“The Southland and its member institutions are focused on the academic and competitive well-being of these individuals as the work toward graduation and lifelong success.” The Southland Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll acknowledges participants in all sports sponsored by the league and its member institutions. The honor roll recognizes student-athletes who maintained a minimum 3.00 GPA. Student-athletes must have been eligible to compete in a conference sport during the academic year in which the nomination occurs. UIW named a total of 97 student-athletes to the list, followed by McNeese (81), Sam Houston State (80), Stephen F. Austin (79), Southeastern Louisiana (78), Houston Baptist (75) and Nicholls (70). Lamar (69), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (56) and New Orleans (22) rounded out the Fall 2017 Honor Roll. The Fall Commissioner’s Honor Roll recognizes student-athletes in the sports of men’s cross country, women’s cross country, football, soccer and volleyball who maintain at least a 3.00 grade point average in the semester of their sport. Central Arkansas leads the conference with 127 total honorees, followed by Abilene Christian with 123 and Northwestern State with 101. Of the total student-athletes named, 236 posted perfect 4.00 GPAs during the fall semester. Fall 2017 Commissioner’s Honor Roll (PDF) | 2017-18 Southland Academic AwardsFRISCO, Texas – A total of 1,058 Southland Conference student-athletes were named to the Fall 2017 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, the league announced Tuesday. This year’s honoree total is a marked improvement from fall 2016, when 1,008 student-athletes earned the distinction. “We are very honored and pleased to see so many Southland Conference student-athletes continue to succeed academically,” league Commissioner Tom Burnett said.
Special Teams Player of the Week: LaDarius Dickens, Houston Baptist – So. – Kick Returner – Rowlett, TexasLaDarius Dickens forced SMU to kick out of bounds twice in the second half after returning three first half kickoffs for 186 yards (62.0 yards per return) and a touchdown. The sophomore from Rowlett returned a kick 64 yards to the SMU 33, then took his next return 95 yards to the house to etch his name in the HBU record book for longest kick return in program history. FRISCO, Texas – Sam Houston State’s Ty Brock, McNeese’s BJ Blunt and Houston Baptist’s LaDarius Dickens are the Southland Conference Players of the Week, the league announced Monday. All weekly awards are presented by MidSouth Bank. Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on 25 percent of ballots. Honorable Mention: Jackie Harvell, Central Arkansas; Xavier Lewis, Southeastern Louisiana; Hezekiah White, Nicholls; Mar’kel Cooks, Incarnate Word. Defensive Players of the Week: BJ Blunt, McNeese – Sr. – Linebacker – New Orleans, La.Blunt continued his dominance on the defensive side of the ball, recording a McNeese career-high 12 tackles with two sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss in addition to a fumble recovery. His two sacks added to his FCS leading sack total of seven for the year. The senior linebacker from New Orleans had a critical sack in the four quarter to keep Stephen F. Austin from driving closer to the endzone and making the Lumberjacks settle for a field goal. Houston Baptist (1-3, 0-2) fell to SMU 63-27 in Dallas on Saturday. The Huskies stay on the road this weekend, contesting UCA in Conway, Ark., on Saturday at 6 p.m. McNeese (4-1, 3-0 SLC) defeated the Lumberjacks 17-10 Saturday to remain unbeaten in league action. The Cowboys host Abilene Christian (2-3, 1-2 SLC) on Saturday at 6 p.m. Offensive Player of the Week: Ty Brock, Sam Houston State – R-Fr. – Quarterback – College Station, TexasIn his first start as a Bearkat and first full four-quarter game of football since his sophomore year of high school, Ty Brock guided Sam Houston State to a home overtime win. The six-foot, four-inch redshirt freshman completed 27-of-43 passes to seven different receivers, finishing with 305 yards and a touchdown. He also made things happen his legs, picking up another 73 yards on the ground with a pair of scores. Sam Houston State (2-2, 1-1 SLC) avoided three consecutive losses by taking a 34-31 overtime win over Central Arkansas (2-2, 1-1 SLC). The Bearkats travel to Houston for the Battle of the Piney Woods against Stephen F. Austin (1-3, 1-2 SLC) on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT. Brock claims offense honors in his first game starting under center while Blunt secures his league-leading second defensive award of the season. Dickens is the Special Teams Player of the Week. Honorable Mention: Tre Honshtein, Sam Houston State; Elvin Martinez, Lamar; Alex Kjellsten, McNeese; Winston Jones, Nicholls. Honorable Mention: Chase Fourcade, Nicholls; Austin Mitchell, Southeastern Louisiana; Kody Edwards, Incarnate Word.
