Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vettel maintains focus

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel has made it clear he won't be taking anything for granted, that despite the German extending his lead at the top of the driver's championship to 77 points after winning the European Grand Prix in Valencia at the weekend. The result has prompted Vettel's rivals to admit the title race is all but over, even though the season is just eight races old.

The German has started seven of the eight races this year from pole, going on to win six of them, in a start to the season that even the most optimistic Red Bull fan couldn't have envisaged. With his mammoth lead over his nearest rivals Jenson Button and Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, it would take a monumental slip up from the team and the 23-year-old for both titles to once again be claimed by the team come the end of the season and the Formula One odds reflect this.

While everyone has been quick to rule the title race all but over, Vettel has made it clear he isn't assuming anything, insisting anything can still happen over the remaining 11 races this year.

"I don't look at the gap - it is a long season," he said.

"But, for sure we have had a phenomenal start to the season. We continue that way, we have to take every single race as it comes."

Vettel will be hoping to continue his stunning start to the season when they circuit heads to Silverstone next week.

Newcastle win just the tonic for July Cup hope Genki

Roger Charlton's admirable seven-year-old Genki finally landed his first group race when getting the better of a fine tussle with Doncaster Rover to land the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle on Saturday in front of a massive crowd of Geordie race fans, writes Elliot Slater.

Taking the opening race on The Pitman's Derby Day at the Gosforth Park circuit, Genki was back in action only a week after having finished eighth to Society Rock (beaten only four lengths) in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and was certainly not winning out of turn. The rain-softened ground appeared to help the gelded son of Shinko Forest who was a little tardy leaving the stalls under George Baker but gradually moved into contention as the front-runners began to run out of steam. Baker commented that he always thought he was going to win once he got upsides Doncaster Rover, and sure enough the Beckhampton based gelding didn't let the sound down as he battled to his second success of the season having beaten Iver Bridge Lad in the Listed Abernant Stakes at Newmarket in April. The Newmarket odds now suggest he could be set for another win at that track.

Genki, owned by Gillian Khosla, was recording his eight win from 29 starts and adds the Chipchase Stakes to his other big win which came back in 2009 when beating Evens And Odds to win the prestigious Stewards Cup at Glorious Goodwood. Clearly getting better with age, only last September he ran probably his best race yet when a fine third to Markab in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock, so will not be out of place at the highest level if he does indeed turn up at Newmarket for a crack at the Darley July Cup.

Bookmakers reacted to his Newcastle win by cutting Genki's odds to win the latest leg of the Global Sprint Challenge to as short as 16/1 in places, having been available at up to 33/1 before his weekend success.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Royal Ascot – What Did We Learn?

When any of the big meetings or one of the major Festivals is completed it is always a good idea to take a look back and see what we can learn from the sport that we have seen and what lessons can be learned for the future.

The first thought is often born out at these meetings and is based around how competitive they are, and given that competitiveness backing the "hype" and short-priced horses is rarely the way to profit from these meetings. Supporters of the two shortest priced horses – So You Think and Frankel – endured a tough time and would not have left the meeting in profit. In fact supporting all the horses priced at 2/1 or less this week at the Royal Meeting would have resulted in a level stakes loss of over two points, with only four of the ten horses priced in that range proving successful. Anyone looking at the horse racing betting tips should bear this in mind.

When looking to support horses at those sorts of prices it is worth remembering those figures at Festival and big meetings, the racing is far more competitive than usual and the racing betting reflects this.

It takes time to establish yourself as a jockey and break through to the top-flight and for some time now it has looked as though Silvestre De Sousa would be able to do this and confirm his outstanding talent. De Sousa has honed his craft on the bread-and-butter tracks of the North and with just two rides at the meeting starting at single-figure odds from 15 mounts he looked up against it to break his Royal Ascot duck, but he scored on both Namibian and Fox Hunt for Mark Johnston who provided the majority of his rides. It looks as though Johnston now sees De Sousa as his first choice jockey at the bigger meetings as he also scored a double for the trainer on Derby Day. It's surely only a matter of time until he is used more and more by the big Southern stables.

The French females didn't get off to the best of starts with the defeat of Goldikova in the opening race of the meeting but they stamped their authority via the fillies by going 1-2 in the Coronation Stakes. Immortal Verse led home Nova Hawk and it would appear that the top-class three-year-old fillies are this year residing on the other side of the English Channel. The Falmouth Stakes would appear the next obvious target for this pair in a race where three year-olds have been successful in four out of the past five years.

Tiger a doubt for the Open

Three-time Open champion Tiger Woods appears to be struggling in his bid to return to action in time for next month's tournament at the Royal St George's Course in Sandwich. The 35-year-old has been out of action since May, with recurrences of the various injuries to his left leg, and has now pulled out of next week's AT&T National event, which had been pencilled in as his return event. With the third major of the year edging closer, the race is really hotting up for Woods to be fit in time for the July 14th start. Those looking at the British Open betting odds golf will be wondering if he can make it.

