Di Maria stunner rescues point for PSG against Napoli

first_imgShare on: WhatsApp – Tuchel forced to take action –They nearly took the lead midway through the first half when Mertens guided a Mario Rui cross against the bar.The warning was not heeded by PSG, and Napoli went ahead just before the half-hour mark, Jose Callejon’s superb pass in behind finding Insigne, who finished beautifully over the advancing Alphonse Areola.It took PSG until seven minutes before the interval to really threaten thanks to a combination of their two superstar forwards — Neymar released Mbappe, but the France World Cup winner saw his shot saved by David Ospina.Tuchel knew action was needed and he switched to a back three for the second half, taking off struggling left-back Juan Bernat and replacing him with another centre-back in Thilo Kehrer.Paris duly stepped up the pressure and were rewarded with the equaliser in the 61st minute, although there was more than a touch of good fortune about the goal.Mbappe exchanged passes with Neymar before releasing Thomas Meunier, whose low ball in from the right was turned into his own net by Mario Rui, the Portuguese defender.Napoli shook off that blow and retook the lead when Mertens stabbed home from close range in the 77th minute after Marquinhos had blocked a shot from Fabian Ruiz.That appeared to be that, but just as PSG looked defeated, substitute Julian Draxler laid the ball off to Di Maria in the 93rd minute and he curled a superb strike high into the top-left corner from 25 yards. Paris, France | AFP | Angel Di Maria’s stunning goal in injury time allowed an out-of-sorts Paris Saint-Germain to snatch a 2-2 draw with an impressive Napoli side in their Champions League clash on Wednesday.PSG looked beaten until Di Maria curled home in the third minute of time added on, salvaging a point from a game in which they had been second-best for long spells.Prior to that it looked as though goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens, either side of a Mario Rui own goal, would give Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli the victory in the French capital.Instead, the biggest beneficiaries of this result are surely Liverpool, who move to the top of Group C after easing to a 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in the night’s other game.Despite the late blow, Napoli can still be the happier of the teams with a point, while the ambitious PSG’s own hopes of reaching the knockout rounds and finally making a major impression in this competition remain in the balance.It was an accomplished away performance from Napoli, but PSG’s all-star attack of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani all toiled for much of the evening, which was a world away from the strolls they so often enjoy domestically.They have won all 10 of their games in Ligue 1, a record-breaking start to a French season that has led to new coach Thomas Tuchel being showered with praise.However, doubts had already been raised about their true capabilities when they performed poorly in losing 3-2 to Liverpool at Anfield.Tuchel did not deserve to be judged on that one game, but once again his team were exposed by a leading European side, with Ancelotti revelling in his latest return to Paris.Ancelotti coached PSG to the Ligue 1 title in 2013 before leaving for Real Madrid, and he first returned to the Parc des Princes a year ago in charge of Bayern Munich only to be sacked by the German giants after a chastening 3-0 defeat.This time his Napoli team were excellent for long spells, fresh from beating Liverpool in their last European outing.last_img read more

20 Indicted on Drug, Gun Trafficking

first_imgBy John BurtonFREEHOLD – A Monmouth County grand jury has handed down indictments against 20 individuals who, law enforcement charge, operated an extensive drug and firearms trafficking operation.The defendants, who face a wide array of charges, were among 40 arrested last summer following an investigation that began in fall 2010, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.Authorities have named Anthony Stevenson, also known as “Nygee,” a 43-year-old Long Branch resident, as the alleged ringleader.The operation was allegedly based in Long Branch, authorities said. The eight-month investigation was initiated after the prosecutor’s Narcotics and Criminal Enterprises unit received information about the ring’s operation.The prosecutor’s office charges that during the investigation Stevenson either sold or directed one of his underlings to sell heroin to customers who turned out to be undercover officers.Authorities alleged the officers bought upward of 38 bricks of heroin from Stevenson or his associates. A brick, law enforcement officials said, contains 50 small glassine bags of the illegal drug.Along with heroin, Stevenson and his associates are also alleged to have sold cocaine to officers, authorities said.The investigation reveal­ed Stevenson relied on different suppliers operating in the Newark area, policesaid. The most significant amount allegedly came from Uwenzen Jenkins, 40, West Orange.Two of Stevenson’s associates from Asbury Park, who were under surveillance by officers, were stopped by the police in Tinton Falls after meeting with Jenkins on July 1, and found to be in possession of 40 bricks of heroin.The following month, Stevenson and another associate were stopped and arrested when they were allegedly in possession of 50 heroin bricks.Along with the narcotics, law enforcement charged that Stevenson brokered the sale of illegal guns. In one case a Stevenson associate sold a handgun in a Long Branch restaurant owned by Stevenson. Another sale allegedly occurred when Stevenson sold two assault rifles to undercover officers in the parking lot of a West Long Branch gas station, police said.Two of Stevenson’s associates, Walter Taylor III, 35, Long Branch, and Latief Forbes, 29 (no residence provided), are alleged to have operated a drug production facility in Freehold, according to the prosecutor’s office.Among the list of charges Stevenson is facing include: first degree leader of narcotics trafficking; second degree racketeering conspiracy; and numerous drug and illegal firearms possession offenses.The alleged co-conspirators are from Long Branch, Asbury Park, Neptune, Red Bank, West Orange, and two from South Carolina, who are former Long Branch residents.Stevenson’s bail was set at $2 million, cash only and no 10 percent option.He is being held at the Monmouth Correctional Institution, Freehold, pending a prosecutor-requested bond source hearing to determine whether the source of the bond is from criminal activity, First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said.last_img read more

