BAME Representation in Rugby

first_img BAME Representation in RugbyZainab Alema has a vivid memory of sprinting down the wing for Ealing U18. She was so delighted to have scored a try that she didn’t realise her headscarf had come off during the run. These days she wears a scrum cap over the top to keep it in place, with leggings and a long-sleeved top also forming part of her rugby kit to observe her Muslim faith.She admits that when she first played rugby – to complete a practical element for her A Level in PE – she wasn’t sure if she belonged, but ten years later the sport is now a huge part of her life. She has gone on to play for the University of Hertfordshire, Millwall and Barnes – “the friendliest rugby team in London” – and has even set up a rugby charity, Studs in the Mud, to help provide boots and equipment for girls’ and women’s teams in Ghana and Morocco.Family values: Zainab Alema with her children after a Barnes match“At the beginning I felt uncomfortable and didn’t know how I fitted in,” reflects Alema, who moved from centre to No 8 two years ago. “The girls had their legs out, but what was I going to do? In Islam you cover up and I thought I would have to compromise my beliefs to be part of this sport. Then I found out the laws had changed to add that you could wear a headscarf for religious reasons. To know rugby accommodated that, I felt welcome and took it more seriously.“My dad wasn’t too keen at the start and my mum was worried I’d get injured. With my African background, further education was okay but sport wasn’t so common for African women, Muslims especially. I think my dad was scared I would change and I wouldn’t be the same person, but now he can see how much I love it and knows it makes me happy. I’d say playing rugby has even made me a better person. It’s rugby’s values – respect, discipline.”Alema enjoys rugby so much she was back playing early this year, just two months after giving birth to the youngest of her three children last November. However, she wants to see more people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities playing the sport. Alema believes parents can be apprehensive about their children, particularly daughters, playing contact sport but would encourage them to go to watch a game. England’s squad shows diversity but are BAME communities under-represented elsewhere in the game? Rugby World investigates… Diversity: England’s players perform the anthem at RWC 2019 (Getty Images) “I know two other Muslim BAME people playing rugby and that’s shocking,” says 27-year-old Alema. “At the top level there are a few BAME players but significantly there aren’t many Muslims. It goes back to when I first played and didn’t think I belonged, didn’t think it was the sport for me. Watching Maggie Alphonsi when I was younger was a massive help; someone to look up to who looks like you.“Things are changing but changing slowly. I’d definitely like to see more people (from BAME communities at elite level) but it’s easy to say that. We need to encourage more people at grass-roots level so they filter through. It’s a two-way thing – at the top and at grass roots.”“Watching Alphonsi was a massive help; someone to look up to who looks like you”The importance of role models is a common theme. It goes back to the idea that ‘you have to see it to be it’. That is why there has been a huge push to put women’s sport on television. The same applies to ethnic diversity. Ugo Monye grew up idolising Ian Wright, a black footballer who played for his local club, Arsenal. Maro Itoje has spoken of looking up to Monye and Topsy Ojo when he was coming through the rugby ranks. They played different positions to him but they were two of the few black professional players at that time. Seeing yourself represented and reflected in elite sport can be inspirational.Monye says: “Ian Wright looked like me, had a similar upbringing to me. You look at television and build an affinity with people you relate to.”More than a third of England’s 2019 World Cup squad come from BAME backgrounds and that diversity could be hugely significant for the sport. London Irish wing Ben Loader says: “Seeing so many different faces in that England team is pretty powerful. Young kids, wherever they’re from, can see a face in that team and think, ‘That could be me’.“Seeing an England team with so many different backgrounds and races is really inspiring and shows what’s possible if you have ambition and drive.”GRASS ROOTSThe ‘see it’ element looks to be improving, in England at least, but what of ‘be it’? How easy is it for those kids inspired by watching Itoje or Kyle Sinckler or Anthony Watson to get into rugby? Is the sport accessible?Premiership Rugby’s Project Rugby aims to increase participation by those from BAME communities as well as those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and disabled people. It introduces young people to the sport, with every Premiership club running programmes in their area. Andy Keast, the London Irish Foundation chief executive, talks about the initiative “breaking down a lot of barriers”.