Tiger's hopes of adding more majors to the 14 he already owns seems to be looking more and more unlikely, with his body struggling to handle the regular stresses and strains. The injuries have had a major impact on his disappointing run of form that has seen him fail to win a title since September 2009, but they haven't been the only reason for Tiger's lack of form and the British Open specials reflect this.

The much publicised off-course problems have been well documented over the past 18 months and Tiger's game has come under even more pressure and scrutiny since returning to action. The battle really now is on for Woods to get his body back fit enough for him to start hopefully challenging for majors again. Whether that is at next month's Open is still very much in doubt.

Schumacher admits crash error

Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher has admitted he was at fault for the crash that ended his hopes of challenging at last weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia. The German damaged his front wing after a collision with Renault's Vitaly Petrov but has been quick to claim responsibility for the incident, admitting he had been trying to sneak the corner ahead of the Russian who was on aging tyres.

"Obviously knocking off my front wing was my own problem. I was trying to keep position with Petrov, who was on old tyres and I wanted to stay in front of him," he said.

"I simply couldn't stop it anymore, over-locked the front, slid into him and lost my front wing. And then the race was pretty much done."

The race had been the chance for the seven-time world champion to build on his impressive return to form in Montreal, where the Mercedes driver finished fourth in his best drive since returning to the sport last year. The damaged front-wing ruined any chance of a repeat of Mercedes Canadian success, with Schumacher eventually coming in 17th after the enforced extra pit stop. Fans of Formula One betting will be wondering if he can continue his improvements next time out.

It wasn't all bad for Mercedes in Valencia though after Schumacher's team-mate Nico Rosberg came in seventh to at least claim some points for the team. Rosberg was overtaken by Jenson Button in the early stages before managing to overtake Jaime Alguersuari's Toro Rosso to claim seventh place ahead of the Spaniard in eighth.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tevez 'Too Expensive' for Milan

Inter Milan has poured cold water on rumours linking the team with Manchester City forward, Carlos Tevez.

Marco Branca, former Inter and Middlesbrough player, and current head of the Italian club's technical team, said “absolutely no” to reports that Milan were lining up an offer for the Argentine. “His salary means it is out of the question”, Branca explained.

Tevez commands £230,000 a week at Manchester City, a figure that would have to be matched or improved upon before Inter could even begin to contemplate his £50m transfer fee. Spanish giants, Real Madrid, have also expressed dismay at Tevez's inflexible wage demands. Those following the football betting will wonder if he will manage to get a move without settling for less.

Despite enjoying a lucrative existence in Manchester, Tevez has made no secret of his desire to play football in mainland Europe. The Blues' efforts to keep their star striker at Eastlands have weakened.

since December, when the footballer's initial transfer request was declined. However, City have said that Tevez will leave on the club's terms, or not at all, as the player still has three years left to run on his contract and the football odds suggest he could stay put.

Roberto Mancini, City's manager, has already demonstrated that he will not be bullied by the striker. The Italian has threatened to strip Tevez of his captaincy and 'throw him to the reserves' if he tries to leave Manchester without the club's blessing.

Milan's Marco Branca intimated that clubs who wish to scale back their spending to comply with UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules could forfeit their ability to compete in a “crazy” transfer market, effectively ruling out the purchase of players like Tevez and Fernando Torres. The former Liverpool striker is believed to have been the 'template' for Tevez's monstrous transfer fee, and arguably, the reason why the Argentine may not be going anywhere this summer.

Tevez's continued presence at the City of Manchester Stadium would be a boon to the Blues ahead of their debut Champions League campaign.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cake Mania 2

Cake Mania 2 allows you to enter the fantasy world of controlling a small bakery store with the aim of serving customers correctly and as quickly as possible.
Like any business, you need to put the effort into efficient and accurate service to keep your customers happy.

All the customers enter your bakery happy; this is represented by four hearts. The aim is to keep the hearts remaining by not upsetting them and if possible increase their number of hearts.

The first task is very simply, give them a menu and they will go up to five hearts. But if you keep them waiting too long for their order, you will find they will soon become upset and the hearts begin to disappear.

The cakes that are made in bakery differ from shape, colour and size. They all have to be made to the customer's exact order and fans of Cake Mania online will know how hard this can be.

Your character, Jill, always needs to be active in the game as queues will soon gather and workload will add up. Those looking for freegames should really enjoy it.

Jill will have to go through the steps of cooking the cake in the oven, then making sure it is frosted before finally decorating the cake, if required.

Points are gained in this game for delivering the correct cake to their customer. There is also a tip available if it reaches them in quick timing. 30 points are given for a frosted cake and 40 points for decorated ones.

Avoid baking the wrong cakes because points are lost if you have to throw them away or give the customer the wrong order.

Cake Mania 2 is a fun game for all ages and can provide you the fantasy of owning your own business.

