Victor Carrasco guided 9-5 second choice Daily News ($5.80) to a decisive three-length victory in Laurel Park's second race Friday, the jockey's first local win since returning Sept. 16 from a foot injury.
A day before the free-agent market officially opens and just hours after learning that Kelechi Osemele was unofficially headed to the Oakland Raiders on a record-breaking contract, the Ravens reached a tentative agreement with tight end Benjamin Watson on a two-year deal. The 12-year veteran had 74 catches for 825 yards and six touchdowns last year for the New Orleans Saints.
Cam Newton brings an added dimension to the quarterback position. There have been signal-callers — like Steve Young, Fran Tarkenton and Steve McNair — who ran out of necessity, and others, like Seattle's Russell Wilson, who took it further with some designed runs. But Newton is a threat as both a passer and runner, and unlike the others, he just doesn't give a damn who he has to fly over to win the championship.
A season of gradual improvement from the safety combo of Kendrick Lewis and Will Hill has the Ravens confident they have their long-term solution at the position — and eyeing the safeties on the opposing sideline Sunday as the standard they hope to one day meet. The Seattle Seahawks safety tandem of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor has played a large role in the team's two straight Super Bowl runs, the product of five straight years starting together.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco allowed the Broncos¿ defense to do what their offense seemingly couldn¿t: get in the end zone. Cornerback Aqib Talib got position on Steve Smith Sr., intercepted Flacco¿s pass and returned it 53 yards for the go-ahead score. Those were the decisive points as the Broncos dropped the Ravens, 19-13, in front of an announced 76,798 at Sports Authority Field.
The NFL had the Ravens and teams with a similar free-agent philosophy in mind when the league shifted a key date this year. Instead of having the compensatory draft pick formula count against teams when they signed unrestricted free agents prior to June 1, the league moved the date up to Tuesday.
Before the NFL turns over the league¿s calendar each year, top Ravens officials join owner Steve Bisciotti in Florida for a comprehensive look at the upcoming season and the one that will follow it, taking into account roster construction, salary cap issues and free agency.
As they prepare for this year's draft, which gets underway with Thursday's first round, the Ravens seemingly have more needs on offense than defense. They want another running back and a tight end and they are thin on outside targets for quarterback Joe Flacco. If there was a draft where the Ravens would target offense, this would seemingly be it.
Kendrick Lewis, 26, started all 16 games at free safety for the Houston Texans last season and led them with 84 tackles to go along with two interceptions. The season before, he started 15 of 16 games with the Kansas City Chiefs, making 61 tackles and one interception.
Day two of free agency brought more reminders of the Ravens' key offseason losses. The team continued to weigh their free-agent options, exercising patience as they try to fill roster holes without an abundance of salary cap space.