“Seeing so many different faces in the England team is powerful”Alema has participated in Project Rugby events, too, saying: “I did a speech to kids at Allianz Park. I’d been watching them play tag but they didn’t realise I was a rugby player, so it was a bit of a shock when I did the speech. A few Muslim girls from one school were intrigued and happy to see someone BAME up there talking to inspire them.“Seeing is believing. If it’s a white, middle-class guy coming into the school, they might not listen because it’s hard to see the connection. If I’d seen someone like me, a black woman playing rugby, coming into school when I was 17 I’d think, ‘I can do that’.”Monye believes schools are the key to increasing rugby’s diversity, particularly in cities. He’s hoping to work with the RFU on a scheme to introduce the game as an after-school activity and says: “It can be hard to get involved in the game at inner-city schools and I think there’s more to be done to expose groups at a young age, to say rugby is a game for all shapes and sizes and everyone is welcome.“Not everyone will be the next Owen Farrell or Maro Itoje but I believe, without sounding self-righteous, that the values you learn in rugby are transferable to life – communication, confidence, discipline, hard work, enjoyment.“I’d love to get more people at a younger age playing in inner cities, where there is the most diversity of faces and backgrounds. It starts in schools, then through the kids families get involved and then through families they take their kids’ friends to the local rugby club too. Everyone buys in.” This article originally appeared in the June 2020 edition of Rugby World magazine. Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.center_img TAGS: long-read Sinckler, who started out at Battersea Ironsides, is also launching a foundation, R3cusants, and says: “My biggest thing is when you hear city kids haven’t had the opportunities to succeed in sport. I want to use the platform I have now to give people who haven’t had a fair crack at it an opportunity.”That might be as simple as providing someone with an Oyster card to get to training. For while there are initiatives to introduce children to rugby, the crucial part is retaining those who engage with the sport – pointing them towards their local clubs and ensuring they can get there, getting parents and families on board, making sure they have access to boots and kit.Wing man: Ben Loader scores for London Irish against Wasps (Getty Images)Loader grew up close to Reading Abbey RFC and his parents were happy to take him and brother Danny, now a striker at Reading FC, to participate in various sporting activities. He says: “A lot of it is to do with access to facilities. I was lucky but a lot of people don’t have the same access and rugby isn’t one of those sports you can play on your own to pick up. It’s not easy to do tackling practice on your own whereas football is a game everyone is aware of and it’s easy to go and kick a ball about.“Projects like Project Rugby get people involved, take rugby to people, to kids who haven’t been exposed to it before, and then they can decide whether they like it or not.”COACHINGCollin Osborne, for a long time the only black coach to have worked in the Premiership, brought through the likes of Monye and Sinckler, amongst many others, at Harlequins. While he admits to being something of a cynic when it comes to diversity programmes, suggesting they can be box-ticking exercises with little legacy built before moving on to the next one, he does think 4G pitches and improved junior set-ups at community clubs mean rugby is more accessible.On the ball: Collin Osborne coached at Harlequins for many years (Getty Images)He also believes the lack of diversity in coaching set-ups should not yet be a big concern. He certainly doesn’t think rugby needs to introduce something similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, where American Football teams are required to interview BAME candidates when coaching roles become available.“In rugby union, to get into coaching at a senior level, you need to have played at a reasonable level to have credibility,” says Osborne. “When you look at the sport’s age profile, it went professional in 1995 so it’s 25 years. The generation who have got a playing background at a professional level, the crop who grew up knowing rugby as a professional option, are only just graduating to coaching and they need to gain experience before becoming head coaches or directors of rugby when they’re a bit older.