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Sports briefs

Horse racing

GOLD CUP: Trainer Sonny Hine bought Skip Away at a discount and the 5-year-old gray horse has more than paid him back.

With $8.3 million in earnings, Skip Away turned out to be a bargain. Hine bought him for $22,500 - $7,500 less than what the seller wanted because the horse had a bum ankle.

A victory in today's Hollywood Gold Cup - worth $600,000 - would put Skip Away closer to Cigar's earnings record, something Hine covets. Cigar retired in 1996 with $9.9 million. Hine wants to see Skip Away reach $10 million.

"We want him to leave a legacy, something people will remember," said Hine, whose wife, Carolyn, owns the horse.

"He's amazing. He's a throwback to the horses in the old days," he said. "He works faster than most people run. And he can run all day. Nothing bothers him."

Skip Away was made the even-money favorite in the eight-horse Gold Cup field. Gentlemen, running as an entry with stablemate Puerto Madero, is second on the morning line at 7-5.

Auto racing

NASCAR TRUCK SERIES: At Watkins Glen, N.Y., Boris Said, filling in for Jimmy Spencer, captured the pole position Saturday for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Watkins Glen International road course.


FRENCH OPEN: At Guyancourt, Paris, Michael Campbell rolled in a 13-foot eagle putt at the 18th hole Saturday and tied Sam Torrance for the third-round lead in the French Open.

Campbell, a 29-year-old New Zealander, shot a 3-under-par 69, while Torrance, the second-round leader from Scotland, had a 72. They have 54-hole scores of 206 over the French National course.

PGA CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP: If another day of 100-degree heat didn't wear down the field in the third round of the 31st PGA Club Professional Championship in Pinehurst, N.C., the difficult pin placements on Pinehurst No. 8 sure did.

Mike Burke Jr. of Mountain Ridge County Club in West Caldwell, N.J., shot a 3-over-par 75 Saturday but hung onto a one-shot lead over Bob Gaus of St. Louis heading to the final round.

Burke was at 5-over 211, while Gaus, a driving range instructor, also shot a 75 during a stifling day in which only six of 70 rounds were under par in the national tournament for club pros.


U.S. ELITE ROAD RACE: Pam Schuster pulled away from the pack early and held on despite a late challenge and sapping heat to win her first championship Saturday in the U.S. Elite National Road Race in Cincinnati.

Schuster, of Northridge, Calif., led for the final 44 miles of the hilly, 64-mile race through Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. A group of four riders finished a minute behind, with Kendra Wenzel - a Saeco-Timex teammate from McKenzie Bridge, Ore. - tak-ing second.

Only 19 of the 67 starters finished the race, held in 90-degree temperatures with high humidity. At least two riders needed medical attention for dehydration.

STANFORD FRESHMAN OUTRUNS BYU'S BARRUS: At Edwardsville, Ill., Stanford freshman Gabe Jennings won an unprecedented distance double Saturday night in the U.S. Junior Track and Field Championships.

In stifling heat, Jennings won the 1,500 meters in 3 minutes, 46.86 seconds, beating BYU's Steven Barrus by 1.92 seconds.

About two hours later, Jennings took the 5,000 in 14:48.03 to become the first to win both distance events in the 27-year history of the meet.

The meet is for those born in 1979 or later, attracting college freshmen and high school athletes. Top finishers qualify for the World Junior Championships at Annecy, France, July 28-Aug. 2.


N.M. GRADES IMPROVING: The classroom work of the men's basketball team at New Mexico State University has shown steady improvement over the past three years, according to an NCAA report released by the university.

The report said the team's grade point average was 2.75 for the 1997-98 school year, the highest among the four men's sports of basketball, football, track and field and swimming and diving.

Track and field athletes compiled a GPA average of 2.73; the swimming and diving team's GPA was 2.63 and the football team a 2.440.

The report noted that the basketball team's grade point average has shown steady improvement since the 1994-95 school year, when the GPA was 1.845. The team's GPA for 1995-96 was 1.917 and rose to 2.396 in 1996-97.


MOSLEY, REID WIN BY KO: Shane Mosley defended his IBF lightweight title for the fourth time with a fifth-round knockout of Wil-fredo Ruiz on Saturday night in Philadelphia.

In the co-feature at the Apollo of Temple, Olympic gold medalist David Reid also remained unbeaten with a fourth-round knockout of Simon Brown in a junior mid-dle-weight fight.

Mosley (28-0) battered Ruiz (25-4) for five rounds, but the late replacement for the injured Ivan Rob-in-son refused to go down.

It looked as if Ruiz, a native of Colombia, wouldn't last the first round of the scheduled 12-rounder as he stumbled into the ropes midway through it after several com-bi-na-tions.

Mosley was leading on all scorecards when his straight right sent Ruiz to the canvas 2:32 into the fifth round, his 26th knockout.

Reid (10-0) earned his seventh knockout with a hard right hand that stunned Brown (47-8) two minutes into the fourth round of the scheduled 10-round fight. Brown stayed down well beyond the 10 count.

RUDDOCK WINS EASILY: Razor Ruddock used Tony Bradham (6-5) for punching practice Saturday night in Chicago, knocking him down five times in the second round alone. The final knockdown came off a piercing right to the body.

"He had a hard head," said the affable Ruddock, who improved to 30-5-1 with his 22nd knockout. "I hurt my hand on his head, so I had to start going to the body."

The victory was the second on Ruddock's comeback tour, following an April knockout of journeyman Brian Yates in Columbus, Ind. There were 400 fans watching in Indiana, and an estimated crowd of 1,500 at Alumni Hall.