailed the Art Collector-Swiss Skydiver exacta. In July, he hit the Authentic-Ny Traffic exacta in the Haskell. In August in the Pacific Classic, he gave out the Maximum Security-Sharp Samurai exacta.

Before last year’s Kentucky Derby, trainer Bob Baffert told Goldberg that Authentic was his best Derby runner. As a result, Goldberg listed him among his top horses, and Authentic held off Tiz the Law by almost four lengths. Anyone who has followed Goldberg’s lead is way up.

Now, Goldberg has studied the 2021 Kentucky Derby field and released his picks, predictions and top contenders only at SportsLine.

Top 2021 Kentucky Derby predictions

For the 147th Run for the Roses, Goldberg is completely fading Rock Your World, even though he is one of the top favorites and won the Santa Anita Derby. Rock Your World’s father Candy Ride was an undefeated, Argentina-bred horse who won the Pacific Classic at Del Mar Raceway in 2003. His mother, Charm the Maker, won three times in 18 career starts.

Rock Your World had a rather inauspicious start to his career as well, not running as a two-year-old and making his first two starts on turf before dazzling in his first trip on dirt in the Santa Anita Derby. That 4 3/4-length victory came with a Beyer Speed Figure of 100, which is the best of any horse in the 2021 Kentucky Derby field, but the general lack of experience and trainer John Sadler’s lack of success at the Kentucky Derby (his best finish was sixth with Corby in 1993) makes 5-1 a tough price to swallow for Goldberg.

Another curveball: Goldberg is high on Mandaloun, even though he’s a big 15-1 long shot. He’s a target for anyone looking for a huge payday. After an impressive performance to win the Risen Star Stakes at Louisiana Fair Grounds, Mandaloun returned to the site of the victory as the 6-5 favorite in the Louisiana Derby, but had an extremely poor showing and wound up finishing sixth.

Trainer Brad Cox didn’t find anything wrong with Mandaloun after the race, but the oddity of the performance has Goldberg wondering if the performance was merely a one-off. More attention is being paid to stablemate Essential Quality, but Cox should have Mandaloun in a competitive position breaking from the No. 7 post with veteran jockey Florent Geroux in the saddle.

How to make 2021 Kentucky Derby predictions

After getting the inside scoop from the horse’s trainer, Goldberg’s top pick will shock you. He’s also backing an underdog who drew the “perfect post.” He’s sharing which horses to back here.

So who wins the 2021 Kentucky Derby? And which sleeper is a must-back? Check out the latest 2021 Kentucky Derby odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Goldberg’s picks for the Kentucky Derby.

2021 Kentucky Derby contenders, oddsPost #HorseOdds1Known Agenda6-12Like the King50-13Brooklyn Strong50-14Keepmeinmind50-15Sainthood50-16O Besos20-17Mandaloun15-18Medina Spirit15-19Hot Rod Charlie8-110Midnight Bourbon20-111Dynamic One20-112Helium50-113Hidden Stash50-114Essential Quality2-115Rock Your World5-116King FurySCR17Highly Motivated10-118Super Stock30-119Soup and Sandwich30-120Bourbonic30-1Now, Goldberg has studied the 2021 Kentucky Derby field and released his picks, predictions and top contenders only at SportsLine.

Source: https://www.cbssports.com/general/news/kentucky-derby-2021-odds-top-contenders-legendary-expert-who-nailed-tiz-the-law-makes-surprising-picks/

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More Tests and Still More Questions About the Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo Olympics open in under three months and there are still more questions than answers despite the rollout Wednesday of new rule books to explain how the games will take place in the middle of a surging pandemic in Japan.

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By STEPHEN WADE, AP Sports Writer

TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo Olympics open in under three months and there are still more questions than answers despite the rollout Wednesday of new rule books to explain how the games will take place in the middle of a surging pandemic in Japan.

The 60-page, second version of the “Playbooks” for athletes was released by the International Olympic Committee and the the local organizers. Versions for other non-athlete groups are to be released later. And a third version will come out in June, just weeks before the Olympics open on July 23.

More testing for everyone was the key highlight on Wednesday:

— All participants will have to pass two COVID-19 tests before leaving their home country. And they will be tested upon arrival in Japan.

— Athletes will be tested daily, as will those in close proximity to athletes.

— Other games participants will be tested daily for the first three days, and then as required.

— All games participants must use dedicated vehicles and avoid public transportation for the first 14 days.