SADLER’S GIFT BOX & BAFFERT’S MCKINZIE SQUARE OFF IN GRADE I, $600,000 SANTA ANITA HANDICAP ON SATURDAY MILE AND ONE QUARTER BIG’ CAP TRACES BACK TO 1934 & MARKS 82ND RENEWAL; SPECIAL EARLY FIRST POST TIME FOR 11-RACE CARD IS AT 12 NOON, GATES OPEN AT 10 A.M. ARCADIA, Calif. (April 3, 2019)–Two of the top older horses on the West Coast, John Sadler’s Gift Box and Bob Baffert’s McKinzie, head a field of six 4-year-old and up in the 82nd running of the Grade I, $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap this Saturday. Originally run in 1934, the Big ‘Cap, America’s longest continually run “hundred grander,” will again be contested at a mile and one quarter.Idle since winning the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles San Antonio Stakes here on Dec. 26, 6-year-old Gift Box appears to be at the top of his game and although he was well beaten in his only other try at 1 ¼ miles at age three, give every indication he should relish the distance at this stage of his career.Beaten a half length by former Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Champ Battle of Midway as the 1-2 favorite in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles San Pasqual Stakes over a sloppy track on Feb. 2, 4-year-old McKinzie has trained extremely well for the Big ‘Cap, which will also be his second try at 1 ¼ miles.GIFT BOXOwner: Hronis Racing, LLCTrainer: John SadlerOriginally headquartered with trainer Chad Brown in New York, this 6-year-old Kentucky-bred horse by Twirling Candy made his first start for Sadler in the San Antonio and was dismissed at odds of 6-1. With the San Antonio counting as his first graded stakes win, Gift Box is now 14-4-5-2 overall. Although he was fourth, beaten 18 ¾ lengths by superstar Arrogate in the 2016 Travers Stakes going 1 ¼ miles, Gift Box appears primed for a huge effort and will no doubt be head and head with McKinzie in the battle of the tote.McKINZIEOwner: Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul WeitmanTrainer: Bob BaffertA smashing 4 ¾ length winner of the Grade I, seven furlong Malibu Stakes here on Dec. 26, this ultra-talented 4-year-old colt by Street Sense was outrun late by Battle of Midway in the San Pasqual, but has trained in sensational fashion for Baffert since. A two-time Grade I winner and four-time graded stakes winner, McKinzie simply did not fire when distanced in his only other try at a mile and one quarter, the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic three starts back at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3. The leading money earner in the field with $1,126,000, he has an overall mark of 8-5-2-0 and will likely be the post time favorite on Saturday.THE GRADE I SANTA ANITA HANDICAP WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER Race 10 of 11 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PTMcKinzie–Mike Smith–123Mongolian Groom–Geovanni Franco–114Prime Attraction–Kent Desormeaux–116Gift Box–Joel Rosario–122Prince of Arabia–Joe Talamo–114Campaign–Rafael Bejarano–115 Special early first post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
SINGLE TICKET RAINBOW PICK 6 JACKPOT AT $159,584 SMITH HAS MUCH TO LIKE ABOUT ‘NOW HORSE’ OMAHA BEACHMike Smith stunned the racing world in 2005 when he piloted Giacamo to a 50-1 upset in the Kentucky Derby, although it was no great surprise to him.If he wins the Kentucky Derby on Omaha Beach in less than two weeks, May 4 to be exact, it will have minimal shock value both in the main and to Smith, since Omaha Beach is the pre-race favorite.The 53-year-old Hall of Fame member, among the gold standard of current jockeys, sees no additional pressure riding the favorite as opposed to a longshot such as Giacomo. After all, he did sweep the Triple Crown last year on Justify.“Hopefully, Omaha Beach is getting better,” Smith said Sunday morning over coffee at Clockers’ Corner. “The Derby is a tough race with a tough bunch of three-year-olds, but Omaha Beach seems to be the ‘now’ horse.“I love his running style and I love that he’ll handle mud and different surfaces, because that certainly can happen. There’s always a chance it can be muddy at Churchill (Downs).”John Shirreffs recalls that Smith was optimistic about Giacomo’s chances on Derby Day in 2005.“He was very positive,” said former Marine and surfing enthusiast Shirreffs, best known as the trainer of the fairytale filly Zenyatta. “He said, ‘Don’t worry, John. He’s coming, he’s coming, he’s coming. Everything’s good.’ He really loved Giacomo. Maybe it was because Giacomo was by Holy Bull (the favorite in the 1994 Derby who finished 12thunder Smith after breaking poorly on a sloppy track).“He realized the first day Giacomo went on the track at Churchill Downs that he liked it, and when you ship, it’s important that a horse likes the surface.“Giacomo also benefitted from Mike’s experience. Over the years, he’s learned how to ride the Derby really well. Going into the first turn, Giacomo was a little wide and he knew he couldn’t win going wide on two turns. He had to save ground somewhere.