Monday, May 20, 2013.
My favorite line in the aftermath of Saturday’s Preakness Stakes came from Joe Drape’s account of the race in the New York Times. Wrote Drape, “They are a couple of old guys, D. Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens, and for nearly 30 years, they have fallen in love on the racetrack, traded harsh words off it and fallen back in love enough times to be made honorary Kardashians.” My second favorite line came from Stevens himself: “I was just walking the dog.” That was the Caldwell native’s description of the home stretch when he knew he and Oxbow had the Preakness in the bag. At 50, Stevens became the oldest jockey ever to win the second leg of the Triple Crown—and the first grandfather ever to win a Triple Crown race to boot.
It was a monumental upset as Stevens beat 15-1 odds and the favorite to win the Triple Crown, Orb, just 4½ months after mounting his comeback. Oxbow led wire-to-wire. "In these classic races," said Stevens, "you don't give up anything they give you for free, and they gave me a free three-quarters of a mile today, and I was smiling pretty good midway down the backside." It was Stevens’ ninth victory in Triple Crown events and his first since 2001. He has now won each leg of horse racing’s trilogy three times. Lukas had waited longer between trips to the winner’s circle than Stevens—the trainer’s last victory was in 2000.
A USA Today story written by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press sheds a little more light on the Titus Young timeline. “About a week before he was arrested for the first time, Titus Young happened to be on the same flight from Miami to Detroit as Lions linebacker and former teammate Stephen Tulloch,” writes Birkett. “Tulloch said the free-agent wide receiver took their chance encounter as an opportunity to open up about the mental issues he has been dealing with.”
Birkett continues: “At one point, Tulloch said Young even shared a paper explaining his disorder, a condition Tulloch didn't want to reveal Friday. ‘He's aware of the situation that he's dealing with and he showed me a paper and we went over it and I looked over it, and I understand it," Tulloch said. "A lot of people laugh about it and ke-ke-ke about it, but it's real. He has head issues, and the Titus Young when he came in as a rookie and the Titus Young now is two different people.”
When we saw the sea of empty seats in Aloha Stadium as Boise State played Hawaii last November, it was just the tip of a bigger iceberg. The Hawaii athletic department has rolled a up a staggering $13 million deficit over the past 10 years, and it has been aggravated by the collapse of fan support for the struggling Rainbow Warriors’ football program. Well, from the “it would never happen in the Gem State” department, the $13 million is going to be “absorbed” by the Chancellor’s office at the end of this fiscal year on June 30. At least it gives new athletic director Ben Jay a fighting chance to succeed.
Two Boise State football recruits took home track and field hardware for Rocky Mountain at the state 5A meet over the weekend. Khalil Oliver, a junior safety who has committed for the class of 2014, won the 110-meter high hurdles in 14.21 seconds. And one of this year’s signees, Eli McCullough, finished his high school career by taking the shot put at 58 feet, 2¼ inches. Rocky won the boys 5A championship.
The Grizzlies also won the 5A girls golf title, as Treasure Valley teams took home 13 state championships in spring sports for the week. Four schools, Eagle, Rocky Mountain, Bishop Kelly and Fruitland corralled two crowns apiece. Interestingly for Fruitland, one of the titles was not in baseball. The Grizzlies, with Boise State linebacker-to-be Joe Martarano playing what he says will be the final baseball game of his career, fell 8-4 on their home field Saturday to Snake River. Fruitland’s 3A titles were in boys and girls tennis. The Cinderella of the weekend was the Timberline High baseball team, which barely qualified for state and then won it all with a 6-2 triumph over Coeur d’Alene Saturday.
Another healthy payday for Graham DeLaet, as the former Boise State standout took home $174,200 after tying for 10th yesterday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, TX. DeLaet was seven shots back of winner Sang-Moon Bae after carding a pair of three-under 67s in the first two rounds and a couple even-par 70s over the final two days. If DeLaet could just have the 17th hole back on Saturday, when he double bogeyed a par three. Fellow former Bronco Troy Merritt tied for 29th at the Web.com Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am in South Carolina. And, in his final event as a current Bronco, T.K. Kim finished 20th at the NCAA West Regional in Pullman, posting three consecutive one-under 71s. Kim had 12 top 25 results as a senior, tying Merritt for the most in Boise State history.
It was a two-man race at the finish Saturday in the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon. After 26.1 miles, Moscow’s Alex Talhelm edged Declo’s Ryan Achatz by just 12 seconds, crossing in 2:45:43. Boise’s Brittany Goicoechea won comfortably on the women’s side, running a 3:09.00. The second-place finisher came a long way for the Famous Potato—Natalie Malligan of Gymea Bay, Australia.
Two former Boise Hawks get some notice today, both of them veteran pitchers. Ricky Nolasco of the Miami Marlins, the best player left (albet an unhappy one) on a team gutted by ownership during the winter, beat Arizona 2-1 yesterday to snap a seven-game Marlins losing streak. Nolasco went eight innings, allowing just one run and striking out 11 in improving his record to 3-5. He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in victories with 79. Then there’s John Lackey of Boston, who was as sharp as he’s been in two years in a 5-1 Red Sox win at Minnesota. Lackey, now 2-4, went six innings and yielded one unearned run in what could have been a longer stint were it not for a three-hour rain delay at Target Field. The break was long enough for the stadium to show the original “Sandlot” film in its entirety on the Jumbotron.
This Day In Sports…May 20, 1978:
In the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, the second act of horse racing’s fabled trilogy, Affirmed reprises his narrow Kentucky Derby victory, beating Alydar to the wire again. Three weeks later, Affirmed would top Alydar one more time—this time by a nose at the Belmont Stakes—to become only the 11th Triple Crown winner since 1919. There have been none since.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)