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Kentucky Derby favorite named after Usain Bolt

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His name is Bolt d’Oro.

One of the early favorites for the Kentucky Derby (NBC, May 5) is indeed named after Usain Bolt.

Ike Green coined the name — a mix of homages to the Jamaican sprinter and its sire, Medaglia d’Oro — after watching Bolt on TV during the Rio Olympics. Green was one of Bolt d’Oro’s early trainers at owner Mick Ruis‘ ranch in Montana.

“If you’ve ever just seen him run across the pasture, he just does it so easy and effortlessly,” Green said. “You ever notice how when Usain Bolt gets in front, he just starts grinning? Any time you watch him race, as soon as he’s in front, he gets a smile. The horse did everything so easy, I think it was kind of the same deal.”

In 2002, Medaglia d’Oro finished fourth at the Kentucky Derby and second at the Belmont Stakes. Bolt d’Oro was foaled St. Patrick’s Day 2015.

Bolt d’Oro was actually the third choice for a name when Green’s wife, Aidan, went to submit it just before a Feb. 1, 2017 deadline.

“I think, originally, Mick had wanted to name him Alvin after himself [Alvin “Mick” Ruis], and when Aidan tried to submit that, she found out that Mick had named one that just a few years ago. [Ruis] had already forgotten,” Green said. “The second name she submitted for him was The Notorious One, but that was trademarked by [MMA fighter] Conor McGregor.

“I think, after the first couple got rejected, [Ruis] just said, just get him named. He didn’t care, if I recall right.”

Bolt has led a Kentucky Derby media poll four straight weeks heading into his first race in nearly a month, headlining the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday. The Santa Anita morning-line favorite was Bob Baffert‘s Justify, however.

“I’ve got [Bolt d’Oro] No. 1 in my rankings,” NBC analyst Randy Moss said. “He’s either going to be No. 1 or No. 2 in just about anybody’s rankings. … He’s a physical specimen, kind of like his namesake. Right now he’s on the very short list for the Kentucky Derby.”

Santa Anita airs during NBCSN’s broadcast that also includes the Blue Grass Stakes and Wood Memorial from 5:30-7:30 p.m. ET.

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Helen Maroulis to miss world championships, eyes still on defending Olympic title

Helen Maroulis
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Helen Maroulis, the lone U.S. female wrestler to win an Olympic title, sat out this past weekend’s world team trials, which means she will not compete at the world championships in September.

Maroulis is working her way back from blowing out her right shoulder in a first-round loss at worlds on Oct. 24, after she returned from a concussion. She underwent surgery in November and was cleared to return earlier this spring before tweaking the shoulder again.

Maroulis said Friday she was cleared again to compete at trials but chose rest, recovery and her long-term health given what happened in 2018.

“It’s not coming from a place of fear,” she said. “I’m just not ready yet.

“If trials were end of June, everything would be perfect. I’m still feeling good and confident for 2020.”

As Maroulis stressed at 2018 Worlds, she prioritizes health over wrestling.

“Not just for myself, but to set an example because I get a lot of messages from kids on Instagram — I have a concussion, or my teammate has a concussion.” Maroulis said in October. “There’s this wrestler mindset to just push through — you’re the toughest, find a way to win. But there’s just a lot more to it.”

Maroulis, 27, put together one of the most dominant stretches in sport from 2015-17, going 78-1 overall among three different weight classes and going unscored upon at two world championships.

In between, she beat Saori Yoshida in the Rio Olympic 53kg final, preventing the Japanese legend from a record fourth Olympic title.

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Ex-partner of deceased figure skater John Coughlin says she was abused

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One of the former skating partners of two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin has accused him in a series of social media posts of sexually assaulting her over a 2-year period.

Bridget Namiotka said on Facebook that Coughlin, who died by suicide in January, hurt “at least 10 people including me.” She skated with Coughlin from 2004, when she was 14, through the 2007 season.

Namiotka’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press that the comments were made by her.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating had given Coughlin, who became a coach and TV commentator after his retirement, an interim suspension for unspecified conduct. He was barred from attending events and activities sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Coughlin was found dead Jan. 18 at his father’s home in Kansas City, Missouri.