— Games participants must eat only in specified locations, including catering facilities at games venues. Athletes will be dining in the Athletes Village, which will be an isolated “bubble.”

— Game participants will avoid a 14-day quarantine rule for entering Japan, but to do so they must fill out a schedule listing their plans for that period, and also download a tracking app.

— A decision about capacity at the venues will be made in June. Fans from abroad were banned several months ago.

“We are in a very tense situation,” Tokyo organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said after an online meeting with the IOC. “A full stadium is possible depending on the situation. So is 50%, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000 and no spectators. Those are the ranges. While we are prepared as the last possible option to have the games with no spectators — since we have the current situation under the state of emergency — we have hope that fans are possible.”

Athletes will also have to sign a promise they will follow the rules in Playbook. This will apply to athletes and participants with vaccines as well as those without vaccines.

“There will be a written pledge and if that is not complied with, there will be a certain level of penalty,” said Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee. “We expect that these people will comply with the rules because Playbooks are the rules.”

He did not specify a penalty, but the loss of a credential and expulsion was hinted at.

IOC President Thomas Bach offered his own take on enforcement.

“We will strictly enforce these rules and will take care of the full compliance by all participants,” he said. “If the situation should require it, we are also ready to take even stricter measures.”

The timing of the second edition of the Playbooks is not ideal.

Tokyo, Osaka and several others areas came under a third state of emergency this week, and the death toll in Japan from COVID-19 has passed 10,000. The numbers are good by global standards, but poor compared with other places in Asia, such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand or South Korea.

Tokyo recorded more than 900 new cases on Wednesday, its highest level in three months as new variants are popping up in the country.

“Yes, the situation is very difficult,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said. “We are fighting the invisible enemy.”

The state of emergency has closed department stores, theme parks, and bars and restaurants serving alcohol. It also has forced baseball games to be played in empty stadiums after having allowed fans for much of the pandemic.

Polls consistently show 70-80% of people in Japan think the Olympics should not be held.

Muto was asked if another postponement was possible. In the last few weeks renewed questions about cancellation have also popped up. The IOC long ago ruled out another postponement.

“Can you really take the time for another postponement?” Muto asked rhetorically. “It’s not just a matter of taking the time, the organizers would have to prepare once again after having already spent years to prepare. It is not something that can be done that casually.”

He of course quashed the idea, pointing out the importance of athletes and the impossibility of securing the Athletes Village, which is a massive housing project on Tokyo Bay that has already been partially sold off.

The British Medical Journal earlier this month, under an editorial titled “Reconsider this Summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said mass gatherings such as the Olympics are still neither “safe nor secure.”

The editorial read in part: “Holding Tokyo 2020 for domestic political and economic purposes — ignoring scientific and moral imperatives — is contradictory to Japan’s commitment to global health and human security.”

Bach defended the IOC’s procedures.

“The Playbooks are science and experience-based,” he said. “They are based on, and taking into account, the latest scientific developments. They are based on the best scientific and medical expertise being available worldwide.”

Only 1% of the Japanese population has been vaccinated and that number will still be small when the Olympics open. So far, officials say Japanese athletes have not been vaccinated.

This contrasts with many of the 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes entering Japan who — encouraged by the IOC — will have shots. As will thousands of judges, officials, sponsors, media and broadcasters.

Though vaccines are now available, the strategy for the Olympics is geared around holding the games in a “bubble” as if there were no vaccines.

Muto said this week that 500 nurses were being requested for the games. Japanese television TBS on Tuesday, without citing a source, said organizers had contacted 30 hospitals to care for athletes who fall ill. Nurses groups online immediately questioned their availability, or being moved around like pawns.

Bach is expected to be in Hiroshima on May 17 to greet the torch relay, although he said last week his plans were still tentative.

Bach’s arrival would come just days after the latest state of emergency ends on May 11. Opposition lawmakers in Japan’s national legislature have suggested Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga scheduled the state of emergency to accommodate Bach.

___

More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More testing for everyone was the key highlight on Wednesday:

Source: https://www.usnews.com/news/sports/articles/2021-04-28/more-tests-and-still-more-questions-about-the-tokyo-olympics

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Scherzer’s 9 K’s, Avila RBI Double Lift Nats Past Cards 1-0

WASHINGTON (AP) — Max Scherzer struck out nine in six innings to move up to No. 21 on the career Ks leaderboard, and Alex Avila drove in the game’s lone run with one of his two doubles, helping the Washington Nationals edge the St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 on a windy Wednesday.