“I expect it’ll happen to someone like Topsy Ojo. Kyle Sinckler will be an excellent coach when he hangs up his boots and has done a lot of coaching at Guildford already. Rugby has always been a profession for them and there’s a natural progression to coaching. At the moment I don’t think we’ve reached the critical mass of (BAME) people who have come through the game, out of the game and into coaching. It’ll take time but I’m pretty confident it will happen.“When guys like Anthony Watson and Maro Itoje finish playing, I’d like to think there will be opportunities for them in coaching if that’s what they want to do.”REPRESENTATIONAre BAME communities under-represented in rugby? It’s the crucial question and one that is so hard to answer. Traditionally the answer would be yes, but if you look at the current England squad it’s hugely diverse – more diverse than the country itself. The 2011 census showed that 14% of the population of England and Wales are ethnic minorities, while BAME players – 11 of 31 – represented 35% of the England World Cup squad last year.The other home nations don’t have as much diversity in their squads as England but the populations of those countries are also less diverse, with less than 8% from BAME backgrounds.Yet what is so difficult to know is the breakdown of ethnicities playing at grass-roots level. It’s not a statistic the RFU collates and it is hard to source meaningful data. Around 200,000 people from across the country take part in Sport England’s Active Lives survey and figures from that suggest no black participants from that group took part in rugby union even once between November 2017 and November 2018. However, the number of black pros seems to undermine that data.‘Maggie the Machine’: Alphonsi on the attack for England (Getty Images)“Are BAME people under-represented in rugby? It’s not a straightforward question,” says Osborne. “You want representation to reflect the country. There’s no way to get any real hard numbers. In some ways it’s a good thing – if we’ve come as far as we think we have, it shouldn’t be a question any more. If, say, 10% of the population are BAME I’d like to see a similar-level figure in rugby or any walk of life.”While there is growing diversity in rugby, which is reflective of society with ethnic minorities in the UK increasing between the 2001 and 2011 censuses, there still appear to be very few Asians playing the game, particularly at the top level. Marcus Smith, who was born in the Philippines to a Filipina mother and English father, is probably the most high profile, but that lack of visibility could limit growth amongst the largest of the ethnic minorities in the UK and Ireland.Tajiv ‘Tosh’ Masson is thought to be the only Sikh to have played professional rugby, for Quins in the late 2000s, and believes the sport is missing out on an opportunity to broaden its audience.“Growing up I looked for professional British Asian sportsmen to look up to. Harpal Singh played football for Leeds – he didn’t even make a first-team appearance but was someone I could look up to because I could relate to him. Role models let you see that it’s possible.Centre point: Tajiv ‘Tosh’ Masson during his Harlequins days (Getty Images)“I don’t know whether the RFU and the clubs are actively doing things to encourage British Asians to play rugby or whether they think it’s an issue, but they’re missing out on bigger diversity in terms of players and audience. A lot of British Asians would watch rugby if British Asians were playing. If a club like Quins in West London marketed and pushed an Asian player, they could get another 2,000 fans.”Masson was so determined to make it as a pro that he persuaded Quins to let him join the academy and not get paid. Six months later he had a contract and was playing in the first team.“It’s about raising awareness. Someone reading this could be the next pioneer, could take the baton on”He used to think that the reason there were so few Asian players was down to parents not valuing professional sport as a career, but his experiences since have changed that view. He may not have been a “household name” in his rugby-playing days but he is now regularly contacted by the parents of Asian players asking for advice on how their child can progress towards a pro career. He points to an initiative by Chelsea FC, who run a football tournament called Asian Star for Asian children, and suggests that rugby could do something similar.“I used to shy away from the fact I was Asian – I didn’t want it to be a thing and wanted to concentrate on rugby,” he says. “The next generation of Asians can inspire other players. We’ve identified this gap and someone reading this could be the next pioneer, could take the baton on. It’s about raising awareness.”It may be hard to get definitive figures on BAME participation in rugby but it is easy to see how much the people we’ve spoken to from those communities – just like any other – derive enjoyment from the sport and would like to see more people taking part. Alema talks of the friendships formed and values learnt, but it’s this message that provides an apt way to end: “The beauty of rugby is you don’t have to change who you are.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

