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Wrong bird, right tiger grab big weekend wins


Last updated 6/10/2009 at Noon

A semi-familiar face walked up Saturday and asked if we remembered who she was and we took a shot at the familiar bluff of telling her we never forget a pretty face. 

She proceeded to say that she had just won $100 in a slot machine there at Delta Downs where Orangeites Tommy Melton, Murl and Laquinta Bishop and yours truly were getting ready to make a wager on the Belmont Stakes, which was getting ready to start very soon.

“You used to follow the horses with my late husband and I never knew beans about what was going on,” she confessed. “As a matter of fact I still don’t know anything about horse racing. But I would like to bet this $100 on this race, if you’ll give me an idea of which horse to place it on.”

We told her that the favorite wouldn’t pay much but if she bet $20 to win $20 to place and $20 to show on Mine That Bird and then bet $5 exactas with Mind That Bird and all nine horses it would run her $105. She thought that was a great idea and went off to make her wagers.

She came back shortly before post time with her tickets and showed them to me. We almost passed out when the ticket had No. 4 Summer Bird to win, place and show instead of No. 7 Mine That Bird and also the nine exacta tickets. “Well, I knew it was some kind of bird you said to bet on,” she said innocently.

It was too late to change her tickets so the race went off and she disappeared, returning after the race with a big “thank you” for helping her win $700. We still don’t remember who she was. Summer Bird paid $25.80 for a $2 win ticket, $9.50 to place and $4.70 to show. She had it 10 times. The 4-2 exacta paid $121 which she had 2 1/2 times.

She won exactly $700 more than Tommy, the Bishops or yours truly on that race and we thought we had it all figured out. Mine That Bird came from behind like he usually does and even grabbed the lead after the mile pole, but it just couldn’t keep up the pace necessary to win as Summer Bird shot past him along with No. 2 Dunkirk near the Louisiana native Calvin Borel, aboard Mine That Bird, was denied a place in racing history for winning all three Triple Crown races, but not all on the same horse. “I thought I had it won when I got to the quarter pole,” Borel admitted. “He just got outrun. I’ve got no excuses.”

Tiger Woods didn’t need an excuse for his superb performance Sunday in the final round of the PGA Memorial Tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus and played at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

Tiger, who has won Nicklaus’ event four times already, found himself five shots behind 34-year-old rookie Matt Bettencourt, the third-round leader, going into Sunday’s play. Bettencourt had never even played a PGA Tour event until this year and was asked by Nicklaus to play in the Memorial.

Tiger tied Bettencourt for first place after only three holes, but then lost the lead and was three shots down after nine holes. Woods hung in there on the back nine while most of the other golfers near the top faltered and in typical Woods fired seven-under-par 65 on the final round to win his 67th PGA Tour victory. And he hit all 18 fairways during this round, which shows his game is really getting sharp and his recovery from knee surgery is coming along fine. He missed only five fairways all week, which is his best performance off the tee since the 1998 Masters.

“I’ve had to be real patient with my recovery,” Tiger told CBS Sports after the tourney. “Before, I’d play four or five good holes and then two or three bad ones and take myself out of contention. It’s more gratifying to know I now can hit the shots I want to and need to.”

Tiger appears to be ready for the challenge of the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black in two weeks and Nicklaus believes he will win it. “If he drives the ball this way and plays this way, I’m sure he will win his 15th major of his career,” Nicklaus predicted.

KWICKIES...The Houston Astros are making good on their promise to have a good home stand, winning five of seven last week against Colorado and Pittsburgh to raise their record at Minute Maid Park to 14-17 through Sunday.

The home stand resumed Tuesday against the Chicago Cubbies and ends with an afternoon game Thursday.

Shortstop Miguel Tejada is leading the National League in hitting and outfielder Hunter Pence is second, just a few percentage points behind.

Even Lance Berkman has gotten his batting average above his weight for the first time this season.

The Los Angeles Lakers had to go to overtime before subduing the scrappy Orlando Magic Sunday night, but they came through with a 101-96 win at home to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

LA blew out the Magic 100-75 in the series opener last Thursday night.

The action shifts to Florida for Game 3 Tuesday, Game 4 Thursday and Game 5 Sunday if necessary at Orlando.

This Korner still believes the Lakers will win it in six games.

The on-again, off-again Brett Favre saga has taken a new twist since the future Hall of Fame quarterback underwent arthroscopic surgery on his ailing right shoulder last month. According to ESPN, Favre wouldn’t return to the NFL “unless he makes significant progress” in his rehabilitation. The Minnesota Vikings said they would be interested in Favre if he comes out of retirement.

This Korner agrees with the decision by former West Brook star running back Christine (pronounced Christian) Michael to forego this weekend’s Bayou Bowl at Baytown’s Stallworth Stadium and report to Texas A&M Thursday to begin preseason workouts with the Aggies. The Bayou Bowl pits last fall’s best senior football players from Texas and Louisiana against each other. An injury could hamper the start of a collegiate football career for any of these young men.

JUST BETWEEN US...Congrats are in order for the West Orange-Stark track team for winning the boys’ Class 3A State Championship last weekend in Austin.

The Mustangs won the University Interscholastic League State Track and Field Championships for the first time in the school’s history with three gold medals and one silver and a score of 58 points while Waco La Vega and Argyle tied for second with 44 points.

Junior Trey Franks won the 100 meter title with a personal best time of 10:36 and sophomore sensation Phillip Jones also ran a personal best 14:21 in the 110 high hurdles to win a gold medal.

The team of Franks, Jones, Josh Gloston and James Haynes won the 400-meter relay with a personal best time of 41:31 seconds.

Franks, Gloston, Haynes and Ed Ivory finished second behind Waco La Vega in the 800-meter relay with a time of 1:27.02.


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