Horse Racing

Baffert: Justify’s positive test came from contaminated food

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert denied giving 2018 Triple Crown winning horse Justify a banned substance that caused a positive test prior to last year’s Kentucky Derby and blamed the result on contaminated food.

Baffert said in a statement Thursday that he “unequivocally” rejects the implication he’d give Justify or any other horse Scopolamine, which the colt tested positive for in April 2018. The New York Times reported Justify tested positive for the substance after winning the Santa Anita Derby and that the California Horse Racing Board did not adequately investigate the matter.

Justify was allowed to run in the Kentucky Derby a month later and went on to become horse racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner.

Attorney W. Craig Robertson also wrote a letter addressed to the Times defending Baffert and saying the California racing board did the correct thing by not pursuing a lengthy investigation. Baffert and Robertson each pointed out Justify was found to have a trace amount of Scopolamine in his system and said that can come from jimson weed, which grows wild in California.


Jets’ Darnold out vs. Browns with mono, could miss weeks

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Sam Darnold is sick and sidelined — likely for several weeks.

New York Jets coach Adam Gase announced Thursday the second-year quarterback has mononucleosis and will miss at least the team’s game against the Cleveland Browns on Monday night.

Trevor Siemian will start in Darnold’s place, and could be the starter moving forward until Darnold recovers. The Jets have a game at New England in Week 3 before they have a bye-week break, and then games at Philadelphia, at home against Dallas and New England before a road game at Jacksonville on Oct. 27 to cap a rough opening stretch.

When a reporter pointed out that mono usually take several weeks from which to heal, Gase nodded.

OBJ says former Browns DC Williams told players to hurt him

BEREA, Ohio — Odell Beckham Jr. accused former Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams of getting him injured in a preseason game two years ago.

Beckham, who was with the New York Giants in 2017, said he’s been told by current Cleveland players that Williams instructed them to hurt him. Williams was the Browns’ interim coach last season and is now the Jets’ defensive coordinator.

In that game, Beckham suffered a severe ankle sprain when former Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun dived at his legs.

Beckham initially bought up Williams’ tactics unprompted when he was asked what defense he might face Monday night when the Browns face the Jets.

Williams was suspended by the NFL for one season for his role in the infamous “Bountygate” scandal in which the New Orleans Saints were found to have operated a bounty system where players were paid bonuses for hard hits and deliberately injuring players.


Morrissey signs 8-year, $50 million extension with Winnipeg

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The Winnipeg Jets have signed defenseman Josh Morrissey to an eight-year, $50 million contract extension.

The Jets announced the move on Thursday, one day before the start of training camp.

The deal, which starts in 2020-21 and carries Morrissey through the 2027-28 season, has an average annual value of $6.25 million.

The 24-year-old Morrissey had one year left on a two-year contract with a cap hit of $3.15 million.

Morrissey will get paid $8 million in the first two years and fourth year of the deal. He receives $5.2 million in the third year, $6.4 million in the fifth year and $4.8 million in each of the last three seasons.

Morrissey had a career-high 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) in 59 games with the Jets last season.


Ohtani to have surgery on kneecap, miss rest of year

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani will miss the rest of the Los Angeles Angels’ season to have surgery on his left kneecap.

The Angels announced the decision Thursday. Los Angeles (67-80) has been eliminated from playoff contention with 15 games left.

Ohtani will need eight to 12 weeks to recover from surgery on a bipartite patella, or a two-part kneecap, according to the Angels. The team didn’t specify the reason for addressing the condition now.

Ohtani finishes his second major league season batting .286 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs in 106 games as the Angels’ designated hitter.

The 2018 AL Rookie of the Year didn’t pitch this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. He is expected to pitch and hit in 2020.

Yankee exec says Red Sox step to plate for women in baseball

NEW YORK — Yankees assistant general manager Jean Afterman thinks the inclusion of Raquel Ferreira as part of a quartet running baseball operations for the Boston Red Sox is a step forward for women in the sport.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was fired Sunday. Boston assistant GMs Brian O’Halloran, Eddie Romero and Zack Scott will lead baseball operations during the search for his successor and Ferreira will have an expanded role from her current job as senior vice president of major and minor league operations.

“Maybe five years ago or 10 years ago she would not even be considered to be part of that gang of four,” Afterman said Thursday during a women in sport panel at the Beyond Sport conference. “Raquel never wanted to put herself forward, didn’t generally speak publicly and wasn’t out there in front, and I told her little girls have to see you in that position. And she’s got (an 11)-year-old daughter. And so she said you know you’re right. Gabby has to see me in that position.”

Ferreira is just the third woman senior VP in a baseball operations department after Kim Ng and Afterman. No MLB team has hired a woman as GM.

“I think it’s important for people to see women in front offices. And I think we often sometimes feel that we’re being arrogant or, ‘oh look at me look at me.’”

Afterman was joined on the panel by National Women’s Soccer League President Amanda Duffy and Courtney Levinsohn, executive producer of a movie chronicling the pursuit of a top European coaching license by Tracy Hamm, then with San Francisco State and now at Cal Davis.

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