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The Associated Press

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31), throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Washington, Wednesday, April 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) The Associated Press

By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wind that topped 30 mph and sent napkins twirling around Nationals Park rippled Max Scherzer’s white jersey and dried out his hands.

His forearm was a little sore from trying to grip the baseball hard enough to control where it would go when he let it fly. He loaded the bases in the first inning and needed 49 pitches just to get through two.

Scherzer figured things out, retired 12 his last 13 batters and struck out nine in six innings to move up to No. 21 on the career K’s leaderboard, helping the Washington Nationals edge the St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 Wednesday.

“That’s when it gets fun,” the three-time Cy Young Award winner said. “All you can do is attack the zone and let them hit outs.”

He struck out Dylan Carlson swinging through a 93 mph fastball with his 109th and final pitch. The righty’s strikeout of Justin Williams to end the fourth gave Scherzer 2,814 for his career, moving him one ahead of Hall of Famer Mike Mussina. Next up: Mickey Lolich, whose 2,832 strikeouts rank 20th in MLB history.

“He’s one of the best. He knows what he needs to do,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He had a rough go in the first inning and you could see him settling down a little bit.”

Not before a bit of an adventure in the first, which included a hit batter, infield single and walk, but Scherzer (1-1) escaped by striking out Carlson and Matt Carpenter.

“You get a guy on his heels a little bit … I did feel like we were going to be able to do some things, but he got better as he went,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “It would have been nice to cash in.”

Scherzer ended up allowing four hits and one walk and lowering his ERA to 1.80.

Alex Avila drove in the game’s lone run in the second off Carlos Martínez (0-4) with one of his two doubles — his first hits as a member of the Nationals.

Carlos Martínez allowed four hits in six innings in his longest outing since going seven on July 7, 2018.

“His mental game was there today,” catcher Andrew Knizner said.

For the second game in a row, Nationals righty Tanner Rainey entered in relief in the seventh to protect a 1-0 lead.

On Tuesday, he put Washington in a hole by allowing two runs, before a comeback provided a 3-2 win for the Nationals. This time, he worked around a double by striking out the side.

In the eighth, Daniel Hudson gave up a hit and walked two batters to load the bases with two outs, but got Carpenter — who is now batting .081 — to fly out to right.

“That was a grind of an outing. I’ve been in too much trouble like that so far this year,” Hudson said. “I got kind of lucky.”

Brad Hand worked the ninth for his third save this season. It’s his 24th successful save chance in a row, the longest active streak in the majors.

NO SOTO

Nationals slugger Juan Soto isn’t sure what caused the strained left shoulder that landed him on the 10-day injured list. The 2020 NL batting champion said Wednesday he feels sore whenever he throws a ball, but not when he swings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O’Neill (right groin) will play a full simulated game Thursday to give the team “a little more intel to make a decision” on whether to activate him, as expected, from the 10-day IL on Friday, Shildt said.

Nationals: LHP Jon Lester will pitch one more simulated game at the team’s alternate training site, with the aim of throwing five-plus innings and about 90 pitches, before making his season debut. … RHP Stephen Strasburg (10-day IL, right shoulder inflammation) threw from 75 feet Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Open a three-game series at home Friday against the Reds, with St. Louis LHP Kwang Hyun Kim (0-0, 9.00 ERA) on the mound.

Nationals: Head to New York for a three-game set at the Mets that begins Friday with RHP Erick Fedde (1-1, 5.56 ERA) pitching.

___

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Scherzer figured things out, retired 12 his last 13 batters and struck out nine in six innings to move up to No. 21 on the career K’s leaderboard, helping the Washington Nationals edge the St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 Wednesday.

Source: https://www.usnews.com/news/sports/articles/2021-04-21/scherzers-9-ks-avila-rbi-double-lift-nats-past-cards-1-0

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Sports world reacts to Derek Chauvin murder conviction

The WNBA’s L.A. Sparks were among the first teams out with a statement, recognizing the need for continued progress.

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With a collectively heavy heart, many in the sports world roundly joined the rest of the United States in absorbing and acknowledging the guilty verdicts in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes last May.

