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Sports in Brief

Horses

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Hall of fame jockey unretires

LOS ANGELES — Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens is launching a comeback.

"My passion is still there," Stevens, 49, said Thursday in announcing his return after a seven-year retirement. "Or I should say my passion has come back."

Stevens' first race will be Sunday at Santa Anita, a $50,000 claiming race on a horse named Jebrica.

"I'm going to be selective in what I ride," he said. "And if that means not riding at all or upsetting people, then so be it. I didn't come back to ride five days a week and ride nine races a day. I came back to ride some quality horses with hopefully some good futures."

Stevens retired in 2005 after knee pain had him taking anti-inflammatories every day for 15 years.

"Knees, they were never 100 percent," Stevens said. "But compared to my last five years of riding, they're about 120 percent now."

Once 146 pounds in retirement, Stevens said he's down to 119.

Said his wife Angie Ath­ayde: "He cut out smoking, drinking, sugar. He went really hard-core."

Hockey

U.S. upsets Canada to reach junior final

Jake McCabe (a Buffalo prospect) and John Gaudreau (Calgary) scored twice as the United States beat 15-time champ Canada 5-1 in the semis of the world junior championships in Ufa, Russia. John Gibson (Anaheim) made 33 saves for the Americans, who face Sweden in Saturday's final. Sweden beat Russia 3-2 in a shootout. Sebastian Collberg (Montreal) scored the only goal in the tiebreaker.

Tennis

Serena's wins sets up showdown with No. 1

Serena Williams beat Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3 in the quarters of the Brisbane International in Australia. Stephens, 19, who Williams said afterward could be "the best in the world one day," was broken while serving for the first set. Williams will face world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka. This is the final event for both before the Australian Open. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lesia Tsu­renko meet in the other semi.

Qatar Open: Gael Monfils, in his first tournament since sustaining a knee injury in October, lost to qualifier Daniel Brands 6-1, 7-5 in the quarters. Trailing 5-2 in the second, Brands, ranked No. 153 in the world, won the final five games of the match. He next faces Richard Gasquet while David Ferrer faces Nikolay Davydenko.

Et cetera

Autos: Travis Pastrana, an 11-time X Games gold medalist, will drive Roush Fenway's No. 60 Ford full time in NASCAR's Nationwide Series this year. "He is serious about this move to NASCAR," co-owner Jack Roush said. … Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar series champion, will team with Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor in the 24 At Daytona. They will drive Wayne Taylor Racing's No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP on Jan. 26-27.

Cycling: Burry Stander, a two-time Olympian from South Africa and one of the world's best mountain bikers, was killed while training in Johannesburg when his bike hit a taxi. He was 25.

Times wires

Sports in Brief 01/03/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 3, 2013 9:32pm]
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