Hypocritical Freddie Kissoon (Part 2)

first_imgDear Editor,Although Gail Teixeira is a household name in Guyana, not much is known about this lady who has dedicated so much of her life to the land of her birth and its people. She is not one to blow her own trumpet.From the early age of 14, Gail migrated to Canada with her parents. Years later, she met Dr. Cheddi Jagan while he was visiting Toronto in 1976. Obviously impressed with the work she was doing in support of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Jagan, after consultation with the PPP Secretariat, invited her to return to Guyana to be his Personal Secretary. The rest is history. Cheddi Jagan must have seen something in this young woman that made him make such a bold move. Throughout the years that followed, the astuteness of Dr Jagan and the PPP has not been let down by the choice they made, as they gained a woman who has been trustworthy, disciplined and loyal to the party, and dedicated to the people of Guyana, the country of her birth.The Gail Teixeira I know never flinched when the issues of principle were at stake, even when she was attacked both physically and publicly, as some people did not then understand the position of the People’s Progressive Party. Years later, the PPP has now been vindicated.Freddie Kissoon maliciously and falsely attacks Gail Teixeira as an “ideological Stalinist”. In fact, Stalinism died since 1953.  The newly formed PPP of 1950 never supported or defended Stalinism, and Gail Teixeira was a toddler when that era ended, thankfully. As an adult, she has always stood up for human rights and the respect and dignity of people. Her life has been dedicated to Parliamentary Democracy.But by now we should all recognise that Freddie Kissoon is deliberately dropping these loaded terms for a reason; he is the ‘Pied Piper’ playing to someone else’s tune, and sending signals to anti-PPP forces, both internal and external, that Gail Teixeira would not be acceptable. These forces know too well that it was the PPPC — despite the “communist bogey”  accusations of the 1960s — that moved this country forward as never before in the 23 years of its successive administrations, as it did when in Government in the early 60s. These same forces are now watching closely at the demise of Guyana again under an undemocratic, inept and corrupt APNU+AFC Coalition Government.In his column, Freddie Kissoon — as usual — praises the late PNC Leader Forbes Burnham, and demonises Janet Jagan. Kissoon seems to have a fetish about Mrs Jagan, as he repeatedly attacks her — a great woman leader of Guyana, who is recognised internationally as one of the revolutionary women of the 20th century. In this case, Kissoon uses this to opportunistically attack Gail Teixeira.Kissoon refuses to accept that, in 1997, Guyanese voted overwhelmingly for Janet Jagan when she was at the age of 77; giving her an even larger majority than her husband had received in 1992.He conveniently ignores the fact that Burnham robbed the people of this country of their dignity and the right to have their voices expressed freely and fairly at elections held in 1968, 1973 and 1980.This was repeated by Hoyte in 1985. When Burnham died, he left the country broken, fractured, and on its way to bankruptcy. The Historian David Granger and the former PNC Minister of Finance, Carl Greenidge, can both testify to this, but that would never happen.Sincerely,Harry GillPPP/C Memberof Parliamentlast_img read more

