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Sports in brief: Uncle Mo aims to regroup

HORSES

UNCLE MO, Trainer begin to regroup

Suddenly, the Kentucky Derby picture is not so clear.

Uncle Mo, who was expected to enter the May 7 race an undefeated favorite, finished third behind longshot Toby's Corner at Saturday's Wood Memorial in New York.

"I went into (Saturday) thinking Uncle Mo was a standout; today it is a very wide-open crop," trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday, a day after Uncle Mo faded badly in the stretch.

"The horse has been the big talked-about star and they kind of got to babying him a little bit," said rival trainer Bob Baffert, who has three Derby candidates: Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude, Jaycito and The Factor.

Pletcher said Uncle Mo came out of the race in sound condition. He stepped on himself and injured the back of his hoof, although the trainer described it as "very minor and insignificant." Uncle Mo will arrive at Churchill Downs on April 18.

"We'll see if we can get him prepared to step up," Pletcher said. "It was not a typical Uncle Mo performance, but I do not feel like the mile and an eighth was an issue."

Baffert noted that Secretariat was upset in the Wood but came back to win the Triple Crown in 1973.

"I think (Uncle Mo) just got tired. Sometimes a horse needs a gut-wrencher like that," he said. "I still think he's a very good horse, and he probably got a lot out of that race."

Swimming

Phelps falls in two grand prix finals

American Michael Phelps had a disappointing finish in the Michigan Grand Prix, placing second in the 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle.

"I hate losing, no matter what event, no matter how out of shape, tired, broken down," said Phelps, who won three events at the Ann Arbor meet after taking five last month in Indianapolis.

The 14-time Olympic gold medalist led the 200 IM with 50 meters remaining but was passed by Ous Mellouli, who finished in a pool-record 1 minute, 59.42 seconds. Phelps finished in 1:59.63. It was Phelps' first loss in the event since 2002.

Brazilian Cesar Cielo Fillho (49.12) beat Phelps (49.48) in the 100 freestyle. Phelps said he'll be fueled by comments from fellow competitors over the weekend: "It's good. It's what I need."

Tennis

Wozniacki rolls to Family Circle crown

Caroline Wozniacki won her first claycourt tournament of the season at the Family Circle Cup, but that didn't keep the world's No. 1 women's player from looking ahead to a major prize — the French Open.

Wozniacki ended a satisfying week in Charleston, S.C., with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Elena Vesnina.

"I feel confident and I know I can win a (Grand) Slam" tournament, said Wozniacki, who lost only one set in her five matches.

U.S. Clay Court: Ryan Sweeting held off Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in Houston for his first ATP World Tour title.

Soccer

Arsenal to become 5th American-run EPL team

American Stan Kroenke is set to take control of Arsenal of the English Premier League, the Associated Press reported, saying the investor plans to raise his holding from under 30 percent to 62 percent. An announcement is expected today. Four other EPL clubs are owned by Americans — Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer at Manchester United, John Henry at Liverpool, Randy Lerner at Aston Villa and Ellis Short at Sunderland.

Et Cetera

Fishing: Davy Hite won the Alabama Charge in Florence with a four-day total of 84 pounds, 9 ounces for his eighth Bassmaster title.

Times wires

Sports in brief: Uncle Mo aims to regroup 04/10/11 [Last modified: Sunday, April 10, 2011 9:46pm]

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