Furyk to battle through dip

Jim Furyk feels playing as many rounds as possible is the best way to recapture his form ahead of next month's Open Championship.

The 41-year-old goes in search of his second major title at Royal St George's, but he will need a big turnaround in fortunes if he is to feature towards the top of the leaderboard.

After winning the FedEx Cup on the US Tour last year, Furyk has struggled for form in 2011 and missed the cut at this month's US Open.

The American has claimed just two top-ten finishes this year and instead of taking a break and working on his swing on the practice ground, Furyk intends to play through the bad patch.

The 2003 US Open champion plans to play in three consecutive events, starting at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, in preparation for the third major of the year – which starts on July 14 and the British Open betting shows he needs to find some form.

Furyk revealed: "When we are not playing well, you have to keep playing. You can't go home and practice and get better.

"I haven't putted well this year, that's no secret, but to just blame it on my putting would be chickening out a little bit."

Furyk has slipped to 19th in the world rankings, after missing five cuts in 10 tournaments played to date – including three in his last four events.

The veteran has finished tied-fourth on three separate occasions at the Open, in 1997, 1998 and 2006, but missed the cut at St Andrew's last year.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vettel Can Continue To Blaze A Trail In European Grand Prix

Despite having won six of the eight races and been second in the other two, there are many predicting that this week’s European F1 Grand Prix in Valencia will see the beginning of the end of Sebastian Vettel’s and Red Bull’s reign as the kingpins of the 2011 F1 season. This is surely nonsense!

The reason why that prediction is nonsense is simple; Vettel has a 60 point lead in the Drivers Championship while his Red Bull team are 69 points clear in the Constructors. The German world champion has qualified in pole position in every race bar one and even then he was on the front row in second place. Admittedly there are 12 more races still to go and it is possible that Jenson Button, who is nearest to Vettel in the F1 Leaderboard, and co, can win further races. Additionally there is proof to suggest that McLaren and Ferrari are getting quicker as the season unfolds, but to bridge such a gap is surely beyond them.

Even if Red Bull lose some of their early season dominance it is almost impossible to see Vettel and his team mate, Mark Webber not achieving regular podium finishes. This, at least in Vettel’s case will be more than ample to secure him and the team top spot by the season’s end.

It is agreed that the European Grand Prix could play a significant role in the long term, but it should not be forgotten that Vettel won here last year after claiming ‘pole’ and Webber started on the grid in second. It is also agreed that the Red Bull team will feel more pressure after the last three races which has seen their chief rivals take closer order. That pressure possibly led to the mistake made by Vettel two weeks ago in Montreal when he lost the race on the last lap to Jenson Button.

Qualifying will be more important than usual in this race as Valencia, traditionally, has been a very difficult track for overtaking. That said the double DRS (Drag Reduction System) which will be in use in Valencia will allow for easier overtaking, as it did in Montreal, but it will not necessarily make up for a decent position on the grid. Both McLaren and Ferrari will be happier than Red Bull with the double DRS but they will be even happier if any of their drivers can start from ‘pole’ for which the betting market makes Vettel a long odds on favourite to achieve.

If Vettel makes ‘Pole’ then Vettel takes the chequered flag on Sunday, it is as simple as that and he is favourite to do so in the latest F1 odds for this race! Besides, even f he doesn’t he will almost certainly claim a top three finish, giving him sufficient points to take a further significant step to the Championship.

Woods withdrawal leads to Open fears

Tiger Woods' participation in this year's Open Championship looks to be in real doubt, after the former world number one was forced to withdraw from another tournament.

The 14-time major winner has been sidelined for five weeks, when he pulled out of the Players Championship after just nine holes.

Woods had suffered knee and achilles injuries during the third round of the Masters back in April and on medical advice, was forced to take a break.

The 35-year-old had to sit out the US Open but had previously stated that he was hopeful of being fit to take his place in the field at Royal St George's. Anyone looking at The Open odds will be keeping a close eye on his progress.

But that prospect looks to be in real danger now following the news that he has withdrawn from the A&T National, which takes place in Pennsylvania from June 29.

With around four weeks until the start of the Open, Woods remains optimistic about his chances of playing at Sandwich, even though he will obviously be short of practice and competitive action.

According to his swing coach, Sean Foley, the pair of them have not worked together since the week of the Players at Sawgrass.

On Twitter, the world number 17 wrote: "Doctor's orders: sitting out the #attnational. I'll be in Philly to support the event. Feeling stronger every day, but not 100%."

Even though Woods has not won a tournament for 20 months, sections of the American media continue to refer to him as the world's top golfer and much will be made of a showdown with US Open winner Rory McIlroy.

Contador has strong Spanish support at Saxo Bank

Defending champion Alberto Contador will have his usual Spanish alliances around him when he takes his place in next month's Tour de France in controversial circumstances.

The three-time Tour de France champion will be there when the three-week race starts on July 2nd despite having a doping hearing hanging around his neck.