Ngafuan, Others on Rich Nations’ Backs to Crackdown on Money Laundering

first_imgLiberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has challenged the world’s richest nations to toughen their laws against money laundering, tax havens and tax evasion if a global drive against corruption and illicit finance is to deliver results. The senior African diplomat last week Thursday told the Reuters there are two sides to illicit money laundering and financial crime.“There are two sides to this coin. If there were no facilitators on their side, the miscreants on our side would not have succored,” said Foreign Minister Ngafuan.“The G7 needs to walk the talk on this and deal with tax havens and opportunities created on their side of the divide that make it possible for those on the other side to loot the continent,” the Liberian Foreign Minister said. The former Liberian Finance Minister spoke at the G7 Summit in Washington last week.The United States and African nations agreed at their summit last week to set up a high-level working group to develop a plan of action to address the losses suffered by the African continent from illicit financial flows and corruption.Money leaving the continent from crime, corruption and other illicit means outstrips the amount of foreign development aid to Africa, causing mounting concern amongst African leaders who raise the issue with increasing frequency at international meetings.Global Financial Integrity, a Washington-based research group, estimates that Africa lost US$55.6 billion each year in the decade that ended 2011, the latest period for which data was available, with outflows from Sub-Saharan Africa growing at the rate of 20 percent annually.“Illicit financial flows are by far the most damaging economic problem facing Africa. By announcing the creation of the U.S.-Africa Partnership to Combat Illicit Finance, President Obama and African leaders have taken the first step towards tackling the most pernicious global development challenge of our time,” said GFI President Raymond Baker in a statement.Complex Taxes, Powerful LawyersNo details were immediately available regarding who would lead the new U.S.-African effort or how its work would be structured. The Group of Seven leading industrial nations, as part of a drive against dirty money and terrorist financing, already has committed to share tax information and develop registries of shell companies, which are frequently used to hide the transfer of illicit funds.Also under scrutiny are multinational corporations that use complex structures to reduce their profits in certain countries and lower their tax burdens.Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister Samura Kamara said in a separate interview that sometimes multinationals will form subsidiaries in joint partnership with governments and then load the subsidiary with debt, reducing any dividends the government had expected to receive.“The tax structures used by multinationals must be addressed,” he said, calling for greater transparency, particularly in the extractive industries.One issue discussed at the summit, Reuters report was providing developing countries with expert technical assistance to negotiate fair contracts on oil, gas and mining with multinationals who seek to exploit the natural resources in their countries.“It is important to get these contracts right,” Kamara said. “Everyone acknowledges today we lack capacity to negotiate with these international companies – they are so powerful, they have so many lawyers, so much expertise and creative accounting.”Jubilee USA Network, a coalition of religious groups fighting poverty, called the U.S.-Africa summit’s initiative to address illicit flows and corporate tax avoidance a step in the right direction.”We know the problem, we know how to track it, and we even know how to stop it. The working group needs to implement tracking and enforcement measures sooner than later. The drain on Africa’s resources is incredible,” said Eric LeCompte, Jubilee USA’s executive director.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Out-sourcing of Liberian Education to Public Private Partnerships?

