After 'beautiful' workout, path clears for 'Rachel'

Two potential obstacles to Rachel Alexandra's entry into Saturday's Preakness were lifted Sunday when Mine That Bird co-owner Mark Allen decided not to enter a second horse, Indy Express, and D. Wayne Lukas said he would enter Luv Gov only if doing so doesn't force out the star filly, reported. The Preakness is limited to 14 starters, and preference is given to horses who were nominated to the Triple Crown races. Rachel Alexandra, the spectacular winner of the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, was sold last Monday and new owner Jess Jackson said Sunday after a strong workout by the filly at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., that he intends to enter the Preakness. But because she was not nominated to the Triple Crown, she would be excluded if 14 nominated horses entered. Allen earlier had indicated he would enter winless Indy Express to keep jockey Calvin Borel from switching from Mine That Bird to Rachel Alexandra, then had a change of heart. "I was hanging out with my girlfriend and riding my Harley around here and I got to thinking about it. I ain't going to do it. It just ain't the right thing to do," he told the Web site. Given Allen's change of heart, there would be room for Luv Gov without bumping Rachel Alexandra, who covered the half-mile Sunday in 48.40 seconds, an effort that trainer Steve Asmussen called "beautiful." Pimlico Race Course oddsmaker Frank Carulli said he would make Rachel Alexandra the morning line favorite if she enters.


Stenson wins TPC by 4 shots; Cejka collapses; Woods 8th

Henrik Stenson won The Players Championship with a flawless final round on the treacherous TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., playing without a bogey for a 6-under-par 66 and a four-shot victory. Stenson, 33, of Sweden, started the day five shots behind Alex Cejka, in a six-way tie for second that included Tiger Woods. But as Cejka collapsed with a 42 on the front nine and a 79 overall, Stenson surged ahead and never let off until he tapped in for par for his second PGA Tour victory, and the biggest win of his career. Stenson finished at 12-under 276 to finish four shots clear of Ian Poulter. He earned $1.71 million and moves to No. 5 in the world. Woods shot a 73 and finished alone in eighth.

ELSEWHERE: : Cristie Kerr emerged from a four-way tie for the lead with a tap-in birdie on the par-5 15th hole and held on to win the LPGA Michelob Ultra Open in Williamsburg, Va., for the second time. ... John Daly shot a 5-under 66 to finish in a three-way tie for second place behind Daniel Vancsik at the European PGA Italian Open in Turin.

Et cetera

High schools may use replay in basketball title games

Instant replay has been approved starting next season for last-second shots in high school basketball championship games. The rule change by the National Federation of State High School Associations allows replay for review of a shot attempt at the end of the fourth quarter or overtime, and only when the last-second shot would affect the outcome of the game. The rule is not mandatory and leaves the decision whether to use it to each state association. The change would let officials determine whether the ball left the shooter's hand before time expired or whether the shot was a two- or three-pointer.

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS: : Tim Thomas stopped 19 shots for his first NHL playoff shutout, helping the host Bruins keep their season going by beating the Hurricanes, 4-0, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Phil Kessel scored twice. ... Johan Franzen, Jiri Hudler, Darren Helm and Henrik Zetterberg scored, helping the defending champion Red Wings beat the visiting Ducks, 4-1, and take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

MORE HOCKEY: : Russia won the gold medal at the world championship in Bern, Switzerland, beating Canada, 2-1. Sweden won the bronze medal, beating the United States, 4-2.

TENNIS: : French player Richard Gasquet, 22, ranked 23rd in the world, acknowledged that he has been told he tested positive for cocaine but says he's innocent.The Web site of sports daily L'Equipe reported that traces of the banned drug were found in his urine sample at the Sony Ericsson Open, where he pulled out after the first round. He could face a two-year ban.

CYCLING: : Alessandro Petacchi edged Mark Cavendish to win the second stage of the Giro d'Italia in a mass sprint in Trieste while Lance Armstrong finished in the main pack and gained time on overall race favorite Ivan Basso.

AUTO RACING: : Jenson Button won his fourth Formula One race of the season, taking the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona ahead of Brawn GP teammate Rubens Barrichello. ... Despite late concerns about having enough fuel, Mark Martin, 50, won his second race of the year Saturday night, taking the Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

SWIMMING: : Japan's Ryosuke Irie set a world record in the men's 200-meter backstroke in Canberra, Australia, finishing in 1 minute, 52.86 seconds to break the record held by American Ryan Lochte, by more than a second.

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