Contador tested positive for clenbuterol during the final rest day of the 2010 Tour de France, but was then cleared by the Spanish cycling federation only for the International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency to appeal.

The Spaniard has to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but his hearing has been delayed until August, meaning he is free to race the 2011 Tour de France even knowing a ban would annul all his results since he failed the initial test. Those following the Tour de France best odds will have mixed feelings about this to say the least.

Contador will be the main man for Saxo Bank in the race and he has his close friend Benjamin Noval and also the climbing excellence of Jesus Hernandez and Dani Navarro among his team-mates as he goes for a fourth Tour de France title. Anyone looking at the Tour de France promotions certainly won't be able to rule him out.

Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis has stated they have picked an "exceptionally strong team" that can aid Contador throughout the three-week race.

He added: "It is no secret that we are in the race to win it, so our job has been to identify the rider group that will be able to give Alberto the best possible support through the three weeks."

One of Contador's main rivals for the Tour de France title will be Andy Schleck and Leopard Trek manager Brian Nygaard has stated the Luxembourg rider impresses him as he prepares for the race.

Schleck struggled at the Tour de Suiss but ultimately won the best climber green jersey and Nygaard stated he saw some "very good" numbers for his team's lead rider.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Champions name their preliminary World Cup squad

Defending world champions South Africa have named their preliminary World Cup squad of 49 players. The enlarged part will be whittled down to 30 before the squad fly off to New Zealand later this year, looking to defend the title they won in 2007 in Paris. South Africa will start their campaign facing Wales, Samoa, Fiji and Namibia in Group D, overwhelmingly backed to progress to the knock-out stages.

The 49-man squad is made up of experienced stars with only six uncapped players amongst the party. Props Dean Greyling, Werner Kruger and Coenier Oosthuizen will have a chance to earn their spot on the plane, as will back-row pair Ashley Johnson and Duane Vermeulen and fly-half Elton Jantjies. Those looking at the Rugby World Cup betting odds will be keeping a close eye on their progress.

The overseas players selected have been Ulster trio Johann Muller, BJ Botha and Ruan Pienaar, along with Racing Metro's Francois Steyn. There is also a return for experienced scrum-half Ricky Januarie, who will be hoping to earn his spot in the final squad.

The squad will also form the basis of the shortened Tri Nations campaign that kicks-off this summer, likely to be the final ever three-team version of the tournament with Argentina expected to join next season.

The Springboks head coach Peter de Villiers has declared himself happy with the makeup of the squad.

He said: "We have got a good blend of youth and experience as well as including some uncapped players who have forced their way into contention for selection with their performances in Super rugby."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hard court season on the horizon

The grass court season is a very short one in tennis and all too quickly eyes will move onto the hard courts and the build-up to the US Open.

With Wimbledon being the third Grand Slam event of the season, and coming only weeks after the French Open with very little time for players to adapt to grass, very quickly the summer tournaments finish.

This is an important period of the year and can help any player go into the US Open with some great form and confidence if they come out of Wimbledon in high fashion. Those looking to bet on Andy Murray should bear this in mind.

But it can also work to the opposite. After Wimbledon and the French Open coming in very quick succession, the fact the US Open is not until September gives players a chance to recover from a poor grass court season.

Many players have shown over the years they can come back into contention at Flushing Meadow after missing many tournaments, either by choice or through injury, as they are 'fresh' compared to many of their rivals. The US Open 2011 tennis odds often reflect this.

There are so many tournaments on the international circuit and the hard court season is no different. Players need to be very careful picking and choosing their preparation for the US Open.

While the US Open betting will tend to reflect the world rankings there will always be form players coming through in the weeks before the tournament gets underway.

The tournament also gives one more chance to those top players who have missed out at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon to add a Grand Slam victory to their CV for 2011, while boost their rankings points to get them into the end-of-season tournament.

Flushing Meadows can punish any players who come in under-prepared or in a poor run of form. With so many players under pressure to win a Grand Slam title in their short careers to truly be considered among the top stars of all time, the US Open is usually one of the most entertaining tournaments of the year.

Brazilian tips Bayern for Euro success

Summer signing Rafinha is predicting big things from Bayern Munich this season and feels theGerman giants can lift the Champios League trophy next May.

The Brazilian has moved to the Allianz Arena from Italian outfit Genoa, in a deal believed to be in the region of €5million.

Having penned a three-year-old deal with the Bundesliga outfit, Rafinha has high hopes for the season ahead both domestically and in Europe. Anyone following the Champions League odds may want to bear his comments in mind.

After reaching losing in the final of the Champions League to Inter Milan in 2010, Bayern disappointed last term, finishing third in the league and were knocked out of Europe's top club competition in the first knockout round.

Despite having no permanent manager as yet, Rafinha believes there will be big improvements this season and even think Bayern can overturn Europe's finest.

When asked about his new team's hopes in Europe, the full-back said: "Barcelona are the clear favourites for me. However, I am confident that Bayern have what it takes to dethrone them."

