Mountain Top Media
1:03 AM ET
LOS ANGELES -- Two horses from the barn of two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert have tested positive for a banned substance, according to multiple reports.
The New York Times and Louisville Courier-Journal on Tuesday cited unidentified sources in reporting the positive tests occurred during the recent meet at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
According to the Times, one of the horses to test positive was Charlatan, an undefeated colt considered to be a top contender for the Belmont Stakes on June 20. That race will open this year's Triple Crown series, which has been rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Charlatan won a split-division of the Arkansas Derby on May 2.
The Times reported Baffert's other horse to test positive is Gamine, a 3-year-old filly who won at Oaklawn on the same day. The newspaper said both horses tested positive for lidocaine, a regulated anesthetic widely used in equine medicine.
Lidocaine is considered a Class 2 drug by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, and use of it carries a penalty of a 15- to 60-day suspension and a fine of $500 to $1,000 for a first offense, The Times said. Without mitigating circumstances, a horse would be disqualified and forfeit its purse. Charlatan earned $300,000 for first place in the Arkansas Derby.
"The rules of the Arkansas Racing Commission mandate confidentiality concerning any investigation into an alleged rule violation until there is a written decision of the Stewards," Baffert said in a written statement. "I am extremely disappointed that, in this instance, the Commission has not followed its own rules on confidentiality.
"I am hoping for an expedited investigation and look forward to being able to speak soon about any written decision of the Stewards, if and when it becomes necessary and I'm allowed to under the Commission's confidentiality rules," he said.
Reached by text Tuesday night, Baffert told The Associated Press he didn't want to comment beyond his statement. Asked how premature it is to leak an initial test before a second test is conducted, Baffert said, "I think it's a great question that someone besides me should answer."
Baffert has requested a second round of testing on his horses' samples, which he is allowed to do, according to the Times.
Charlatan is ranked fourth on the qualifying points leaderboard for the Kentucky Derby, a race Baffert has won five times. It has been rescheduled for Sept. 5.
No one at the Arkansas Racing Commission was reachable after hours Tuesday night.
The post Reports: 2 horses trained by Baffert fail drug tests appeared first on Mountain Top Media.
11:08 PM ET
CONCORD, N.C. -- Chase Elliott snapped Kyle Busch's seven-race Truck Series winning streak and collected a $100,000 bounty for beating NASCAR's most successful truck driver Tuesday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Kevin Harvick announced before the race he would donate $50,000 to Covid-19 relief for any full-time Cup driver who finished ahead of Busch. Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Gander RV & Outdoors, which sponsors the Truck Series, agreed to match Harvick's pledge, bringing the total to $100,000 for pandemic relief.
Elliott rubbed a little salt in the wound, borrowing Busch's celebratory bow after the race.
"Hopefully nobody gets their feelings hurt over it," Elliott said.
The win comes six days after Busch wrecked Elliott in a Cup Series race at Darlington and two days after Elliott's costly decision to pit late in the Coca-Cola 600, opening the door for Brad Keselowski to win.
"It doesn't make up for Sunday but it was still a really good night, and to do some good for the relief efforts for this virus," Elliott said.
Busch appeared upset after the race and his interview was not aired on television.
"I did an interview," Busch posted on Twitter. "It wasn't aired. That is all."
It was the first Truck Series race since Feb. 21 when Busch won at Las Vegas.
Elliott, John Hunter Nemechek and Brennan Poole were the three full-time Cup drivers eligible to collect the $100,000 bounty.
Zane Smith finished third and Brett Moffitt was fourth.
It marked the first time a Truck Series race was run on a Tuesday night.
Chase Elliott celebrates in victory lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway after winning Tuesday night's NASCAR Truck Series race. It was the series' first race since February due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chris Graythen/Getty ImagesBusch had won 57 Truck Series races entering the night, the most of any driver in history, and appeared to be the favorite.
But he could never chase down Elliott on a long green-flag stretch to close the race.
