The No. 12 USC men’s tennis team fell to No. 6 UCLA 5-2 on Tuesday in a non-conference crosstown showdown in Westwood.This was USC’s first outdoor loss in the season, as the previous two both came in the ITA Indoor Championships.The Bruins clinched the match after a three-set win on court 4 by senior Karue Sell over freshman Jake DeVine. The match started off tight at doubles. On court 2, UCLA duo Karue Sell and Joseph Di Giulio battled to beat freshman Jack Jaede and senior Max de Vroome 6-2 after pulling out a 4-0 streak. On court 1, junior Nick Crystal and freshman Laurens Verboven were able to upset the third team in the nation, Mackenzie McDonald and Martin Redlicki, with a 6-4 win. The Trojans were up 4-1 before the Bruins tied back at 4-all. After holding serve, UCLA saved two match points, bringing it to the deciding point. There, Crystal was able to use his experience and, with a backhand winner, tied the doubles score. It was all left to court 3, where UCLA’s Maxime Cressy and Gage Brymer were up a break and serving for the match against freshman Jake DeVine and junior Rob Bellamy. At 5-4 and 30-all, the Bruins pulled out a great defensive point that forced the Trojans into an unforced error, before a return error by DeVine awarded the doubles point to UCLA.At singles, the situation didn’t change. On court 6, Jaede couldn’t do much against Di Giulio, who gave the Bruins the second point thanks to his 6-1, 6-1 win. On court 1, No. 65 de Vroome lost the first set 6-2 to No.19 McDonald. After a close start with no break in the second set, the Bruins managed to win the second set 6-4, giving the third point to UCLA, which was just one point away from winning the match. Meanwhile, all the other matches were close. On court 2, No. 67 Nick Crystal managed to win the first set against No.36 Redlicki in a close tie-break that ended 7-5 for the Trojans, who battled back from 4-2 to secure the first set. No. 56 Logan Smith faltered in the ninth game by No. 46 Brymer and was not able to break back, losing the first set 6-4. No. 92 DeVine lost the first set 6-4 to No. 94 Sell, while on court 5, Thibault Forget seemed to had an easy win in his belt, but Logan Staggs was able to come back after being down 1-6, 0-4, tying the second set at 4-4. Both players held serve and the game was tied at 5 all. There the Frenchman was able to hold serve and break his opponent, closing the set 6-1, 7-5, putting the Trojans in the scoreboard.I got a little bit nervous and [Staggs] played a little better going into rallies,” Forget said. “I was not able to keep on going and finishing the point early. When we went to 6-5, I had good energy to reproduce what I did in the first set.”On court 2, Crystal managed to win the second set 6-2, closing the gap in the score. It was all left up to courts 3 and 4, with the Trojans called to win both courts to complete what would have been an amazing comeback. With all the eyes of the crowd toward court 4, where USC had won the second set 6-4, home favorite Sell was able to play his experience against DeVine, clinching the match with the score of 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. On court 3, the match went on, and it ended with a win by UCLA with the score of 4-6, 6-2, 6-7(8).“It’s always a battle between us,” Crystal said. “A takeaway is that we can compete with them. It’s the first time for a lot of freshmen playing UCLA. It’s good to see the environment. They were always battling and it was a close match all the way through.”USC is now 7-3 overall and the team is now heading to the Pacific Coast Doubles Tournament on Thursday.
Doug O’Neill2468225%$271,210 Mario Gutierrez1322315%$108,920 John Shirreffs2200100%$67,200 CALIFORNIA ‘BIG THREE’ DOING GREAT FOR PREAKNESSOnly one horse on the planet can win the Triple Crown this year, and that horse is American Pharoah.That said, the first three finishers in the Kentucky Derby, Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund, all based at Santa Anita, are scheduled to meet in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, at Pimlico on May 16.“You go in there with two really good horses and you’re hoping they run their races, and they did,” said Bob Baffert, trainer of Pharoah and Dortmund, recounting the experience last Saturday before a record Churchill Downs crowd of more than 170,000.