The 25-year-old, who has had a previous spell in Germany with Schalke, also feels Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea and AC Milan can also "pose some problems" for Barca in 2011-12.

It has been ten years since Bayern were Champions League winners – beating Valencia on penalties at the San Siro in 2001.

There is an even bigger incentive though for the Bavarian outfit to rule Europe this season, with the final set to take place at their home ground in May 2012.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Legend predicting best Wimbledon ever

Tennis legend Bjorn Borg predicts this could be the most exciting Wimbledon tournament of all time as there are four top class players all coming into SW19 in peak form.

The Swedish legend is a five-time champion at Wimbledon and enjoyed some classic rivalries in his time, but nothing compared to the prospect awaiting tennis fans when the great tournament gets underway next week. Anyone looking for Wimbledon best bets will be hoping things live up to the hype.

Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray sit in the top four spots in the world rankings and look likely to clash in the semi-final stage and anyone placing Wimbledon tennis bets should remember this.

All of the stars have shown this season they are capable of winning Wimbledon, with Nadal recently winning the French Open title by beating a reformed Federer in the final.

Between them Nadal and Federer have eight Wimbledon titles between them and have dominated the tournament in recent years, but all the eyes in the tennis world have been on Djokovic after he went 43 matches unbeaten from the start of the season to win titles after titles, including the Australian Open.

And then you throw Murray into the mix after he won the AEGON Championships on grass earlier this week, showing some top form in the process, and he will have the passionate home crowd behind him.

Bjorg reckons this is currently the "new golden age of tennis" and the tournament is going to really tough and entertaining when play gets underway at Wimbledon.

"I think Wimbledon is going to be the most exciting ever," he told BBC Sport.

"Everyone is physically healthy - no-one is injured. And they are all playing unbelievable tennis right now. I cannot see anyone else winning Wimbledon apart from these four guys."

If all four players progress to the semi-finals there is the mouth-watering prospect of Nadal taking on Murray and Federer versus Djokovic in what could possibly be the greatest Wimbledon last four matches in history.