Busch started 16th and quickly made a move to sixth place before splitter issues forced him to pit and dropped him back to 33rd place. But the winner of 210 races across NASCAR's three top series quickly moved back into contention with a strong second stage and took the lead on lap 69.
But when Busch pitted with 34 laps to go it dropped him back to 23rd and he could never regain the lead.
This was Busch's third race in three nights. He followed up a fourth-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday by winning the Xfinity Series race on Monday in overtime after passing Austin Cindric on the final lap.
Bangkok (CNN) — With news that many countries in Europe are reopening to tourism in time for summer, travelers with their sights set on Asia are anxiously awaiting word on when they’ll be given the green light to visit their favorite destination. As of now, those with Thailand in mind will need to wait at least a few more months before packing their bags. “It is still dependent on the outbreak situation, but I think at the earliest, we may see the return of tourists could be the fourth quarter of this year,” Yutasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority […]
The post Why Thailand isn't opening to international tourists yet appeared first on Mountain Top Media.
5:01 PM ET
The NHL will abandon the rest of the regular season and go straight into the playoffs with 24 teams instead of 16 if it is able to resume play, commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday.
"As we seek some return to normalcy, this is an important day for NHL fans," Bettman said of the Return To Play Plan. "Since March 12, we've been hopeful and optimistic that by developing all options and alternatives, we could get to this point. I know I join sports fans everywhere when I say we cannot wait for the players to hit the ice again."
Bettman said the goal is to complete the 2019-20 season and to have an 82-game season in 2020-21.
While the players and the NHL have agreed on a format, the NHL Players' Association has not formally approved any actual return to finish the season. The league and the NHLPA also must still figure out health and safety protocols and solve other issues, including where to play.
"There's an ongoing 'if' question. But you have to do this in stages," NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said. "There's never been any dispute that this can't go forward unless the health and safety of everyone involved is protected."
The Return To Play Plan also addresses details of the NHL draft, the draft lottery and some of the health and safety aspects of returning to play. The 2019-20 season has been halted since March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bettman said that the 2019-20 regular season is effectively over. The stats are frozen as of March 11 for the purposes of player totals and NHL Awards consideration.
The NHL will now move on to a 24-team, conference-based, postseason format that was approved by the NHLPA last Friday by a 29-2 vote, with the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning the only teams whose representatives voted against it.
The games would be held inside empty arenas at two hub cities, where players, staff and others would be housed during the season restart. Originally, the NHL was seeking four different hubs, but logistics and a refocusing on the 24-team, conference format narrowed that to two.
Bettman said Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver are being considered. The hubs would have secure arenas, hotels and practice facilities, and there would be aggressive COVID-19 testing and protocols at each site.
The top four teams in each conference ranked by points percentage -- Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia in the East and St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas in the West -- will play separate round-robin tournaments to determine seeding in the first round. They will be played with regular-season overtime and shootout rules.
Those teams will be accumulating points within that round-robin, and if there are any ties, they will be broken by which team has a higher regular-season points percentage. As an example: If the Bruins and Lightning both go 2-1 in the round-robin, Boston would earn the top seed based on points percentage.
The remaining 16 teams, seeded by conference, will play best-of-five play-in series. These games will be played with playoff overtime rules, and these play-in series will determine which teams advance to a traditional 16-team Stanley Cup playoff bracket.
In the East, the play-in series matchups would be No. 5 Pittsburgh vs. No. 12 Montreal; No. 6 Carolina vs. No. 11 New York Rangers; No. 7 New York Islanders vs. No. 10 Florida; and No. 8 Toronto vs. No. 9 Columbus. In the West, it would be No. 5 Edmonton vs. No. 12 Chicago; No. 6 Nashville vs. No. 11 Arizona; No. 7 Vancouver vs. No. 10 Minnesota; and No. 8 Calgary vs. No. 9 Winnipeg.
Bettman said the NHL is still discussing whether to bracket the winners of the play-in round or opt for the players' preference, which is to reseed the teams based on who advances. The NHL is also still discussing whether the first- and second-round series of the Stanley Cup playoffs will be best-of-five or best-of-seven.