First Financial creates in-house AI/ML lending experience

first_img continue reading » There’s nothing artificial about the intelligence First Financial Federal Credit Union($1.0B, Lutherville, MD) is applying to the new loan decisioning solution the credit union has created in-house.The Baltimore-area cooperative is applying artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to the new “Anytime Express” lending products it plans to launch this summer.Michael Powers, the credit union’s chief innovation and strategy officer, says trial runs of the decisioning engine have resulted in similar, but much faster, results to those yielded by his shop’s traditional LOS software.He says that’s especially true for applications that might not fit neatly into underwriting rules and otherwise would require human intervention, a capability that will improve as the system learns from its growing data store of credit scores and payment histories. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Gen Z vs. Millennials – What you need to know

first_imgIf you haven’t noticed, Gen Z has arrived! They are the “newest” generation to enter into the workplace and will soon pass Millennials as the largest generation, with 1/3 of the world’s population. In the U.S., Gen Z accounts for more than 25% of the people and is the most diverse generation in history.Now Gen Z is making its presence known in the workplace. Born between 1997-2015, this generation did not see a world without the internet, and for many, smartphones. Most of them do not remember 9/11 and the War on Terror. Many will remember the Great Recession, but COVID19 will be the historical event that shapes their perspective in the years ahead.For the past decade, the workplace and marketplace focused on understanding and adapting to Millennials.Born between 1981-1996, Millennials changed the world of work while inspiring (sometimes heated) conversations about generational differences across the globe. Millennials helped drive flexibility, collaboration, purpose, and new leadership styles in the workplace in a positive way.Gen Z has arrived, and it’s essential to understand the differences between the two largest generations.Optimistic Millennials vs. Pragmatic Gen ZMillennials are optimistic in nature because they were raised during the 1990 economic boom! Millennials, like their self-esteem building Baby Boomer parents, see the world through an optimistic lens. They are often viewed as entitled, remembering the proverbial “millennial participation trophy.”Gen Z’ers grew up amid the Great Recession. Thanks to their tough-loving, skeptical Gen X parents, Gen Z views the world with a pragmatic, independent, survival mode lens. At a young age, we were told by our Xer parents that there are winners and losers, and if you don’t work hard, you could lose.Collaborative Millennials vs. Competitive Gen ZWhen Millennials were in their formative years of learning, the Boomer mantra “Team-Work makes Dream-Work” prevailed. Collaboration was held to the highest standard. Collective group projects were the norm in schools, and team sports were played after school hours. In the workplace, Millennials have a more collaborative mindset with everyone pitching in and working together.Gen Z likes to win! Raised by their GenX parents, they learned the mantra, “In life, there are winners and losers, and if you don’t win, you lose!” Their competitive nature applies to almost everything, from sports to school-work. In addition, Gen Z has been thrown into a competitive educational environment. Technology allows for online grading portals giving frequent updates on the Gen Z student’s academic performance. In the past, students sometimes had to wait weeks or longer to receive a test grade. Now, they get frustrated if they can’t access their scores within hours of finishing an exam—and often so do the parents.72% of Gen Z said they are competitive with those doing the same job in the workplace. This generation is highly independent and wants to be evaluated on their own merits, not that of the team. That said, they prefer individual tasks over team tasks.Millennials Seek Fulfilment vs. Gen Z Financially FocusedMillennials were all about finding meaning in their jobs and how best to make the world a better place. So much that, according to a study by CONE, millennials prefer a company that gives them the chance to drive meaningful progress over one that offers a higher paycheck. This study was done when the economy was booming, and a strong economy gives people flexibility in selecting job