Within minutes of the verdicts, the L.A. Sparks issued a statement on Twitter. In keeping with both the WNBA and the organization’s established social justice advocacy, it read, in part: “Our organization recognizes that one guilty verdict does not change the fact that people of color face systemic racism on a daily basis and continue to be victims of police brutality. While a modicum of justice was served with this ruling, it’s important to remember that true justice will come when all citizens, regardless of race, gender, or religion feel safe in their communities and have equitable access to education, housing, healthcare and economic mobility.”

Floyd’s death led to international protests and a widespread reckoning about racism and policing in the United States, including within the NBA and WNBA bubbles last summer. The professional women’s league explicitly dedicated its season to social justice last summer, furthering many of its players’ longstanding efforts to promote social progress and awareness.

One example: In 2016, Sparks forward Seimone Augustus was one of four Minnesota Lynx players initially fined by the league – which rescinded the penalty within a day – for wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt during warmups. The shirts were their response to police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Black men from Louisiana and Minnesota.

On Tuesday, a multitude of WNBA players were active on Twitter as they braced for the verdict – and then swiftly shared a range of sober reactions to it.

“Some sort of justice,” tweeted former UCLA star Michaela Onyenwere, who was drafted last week by the New York Liberty. “Praying for George Floyd’s family during this time.”

Sparks center Amanda Zahui B., who was an active participant in protests last summer in her native Sweden, tweeted: “I don’t know how I’m feeling. I’m sad and happy at the same time … There is still so so much work to be done. But this is a start towards the right direction. Let’s stick together and let’s strive for a better world. For you. For me. For everyone.”

“On all accounts. Period,” added Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike, in succinct approval of the jury’s decision.

Ogwumike is the president of the WNBA’s players association, which also issued a powerfully worded statement: “We know what we saw. That was murder plain and simple …” the union’s statement read, in part, continuing, “It is up to us, the people of good conscience, to honor George Floyd, his daughter Gianna and his family by continuing to push for comprehensive legislation to hold police accountable.

“Yes, Gianna Floyd, your dad has changed the world.”

Members of other professional and collegiate athletic institutions also expressed support for the verdicts.

The NBA and NBPA put out a joint statement, highlighting a commitment to efforts working toward improvements in the areas of criminal justice and policing: “George Floyd’s murder was a flash point for how we look at race and justice in our country, and we are pleased that justice appears to have been served. But we also recognize that there is much work to do be done.”

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer quote-tweeted that statement and added: “My sentiments and the sentiments of the Clippers precisely.”

ACCOUNTABILITY

— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 20, 2021

Lakers star LeBron James tweeted one word, in all capital letters: “ACCOUNTABILITY.”

The Clippers’ DeMarcus Cousins’ response: “Progress.”

Markieff and Marcus Morris Sr. – twin brothers who play for the Lakers and Clippers, respectively – both tweeted emojis of hands in prayer.

The USC football team announced that it was postponing its practice Tuesday, choosing instead to spend that time discussing racial injustice.

“While we realize there is much work that needs to be done, it is important not to push the conversation to a later date as our Los Angeles community has witnessed injustices for years,” read a statement on the official USC football Twitter account.

The Dodgers’ official Twitter account posted a message that promised that the team would “continue to support and encourage awareness and commit resources in the effort to address systemic inequity & social injustice.”

And the Los Angeles Football Club tweeted out a statement, as well: “… we reject oppression and brutality in all its forms.”

Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka’s sister and Sparks teammate, added her own heartfelt, solemn address on Twitter.

“The hardest part right now is that for many, while the verdict rendered guilty, the reality is that anxiety still remains,” she wrote.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint. This is accountability, not absolution.

“A step towards justice no longer being aspirational, but institutional.”

The hardest part right now is that for many, while the verdict rendered guilty, the reality is that anxiety still remains.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. This is accountability, not absolution.

A step towards justice no longer being aspirational, but institutional.

— Chiney Ogwumike (@chiney) April 20, 2021

Today our thoughts, prayers, & condolences remain with George Floyd’s family, & others that have recently been devastated by violence. The Dodgers will continue to support and encourage awareness and commit resources in the effort to address systemic inequity & social injustice.

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 20, 2021

pic.twitter.com/qvE6gYj4MW

— LAFC (@LAFC) April 20, 2021

pic.twitter.com/6ofrmGcggQ

— USC Football (@USC_FB) April 20, 2021

pic.twitter.com/ebmzr55Tmr

— Los Angeles Sparks (@LASparks) April 20, 2021

Source: https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/20/sports-world-reacts-derek-chauvin-murder-conviction/

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