“There was a horse in front of him going into the first turn, so he tried to get Giacomo to the rail even though it was a little close, and he did. A lot of riders might have been more cautious and not attempted that move, but I think because of Mike’s experience, knowing he couldn’t afford to go wide on the first and second turns, he had to do what he did.“I remember people thinking Ron Turcotte moved too soon on the backside aboard Secretariat in the 1973 Derby, but in that race he had gone wide around the first turn, and Ron knew that he couldn’t go wide around the second turn as well, so that kind of experience really pays off.”Smith and his agent Brad Pegram pondered whether to ride Omaha Beach or Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster in the 145th Run for the Roses. Smith has been the go-to guy for Roadster’s trainer Bob Baffert, who captured his second Triple Crown last year with Justify, following American Pharoah’s sweep in 2015.“It was extremely tough,” Smith said of the decision. “They’re both live horses, and I think Omaha Beach has beaten two of the horses (Improbable and Game Winner) that probably would have been favored if he hadn’t have beaten them.“He’s got Roadster to beat and a couple horses from New York that look really good, so it’s going to be a tough Derby, but he’s not without a big chance. Like I said, I love his running style and it suits the Derby.“He’s quick out of there, he’ll be in a good position and then it’s just a matter of working out the trip. But is there more pressure on a favorite? I guess if you feel that way, but it all depends on the individual.“It’s the kind of pressure that I like.”‘STARR’ IN THE MAKING FOR BILL SPAWR?Starr of Quality makes her graded stakes debut in her 22nd lifetime start Saturdayin the Grade II Santa Margarita Stakes, but Bill Spawr cautions not to readily dismiss the chances of the California-bred daughter of First Dude owned by Tom Acker and Jon Lindo.“Look at her record, and look who won the (Grade I) Beholder (Mile),” Spawrsaid, noting that Starr of Quality finished second in the race, a half-length in front of Secret Spice, the likely favorite had she opted to run in the Santa Margarita.“Also,” Spawr pointed out, “the Santa Margarita is a mile and an eighth, and thefarther the better for my mare.”Starr of Quality has two wins from nine starts since being claimed for $32,000 in February 2018. She has a 5-4-6 record from 21 starts and earned $230,308.SANTA ANITA SINGLE TICKET RAINBOW PICK SIX JACKPOT IS $159,584Santa Anita’s popular 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot went unsolved again Saturday, creating a tidy Jackpot carryover of $159,584 into Sunday.With $157,240 in “new” Rainbow Six money wagered yesterday, the total Jackpot pool reached $280,825. Although there was no single ticket winner, there were 27 consolation tickets with six, each of them worth $3,111.Leg one in today’s Rainbow Six is the third race, with approximate post time of 2 p.m.PUGLISI BACK AND LOOKING TO THE FUTUREIgnacio Puglisi is back on track in a career that began 29 years ago when hewas a mere pup of 16. Now 45, but still fit, formidable and friendly, the jockey pals refer to as ‘Iggy’ is doing what he loves best–riding horses.“I’ve been back since mid-November now, so it’s been a while,” said the native ofRosario, Argentina, currently flying without an agent. “Unfortunately, we got stuck with all the rough stuff and it just slowed things down, but now I feel good, physically and emotionally.“I’m doing real well and riding for a great group of guys. Michael McCarthy toldme this morning he had a horse for me to ride; Andrew Lerner has been real cool. He named me on one, Jack Carava also, and of course (longtime patron) Paul Aguirre.“It’s going OK. For me, I’m loving it, I’m enjoying it and hoping we survive this storm because it’s a great game and I think we’re back on the upswing.”LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:Marley’s Freedom (Outside) in company with Nero work 5 furlongs (Baffert)Tizarunner works 4 furlongs (McCarthy) 4-21-19Starr of Quality works 5 furlongs (Spawr) 4-21-19Ax Man works 5 furlongs (Baffert) 4-21-19 SMITH FANCIES OMAHA BEACH IN A ‘TOUGH’ DERBY McKinzie works 5 furlongs (Baffert) 4-19-19Bellafina likely Kentucky Oaks favorite works 4 furlongs (Callaghan) 4-19-19Quick Questions with jockey Aaron GryderSejo worked 4 furlongs (Sadler) 4-19-19FINISH LINES: Mike Smith rides Paradise Woods for John Shirreffs in Saturday’s Grade II Santa Margarita Stakes. The multiple Grade I winner worked four furlongs yesterday in 47.40 . . . There were 188 recorded workout at Santa Anita Sunday, including a five furlong move on the training track in 1:05 by Vasilika, ticketed for the Grade I Gamely on May 27 for Jerry Hollendorfer. Multiple graded stakes winner Ashleyluvssugar worked in 51 seconds flat on the main track for Peter Eurton. The eight-year-old Game Plan gelding is nominated to Saturday’s $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes for California-breds at a mile on the grass . . . Hollendorfer-trained Blind Luck is among the Hall of Fame contemporary Thoroughbred finalists that include Gio Ponti, Havre de Grace, Rags to Riches and Royal Delta. The winners are scheduled to be announced tomorrow . . . Fans can participate in the biggest Derby party west of Kentucky on Saturday, May 4, at Santa Anita. Live racing, music, food trucks and hat contests will be the order of the day. For tickets and reservations, visit santaanita.com . