Because of the polar vortex moving across the eastern United States with dangerously cold temperatures and high wind gusts, Laurel Park announced it has canceled live racing for today. Laurel will remain open today for simulcast wagering. "With record-setting arctic air moving into the area and wind gusts expected up to 50 mph, we felt it was in the best interest of our athletes to cancel racing Thursday," Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra. said. Sinatra said Laurel plans to run 10 races on Saturday and Sunday with first race post on both days at 12:15 p.m.
Friday betting: Bettors will take a trip cross-country Friday when the Stronach 5 visits Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields while offering a $50,000 guaranteed pool. The sequence kicks off at Laurel Park at 4:35 p.m. with 10 claimers going a mile. After two races at Gulfstream and another at Santa Anita, the national pick 5 with the industry-low 12-percent takeout will finish at Golden Gate with a starter allowance and a field of eight.
Baltimore's Davis gets newopponent for Feb. 9 fight
Baltimore's Gervonta Davis has a new opponent for his Feb. 9 defense of the WBA junior lightweight title after his previous opponent, Abner Mares, pulled out because of a right-elbow injury suffered in sparring last week. Davis (20-0 with 19 knockouts) will defend against 30-year-old Hugo Ruiz, a former junior featherweight world champion. The change is a disappointing one for the 24-year-old rising star, who was looking to impress fans with a showcase win over Mares, a fighter once considered among the best in the world. But Davis will still headline the card, to be broadcast on Showtime starting at 10 p.m. He last fought on April 21, when he scored a sensational third-round knockout of Jesus Cuellar to claim the vacant WBA title. He expressed repeated frustration at his inactivity for the rest of 2018 but seemed invigorated by the prospect of fighting Mares, a former three-division champion. Ruiz, the late replacement for the fight at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., holds a four-inch height advantage on Davis and has won 39 fights against four defeats. But he'll likely enter the ring as a substantial underdog because he's naturally lighter than Davis and lacks the Baltimore fighter's explosive speed and power. "New opponent. Same goal," Davis wrote on Twitter after the change was announced Wednesday afternoon.
— Childs Walker
NBC Sports Washington, Spirit reach broadcast deal
The Washington Spirit, Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington have finalized a broadcast partnership that will provide local TV and digital broadcasts of a minimum of 12 Spirit games during the 2019 National Women's Soccer League season. Expected World Cup-bound players, including U.S. Women's National Team rising stars Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle, will represent the Spirit this season. Spirit games will be shown live on Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington in both the leadup to and in the aftermath of the Women's World Cup. Go to getmonumental.com for more information. A full broadcast schedule for the season will be unveiled in the coming weeks, following the release of the NWSL regular-season schedule.
Major League Soccer: D.C. United re-signed Jamaican national team defender Oniel Fisher to a contract extension. The four-year MLS defender had his most productive season last year, setting career highs in appearances (24), starts (20), minutes (1,832), interceptions (42), tackles won (36), and clearances (43). ... United acquired Argentine defender Leonardo Jara on a season-long loan from Boca Juniors in the Superliga Argentina de Fútbol pending receipt of his P1 Visa and ITC.
Women's college volleyball: Matt Troy, who led Mary Washingto a 133-57 the past six seasons, was hired as head coach by Johns Hopkins. Troy was the head coach at Johns Hopkins from 2010-12.
Women's college lacrosse: Maryland selected seniors Julia Braig (St. Paul's), Jen Giles (Mount Hebron) and Megan Taylor (Glenelg) as team captains. The Terps open the season against George Mason at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium on Feb. 9 at 3 p.m.
Women's college basketball: Mount St. Mary's senior guard Juliette Lawless was named Northeast Conference Co-Player of the Week, and freshman guard Michaela Harrison earned Rookie of the Week honors. Lawless led the Mountaineers to a pair of home wins over LIU Brooklyn and St. Francis Brooklyn, averaging 23.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. Harrison claimed her second straight NEC Rookie of the Week Award after averaging 16.0 points and 2.5 assists. ... Kaylee Otlowski had 10 points and six rebounds to lead Salisbury (14-6) past Mary Washington, 49-41.
— From Sun staff and news services