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St. Petersburg sailor wins Brut Cup race

St. Petersburg's Ed Baird defeated defending World Match Race champion Bertrand Pace on Sunday in the finals of the Brut Cup of France.

The Brut Cup of France was raced off the shores of Sete in identical Beneteau 300 Spirits.

The championship is Baird's first in the round-robin sailing series, which features a bonus prize of $250,000 to any skipper who can win three of the five events. Baird joins Roy Heiner, winner of the Brut Cup of San Francisco, and Thierry Peponnet, winner of the Lymington (England) Cup, in the competition.

All three are scheduled to compete for the Brut Cup of New York, Sept. 12-17, and the Brut Cup of Bermuda, Oct. 15-22.

MORE BOATING: The United States warned of its intention to retain the world heavyweight eights title with a record-breaking victory in the premier event at the Henley Royal Regatta in England. With six of the eight oarsmen who won the Grand Cup at Henley and the world title at Indianapolis last year, the United States held off a strong comeback by Britain's national team to win. Mark Tate was almost unchallenged after Mark Evans spun out on the first lap of the final heat, and went on to win the Madison Regatta, a hydroplane race in Indiana. The last five boats started the 38th biennial Transpacific yacht race from Los Angeles to Hawaii amid a dispute involving their quest of the race record. The Transpac Committee added the more powerful International Level Class for 70-footers this year with the likelihood of erasing the record of about 8{ days set by Merlin in 1977. But Amway founder and Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos' 74-foot Windquest chose to sail as an invited guest without restrictions rather than meet ratings limits such as sail size for the ILC 70 class.

HORSE RACING: A day after flying from New York to California to race against a strong field on an unfamiliar track _ and on a day when none of seven local newspapers' handicappers picked him to win _ Cigar scored his ninth straight victory, winning by 3{ lengths in the 56th running of the $1-million Hollywood Gold Cup. Two of five horses who started the seventh race at Belmont Park died on the track after suffering similar injuries. Hobeau Farm's Smart Little Boy and Allen E. Paulson's Scherbo broke their right ankles and had to be destroyed. Jean-Luc Samyn, Smart Little Boy's rider, and Julie Krone, who rode Scherbo, escaped injury.

_ TIMES WIRES

Need for speed

Kevin Groah of Mims steers his Jet Ski between markers off Spa Beach in St. Petersburg during regional qualifying Sunday for the 1995 world championships to be held in Arizona in October. The winner at the qualifier was Brandon Greene.

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