10 Sports Media Scandals That Shook the Industry

Studios consisting of sports reporters and analysts, most of whom are guys, often resemble high school locker rooms more than professional work environments. With the extra dosages of testosterone, boundaries can become nonexistent, as evidenced by the numerous incidents that have occurred, or or are said to have occurred, at ESPN. That kind of behavior, which certainly didn't start in the studio, is usually even more evident outside of work, where a few have ruined their careers and lives by merely acting on impulse. These sports media members victimized themselves — just one was victimized by someone else, she's the exception — while making headlines in the process. Whether it was sexual harassment or stupid comments, one can't help but wonder how guys who attended college could be so dumb.
  1. OJ Simpson, murder charges — 1994: Many people forget that, at the time of the Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman murders, Simpson was employed by NBC as an NFL analyst. As rumors of his involvement were essentially confirmed by the infamous Bronco chase, NBC broke from its coverage of the NBA Finals to broadcast the ordeal live. Bob Costas, Simpson's colleague on the NFL on NBC and studio host for the NBA on NBC, narrated the sequence of events as they unfolded, at one point saying "it's not just tragic but now surreal." Of course, before he became one of the most polarizing figures in America, he was one of the most beloved, which is why he was coveted for such television gigs.
  2. Marv Albert, sexual assault charges — 1997: Best known as the voice of the NBA during its most popular era, Albert's professionalism, dry wit and avuncular personality made him the perfect play-by-play man for big events. Because of his positive reputation, nobody would've guessed that he was a sexual deviant prior to his sexual assault charges. When the news broke, the media had a field day with the incident as reports surfaced that he only wore women's underwear and a belt while he repeatedly bit the back of his mistress and allegedly sodomized her. He pled guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery charges, and the sodomy charges were dropped, a relief for Albert, but it didn't prevent NBC from firing him and the late night talk shows from incessantly making jokes at his expense. Albert returned to NBC in 2000 and has managed to fully rehabilitate his career.
  3. Erin Andrews, peephole incident — 2009: The sports media has always been a tough field for women because it's considered a "male domain" unfriendly to outsiders. Andrews, as far as we know, hasn't had to deal with sexual harassment, but she has been gawked at. Male sports fans have been drooling over her since she covered the Braves for TBS, a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed by ESPN, which has gradually elevated her responsibilities during her tenure with the network. At the height of her popularity, she was victimized by a stalker who recorded her nude in her hotel room through a peephole. The video went viral in the summer of 2009, causing Andrews to take a leave of absence from ESPN. The videos were eventually removed from the sites, she appeared on Oprah to discuss the ordeal, and she returned to work with her reputation intact. The culprit, 47-year-old Michael David Barrett, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his action.
  4. Jimmy the Greek, controversial comments — 1988: Football without gambling would be like bread without butter, and Jimmy the Greek recognized the necessary union. His successful weekly pro-football betting line led to his appearances on CBS's The NFL Today, where he delivered his weekly picks. People loved him because he spoke his mind, but, like many who share the same personality, his lack of a filter got him in trouble. He was fired from CBS when, as speaking to a Washington DC television reporter, he linked the proficiency of African American athletes to slavery. Even though he apologized for the comments, his career was ruined, setting forth a tragic personal downfall for the sports gambling pioneer.
  5. Steve Phillips, affair with ESPN production assistant — 2009: As the general manager of the Mets in 1998, Phillips was forced to take a leave of absence as he faced sexual harassment accusations from a woman with whom he had an affair. Although he didn't lose his job, it was a sign of things to come for his future employer. Eleven years later, he was dismissed by the Worldwide Leader after it was revealed that he had a sexual relationship with ESPN production assistant Brooke Hundley — it was the type of behavior rumored to be characteristic of employees at the network. When Phillips ended the affair, the 22-year-old Hundley harassed Phillips and his family, an unexpected consequence that exacerbated his problems. Phillips entered sex rehab and later secured a job with SIRIUS XM Radio.
  6. Jayson Williams, murder charges — 2002: The centerpiece of NBC's NBA studio show during the 2001-02 season — after they failed to land the services of Charles Barkley — Williams' larger-than-life personality was perfectly suited for his new television gig. His, as opposed to Barkley's, propensity for troublemaking, however, wasn't. His burgeoning career abruptly ended as he was accused of the bizarre shooting death of 55-year-old limousine driver Costas Christofi and attempting to cover it up. The incident occurred accidently while he showed off his shotgun in his 30,000-square-foot home. In 2009, Christofi's family settled a wrongful death civil lawsuit for $2.75 million, and in 2010, Williams was sentenced to five years in prison.
  7. Harold Reynolds, sexual harassment accusations — 2006: The affable Harold Reynolds was beloved by baseball fans who religiously tuned in to ESPN's Baseball Tonight for his analysis and humor. When he was suddenly terminated, many had a hard time believing he was capable of sexual harassing a woman, an accusation that he eventually fought by suing the network. According to Reynolds, the situation was a misunderstanding — he simply hugged a woman who misinterpreted the action. It's still unclear whether it was a pattern of behavior or ESPN implemented a no-tolerance policy on such matters, but the mistake didn't prevent him from landing on his feet at the MLB Network in 2009.
  8. Howard Cosell, controversial comment — 1983: Without Cosell, the Jimmy the Greeks and Jay Mariottis of the world would be few and far between. He was the first sports broadcaster to offer his authentic viewpoints on matters relating not only to the game itself, but on issues that reached beyond the field of play. His un-PC approach landed him in on hot water on several occasions, but none like when he called Washington Redskins wide receiver Alvin Garrett, an African American, a "little monkey" during a Monday Night Football telecast. Cosell defended it by saying he had previously used the nickname for diminutive white athletes such as Mike Adamle. Nevertheless, he left Monday Night Football after the season, as his career was already waning.
  9. Jay Mariotti, domestic violence charges — 2010: Another ESPN bad boy, Mariotti's combative and argumentative personality is a major reason why the network hired him to appear as a panelist on the debate show Around the Horn. His feuds with fellow panelist Woody Paige and Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, with the latter being more serious than the former, only added to his reputation. Last year, his true colors showed when he pled no contest to a misdemeanor battery count after a domestic altercation with his girlfriend. He was given three years of probation and hasn't since appeared on ESPN. Because he's generally unlikeable, it will probably be difficult for him to rebuild his career.
  10. Sean Salisbury, sexual harassment — 2007: When sites such as The Big Lead and Deadspin revealed that Salisbury had adopted 21st century methods of sexually harassing his coworkers, Salisbury vehemently denied the reports, going so far as to threaten Deadspin with a lawsuit. The incident caused him to get fired from ESPN and his job at a Dallas radio station, crippling his previously thriving television career. He has since admitted to the actions, and is set to host a sports comedy talk show on Versus.

Courtesy : Jennifer
Disclaimer : The article has been shared from

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Barker earns shot at the big time

British middle-weight Darren Barker has reportedly agreed a massive world-title shot against Argentinean superstar Sergio Martinez. Barker reclaimed his European title earlier his year with an impressive points victory against Domenico Spada, which now seems to have earned him a shot at Martinez' WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine titles. Barker's promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed that terms have been agreed between the two camps and it's just a matter of signing the contracts. Most boxing fans will be looking at the Haye odds right now, but it seems like there will be another British fighter gunning for a world title soon enough.

A clearly delighted Barker revealed the news of the potential bout on his Twitter account.

"It's show time baby! Looks like the fight I've been after has been agreed! Don't doubt me, follow and support me," he said.

Barker will need to be at the top of his game when he takes on the second ranked pound-for-pound fighter in world boxing. The London-born fighter will face a definite step up in quality but Barker has earned his shot at the big-time after a tough and gruelling career. Martinez has just two losses in his stellar 51 fight career, against quality boxers Antonio Margarito and Paul Williams.