The conference final and Stanley Cup Final will be best-of-seven series, to be played in one of the two hub cities.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman explains the league's thought process as it mulls a potential return in July.
Bettman also spelled out plans for the NHL draft lottery, which will determine the top three picks in the draft. The seven teams that are not in the play-in round and the eight teams eliminated in the qualifying round are eligible to win the draft lottery. There will be two possible phases for the lottery: a pre-qualification round and a post-qualification round.
The "Phase 1" draw will be on June 26. There will be three separate draws to determine which teams earn the first, second and third overall picks. Taking part in that draw: the seven teams that didn't make the qualifying round -- Detroit (18.5% chance probability), Ottawa (13.5%), San Jose (11.5%, and Ottawa owns the pick), Los Angeles (9.5%), Anaheim (8.5%), New Jersey (7.5%) and Buffalo (6.5%) -- and eight "placeholder" spots for teams that are in the qualification round.
If any draw is won by one of the non-resuming teams, that team gets that selection. If all three top picks go to those non-resuming teams, there wouldn't be a second draw. However, if any of the "placeholder" spots wins a lottery for a top-three pick, there will be a second lottery after the qualification round to determine which eliminated team gets that draft pick. After the top three picks are determined, all remaining teams will be slotted through points percentage.
Meanwhile, the NHL is getting its players back to training in facilities.
On Monday, the NHL released Phase 2 of its return-to-play protocol, spelling out the restrictions on small groups of players and staff returning to use team practice facilities. Phase 1 involved self-quarantine for players and hockey staff and began on March 12. Phase 2 is expected to begin in early June.
The new protocols would allow for a maximum of six players to train at the team facilities at once. On-ice sessions are for players only, with no coaches or other team personnel allowed on the ice. Media and player agents are among the personnel barred from entering the facilities. Players must wear face coverings at all times, except when they are exercising or on the ice. Any players who participate in Phase 2 cannot work out or skate at any public facilities and cannot organize group skates outside of the training sessions organized by teams.
Players and staff participating in Phase 2 will be tested for coronavirus two days before they are scheduled to participate. They will be tested twice a week afterward, though players are told to self-administer temperature symptom checks daily and will also have their temperatures checked before entering the facilities.
Players who test positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to return to training until it's deemed safe. Teams were encouraged to follow CDC guidance on discontinuation of isolation following positive COVID-19 in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
One of the next major steps for the NHL in a return to training is getting players back to their home-team communities. An estimated 17% of NHL players are currently outside of North America.
Phase 2 of the league's return-to-play plan requires a 14-day self-quarantine period before a player can participate in training if he travels via public transportation, such as on a commercial flight.
Phase 3 of the NHL's plan is the opening of training camps, no later on July 1.
Phase 4 is the competition of the season in the two hub cities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The country on Tuesday became the first in Central America to legally recognize same-sex marriage. “Today, Costa Rica officially recognizes same-sex marriage,” President Carlos Alvarado Quesada wrote on Twitter. “Today we celebrate liberty, equality and our democratic institutions. May empathy and love be the compass that guide us forward and allow us to move forward and build a country that has room for everyone.” The move to marriage equality follows an August 2018 ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court, which ruled that laws preventing same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. The court gave the legislature 18 months to enact marriage equality, or […]
7:03 PM ET
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has extended the following invitation to Conor McGregor and Jorge Masvidal: Meet me in July.
Usman (16-1) told ESPN on Tuesday that he's been training since February and has offered to defend his 170-pound UFC championship in April, May, June and now July.
Many expected Usman's next title defense to come against Masvidal (35-15), who has expressed interest in a non-title rematch against Nate Diaz in recent days.
If Masvidal is not available, Usman said he'll ask the UFC to book him against McGregor (22-4), a former two-weight champion who has expressed interest in a summer return.
