Around the Nation (June 2): California Chrome bucks odds in Triple Crown bid

By Associated Press Published:

HORSE RACING

California Chrome bucks odds in bid for Triple Crown

AURORA, Colo. -- Here's a message to horse lovers and dreamers out there: This will not happen to you. Well, almost certainly not.

For all the buzz California Chrome's feel-good run at the Triple Crown is generating for horse racing, his too-good-to-be-true story has virtually no chance of repeating itself, according to the numbers.

Byron Rogers, whose business is scientifically analyzing genetic makeup of racehorses, puts the odds at 50,000-to-1 against a horse with the strength and stamina of a California Chrome ever showing up again among the 21,000 or so thoroughbred foals born each year.

BASKETBALL

NBA fines Jackson $25K for tampering with OKC's Fisher

NEW YORK -- Knicks President Phil Jackson has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for a tampering violation involving veteran guard Derek Fisher.

Jackson told reporters last week that Fisher is "on my list of guys that could be very good candidates" to coach the Knicks next season. Because Fisher is under contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, that was deemed to be in violation of league rules.

The Thunder were eliminated from the Western Conference finals on Saturday night. Fisher is widely expected to retire and told reporters after Oklahoma City's season ended that he plans to have conversations with teams about his future at some point.

Bulls' Noah leads NBA's All-D Team

Chicago's Joakim Noah and Indiana's Paul George received the most votes on this year's NBA All-Defensive Team.

Noah, chosen as the best defensive player in the league earlier this year, received 105 votes for the first team. George, who is considered one of the best two-way players in the league, finished with 65 First-Team votes.

The rest of the First Team were Clippers guard Chris Paul, Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka and Golden State swingman Andre Iguodala.

The Second Team consisted of Miami forward LeBron James, Houston guard Patrick Beverley, Chicago guard Jimmy Butler, San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard and Pacers center Roy Hibbert, the runner-up to Noah for the league's top defender.

Hansen: Seattle hopes still alive

SEATTLE -- Investor Chris Hansen says the departure of Steve Ballmer from the group looking to bring the NBA back to Seattle won't derail his hopes of getting a team back in the region.

Hansen told The Associated Press on Monday that he is confident he'll be able to find investors to take Ballmer's place in his group. He said it will likely take more than one person to replace Ballmer's investment, and he will not put a limit on the number of investors at this time. Seattle's hopes seemed to take a blow last week when Ballmer agreed to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion.

ICE HOCKEY

Rangers, Kings prep for Game 1

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Henrik Lundqvist had his game-day face on at practice.

He still smiled and answered all the questions thrown at him Monday about the Los Angeles Kings -- the New York Rangers' long-awaited opponent in the Stanley Cup Finals.

If there wasn't already enough pressure on Lundqvist to lead his team to its first championship since 1994, he is now part of the hype machine heading into Game 1 on Wednesday.

Headlines are screaming: "King Henrik vs. the Kings."

The Rangers were waiting since Thursday to find out their next opponent. They took two days off before returning to practice on Sunday. Most of the players said they watched at least part of Los Angeles' third road Game 7 win of this playoff year that night.

So practice on Monday had a bit more focus for the Rangers as they knew exactly who was standing in their way next.

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