opportunities. COVID19 may change their preferences.With Gen Z coming of age during the recession, they put money and job security at the top of the list. Sure, they want to make a difference, but surviving and thriving take priority.Right now, compensation overrides workplace satisfaction and engagement. Money is the key driver, along with healthcare benefits and other perks.During this pandemic, smart companies are incorporating financial education in their online tools for their employees to access. Money is top of mind for this generation and possible for all the others. Gen Z is concerned – Are they making enough? Saving enough? Can they pay back their college loans? Will they ever have enough money to buy a car? Or a house? We are discovering that Gen Zers and now, possibly even Millennials, are savers. 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Karen McCullough Karen McCullough is a nationally known keynote speaker and virtual presenter. She speaks to credit unions across the country on change, generational opportunities and workforce trends.  Karen helps organizations cut … Web: Detailslast_img read more

Take me out to the ballpark: Schumer and MLB officials head to NYSEG Stadium

first_img“MLB needs to steps up to the plate and play ball with Southern Tier stakeholders to find a solution that doesn’t strike out the Rumble Ponies,” Schumer said in an official press release sent to 12 News. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Senator Chuck Schumer has told the MLB it needs to ‘play ball’ with Southern Tier Stakeholders over its’ plans to dissolve the Rumble Ponies. Forty-one other teams are also in jeopardy of being dissolved, including three more in New York State. The visit follows Schumer’s letters and personal visits to MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. to urge him to hear directly from stakeholders and local leaders in Binghamton. The senator’s office says other leaders will be there alongside Schumer and the MLB officials. Stay tuned to 12 News for more information regarding the senator’s visit. Schumer will be in attendance at NYSEG Stadium along with MLB Officials next week to discuss the future of the ballgame in Broome County.last_img read more

It’s champions on parade at senior open

first_img3 Jun 2019 It’s champions on parade at senior open Tags: Elsham GC, English Senior Men’s Open Amateur, Holme Hall GC Champions will be on parade this week when the English Senior Men’s Open Amateur is played at Holme Hall and Elsham Golf Clubs in Lincolnshire.Surrey’s Ian Attoe will defend his title, while the field includes the new Irish Senior Champion, Alan Mew of Stoneham, Hampshire, alongside the 2018 British Senior Champion, Trevor Foster of Accrington, Lancashire, and the Welsh titleholder, Colin Jones, who plays out of West Sussex Golf Club.They’re among a field of 288 golfers who will begin their campaign on Wednesday. They will all play one round on each course before the leading 80 players and ties qualify for the final round at Holme Hall on Friday.Attoe, from Worplesdon Golf Club, won the title for the second time last year, defeating Yorkshire’s Rich Jones in a play-off. Jones (Rotherham) is also back in the field for this year’s championship.The host clubs will be well represented, with Graham Lee playing for Holme Hall alongside the Elsham trio of Graham Smith, Mark Hoyle and Phil Duffin.Among the other Lincolnshire players in the field is Richard Latham (Woodhall Spa), who has twice won this title.Holme Hall Golf Club has previously hosted the English Women’s Match Play Championship, while Elsham becomes an England Golf championship venue with this event.Click here for more information, including tee timesCaption: Defending champion Ian Attoe (copyright Leaderboard Photography).last_img read more


first_imgTiago Pereira2866321%$218,420 BC JUVENILE CHAMP TEXAS RED WORKING TOWARDS RETURN Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red galloped a mile on Santa Anita’s main track Friday and is scheduled to breeze a half-mile Saturday as he prepares for his return to the races after missing the Triple Crown classics due abscess issues with his right front foot.“He breezed three-eighths earlier in the week just to kind of let him stretch out, but we’ll let him pick it up a little bit tomorrow,” trainer Keith Desormeaux said. “He’s got a clean bill of health. If something else comes up, it’ll be just one of those things. But he looks good now. His legs are clean.”As to his impressions of American Pharoah’s victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, Desormeaux said: “Like many others, I always thought American Pharoah was the best horse, but I had some question after the Derby when it looked like he had to reach the bottom of the tank to get the job done, so you wondered if that was all he had.