“Dortmund really looked good in the paddock, but Pharoah got a little worked up on the walk. I was a little concerned because he spent a lot of energy going through all those people getting to the saddling area, and they were running alongside, and he doesn’t like that.“It really stirred him up pretty good, and he dragged his galloper and his groom all the way to the paddock. He was getting a little hot but then he cooled down and settled down, and after that he was real professional, like he usually is.“Everybody wanted to get a picture of him on the walk over. Dortmund handled the saddling really well. Down the backside Dortmund was in a nice stride and I thought he was going to go all the way with it, and then he got a little tired at the end.“Victor (Espinoza) swung way wide on Pharoah who seemed to be struggling a bit and I was worried a little about that, because Firing Line was running the race of his life, and that’s what you need to win the Derby, especially this year.“It was the toughest Derby I’ve ever been in. This crop is really strong.”American Pharoah and Dortmund both went to the track today and Jimmy (assistant Jim Barnes) said they really looked excellent,” Baffert said. “We’re pretty excited about the Preakness.”Simon Callaghan was happy with Firing Line’s second by a length to American Pharoah.“He came out of the race really well,” Callaghan said of the Sunland Derby winner. “He’s showing us all the right signs since the race and he’ll ship to Pimlico on Wednesday. He ran great. He did everything you could ask, he just got run down late, but he came out of the race as good as you could hope.” Alex Solis823125%$108,780 Elvis Trujillo1930216%$134,140 Dan Hendricks721029%$37,090 Santiago Gonzalez1834117%$107,460 Gonzalo Nicolas2432413%$99,940 Tiago Pereira1625313%$129,370 Michael Machowsky922122%$68,850 Fernando Perez3146613%$188,230 (Current Through Sunday, May 3) Victor Espinoza520040%$70,350 TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%Money Won Drayden Van Dyke2334113%$150,840 Bob Baffert621133%$89,690 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS BAZE KEEN ON WARREN’S VENEDA FOR GRADE I VANITYTyler Baze felt he had a good thing going with Warren’s Veneda when he rode her to her first win over two years ago.It came in a stakes race.Baze piloted the California-bred daughter of Affirmative to a 1 ¾-length victory in her second career start, the Alphabet Kisses Stakes for state-breds at Hollywood on April 27, 2013.Since then, the 32-year-old Seattle native has ridden her seven times, winning four, the last three in a row, including the Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes on March 14 for Craig Lewis, who trains the stretch-running chestnut mare for owner/breeder Benjamin Warren.Next up: Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Vanity Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at 1 1/8 miles, a race in which two-time Eclipse champ Beholder was entered, but will not run.“She had a temperature this morning and had a high white blood count,” trainer Richard Mandella said Thursday. “She’s on antibiotics and out of the race.”It might have been four straight wins for Warren’s Veneda but Baze was beaten a head by Tiz Midnight in the Grade II Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos last Dec. 6.“She was a little unlucky at Los Alamitos, but she’s done everything so easy this year,just playing around and having fun, just happy really,” Baze said. “Craig’s been keeping her happy. She’s loving what she’s doing.“In all three of the wins, I got down to ride her a little bit, but she’s had her ears pricked forward having fun. She’s doing great now and I expect her to run huge.”The field for the Vanity, race five of nine: Warren‘s Veneda, Tyler Baze; Gas Total, Flavien Prat; My Sweet Addiction, Mike Smith; and Legacy, Martin Garcia. Philip D’Amato1351238%$200,440 ‘VENEDA’ SEEKS FOURTH STRAIGHT; BEHOLDER OUTPREAKNESS STAKES NEXT FOR AMERICAN PHAROAHRACING MOURNS THE PASSING OF ‘BUD’ JOHNSTONSTREAKING TALCO EYES HIS THIRD WIN IN A ROW Mike Puype1321115%$103,240 Joseph Talamo2641615%$150,168 TALCO EYES GRADED STATUS IN AMERICAN STAKESTalco steps up in pursuit of his third straight victory when he runs in Saturday’s Grade III American Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on turf.The 4-year-old French-bred colt won an overnight race at one mile on grass March 12, and the restricted Thunder Road on April 4, also at a mile on turf.