A stunning second-round knock-out against Williams reclaimed his honour and the Argentinean followed that up with a stoppage against Serhiy Dzinziruk in his last bout. Barker will be a heavy under-dog when the two meet but the 29-year-old has shown he has the spirit to reach the top and would be a worthy world champion.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Westwood needs to break major duck

Lee Westwood is determined to break his Major duck and has two quick fire opportunities to do it, at the US Open and then the British Open.

The English world number two has had three third places and two runners-up finishes in his last 11 Major tournaments and there have been some questions raised about whether Westwood has the mentality to win a one of the top prizes.

Westwood, 38, will be going into the US Open at Congressional on the back of some form having won two of his previous three events, with a second-place finish thrown in the mix. Those looking at the British Open golf odds should follow his efforts in America to see what sort of form he's in.

Even if things go wrong on the other side of the Atlantic, the Worksop-born star has another opportunity to win a Major when the cream of the world's golfers arrives at Royal St George next month. Anyone following the British Open promotions needs to keep a close eye on him.

Westwood claims he tries to look "on the bright side" but there can be no doubt that continued runners-up finishes in Majors must hurt and he dreams of winning one of the top prizes – and what better place that in front of home fans at the British Open.

"It's a fine line when you do get really close to it between becoming frustrated, but still seeing the positives in it," said the star.

"I feel like my game is good enough and if I just do a few things differently at the right times then it'll be the difference between a second and a win."

Westwood is currently among a host of Brits impressing in the world rankings and the likes of himself, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will be dreaming of British Open success when the tournament kicks off on July 14th.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Li now focusing on Wimbledon

The new French Open champion Li Na is now looking ahead to Wimbledon and is dreaming of more Grand Slam trophies.

The Chinese star became the first person from Asia to win one of tennis's Grand Slam tournaments when she beat defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-4, 7-6 (7-0) in the French Open final at the weekend.

As a result, the 29-year-old has risen up the world rankings to number nine and she has revealed she is heading straight to England, rather than back to China to celebrate, as she wants to prepare properly for Wimbledon. Those who have placed Wimbledon bets on her will be pleased with this attitude.

Li reckons focusing on Wimbledon is the "best thing" for her and her team to do after the French Open glory, and she will go back to China to lap up the plaudits after SW19.

The quarter-final stage is the furthest Li has made it at Wimbledon previously, in both 2006 and 2010, but after reaching the Australian Open final and winning the French Open in 2011 she has to be full of confidence going into the third Grand Slam of the year.

"When you have the first one, naturally you will think about the second one," Li said.

Looking ahead to Wimbledon's grass courts, she added: "Now I have more confidence playing on other surfaces."

Defending champion Serena Williams will be the favourite to win the Wimbledon title this year, despite a year out of the game through injury. As Wimbledon best bets go though, she doesn't look the greatest.

The 29-year-old has not won since winning the Wimbledon title 12 months ago due to injury, but she is making her comeback in Eastbourne next week to build up fitness ahead of SW19.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Seven is the target for Federer

Roger Federer admits the Wimbledon title is always his "number one goal" each year, but even more so this season as he seeks to equal the feat of the great Pete Sampras.

The US grass-court legend achieved seven men's singles titles at SW19 between 1993 and 2000 with Federer just one away from that tally.

The Swiss ace, who beat Sampras in a fourth round match at Wimbledon as a teenager in 2001, looks to be ready to prove the doubters wrong, with many feeling his Grand Slam days were over.

Having sneaked under the radar to reach the final of the French Open, Federer looks to have not only found an extra desire, but also some added confidence. The Wimbledon 2011 odds show he is still set to do well.

His win over the previously unbeaten Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros semis raised a few eyebrows among the pundits, but highlighted that the 29-year-old is not done yet at the very top level.

Speaking about the third Grand Slam event of the year, the world number three admitted: "It's obviously the huge priority right now, to win Wimbledon. That's always the number one goal in the season.

Federer went on to add: "Wimbledon is where it all started for me back in 2003, so that's why I always really enjoy coming back."

The 16-time Grand Slam champion will once again prepare for SW19 by playing the Halle grass-court event in Germany – a tournament which he has won on no fewer than five occasions in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Reliable Man Wins French Derby

Despite solid opposition from both home, Ireland and England, it was the Alain De Royer-Dupre trained Reliable Man who stormed to victory in the French Derby at Chantilly on Sunday. It was the sixth time that De Royer-Dupre had saddled the winner of the race.

The win extended the unbeaten run of the colt to three, but this was by far and away his biggest success and marked down the son of Dalakhani as a genuine contender for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October.

