■ HORSE RACING
Flu forces cancellations
An outbreak of equine influenza has forced the Japan Racing Association (JRA) to cancel races today and tomorrow, local media reported. The JRA decided to cancel the races after 29 of 163 horses checked were determined to have contracted flu, the Nikkansports newspaper reported yesterday. It is the first time in 36 years that the JRA has canceled races due to horse flu. The previous cancellation lasted for about two months beginning late December 1971. A JRA official did not make clear when races will resume, only saying: "We would like to resume races as early as possible after the situation has settled." While it is contagious among horses, equine influenza cannot be caught by other animals and humans, the JRA said.
Former Canadiens GM dies
Nine-time Stanley Cup winner and former general manager of the Montreal Canadiens Sam Pollock died on Wednesday in Toronto. He was 81. Pollock spent 14 years as the Canadiens GM, beginning in 1964. "He was a hard worker, had a lot vision, of course, and was an excellent businessman," former Montreal coach Scotty Bowman told CBC television. During his NHL tenure, Pollock managed to pluck the first overall draft pick away from the Oakland Seals in 1971 in order to draft Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur and obtain goaltender Ken Dryden from the Boston Bruins for a pair of unspectacular prospects. He also acquired Frank Mahovlich and drafted Bob Gainey in addition to luring legendary coach Scotty Bowman away from the St. Louis Blues in 1971. Pollock also served in a variety of roles for the Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball team.
Giambi won't be disciplined
Jason Giambi won't be disciplined by Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig after the New York Yankees slugger had a "frank and candid" meeting with baseball's steroids investigator. Selig said on Wednesday that Giambi's cooperation with former US senator George Mitchell and the player's charitable work persuaded him not to take further action. "He's doing a lot of public-service work and I think that's terribly important," Selig said on the second and final day of an owners meeting. "He was, I thought, very frank and candid with senator Mitchell; at least that was the senator's conclusion. Given everything, this is an appropriate decision." Giambi has acknowledged a "personal history regarding steroids." He agreed to speak with Mitchell last month after Selig threatened to discipline him if he refused to cooperate. A former American League MVP, Giambi missed more than two months this season with torn tissue in his left foot. He's batting .270 with nine home runs in 51 games.
Disgraced ref apologizes
Disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy isn't saying much about the betting scandal that brought him down and rocked the league, but he is saying "sorry." ``I'm very sorry about what happened,'' Donaghy told the Daily News on Thursday outside his home in Bradenton, Florida. ``This is an ongoing case. I can't say anything else,'' he said. Donaghy pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn court on Wednesday to felony charges for taking cash payoffs from gamblers and betting on games he officiated. He was released on US$250,000 bond and is set to be sentenced Nov. 9.
Briatore set to takeover QPR
Flavio Briatore, who runs the Renault Formula One team, is set to become the new owner of English club Queens Park Rangers. "Mr Briatore wants to do for the club what Mohamed al-Fayed has done for Fulham and turn us into a Premier League club," Rangers chairman Gianni Paladini told the Sun newspaper yesterday. "It is a dream come true for all the fans and saves this club from liquidation." Billionaire Briatore, 57, will wipe out the club's debt of ?17 million (US$33.78 million) and invest an extra ?100 million over three years, the Sun reported. Championship side Rangers were last in the Premier League in 1996.
Hasselbaink joins Cardiff
Former Dutch international striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has joined Cardiff City, the team said on Thursday. The 35-year-old has been without a club since he was released by Charlton Athletic at the end of last season. Hasselbaink will link up with former England striker Robbie Fowler, who joined the Welsh side last month following his release by Liverpool. "I do not think anyone would have believed going into the close season it would be possible to get players like them," chairman Peter Ridsdale said on the club's Web site.
India ease past Scotland
India warmed up for their seven-match one-day series against England with an easy seven-wicket victory over Scotland in a rain-affected match in Glasgow on Thursday. At one point it seemed the Indians, who included only three players from last week's series-clinching third Test draw against England, would win with embarrassing ease as Scotland slumped to 49 for four after 15 overs. However, former England all-rounder Gavin Hamilton (44) and Neil McCallum (41) put on 82 in 18 overs to settle things and, after two rain interruptions, the hosts, aided by a string of wides, eventually reached a respectable 203 for nine. However, India openers Robin Uthappa (55) and Gautam Gambhir (85 not out) put on an untroubled century for the first wicket in 20 overs, making the revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 209 in 46 overs look something of a breeze. The winning boundary was struck in the 40th over by captain Rahul Dravid, a local favorite from his days as Scotland's overseas player four years ago, in the 40th over.
Blades to sue Hammers
Sheffield United will sue West Ham United for the cost of relegation from the Premier League last season. "Sheffield United is today initiating legal proceedings against West Ham United seeking substantial compensation for relegation," the Blades said in a statement. They estimate the cost of going down to be more than ?30 million (US$59.62 million). The Blades claim West Ham gained an unfair advantage because Carlos Tevez, whose form in the second half of last season was inspirational and helped save the Hammers from going down, was not eligible to play for them. The Blades said West Ham should have had points deducted for breaking transfer regulations but legal moves to force this to happen did not succeed. The Londoners responded on Thursday by publishing a statement on their Web site. "West Ham United is extremely disappointed Sheffield United has seen fit to embark on this latest desperate action," the club said.
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being
FULL GAME: Henry Sosa pitched nine innings for the Guardians, allowing only six hits all night, while the Monkeys’ offense were also shut out of their game Outfielder Lin An-ko carried a big bat this week — before his Uni-President Lions ran into the Fubon Guardians last night — blasting four home runs, including a grand slam as his side won four games in a row and moved into second on the CPBL table. However, the Lions could not sustain their super-charged offense for the whole week, as they were shut out 4-0 by the Guardians in New Taipei City. Fubon’s rookie catcher, Jhang Jin-de, took a page from Lin’s playbook. With two men on, Jhang smacked a three-run homer in the sixth inning. Henry Sosa of the Dominican Republic