- Associated Press - Saturday, June 6, 2015

HORSE RACING

NEW YORK (AP) - Will the long, long wait finally end in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday?

If it does, and American Pharoah becomes the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, it may not be enough to help the troubled sport of horse racing stay relevant.

Amid a push to improve drug testing, a dwindling fan base and horse breakdowns, racing is a far cry from the popular sport it used to be in the days of Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed.

The weeks leading to a Triple Crown try always create a buzz in the racing world and draw tons of interest from casual fans hoping to see a little history. But some think the celebration of a Triple Crown would be short lived, and wouldn’t change the sport in the long run.

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FIFA INVESTIGATION

DUBLIN (AP) - Irish soccer chiefs disclosed documentary evidence Friday of how FIFA paid millions to buy Ireland’s silence on the handball that cost the Irish a chance to reach the 2010 World Cup.

The documents - published after the Football Association of Ireland suffered a daylong barrage of international criticism over its decision to take the confidential payment - detail a series of meetings in Switzerland involving FAI and FIFA chiefs, including President Sepp Blatter. These followed Ireland’s 2-1 loss on aggregate to France in November 2009, a result partly achieved by an infamous Thierry Henry handball that went unpunished and which produced France’s playoff-clinching goal.

The self-described “moral compensation” contract, signed Jan. 15, 2010, by senior FAI and FIFA officials in Zurich, guaranteed the FAI immediate delivery of 5 million euros (then $7.13 million) on strict condition that Irish officials never revealed existence of the deal. The payment was initially labeled a loan, but the contact included no terms for repayment, and the FAI never did pay it back.

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NBA FINALS

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving has a fractured left knee cap and will have surgery that will end his season.

The Cavaliers said Friday that an MRI exam revealed the injury and that Irving’s projected recovery time was three to four months.

Irving limped off the court during overtime of Cleveland’s 108-100 loss to Golden State on Thursday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. He left the arena on crutches, and Cavs coach David Blatt says he heard Irving was still on crutches Friday morning.

Irving missed two games during the Eastern Conference finals but had played well Thursday, finishing with 23 points before leaving. Game 2 is Sunday.

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WNBA

PHOENIX (AP) - Brittney Griner has filed to annul her marriage to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson-Griner.

Griner released a statement Friday, saying: “Last Wednesday, Glory and I agreed to either legally separate, get divorced, or annul our marriage. I can confirm that today I filed for an annulment. In the week prior to the wedding, I attempted to postpone the wedding several times until I completed counseling, but I still went through with it. I now realize that was a mistake.”

The news broke a day after Johnson-Griner announced that she’s pregnant.

Griner, the 6-foot-8 Phoenix Mercury star, and Johnson-Griner, who plays for the Tulsa Shock, were married May 9 - three weeks after they were arrested in Arizona on domestic violence charges.

Griner and Johnson were each suspended for the first seven games of the WNBA season for the domestic violence incident. Johnson will miss the season because of her pregnancy and has said she plans to appeal. Her suspension wouldn’t start until next season.

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NFL

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - Miami Dolphins first-round draft pick DeVante Parker underwent left foot surgery Friday and will likely miss the start of training camp, but he’s expected to be ready for the beginning of the regular season.

The former Louisville receiver had surgery on the same foot last year, when he missed the first seven games of his senior season. He caught 43 passes for 855 yards and five touchdowns in the final six games and was impressive in recent practices with the Dolphins until he was sidelined this week.

When Parker was taken with the 14th pick in the draft May 1, he and the Dolphins said he was fully recovered from his foot injury. He underwent the follow-up surgery at a hospital in Coral Gables.

Parker is still expected to see significant playing time this season. Parker tied the Louisville record for career touchdown receptions with 33 and had 10 100-yard games.

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BASEBALL

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Milwaukee Brewers left-hander Will Smith’s suspension for using a foreign substance on his arm has been reduced from eight games to six.

Major League Baseball announced the decision on Friday, and Smith started serving the suspension when the Brewers opened a series in Minnesota against the Twins.

“I think it’s probably what we expected,” manager Craig Counsell said. “We kind of hoped going through the process that he was able to get it knocked down a little bit.”

Smith fared better in his appeal than did Orioles reliever Brian Matusz, whose eight-game suspension for the same infraction was upheld Friday.

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GOLF

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) - David Lingmerth had a 7-under 65 on Friday at the Memorial and has a one-shot lead going into a weekend that includes Tiger Woods.

But just barely.

Woods avoided a third straight bogey of his round by getting up-and-down from 40 yards with a 6-foot par putt for a 70 to make the cut on the number.

It was the second straight tournament that Woods had to make a putt on his final hole to make the cut. He was 11 shots behind Lingmerth, who was at 12-under 132.

Jason Dufner had two more eagles, including an ace, and was one behind.

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SOCCER

AMSTERDAM (AP) - Danny Williams scored in the 89th minute and Bobby Wood in the 90th, capping a comeback from a two-goal second-half deficit and giving the United States a 4-3 win over the Netherlands on Friday night for the Americans’ first win against the Dutch.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored twice on headers in the exhibition and assisted on Memphis Depay’s goal as the sixth-ranked Netherlands built a 3-1 lead.

John Brooks cut the U.S. deficit in the 71st minute with his second international goal. Williams and Wood, both second-half substitutes who are down on the American depth shot, then scored their first goals for the national team.

The Americans, ranked 27th, had been 0-4 against the Dutch coming in and had been outscored 7-1. They play world champion Germany next week.

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