Sports Digest: Derby-winning rider Leon serving suspension by Ohio stewards

HORSE RACING

The jockey of Kentucky Derby upset winner Rich Strike is serving a four-day suspension handed down by Ohio racing stewards that his agent says won’t prevent him from riding the horse in next week’s Preakness.

Stewards suspended Sonny Leon last week for careless riding during the third race on April 27 at Thistledown Racecourse, east of Cleveland, during which they determined he “deliberately and aggressively” steered One Glamorous Gal toward the rail to block other horses in the stretch. Leon interfered with jockey Alexander Chavez aboard Ultra Rays, the ruling stated, and One Glamorous Gal was disqualified from third place and finished in sixth.

It is Leon’s fifth suspension since last fall and includes a 15-day penalty in West Virginia for providing a false and altered document. Leon’s original eight-day suspension in Ohio was reduced to four because he did not appeal; he began serving the penalty on Monday and it ends Thursday.

The Ohio suspension applies to all states, but agent Jeff Perrin told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it will not prevent the Venezuelan jockey from riding designated races. Perrin added that Leon is scheduled to return Friday with six mounts at Belterra Park in Cincinnati and additional weekend rides at Churchill Downs in Louisville among many requests following his stunning victory.

Leon’s future includes another ride aboard Rich Strike in the Preakness on May 21 in Baltimore if the horse is entered, Perrin added.

COLLEAGUES

MEN’S BASKETBALL: Clemson has added Boston College transfer Brevin Galloway to its roster.

Galloway is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound guard who is from Anderson, South Carolina. Next year will be Galloway’s sixth in college.

Galloway started his career at the College of Charleston and moved as a graduate transfer to the Eagles and first-year coach Earl Grant, who was his coach in Charleston.

Galloway played 25 games for the Eagles, averaging 8.3 points. He was second on the team with 44 3-pointers.

TENNIS

ITALIAN OPEN: Rafael Nadal extended his perfect record on clay by beating John Isner 6-3, 6-1 to reach the third round at Rome.

Nadal was coming off a loss to 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in the Madrid Open quarterfinals last week. After a first-round bye, he improved to 44-0 in matches on clay following a loss on the surface.

Up next, Nadal meets Denis Shapovalov, the Canadian he beat at the same stage last year in a grueling three-set comeback victory in which he saved two match points.

Second-seeded Alexander Zverev, who was routed by Alcaraz in the Madrid final on Sunday, beat Sebastian Baez 7-6 (6), 6-3 to end the Argentine qualifier’s eight-match winning streak.

In the women’s tournament, 2019 French Open semifinalist Amanda Anisimova eliminated Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic 7-6 (5), 6-1, and Croatian qualifier Petra Martic beat fifth-seeded Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 6-3.

Madrid finalist Jessica Pegula advanced when Anhelina Kalinina withdrew before their match because of an upper back injury. The American will next face third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka.

RYDER CUP: Thomas Bjorn will be one of European captain Henrik Stenson’s assistants at next year in Italy.

Bjorn became the first vice captain announced by the European team, which will look to regain the trophy from the Americans in Rome.

GOLF

PGA: The PGA Tour is returning to Colorado for the first time in a decade with the redesigned course at Castle Pines Golf Club serving as host to the 2024 BMW Championship.

It’s the first big-time professional golf tournament at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course 30 miles south of Denver since The International’s 21-year run ended in 2006.

Nicklaus said every hole has been modified over the last five years, highlighted by the addition of several lakes on the mountainside course carved through natural rock and Ponderosa pines that opened in 1981.

The 2024 BMW Championship will be played in mid-August before the NFL and NCAA football seasons begin.

SOCCER

WORLD CUP: FIFA has opened a disciplinary case looking into whether Ecuador fielded an ineligible player during World Cup qualifying, a case that could see the country thrown out of this year’s tournament in Qatar.

FIFA opened a disicplinary case after Chile filed a formal complaint last week alleging that Byron Castillo is Colombian and should not have been allowed to play for Ecuador in eight qualifying games. Ecuador now risks having to forfeit those games – including one win and a draw against Chile – as 3-0 losses.

Ecuador finished fourth in South American qualifying to grab the continent’s last automatic berth for the World Cup. It was drawn into a group with Qatar, the Netherlands and Senegal.

Chile finished seventh, but could vault into the qualifying places if it was awarded six points from its games against Ecuador, along with the better goal difference.

Castillo did not play in games against fifth-place Peru or sixth-place Colombia.

Regardless of the outcome of the case, Peru could still qualify for the World Cup as it is scheduled to play an intercontinental playoff game against Australia or the United Arab Emirates on June 13 in Doha.

FIRST LEAGUE: Jamie Vardy scored twice to help host Leicester beat last-place Norwich 3-0.

Leicester snapped a seven-game winless run in all competitions and moved into 10th place.

• Kevin De Bruyne produced a string of devastating finishes in scoring four of Manchester City’s goals in a 5-1 win at Wolverhampton to restore its three-point lead over Liverpool in the title race.

• Everton moved further away from the bottom three after playing out a lackluster 0-0 draw at already relegated Watford.

Frank Lampard’s team went into the match having taken 10 points from its last five matches, lifting it out of the relegation zone and up to 16th – one point ahead of Burnley and Leeds.

CYCLING

TOUR OF ITALY: French cyclist Arnaud Demare won a bunch sprint at the end of the fifth stage and Juan Pedro Lopez kept hold of the leader’s pink jersey.

Demare, who rides for Groupama-FDJ, edged Fernando Gaviria at the end of the 108-mile route from Catania to Messina after sprint favorites Mark Cavendish and Caleb Ewan had been dropped earlier in the day. Giacomo Nizzolo was third.

Demare also struggled on the climb but his team managed to eventually get him back to the peloton.

Most of the overall contenders crossed the line together. Lopez maintained his 39-second advantage over Lennard Kamna. Rein Taaramae was third, 58 seconds behind Lopez.


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