Sport Briefs

Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2002

Record 65 mushes get early Iditarod start

A record 65 mushers got an early start on the 2003 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, registering for the race from Anchorage to Nome Saturday, the first day entries are accepted.

Included in the group of early bird registrants are six mushers from the Kenai Peninsula. Iditarod veteran Mitch Seavey of Seward will share the trail with son, Tyrell, who will make his race debut this year.

Veteran Tim Osmar of Ninilchik put his name in the running, and Kasilof's Paul Gebhardt ended his sabbatical from competitive racing to enter the 2003 event.

Judy Merritt of Moose Pass, still considered a rookie after scratching before Nome last year, and Homer's Jason Cameron, also a rookie, have thrown their hats into the ring.

Other notables registering for the race Saturday include reigning champion Martin Buser, a four-time winner, five-time champion Rick Swenson and three-time champion Jeff King.

Entries will be accepted until 5 p.m. Dec. 2. The 2003 Iditarod starts March 1 on Fourth Avenue in Anchorage.

Lions stage season's second motocross race

The Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions staged the second Motocross City Race of the season Friday at Twin Cities Raceway.

Lucas Herrin won the 50 cc class, followed by Bruce Hudson.

Matthew Mendenhall took first in the 60 cc class, followed by Graydon Mendenhall.

Zac Aragon took first in the 125 cc Novice class.

Cory Davis was first in the 124 cc Intermediate competition, followed by Jesse Kelly.

Ricky Bailey was first in the 125 cc Expert class.

Zac Aragon won the four-wheeler category, followed by Todd Ritter.

The next City Race is scheduled for July 19 at Twin Cities Raceway.

Klitschko stops Mercer, retains WBO belt

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko retained his title Saturday night, stopping 41-year-old Ray Mercer in the sixth round of a scheduled 12-rounder.

The up-and-coming Ukrainian (39-1) knocked down Mercer in the first round and cut him in the fifth, using a powerful left jab that kept the rugged Mercer on the defensive throughout.

In the sixth, Klitschko backed Mercer into the ropes and unloaded a hard right hand that snapped Mercer's head back and seemed to take the fight out of him.

Mercer (30-5-1) moved to the other rope but when Klitschko unloaded another flurry of punches and the blood streamed down Mercer's face. Referee Randy Neumann stepped in, ending it at 1:08 of the round.

''I never faced a guy with such a strong chin,'' Klitschko said. ''It's the strongest chin in the world.''

The performance by the 6-foot-7-inch, 243-pound Klitschko might cement his reputation as the heavyweight division's next big thing.

He was powerful, quick, he took a punch -- Mercer cut him over the right eye -- and he fought with the kind of fluid motion that many eastern European fighters lack.

Corey's first medical tests provide no answers

NEW YORK -- More tests were scheduled for New York Mets pitcher Mark Corey after initial medical results released Saturday gave no indication on why he collapsed earlier this week.

Corey, who admitted to Newsday that he used marijuana Wednesday night before falling ill in a parking lot outside a hotel near Shea Stadium, was stricken shortly after the Mets' 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

The Mets said further tests on Corey should be completed by Monday, when he is scheduled to be examined by a neurologist.

''We got back a few tests and they all came back negative in terms of being able to determine what caused the seizure,'' Mets assistant general manager Jim Duquette said Saturday. ''We haven't been able to come to any conclusion. I don't know if we'll have any conclusion.''

Several reports Saturday said Mets teammate Tony Tarasco, who drove Corey to the hotel and was with the pitcher when he was stricken, used marijuana with Corey.

The New York Post reported that Tarasco was asked by police where the marijuana was bought and if it was laced with a substance, but Tarasco could not provide the information or a sample of the drug.

The New York Times reported that police did not search Tarasco's car for drugs.

When approached after the Mets' 11-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday, Tarasco refused to comment.

Corey, a seldom-used reliever who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, was not with the Mets for the first two games of a three-game stand at Yankee Stadium in another round of Subway Series interleague play.

The 27-year-old Corey said he was to meet with Mets psychiatrist Allan Lans, coordinator of the Employee Assistance Program. He also said Mets general manager Steve Phillips talked to major league baseball about his collapse.

Tarasco said Friday major league baseball had not talked to him about Corey's seizure.

''I don't expect they will,'' he said.

Duquette said any off-the-field issue involving Tarasco had already been handled internally.

The New York Daily News reported Saturday that Corey and Tarasco have been instructed to follow major league baseball's program for first-time offenders.

Duquette said if any test results showed that Corey's seizure was caused by drug use, the Mets would not be allowed to reveal that information.

''It would be something that we would turn over to the Employee Assistance Program,'' Duquette said.

The players' union said it had no comment regarding Corey's seizure and the marijuana report.

Corey's collapse came less than a week after Darryl Kile of the St. Louis Cardinals died in his sleep in his hotel room in Chicago. An initial autopsy found that the 33-year-old pitcher had severe blockages and hardening of the arteries to his heart.

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