first_imgEducation Minister George Werner, at an Education conference in Monrovia last week, made the alarming revelation that he was about to “out-source” Liberian education to so-called “public-private partnerships”. The out-sourcing will begin with nursery and primary schools. For those who may think this a joke, think again: Among the “education stakeholders” who participated in the conference was the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Several very serious questions immediately arise. First, which “education stakeholders” attended the meeting? Most certainly the President, our national leader, who in February 2013 described Liberian education as being “in a mess.” But who else was there besides the international partners—the European Union, the educational NGO “More Than Me,” UNESCO, UNICEF, USAID and the World Bank? We understand that most or all of the universities were represented, though only few by their presidents. How many former Education Ministers besides Etmonia Tarpeh were there? Surely they could have been invited to give their reflections on the problems and the new proposal. Former Education Minister Dr. Evelyn Kandakai was invited, perhaps more so as Interim President of Cuttington University, but she was represented since she is currently on mission in Ghana. But no one saw former Education Ministers Othello Gongar andDr. Joseph Korto. Was Moses Blokanjay Jackson there? Trained in Math and Science education at three of America’s top 10 universities, he is considered an expert in that field. Was Liberia’s most accomplished and most prominent primary education entrepreneur there? Early in this administration she played a dynamic role in education reform as Chair of the Montserrado County School System (MCSS) and later also served as a Deputy at Education and once again currently chairs MCSS. But more important, she is the founder of several nursery, primary and middle schools in the greater Monrovia area. These include the Mary Laurene School of Excellence, a leading middle school near 15th Street, Sinkor. This educational entrepreneur, who is also a textbook writer and novelist, is a highly talented Liberian woman named Hesta Williams Katakaw. We think it was most unfortunate that she was not invited to the education stakeholders meeting, for she has a wealth of educational experience, especially where it really matters—nursery and primary—the foundation of education.But maybe the Education Minister did not need people like Hesta Kakataw, because the conference was probably not in search of new ideas on to how to fix Liberian education. The decision to “out-source” our schools had already been made; and the “stakeholders” invited were those who may have already been sold on the idea.Who might these ‘private partners’ be? What experience do they have with our educational system?What kind of textbooks would they introduce? Foreign, or local ones? The Ministry seems to have over the decades had very serious difficulty mobilizing and putting to work a committed and competent team of textbook writers. But surely this should not be that difficult. And what are the subjects for which we could create textbooks? They include English and Literature, Geography, History, Math, Science and Social Studies. The MOE has perennially had three main problems with textbook preparation, writing and production: first, the lack of a real and serious commitment to get the job done; second, the lack of a determination to recruit and seriously engage a committed crew of writers; and third, a persistent unwillingness to find the money and put it on the table to make it happen.Has MOE ever developed a program to train textbook writers?The Daily Observer has since the 1980s been urging MOE to bring back Civics into our schools to enable our young ones to learn a little more about their country, government, culture and languages. Do the stakeholders know anything about Liberian civics?We think it would be a grave mistake to outsource our education. Nothing would bring more confusion to the system than that. Who will be the teachers and what would they bring to the table? A lot of foreign stuff, written in foreign textbooks that are unrelated to the Liberian reality. Until our Education Ministry shakes off this inertia (apathy, lethargy) and gets down on the work it has to do, surrendering our education system to foreigners or so-called ‘public-private partners’ would, we are afraid, do us, our children and future generations far more harm than good. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

City of Fort St John to host Play in the Park this summer

first_imgFor more information on ‘Play in the Park’, you can email City of Fort St. John Recreation at recreation@fortstjohn.ca. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John Recreation is hosting a program for children and parents all summer long.You can join the Recreation Team every Tuesday and Thursday morning for ‘Play in the Park’.This is a free program that offers games, free play with toys, and social time for children and parents.- Advertisement -‘Play in the Park’ takes place every Tuesday and Thursday morning, throughout July and August, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at a different park within the City.In addition to this program, on select dates there will be a fitness class.The City says these events are subject to be moved indoors in the event of poor weather.Advertisementlast_img read more

UEFA, Premier League investigations will not blemish my work – Guardiola

first_img0Shares0000Manchester City’s acheivements should not be tarnished by allegations of financial impropriety according to Pep Guardiola © AFP / Glyn KIRKLONDON, United Kingdom, Mar 9 – Pep Guardiola insists his achievements as Manchester City manager will not be tarnished even if a UEFA investigation confirms alleged financial fair play breaches by the English champions.City launched a furious defence this week after European football’s governing body opened an inquiry into the allegations made in German magazine Der Spiegel through a serious of leaked documents. It is claimed City bypassed FFP rules on how much owners can pump into clubs by signing commercial deals with Emirati sponsors, which were actually funded by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the club’s owner and member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family.The Premier League followed suit on Friday by announcing it will investigate the financial fair play claims, as well as allegations concerning the recruitment of academy players and third-party ownership.However, Guardiola insists what his side have achieved on the pitch, in winning the Premier League with a record 100 points last season, and going for a historic quadruple of trophies this campaign should not be overshadowed.“I’m not too much concerned or worried about what people say if we win the title just because what happens now with UEFA they do not give us credit for what we have done believe me, I don’t care,” said Guardiola on Friday.“Absolutely zero. I know exactly what the guys are doing for the last two seasons and more and that is what remains my feelings.“If we have made mistakes we will be punished – it is what it is, on and off the pitch – but I’m pretty sure what we have done is incredible. Incredible.“I don’t know whether it is important for the rest of the people but it is important for ourselves. I know when we did it (win the league) it belongs to us and nobody is going to change that.”Guardiola worked closely with City CEO Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain when the trio were previously together at Barcelona.Soriano and Begiristain played a big part in brining Guardiola to Manchester and the Catalan coach insisted he trusts his superiors will be found to have not committed any wrongdoing.“They know how people press, push to find something wrong,” said Guardiola. “I work with them and have known them for a long, long time. I trust them a lot.“After that, we’ll see. What I wish is clarification as quickly as possible, for UEFA to see what we have done. If it is not good then okay, we will accept it. If everything is right then it will finish and we move forward.“The club made a statement. They clarified that they have absolutely followed the rules. I cannot say anything else. Tomorrow we have a game and we have a lot of those left. What is going to happen will happen.“I don’t like it when people talk about it. I prefer to talk about football. For everybody it’ll be good to clarify.”Guardiola would not be drawn on whether he felt there was a vendetta against City, but said he will not consider his own future even in the case of a ban from the Champions League.“My position depends on if I lose games; then I can be in trouble,” he said. “But if we win we are safe. I’m involved with my team. I’m part of the club and back them 100 per cent.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more