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday through Thursday, with live action resuming at 1 p.m. Friday, April 26. Simulcast racing is offered Wednesday and Thursday with free general admission and free parking. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. SPAWR HAS ‘STARR’ IN GRADE II SANTA MARGARITA Roadster works 6 furlongs (Baffert) 4-20-19Game Winner (Outside) works 5 furlongs (Baffert) 4-20-19Paradise Woods works 5 furlongs (Sherriffs) 4-20-19Pee Wee Reese (Outside) & Kenjisstorm work 5 furlongs (D’Amato)River Boyne worked 5 furlongs (Mullins) 4-19-19
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PHIL BABB reckons Troy Parrott should stay at Tottenham and fight for his place.The Ireland striker turns 18 next month and has been restricted to just two appearances for Jose Mourinho’s Spurs despite a recent hamstring injury to Harry Kane.1Credit: AFP or licensorsParrott – who won his only international cap against New Zealand last November – was not even included on the bench for the FA Cup replay against Championship side Middlesbrough on Tuesday.His contract is due to expire in the summer of 2021 but Spurs are keen to secure him on a new long-term deal.And former Ireland and Liverpool defender Babb believes Parrott is the perfect fit for the London side and that he may be rewarded for his patience if he does not go out on loan during the January transfer window.However, Babb has also warned against the hysteria surrounding Parrott’s potential and insists the Belvedere product still needs to put in the work.SPURS NEED HIMBabb – capped 35 times for Ireland – said: “Parrott seems to me the type of player that Spurs would like to have on their books because he’s very technical and has got a good shot on him as well, so who knows.“With Jose Mourinho, we know what he’s like. The thing is, are Spurs going to spend big money? No, so they have to develop the talent that they’ve already got. And if you look at the top teams in the Premier League their managers are doing that.“Jurgen Klopp is doing it at Liverpool, Frank Lampard is doing it at Chelsea, Mikel Arteta is trying to do it at Arsenal and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is trying to do it at Man Utd.“It might be something Spurs have to do too if Jose doesn’t get the money he wants. If that’s the case, then the likes of Troy will have to grasp any little chance he gets.STAY AND FIGHT“People wax lyrical about Troy. I’ve watched him a few times at under-age level and yes, he looks as though he’s got all the tools, but it’s difficult to tell.“Is he the type of player who should go out on loan or could he break through into the Tottenham team if he stays put? He’s obviously got tremendous talent, so if he’s got the belief then maybe he should stay and try to force his way into that first team regularly.“I like Parrott, but it’s down to the individual. We see a lot of players nowadays who believe in themselves yet fail to make the breakthrough at the top level.”Babb is excited by the attacking talent Ireland have emerging in the Premier League at the moment.Southampton’s Michael Obafemi, 19, scored a fine goal against Chelsea on St Stephen’s Day and Aaron Connolly, 19, has also impressed at Brighton this season.MOST READ IN SPORTTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battle’I ACCEPT’McGregor accepts Silva fight at UFC catchweight of 176lbs in huge super-fightTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedA CUT ABOVEMike Tyson shows two-inch cut ‘picked up in training’ ahead of boxing returnPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidBabb told bookmakers.co.uk: “It’s exactly what we’ve needed. We’ve been lacking in this department for some time. Michael Obafemi took his goal at Chelsea really well and we’ve seen how busy Aaron Connolly has been for Brighton already.“Since Robbie Keane retired, we haven’t had an out-and-out goalscorer. We’ve got players like David McGoldrick who is very busy and useful but doesn’t get many goals. We’ve struggled these past few years and that’s one of the main reasons why. But these kids look great and it bodes well.“Like a lot of us, I was sceptical about where our next group of players were going to come from. We’ve got an aging squad now and it’s been tried and trusted for a while, but we need to bring through some new blood.”