"This is what I have to say: Both [McGregor and Masvidal]," Usman said. "Both guys are champions of Twitter, talking s--- on Twitter. In the history [of MMA], who has ever said no to a title shot? I'm that guy. I'm the boogeyman who these guys are saying no to a title shot against. And they better remain quiet.
"Jorge Masvidal, you had an opportunity on April 18, May 9, June and now July. You want to fight Nate -- a fight that wasn't even competitive. And Conor, you said you wanted to be the king of the 170-pound division. Now you're quiet. So you know what? Just remain quiet. I've given both of you a shot and none of you have taken it."
Masvidal, 35, hasn't fought since he defeated Diaz via TKO last November in Madison Square Garden. McGregor, 31, had a 40-second knockout of Donald Cerrone in January.
Usman, a former NCAA Division-II national champion wrestler, said he would even agree to not take McGregor, who does not have an amateur wrestling background, to the canvas in the first two rounds of their title fight.
"I will sign a contract with Conor McGregor. We'll put it in the contract, first or second round, I won't take you down," said Usman, who lives and trains out of South Florida and is currently cross training in Colorado.
"Yeah, if I want you down, there's no ifs, ands or buts about it. But if I want to stand up with you, I will. Am I going to try to knock Conor McGregor out? Absolutely. I'm going to try to knock his head off his F'ing shoulders."
6:44 PM ET
Reigning WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury said he was contacted about facing the man he was named after -- former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson -- but doesn't think anything has come of it.
"I had a phone call saying 'would you like to fight Mike Tyson in an exhibition fight?' I said 'hell yeah', but I don't think anything's materialized out of it," Fury said in an interview with BT Sport published Tuesday.
In recent weeks Mike Tyson, 53, has caused quite a stir by posting social media videos of himself working out. Clips of him hitting the pads and showing he's gotten into much better physical condition have gone viral.
Tyson last fought in 2005, when he was stopped in six rounds by Kevin McBride. Before that he was halted by Danny Williams in four.
Tyson remains an iconic figure, one that still fascinates large segments of the public who have visions of the young, malevolent "Iron Mike" who became the youngest heavyweight champion ever at 20 years and four months as he demolished Trevor Berbick in two explosive rounds in 1986.
There has been chatter about Tyson making some sort of return to combat, whether it be in bareknuckle fighting or various exhibitions for charity.
Fury, 31, just recently decimated Deontay Wilder in seven rounds in their rematch back in February and seems to be at the peak of his powers. Fury is scheduled to face Wilder again, and then there are designs of him facing unified belt-holder Anthony Joshua sometime next year for the undisputed crown.
In short, Tyson is the past, Fury is the present.
As farcical as it sounds, what would be on a much more level playing field for Tyson is another go-around with Evander Holyfield, who forever lifted the cloak of invincibility from Tyson back in 1996 and 1997. Holyfield is now at the ripe old age of 57. But there has been some speculation about these two meeting again.
"They're both old now so they're a bit long in the teeth but then who am I to say anything about what anyone's capable of?" said Fury of the rumored rematch. "I wouldn't try to kill anybody's dreams of doing anything they want if they're both medically fit to fight then let them do what they've got to do. It's their life, not mine."
The post Fury talked Tyson fight but nothing 'materialized' appeared first on Mountain Top Media.
5:53 PM ET
Team owners in Major League Baseball have reportedly made their long-anticipated initial proposal to the MLB Players Association about what the players could make during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Working from what details have come out from sources, we look at the key takeaways from what we're hearing about the proposal so far.
What would make a sliding scale be more appealing to players than a revenue split?
For one, it protects them against a shutdown due to a second wave of COVID-19, perhaps during the playoffs, when television revenues are highest. Plus, the lower-paid players wouldn't feel the further hit on their salary as much, thanks to the sliding scale. Already, one lesser paid player thought he'd only lose about $100,000-$150,000 compared to the uncertainty of sharing revenues.
Why would MLB's highest-paid players be willing to agree to a deal that costs them more than others?
