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The Inside Track | Page Two / Randy Harvey

Regional Event May Have Quite a Few Dark Horses

March 17, 2000|RANDY HARVEY

While wondering when there might be an NCAA regional tournament at Staples Center, I was thinking:

There are no NCAA men's games this season west of Tucson and Salt Lake City, but Santa Anita is the capital of horse racing leading to May Madness at Churchill Downs. . . .

In the most significant of the Derby prep races so far, five potential contenders are entered in Sunday's San Felipe Stakes. . . .

The most intriguing is Anees, who might be jinxed even before he makes his 3-year-old debut. . . .

No Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion has won the Kentucky Derby. . . .

He also has a new rider in Jerry Bailey. Anees was ridden last year by Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, who now serves as his assistant trainer. . . .

Stevens retired the day after Christmas because of aching knees. But no one, with the possible exception of his orthopedist, would be surprised if he caught a case of Triple Crown Fever and was riding again before the first Saturday in May. . . .

The probable favorite Sunday will be Fusaichi Pegasus. . . .

He and War Chant give trainer Neil Drysdale two early Derby favorites. . . .

If they race in the Derby, it will be the first time. Drysdale won't run them against each other until then. . . .

But you might get a clue on which is better from jockey Kent Desormeaux. The jockey for both, he will have to choose before May 6. . . .

Although Drysdale, 52, has won five Breeders' Cup races, he has never had a horse in the Derby. . . .

He had the probable favorite in 1992 but withdrew him because of a bruised foot on the eve of the race. He later won the Belmont. . . .

Coming full circle to the NCAA tournament, the horse's name was A.P. Indy.

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If you like track and field, you can't help but believe that a new L.A. meet with the backing of USA Track & Field next February--perhaps at Staples Center--would be a plus for the sport. . . .

But prospective organizers were guilty of a false start Thursday when they denied entry to a meeting at the Friars Club in Beverly Hills to longtime local promoter Al Franken and son Don. . . .

"It would be funny if it weren't so ridiculous," Al said. . . .

Asked if he objected, he said, "No, we went to a nearby deli for lunch. What were we going to do? We didn't want to create a scene." . . .

The first movie role for Denzel Washington, nominated for an Academy Award for "The Hurricane," also was in a film about a sports hero, although he didn't play the title role in that one. . . .

It was "Wilma: The Wilma Rudolph Story," which will be shown on ESPN Classic's "Reel Classics" Sunday night. . . .

Organizers of the first L.A. Triathlon on Sept. 10 said they might attract an exceptional field, even though the first Summer Olympic triathlons for men and women will be held a week later in Sydney, Australia. . . .

The reason, they said, was that many triathletes would prefer not to travel so far a month before the sport's most prestigious and lucrative event, the Ironman in Honolulu. . . .

Another reason emerged this week, when shark sightings were reported in Sydney Harbor. . . .

Don King already has started the anti-hype for the June 17 fight at Staples Center between Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley, which, not coincidentally, will be promoted by Bob Arum. . . .

"This man is not a welterweight," King says of Mosley. "He's a lightweight. He's only fought twice as a welterweight, and one of them was Willie Wise. HBO has too much integrity to put on such a sham of a match." . . .

Or not. HBO executive Lou DiBella will be at Staples Center on Monday as part of the news conference to formally announce the bout.

*

Is it a coincidence that the Angels and Mighty Ducks both seem to lose their Rolodexes at the trading deadline? . . .

Duck General Manager Pierre Gauthier's contention that this season should be considered a positive, even if the team doesn't make the playoffs, would be funny if it weren't so ridiculous. . . .

There's an intriguing faceoff between Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Bure over Anna Kournikova. Refusing to concede despite Bure's announcement of an engagement, Fedorov had 20 dozen roses delivered to Kournikova during a tennis tournament at Scottsdale, Ariz. . . .

She doesn't appear to be bothered in the least by the attention. . . .

I could have guessed that George Steinbrenner would want a team named Devils. . . .

The Mets have hired former catcher John Stearns to help Mike Piazza. . . .

The Braves have hired a diversity coach. No kidding. . . .

Ricky Williams can blame all the people he wants, but he's the one who hired Master P to negotiate his contract.

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Randy Harvey can be reached at his e-mail address: randy.harvey@latimes.com.

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