first_imgForget Haye v Chisora, Khan V Peterson or even the possible meeting of Mayweather and Paquiao because the best boxing action of the year will take place in the Abbey Hotel on Easter Saturday Night.For the past eight weeks sixteen fighters have been putting themselves through their paces to ensure they are ready when the bell rings, for the forthcoming White Collar Boxing Fight Night in aid of Donegal Town F.C.They have been put through their paces by the Fighting Fit Club and their trainers have seen blood, sweat and at times almost tears, as the fighter’s ramp up their preparations for the big night. The boxers have been honing all the relevant skills during their training sessions, learning the fundamentals of boxing. The intricate footwork has been polished, the bob and weave perfected, the all important punches landed and more importantly avoided.Some of the names on this heavyweight whose who of Donegal boxers include Johnny Byrne, Gary Ward, Benny Byrne, Darren Moy and Ciaran Harley.For those who don’t know, White Collar Boxing consists of three, one-and-a-half minute rounds, and all boxers have little or no experience inside a boxing ring.It is a brave step to climb inside the squared circle for the first time, so come along and show your support for our fighter’s who have given up hours of their time in order to create what should be an extremely entertaining spectacle. The event takes place on Easter Saturday Night, April 7th, in the Abbey Hotel. Doors open at 7.30pm and tickets are priced at only €10. As the great Michael Buffer would say: “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble”Follow us on www.twitter.com/donegaldailyFollow us on www.facebook.com/donegaldailyDONEGAL TOWN FC GETS READY TO RUUUUUMBLE! was last modified: April 6th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Donegal Town FCWhite Collar Boxinglast_img read more


first_imgSTRUGGLING Donegal publicans have been given ‘another kick in the teeth’ with another tax hike on beer in today’s budget, representatives say.Gerry Rafter, President of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) told Donegal Daily: ‘‘Today’s announcement is a kick in the teeth for publicans across the country. The Minister’s decision to raise the excise by 10 cent a pint will put further pressure on an already fragile industry.“Since 2009 over 6,000 jobs have been lost in the industry. We estimate that this measure will put a further 2,000 jobs in jeopardy in the next 12 months. Most pubs are family run business in towns and rural parts of Ireland, often where there is little other employment. “These jobs needed protection. Instead they got a wallop. Our organisation warned Minister Noonan that any changes in excise would cause havoc in the pub industry. He chose not to listen and that will result in more people on the live register and more Social Welfare Payments.’’Mr Rafter continued, ‘‘The further increase in excise of 10 cent on the pint will only serve to widen the disparity between the on trade and off trade, encouraging the misuse of cheap alcohol being sold by supermarkets that sell alcohol as a loss leader.”The VFI welcomed Minister Noonan’s decision to maintain the 9 percent VAT rate on the hospitality sector but this is cold comfort to an industry that has been further hammered by this excise hike.“The mantra from this Government is that job creation is their number one priority. Budget 2014 was a great opportunity to practice what they preach. However this attack will drive a dagger into the heart of our industry.’’ concluded Mr Rafter.  BUDGET: NOONAN’S 10c ON A PINT IS ‘KICK IN TEETH FOR DONEGAL PUBLICANS’ was last modified: October 15th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Lost in the Fog sprints into Horse of Year race