There's a good chance they won't but if they did it would be because a player who was going to make $20 million would still make about $6.5 million this season while also protecting the lower-paid players. But this offer has a real chance to divide players unless a better solution is presented. The top earners are in a sort of Catch-22. Many probably have enough money to cope without playing this season but $6.5 million is still $6.5 million.
How much more likely does this proposal make the players to agree to a deal?
One player said it's already 'much better' than any revenue-sharing split but that doesn't make it likely they'll accept. Players already believe they agreed to a prorated salary structure so selling them on taking even less won't be easy. Just easier than a revenue-sharing proposal. The good news is the owners have shown some willingness to negotiate but, in fact, this is their first real proposal. Revenue sharing was a trial balloon which popped upon leaking to the media.
Watch ESPN's new 30 for 30 film "Long Gone Summer," the story of the 1998 home run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, airing Sunday, June 14 on ESPN.
Where do talks go next from here?
The union is likely to respond, perhaps with their own plan, which might include full prorated salaries but with deferments. Behind the scenes, many players and agents find this idea intriguing, knowing revenues will return in coming years, and full value of current contracts can be paid. Another option is to offer a straight cut across the board -- say 10 percent -- instead of a sliding scale. The hit wouldn't be horrendous for any one player but would the owners accept? It won't save them as much as their current proposal.
The post Key takeaways from MLB's initial economic proposal to restart 2020 season appeared first on Mountain Top Media.
Daulatdia, Bangladesh — Nodi was 14 years old when she says she was deceived and sold into one of the world’s biggest brothels. Already married with a young baby, she had gone to look for her husband, who was known to gamble in the area in eastern Bangladesh. Nodi says she met a driver who offered to help, but he turned out to be a broker, who sold her to a madam in the Daulatdia brothel complex. “I was tricked,” said Nodi, who only wants to be identified by the first name that she uses with clients. “Then I got […]
The post She was tricked as a teen into prostitution. A decade on, she has no work and faces starvation appeared first on Mountain Top Media.
5:37 PM ET
The Miami Dolphins will soon let fans drive their cars inside the stadium where football players typically play every weekend in the fall.
The Dolphins announced Tuesday that they are launching an outdoor drive-in theater inside Hard Rock Stadium that will be used to show marquee games in team history, classic movies, commencement ceremonies, concerts and more. They are also hosting an open-air theater which can host small groups for an intimate viewing experience in the complex plaza.
The Dolphins have mocked renderings of the drive-in venture, which they say can host up to 230 cars. They are promoting it as a family-friendly event that people can participate in amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dolphins say they can host up to 230 cars inside Hard Rock Stadium. Courtesy of the Miami DolphinsFood and beverage can purchased through an online system and delivered to cars. Restrooms will also be made available for use. Fans can put their name on an email list via the stadium website to be notified when tickets are available.
"We've spent several weeks planning this to be able to provide people with a safe option to go out and enjoy movies, classic Dolphins content, concerts, and celebrate 2020 graduates," said Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium vice chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel. "It's a fundamental human need to physically experience and celebrate events and experiences together, and we're trying to provide options for everyone where they can be safely socially distant and socially present at the same time."
The Dolphins are also planning an open-air theater venue in the stadium's south plaza. Courtesy of the Miami DolphinsHard Rock Stadium became the first public facility to earn the Global Biorisk Advisory Council's STAR accreditation, the standard used for facilities to implement cleaning, disinfecting and infectious disease prevention work practices to control risks involved with infectious agents like the coronavirus.
Garfinkel and the Dolphins have been proactive and innovative in ways to function during the pandemic. They released mock-up plans earlier this month for what it could like to host approximately 15,000 fans in the stadium for NFL fans if the NFL and the government allows it in the fall. Owner Stephen Ross also said on CNBC Tuesday that there will "definitely" be a football season this fall and the plans as of now is to include having fans in the stands.
Hard Rock Stadium was the host for Super Bowl LIV. It also has hosted Miami Open tennis tournaments, several multiple large music festivals, college football championship games and international soccer games.