Ridden by Gerald Mosse, Reliable Man went to the front after edging right 100 yards from the line and held on fine style to win by ¾ length from the Guiseppi Botti trained Bubble Chic, with 4/1 favourite Baraan a further two lengths behind in third. Bubble Chic had finished second 1½ lengths behind Epsom Derby winner Pour Moi in the Group Two Prix Greffhule at Saint-Cloud over ten furlongs early last month a performance which further enhances the credentials of both Reliable Man and Pour Moi. That said Baraan did have a problematical race and has genuine excuses but will be a better horse next time out according to his trainer, Jean-Claude Rouget.

The Irish challenge was led by the Aidan O’Brien trained Roderic O’Connor, winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas last month but who had flopped in the English version three weeks earlier. This race was his first effort over a mile but he despite being second favourite with odds of 5/1 he could only finish in eighth place some seven lengths or so behind the winner suggesting that this trip was too far for him.

John Gosden entry, Colombian, was the best of the non-French runners, finishing in a very creditable fourth place, but was no match for the first three, although he would be a very much better prospect with some cut in the ground. Also disappointing in 9th place was the Godolphin entry Casamento, who flopped once again like he did in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. When under the wing of Irish trainer, Mick Halford, Casamento won the Group One Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster as a two year old, but since moving to the Godolphin yard of Mahmood Al Zarooni he seems to have gone backwards.

As far as the ‘Arc’ is concerned, it is Baraan who has been given the shorter price by the Bookmakers. They go around 8/1 for him and Reliable Man is in from 33/1 to 12/1.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Diomed stakes offers plenty of opportunities

Diomed was of course the very first winner of the Derby way back in 1784 and the race named after him and run over the distance that he won his Derby over, one mile, is one of the supporting races on Saturday's card. The race is of Group 3 status and the first thing to say about past runnings of the race is that it is not a good one for favourites, or even second favourites, with seven of the last ten winners being positioned third to sixth in the betting.

One of the other important statistics to consider is that it is very important that your selection finished in the first four last time out as all of the past ten winners pass that trait, and the race also suits those being raised in class – eight of the last ten winners conformed to that pattern and it may be that the race suits those who don't have to carry a penalty for previous Group race success. It looks especially difficult to carry the Group 1 penalty in this race which is a 7lb one and that could make life especially for Rio De La Plata on Saturday, the only runner attempting to do this and those looking at the Epsom odds really need to bear this in mind.

What does strike us about the majority of the past winners is that nearly all of them have been ridden up with or close to the pace, and that style of racing really does seem to suit runners in this race. Hold-up horses and those coming from way back may well have found those pressing on gone beyond recall.

We have already mentioned that favourites are a negative in this race and so are horses that had their last run over 10F or further – those longer trips appearing to blunt their pace for this quicker race. You also need to be wary of horses that were beaten by more than five lengths last time out they have a record of 0/24.
The field of eight on Saturday could well be whittled down using these statistics and may make it an easier puzzle to solve on the Derby Day card.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Do trends provide the key to the Epsom Oaks?

There are plenty of key pointers that can be used to assist in selecting the winner of the Oaks and this is one Classic where the trends have held-up well in the past few years.

The first of the key statistics augurs well for the current favourite Blue Bunting – as six of the last 20 winners have finished in the top six of the 1000 Guineas. The 1M Classic has always had a big say in the Oaks and Blue Bunting will be attempting to emulate Kazzia, who won both races for Goldophin back in 2002. There are plenty of examples of fillies running well in the Newmarket Guineas and coming onto Epsom to score, so a good run in that race should be taken as a positive pointer towards their chance here and anyone following the Epsom betting should remember this.

Another strong statistic is that only two of the winners of the Oaks since 1983 have been beaten in a recognised trial for the race, there have been a couple of exceptions in recent years but if you make an exception for fillies running in the Guineas, the fact remains that victory last time out is paramount. The Musidora is usually the pick of the Oaks trials, but that form is not represented this year and probably the most eye-catching performance in any of the trials was that of Zain Al Boldan in the Lingfield version of the Oaks Trials.

The race has a good record as a pointer to the main event with Midday winning there two years ago before being narrowly beaten at Epsom. Wonder Of Wonders won the Cheshire Oaks but she would become only the second winner of that race in more than 30 years to come on and triumph here. Of more interest in having won a trial is the Irish 1000 Guineas winner Misty For me, two of Aidan O'Brien's three Oaks winners took the Curragh Classic before running at Epsom and she measures up well on the trials criteria.

Shocks in the race have been rare of late with fourteen of the last 20 winners having emerged from the top three in the markets. Look Here was a 33/1 winner in 2008, but Jet Ski Lady at 50/1 in 1991 was the only other winner returned at over 12/1 since 1980. In fact nine of the last ten winners were priced at 10/1 or shorter.

As with the Derby, this tends to be a market driven race and although 2008 was a trends buster, favourites and those priced in single figures tend to have very good record in the race. Finally a run within the last five weeks has been important with all of the last ten winners having run within five weeks or less of the Oaks.
Trends and statistics are there to be broken but often they can point the way to winners and in the case of the Oaks they provide a strong platform from which to start.