Juvenile races at Laurel draw large fields

Miss Bullistic and Stonebriar could bring bettors a little Christmas week cheer.

Big fields are entered in stakes for 2-year olds Friday and Saturday at Laurel Park: the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship and the Maryland Juvenile Futurity. Thirteen fillies go in Friday's race and 12 colts and geldings are listed in Saturday's Futurity. Both races are 7 furlongs on the main track. The Juvenile Filly is headed by Miss Bullistic. She is 3-for-6 lifetime with two stakes victories, the Selima at Laurel and the Freyer at Parx Racing. The favorite is trained by Hamilton Smith and will be ridden by Jevian Toledo. Other contenders include maiden winner Miss Everything (4-1), stakes winner Pret Say Eye (5-1), maiden Candida H. (6-1) and four time winner Mo Bagels (6-1). Stonebriar is the 8-5 favorite in Saturday's Futurity. Although he is winless in five starts, the Tim Keefe trainee finished third in the Maryland Million Nursery and second in the Elsner Memorial Stakes at Parx. The Elsner Stakes earned him a Daily Racing Form comment of "gamely to the end." Sheldon Russell retains the mount. Others readying for the Futurity are maiden Ghost Bay (7-2) and maiden winners All I Karabout (6-1) and Takeachance On Me (10-1).

Maryland men's basketball

Terps ascend to No. 15; Big 10 honors Layman

After beating Oklahoma State on the road Sunday, the Maryland men's basketball team continued to move up in the polls Monday. The Terps climbed two spots in the Associated Press writers' poll and three places in the USA Today coaches' poll, to No. 15 in both. Mark Turgeon's team is now the second-highest-ranked member of the Big Ten, behind Wisconsin (No. 6 in both polls). Ohio State dropped from No. 12 to No. 18 in the AP poll and to No. 21 in the USA Today poll after losing to North Carolina on Saturday. Also, Terps junior forward Jake Layman was named the Big Ten's Co-Player of the Week, with Indiana's Troy Williams. In Maryland's only game last week, Layman scored a team-high 21 points and pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds in a 73-64 win over the Cowboys. Senior guard Dez Wells likely will return for the Terps (11-1) in their next game, Saturday against Oakland. Wells, the team's leading scorer the past two seasons, has been out since fracturing his right wrist in a win over then-No. 13 Iowa State on Nov. 25 in Kansas City, Mo.

Don Markus

Maryland football

Likely, not Diggs, listed as primary kick returner

Maryland released an updated depth chart Monday in advance of its Foster Farms Bowl matchup with Stanford next Tuesday. Cornerback Will Likely still is listed as the primary kick returner even with wide receiver Stefon Diggs set to return from a lacerated kidney he suffered against Penn State on Nov. 1. Likely has averaged 28 yards on 12 kick returns in three games since stepping in for Diggs. Freshman wide receiver Juwann Winfree is not listed on Maryland's two-deep. Winfree is eligible to return after being suspended the final two games of the Terps' regular season because of a violation of the university's student-athlete code of conduct. Senior Jake Wheeler and redshirt sophomore Michael Dunn again are listed as the starters at left and right tackle, respectively. Wheeler replaced Dunn at left tackle heading into Maryland's game against Michigan on Nov. 15 and started the final two regular-season games. Dunn was moved to right tackle and has started the last two games there over redshirt junior Ryan Doyle, who was Maryland's starting right tackle for the first 10 games.

Matt Zenitz, Baltimore Sun Media Group

Et cetera

Reliever Bell signs minor league deal with Nationals

Right-handed relief pitcher Heath Bell, 37, took to Derek Jeter's new Web site, The Players Tribune, to announce that he has signed a deal with the Washington Nationals. Bell didn't specify the type of deal in his essay, but it is a minor league deal with an invitation to big league camp given his recent struggles in the majors and even in Triple-A. Bell's major league base salary will be $1 million, and it could nearly double with incentives if he pitches well, according to a person familiar with the deal. The deal gives Bell another chance to rediscover the form that made him an All-Star from 2009 to 2011.

Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

Men's college basketball: UMBC freshman guard Jourdan Grant (Archbishop Spalding) was named America East Rookie of the Week. ... Hood senior guard Chris Cook was named Commonwealth Conference Player of the Week.

Women's college basketball: Loyola Maryland freshman guard Bri Betz-White was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week. ... Stevenson sophomore forward Sara Tarbert was named Commonwealth Conference Player of the Week.

Men's college soccer: Navy senior defender Joseph Greenspan was named a first-team All-American by College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer.

Women's college volleyball: Recent Stevenson graduate Samantha Perillo was named the Middle Atlantic Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year in her sport.

Baseball: Author Fran Zimniuch will discuss how to write a baseball book at the regular meeting of "Talkin' Baseball" at 9 a.m. Jan. 3 at Brighton Gardens, 7110 Minstrel Way in Columbia. For information, call 410-740-1145.

From Sun staff and news services

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