“But as the Preakness approached, I don’t know why, but it became more and more apparent that he was the best horse, and it may be because he reached the bottom of the tank for the first time (in the Derby).“But he refueled, and it looks like he’s head and shoulders above everybody else.” LA FIERA DEBUTS FOR HOLLENDORFER IN MELAIR STAKES            La Fiera, a newcomer to the Jerry Hollendorfer barn, makes her Santa Anita debut in Saturday’s $200,000 Melair stakes for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.The daughter of Comic Strip has had five career starts, the last four at Golden Gate Fields where she won three times over the Tapeta surface.“She’s doing well,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “We’ve only had her here a few days. She went to the gate Wednesday, went to the paddock and galloped over the track.“She’s a nice filly. She has good form; she’s very steady.”The Melair: Barbara Beatrice, Tiago Pereira, 8-1; Thermodynamics, Gary Stevens, 3-1; Sheer Pleasure, Tyler Baze, 5-2; Niassa, Flavien Prat, 6-1; Ashley’s Baby, Mike Smith, 3-1; La Fiera, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; and Tribal Express, Alonso Quinonez, 15-1. Santiago Gonzalez444839%$179,976 WILD DUDE BACK AT SANTA ANITA FOR LOS ANGELES STAKESWild Dude returns to a track he fancies when he runs in the Grade III Los Angeles Stakes on Monday, Memorial Day, supporting feature of the Grade I Gamely Stakes that day.The 5-year-old Florida-bred horse weakened to finish sixth in the Grade I Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on April 4, but has a 3-2-2 record from nine starts at Santa Anita, where he has a pair of Grade II stakes wins, the Palos Verdes and the San Carlos.“He likes this track and he’s a runner,” trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said of the son of Wildcat Heir whose career earnings are just shy of $500,000.Wild Dude worked six furlongs Sunday in 1:12.The Los Angeles field: Five Palms, Martin Garcia; War Academy, Elvis Trujillo; Spirit Rules, Iggy Puglisi; Wild Dude, Rafael Bejarano; Distinctiv Passion, Edwin Maldonado; and San Onofre, Mike Smith. Mike Smith2046120%$408,980 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS Flavien Prat591313222%$715,550 TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%Money Won (Current Through Thursday, May 21) GOING SOMEWHERE MAKES U.S. DEBUT IN WHITTINGHAMGoing Somewhere makes his first start in seven months when he makes his U.S. debut in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Charles Whittingham Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 1 ½ miles on turf, not necessarily ideal for a comeback, but Neil Drysdale’s choices are limited.“Unfortunately, he has to start somewhere,” the Hall of Fame trainer said, “and there’s nowhere else more suitable.”Drysdale, 67, was assistant to Charlie Whittingham for four years (1970-74) and won the race named for the late “Bald Eagle” multiple times when it was run at Hollywood Park.Marathon grass races are nothing new to Going Somewhere, a 6-year-old Brazilian-bred horse who has not won in three years, since capturing the Group 1 Carlos Pelligrini at San Ysidro in Argentina on Dec. 15, 2012, a span of 14 races. He won twice at distances of a mile and a half and once at a mile and seven-eighths in South America in 2012.Going Somewhere worked six furlongs on a firm Santa Anita turf course Sunday in 1:18.The field for the Whittingham, race three of nine: Divine Oath, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Crucero, Kent Desormeaux, 20-1; Ganesh, Flavien Prat, 5-2; Going Somewhere, Mike Smith, 7-2; and Ashleyluvssugar, Gary Stevens, 6-5. FINISH LINES: For the record, Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, who won the 2009 Belmont Stakes on Summer Bird, rides Keen Ice for trainer Dale Romans in the final leg of the Triple Crown two weeks from tomorrow. Keen Ice finished a willing seventh in the Kentucky Derby under Desormeaux, beaten eight lengths despite an eventful trip . . . Richard Mandella has The Californian on tap May 30 for Precisionist winner Catch a Flight in advance of the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita June 27 . . . Trainer Mike Machowsky is sitting on 499 career victories. “It’s a nice little milestone,” Machowsky said. “I’ve been training on my own for 24 years, something like that. I didn’t really know I was approaching 500 until a friend of mine pointed it out a few weeks ago.” As to venerable Caracortado, the old stakes winner is still around. “He’s still has the same old quarter crack BS (on his right front foot),” Machowsky said of the California-bred son of Cat Dreams, now eight. “I hope to get him back to the races at some point, but I have to do right by him. No time table. You know how horses are.” Caracortado last raced on Aug. 13, 2014, finishing fifth in the Green Flash at Del Mar. In 20 