“He’s doing really well,” said John Sadler, who trains the son of Pivotal for Hronis Racing LLC. “He had a very good, game win in the Thunder Road. We were delighted with it.“This is a little tougher field, facing the sensational horse from South America (Bal a Bali). I know he’s pretty good, so this is kind of the next step up.”As for Santa Anita Oaks winner Stellar Wind, fourth in the Kentucky Oaks on May 1, she came out of the race in good order and could run at Santa Anita late next month.“She came back well, but we have no plans yet,” Sadler said. “She’s possible for the Summertime Oaks (June 20, Grade II, $200,000, 1 1/16 miles).”The field: Enterprising, Gary Stevens, 12-1; War Academy, Corey Nakatani, 15-1; Winning Prize, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Gabriel Charles, Tyler Baze, 8-1; Talco, Victor Espinoza, 5-2; Little Jerry, Martin Pedroza, 20-1; Home Run Kitten, Joe Talamo, 5-1; and Bal a Bali, Flavien Prat, 9-5.FINISH LINES: WELCOME BACK–Veteran jockey Scott Stevens, 54, who just wrapped up his seventh riding title with 104 wins at Turf Paradise, rode first-time starter Mint Julep Taffy to a third-place finish for trainer Molly Pearson in today’s third race, marking his first engagement at The Great Race Place “in at least 10 years.” . . . Jockey David Flores has been granted permission to resume riding by the California Horse Racing Board effective immediately. The 46-year-old native of Tijuana had been disqualified from participating in riding for one year by authorities in Singapore in late March. Felipe Valdez2554120%$153,720 Edwin Maldonado2244318%$122,830 Rafael Bejarano1933516%$154,900 Richard Mandella1224117%$195,120 Peter Miller1023120%$104,830 William Spawr420050%$24,350 RACING MOURNS PASSING OF OWNER/BREEDER BUD JOHNSTONThe racing world and California in particular mourned the passing of Elwood (Bud) Johnston, who died in his sleep Tuesday. Johnston, who bred and raced 2011 Eclipse Award champion older male Acclamation, would have been 78 yesterday.“I’m just numb,” said an emotional Kenny Black, assistant to Don Warren, who trained for Johnston many years. “He was so good to me. He was an excellent horseman and treated me like a son. He loved horse racing and he loved to run.“The only thing he didn’t like was not running. ‘Dag-nab it,’ he would say if he was angry or upset because a horse couldn’t race. I never heard him use a curse word.“He was at our house in Rancho Cucamonga all day Sunday for my daughter Kaylee’s seventh birthday party, playing with all the kids and having a great time. He and his wife were the last people to leave.“In all my years in the business, I never met a better a horseman. I learned something from him every day.”In addition to Warren, the Johnston family had tremendous success over the years with trainer Bruce Headley. “He was my best friend, my buddy, my partner,” Headley told the Paulick Report on Tuesday. “He was very honest, very knowledgeable, and always enthusiastic. He truly loved horses. He was nice to people and always a gentleman, always smiling.”California’s leading breeder 13 times, Old English Rancho has bred more than 200 stakes winners and has been home to prominent stallions such as Fleet Nasrullah, The Pie King, Lucky Mel, Windy Sands, Kennedy Road and Unusual Heat.Johnston was the son of Elwood B. “The Pie Man” Johnston, who began breeding and owning horses in California in the 1940s with the establishment of Old English Rancho in Chino. Bud Johnston and his wife, Judy, took over management of the farm which had been moved to Ontario, in 1957. “O.E.R.” was again relocated in 1997 to Sanger, near Fresno, where its current stallion roster is comprised of Acclamation (by Unusual Heat), Cyclotron, Surf Cat, Vronsky and Big Bad Leroy Brown.Acclamation won 11 of 30 starts including the $1 million Pacific Classic in 2011, in a career spanning from 2008 to 2012. He earned $1,958,048, and was thus Johnston’s all-time leading money earner.Preceded in death by his father and mother, Betty, Johnston is survived by his wife of 58 years, Judy, daughters Darlene Johnston Smith, Mary Johnston Hilvers, five grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.Services for Johnston are pending. Tyler Baze3984821%$352,500 JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%Money Won Mark Glatt1422314%$75,220 Richard Baltas1342131%$259,200 Flavien Prat3368118%$359,110