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Digest (Dec. 27): John Jones seeking to end skid at Laurel Park

Winless in seven starts this year, Matthew Schera's multiple stakes winner John Jones will look to end that drought in a familiar place as he goes after his third consecutive Jennings Stakes victory ($75,000) Saturday at Laurel Park. The Jennings for 3-year-olds and up is the first of two stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses on the 10-race Christmastide Day program, followed by the $75,000 Politely for fillies and mares 3 and older at 6 furlongs. First race post time is noon. Also on the card are the $100,000 Dave's Friend for 3-year-olds and up and $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go for females 3 and older, both at a mile, and a pair of seven-furlong juvenile sprints – the $100,000 Heft for 2-year-olds and $100,000 Gin Talking for 2-year-old fillies. John Jones won each of his first four starts after being claimed by trainer Lacey Gaudet in July 2016, including his and her first career stakes victories in the Mister Diz, defeating late legend Ben's Cat. They capped the year with a front-running five-length romp in the Jennings. Last year, John Jones got off to a late start and didn't race until early October but ended his season with a 2¼-length triumph in the Jennings, besting 10 rivals including fellow multiple stakes winners Talk Show Man and Sonny Inspired, Rockinn On Bye, Clubman and Final Prospect – all of whom return this year. John Jones owns seven wins from 11 starts going a mile on the dirt at Laurel, and was beaten a neck when second in his most recent attempt, an off-the-turf edition of the Find Stakes Sept. 29 behind Sonny Inspired. He has had five weeks since finishing sixth in the 11/16-mile Swatara Stakes on Nov. 21 at Penn National. Laurel's fall meet-leading rider Trevor McCarthy will be aboard for the third straight race, breaking from Post 2 in a field of eight at 120 pound. ... Fellow multiple stakes winners Crabcakes and My Magician are among eight rivals looking to Limited View's return to competition in the $100,000 Politely. ... Hillside Equestrian Meadows' Laki, having run against and beaten some of the region's top sprinters this year, will have the benefit of home track advantage over fellow multiple stakes-winning shippers Altissimo and Cautious Giant in Saturday's $100,000 Dave's Friend at Laurel.

Et Cetera

Cossins leaving Cubsto join Hyde's Orioles staff

Tim Cossins, the Chicago Cubs ' minor league field and catching coordinator since December 2012, left the organization Thursday to join new Orioles manager Brandon Hyde's staff. Hyde, 45, a Cubs coach for the past five seasons took the Orioles job Dec. 14.

— Chicago Tribune

National Women's Soccer League: Richie Burke, a longtime youth coach in the D.C. area, has been hired by the Washington Spirit to coach the NWSL team, a person close to the situation said Thursday. Burke addressed the players for the first time during a conference call Thursday. Neither he nor Spirit officials responded to messages seeking comment. Burke was the first choice of the Spirit's new majority owner, local tech executive Steve Baldwin. Bill Lynch, the team's primary investor since its launch in 2013, will continue to have an ownership stake, multiple sources said.

— Steven Goff, The Washington Post

NBA : The Atlanta Hawks transferred guard Jaylen Adams (Mount Saint Joseph) to the Erie BayHawks of the NBA G League. Adams, who starred for St. Bonaventure last season, is on a two-way contract.

From Sun staff and news services

National Hockey League : Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan), Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (Atlantic), Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (Central) and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (Pacific) topped their divisions in the 2019 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by adidas to earn the captaincies and first roster spots for the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend, which will be held Jan. 25-26 in San Jose.

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