career starts, he has seven wins including the Robert B Lewis Stakes in 2013 when it was a Grade II race, and the Grade II Del Mar Handicap in 2011. TREASURY, IRS URGED TO MODERNIZE TAX REGULATIONSThe National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) is encouraging members of the racing industry to request that the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service modernize tax regulations relating to withholding and reporting of winning pari-mutuel wagers.This regulatory change would eliminate a high percentage of reporting and withholding tickets and could increase pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing by as much as 10 percent, or $1 billion in one year alone, according to Steve Crist of Daily Racing Form. Increased handle will lead to higher purses and added strength in the bloodstock markets.According to the NTRA, the Treasury Department and IRS should be urged to authorize modernization of the tax regulations relating to withholding and reporting of winning pari-mutuel wagers because the current method is unfair and outdated.The NTRA has created a simple, customized message to submit directly to the Treasury. Simply go to to join others in supporting this cause. Edwin Maldonado52611912%$246,480 Fernando Perez62129819%$438,730 Richard Baltas2773226%$355,620 Richard Mandella1965132%$422,090 Bob Baffert1542227%$183,310 Felipe Valdez59710412%$281,090 JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%Money Won Gonzalo Nicolas555699%$174,678 Joseph Talamo611231320%$404,788 Philip D’Amato2593336%$320,570 John Sadler3456515%$203,638 Tyler Baze9216121917%$670,430 Doug O’Neill47912519%$399,160 Elvis Trujillo4854710%$260,170 Peter Miller38811121%$306,610 ESPINOZA GOES WITH THE FLOW FOR TRIPLE ZINVOR SHARP FOR RICH SNOW CHIEF STAKESFILLY MAKES SANTA ANITA DEBUT IN MELAIRGOING SOMEWHERE HAS SOMEWHERE TO GOTEXAS RED WORKING TOWARDS HIS COMEBACK Rafael Bejarano6414151322%$644,862 Drayden Van Dyke4374516%$276,518 Eddie Truman1151145%$145,150 ESPINOZA CONFIDENT IN TRIPLE CROWN PURSUITVictor Espinoza leaves on Monday, June 1, for New York and what he hopes is a datewith destiny when he pursues the Triple Crown aboard American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes on June 6.This will mark the second time in two years and the third time in his career he will try for the elusive Triple, having missed out on War Emblem in 2002 and California Chrome last year.Usually readily accessible, this time around the indefatigable rider is attempting to maintain a relatively low profile with PR functions and accommodating the media, focusing as he should on the target at hand, winning the Triple Crown, which has not been won since 1978.“Yesterday,” Victor said at Clockers’ Corner Friday morning, “I did so many interviews, I was tired.”Espinoza and his agent, Brian Beach, will make certain Victor is a “fresh horse” goinginto the Belmont, leaving that same objective for American Pharoah up to the colt’s trainer, Bob Baffert, who will be seeking the Triple Crown for the fourth time. He came close with War Emblem, Silver Charm (1997) and Real Quiet (1998).Told American Pharoah looked like he was floating over Pimlico’s inundated sloppy track en route to his seven-length romp in the Preakness last Saturday, Victor was quick to respond. “Me too,” he said, laughing. “I was floating, too. My boots were full of water.“It’s amazing how life is. I never thought I would win three Kentucky Derbies. After I won the first (on War Emblem in 2002), four or five years went by and I never dreamed I’d go back again, and then last year here comes California Chrome, the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, who won by daylight and came very close to winning the Triple Crown.“Now we’re in position to do it again in a back-to-back situation with an amazing horse like American Pharoah. But let me tell you about the Preakness. I never rode a horse in my life in so much rain. That was my first time.“But it was fun. Pharoah handled it very well. I was more concerned about the horse but he ran an unbelievable race and I’m here again. You never know what lies ahead or what the future holds.“But I never get too caught up in the moment. I just keep working on my career, doing things normally, taking it one day at a time.”As to the Belmont, Espinoza understandably feels “confident” about American Pharoah.“I can’t look back and worry about the two times I lost the Belmont,” Espinoza said. “When I rode War Emblem, he stumbled really bad at the start and that was it. My chance was gone right away.“California Chrome was tired going into the race and his energy wasn’t quite what it was. Also, another horse stepped on his foot and that happens when a horse doesn’t have the energy it should. They do things in slow motion, and that’s what happened.