Longfellows Stakes Horse Racing

Not all of this week’s Sean Avery news is bad: Namesake horse wins Vanderbilt Handicap


It’s been a rough week for Sean Avery, even if he seems confident that it will all work out. After making positive waves for standing up for gay rights, questions about racism arose recently and then he had that run-in with (to use Avery’s words) “fat little pigs.”

Yup, things have been pretty bad for Sean Avery … the hockey player. The same can’t be said of a thoroughbred horse who bares the same name. Jockey Joe Bravo rode the horse to a first place finish in the $250K Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap today. Avery edged Trappe Shot to produce what Jack Shinar of Bloodhorse.com called a “17-1 stunner.” To make that number more digestible for you non-gambling types, he faced the second longest odds of the eight horses in that race. (Bloodhorse includes video of the race, if you’re … really bored.)

Here are a few more details from the race from Shinar.

With their respective jockeys working frantically, the two exchanged head bobs in the final strides with Sean Avery getting the nod. Final time on a track rated “good” was 1:09.71.

Calibrachoa, always within striking distance for Javier Castellano, finished 1 3/4 lengths farther back in third.

(No word regarding whether or not Avery moved his tail in a windshield wiper-like pattern to frustrate Trappe Shot.)

Apparently Avery is on quite the hot streak in 2011. Shinar reports that the horse won four of his five races so far, with his only defeat coming at the Mr. Prospector Stakes at Monmouth on July 4. We’ll leave you with Shinar’s synposis of Avery’s racing career so far.

In his only previous graded stakes try, Sean Avery finished sixth in the Fall Highweight Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct in November 2009. Sean Avery earned $150,000 for the victory, his sixth in 10 starts, boosting his career total to $338,180.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.