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week NEW YORK — An exceptional 3-year-old colt will be running in the Breeders’ Cup next weekend at Belmont Park. His name isn’t Afleet Alex, he hasn’t won the Kentucky Derby and he won’t be competing in the marquee race, the $4 million Classic. Meet Lost in the Fog, the undefeated sprinter extraordinaire making a mad dash into racing history and a run at Horse of the Year honors. Lost in the Fog, a perfect 10 for 10 — including eight victories at seven tracks this year — will be a strong favorite in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint, one of eight races totaling $14 million in purses. The Classic will feature several Horse of the Year contenders, including Saint Liam and Rock Hard Ten. Afleet Alex, despite being sidelined with an injury after winning the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, is a leading candidate as well. But don’t count out Lost in the Fog, who looms six furlongs away from a chance to claim three Eclipse Awards — top sprinter, top 3-year-old and Horse of the Year. ‘‘I think there’s all kinds of possibilities,” Greg Gilchrist, the colt’s trainer, said this week on a conference call. ‘‘I can talk to you all I want, but I prefer to let the horse do the talking, and you all can make up your own minds after that.” The Classic has a way of determining Horse of the Year, but if the favorites fail, year-end voting by turf writers and track officials could be interesting. ‘‘Basically, in my eyes, it comes down to Afleet Alex and whoever wins the Classic,” trainer Todd Pletcher began before correcting his omission: ‘‘Lost in the Fog. I left him out. If he were to win the Sprint, I think he puts himself in position to make a strong case for not only Horse of the Year, but champion 3-year-old.” Lost in the Fog isn’t the only ‘‘outsider” with a shot. There’s rising 2-year-old star First Samurai, looking to go 5 for 5 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and even Shakespeare, a 4-year-old colt with a 5-for-5 career record entering the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Turf. History says sprint specialists don’t win racing’s top award, and it’s rare when 2-year olds or turf horses do. But it can happen this year under the right circumstances. ‘‘It’ll depend a lot on the way things play out with the other races,” Gilchrist said. ‘‘I certainly think that if we would go on and win on the 29th that we have to be considered.” Jerry Bailey, who will be aboard First Samurai, Saint Liam and Shakespeare, was diplomatic in his analysis. ‘‘If any of the favorites win the Classic, they probably deserve it,” the Hall of Fame rider said. ‘‘First Samurai? He’s undefeated so if he wins the Juvenile impressively, then why not? If Lost in the Fog wins and the others get knocked off, he’s got a chance. Shakespeare’s undefeated, and even though he’s a turf horse, if he wins and everyone else gets knocked off — he has a chance, too.” The debate will continue through the Classic, so now is a good time to examine a few resumes. Saint Liam: Considered the leading contender despite a not-so-stellar record of three victories in five starts in ’05, including an easy win in the Woodward Stakes last month. The son of Saint Ballado began his 5-year-old campaign by winning the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park, then finished sixth behind Rock Hard Ten in the Santa Anita Handicap, won the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs and was a neck short of catching Commentator in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga. Rock Hard Ten: Unbeaten in four starts — three this year –since Richard Mandella took over as trainer. The strapping 4-year-old colt won the Strub Stakes and the Santa Anita Handicap before a series of ailments kept him sidelined for nearly seven months. His return was another victory, in the Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap under Gary Stevens. Borrego: Despite coming into the Classic off $1 million victories in the Pacific Classic and the Jockey Club Gold Cup, trainer Beau Greely’s 4-year-old colt is a long shot at best. Before those wins, Borrego had won just one of five starts this year. Lost in the Fog: The colt is based in Northern California but has won everywhere — three times in Florida, three times in New York (at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga), and twice in California (at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields). He’s won the Grade 1 King’s Bishop and three Grade 2’s — the Swale, the Riva Ridge and the Carry Back –and his average margin of victory this year is 5 1/2 lengths. The knock on Lost in the Fog is he’s strictly a sprinter — he’s never run farther than seven furlongs — and he hasn’t faced quality opponents. The competitive question will be answered next Saturday. Among his challengers are top sprinters Pomeroy and Taste of Paradise, as well as several horses turning back in distance, Roman Ruler, High Fly and Imperialism. First Samurai: The son of Giant’s Causeway won his first four starts by a combined 18 1/2 lengths, including two wins over his chief rival in the Juvenile, Henny Hughes. First Samurai handed Henny Hughes his first loss in the Hopeful at Saratoga, and did it again with a 2 3/4-length win in the Champagne. Shakespeare: After a 16-month layoff with a knee injury, Shakespeare has won three consecutive races, including the 1 1/2-mile Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont three weeks ago. His best chance is to win and have all the other contenders lose. Afleet Alex: Built up the strongest resume so far with a stellar 3-year-old campaign. After overcoming a lung infection and finishing last in the Rebel Stakes, the colt won the Arkansas Derby, finished third — a length behind Giacomo –in the Kentucky Derby and then won the Preakness after almost being knocked to his knees by another horse and the Belmont. last_img read more