“So again my chances went when the gates opened. Twice my chances were eliminated like that. But it’s different this time with American Pharoah. I know each horse is different and every time I’m there, I think differently, too.“It’s all going to depend on Baffert and if he has the horse ready. Baffert knows how to train a horse to be ready for the Belmont, so that gives me a lot of confidence, as it does with other horses I ride in big races like this.“If the trainer has his horse ready, then my job is easy. After that, I have all the confidence in the world.”            Espinoza celebrates his 43rd birthday tomorrow, but would patiently wait two weeks to receive a gift for the man who has everything.“The Triple Crown,” he said. “That’s the present I need.”ZINVOR IN GOOD SPOT FOR WIN IN SNOW CHIEF STAKES            Zinvor competes in his first stakes race Saturday when he runs in the $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes for three-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf. The gelded son of the late Tribal Rule has two wins on Santa Anita’s turf course, each at one mile.“He’s doing really well,” trainer John Sadler said. “It’s a key race for him. It’s his conditions; California-bred, three-year-old, grass. It’s just perfect for him.”The field for the Snow Chief, race eight of 10: Cardiac, Santiago Gonzalez, 8-1; Richard’s Boy, Fernando Perez, 7-2; Book Thirty Four, Felipe Valdez, 20-1; Zinvor, Victor Espinoza, 7-2; Grazen Sky, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Chief of Staff, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Temple Keys, Drayden Van Dyke, 15-1; Neveradoubt, Flavien Prat, 20-1; Rocko’s Wheel, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Pulmarack, Corey Nakatani, 6-1; and Over Par, Mario Gutierrez, 30-1.last_img read more

Sterling ‘to reject contract offer’

first_imgRaheem Sterling is poised to reject Liverpool’s initial offer of a new contract, according to the Daily Mail.The 17-year-old from Harlesden has been discussing an improved deal at Anfield, with other clubs said to be keen to lure him away.It is claimed Liverpool are preparing to offer him in the region of £20,000 a week but Sterling’s camp believe he deserves closer to £50,000.Sterling, who left QPR to move to Merseyside in 2010, turns 18 next month.Click here for the Chelsea v Liverpool quizSee also:Sterling in line for new 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

MS Dhoni lauds Virat Kohli and R Ashwin for special efforts in 2nd Test match

first_imgCaptain MS Dhoni on Monday gave full marks to Virat Kohli and R Ashwin, the architects of India’s win over New Zealand here on Monday, for soaking up the pressure and bowling brilliantly, respectively.”Virat, I felt, played really well in this Test match because we needed someone to soak up the pressure. He was the guy who did that in both the innings,” said Dhoni, referring to Kohli’s knocks of 103 and 51 not out.”There are two ways to tackle pressure – either you fight through it or you just soak it. He showed excellent temperament.”Off-spinner Ashwin took six wickets in New Zealand’s second innings, taking his series tally to 18 and winning the Man of the Series award.”He is bowling brilliantly. If you see the two Tests, there were some periods where the spinners got some assistance from the pitch. Overall, the wickets were quite good to bat on and we had to bowl consistently in one area which I felt at sometimes made it difficult for Ashwin because he is someone who loves to take wickets,” Dhoni told reporters.”He is someone who has got variations. He is learning that. The good thing is that both the spinners complement each other. When one is taking wickets, the other one keeps it tight so the batsmen can’t score too many runs. They are hunting well together.” Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who bagged 13 wickets in the series, also came in for praise from his skipper.Dhoni also lauded Cheteshwar Pujara for his contribution at No.3 spot in the short series. “It’s pleasing to see the youngsters perform. As far as missing somebody like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman is concerned, you will always miss them. When Pujara comes and scores a 150 or 160, you will still miss them because of the kind of performances they have given in the past 15 or 16 years,” he averred.”Pujara was good in this innings as well as in the last Test. So it is a learning process and it is a big positive for us.”New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor said that his team did not score sufficient runs. “If we’re brutally honest, we would have liked to score a few more runs in that first innings to put pressure on India. We’d like to have restricted them to a few less runs. I wouldn’t put it down to just one little moment. It was just that we lost the Test match over time,” he said.advertisementlast_img read more