Pimlico Race Course
Press box renamed to honor former Sun reporter Kelly
Before Sunday's first race, the Pimlico Race Course press box was renamed to include Joe Kelly, who covered horse racing for nearly 70 years before his death in November at age 94. Kelly began his career at The Baltimore Sun in the 1940s, then moved in 1955 to The Washington Star, where he spent the next 26 years. After retiring, he became the publicity director for the Maryland Million and was Pimlico's historical consultant until his death. "Nobody spent more time in the Pimlico press box," said Mike Gathagan, Pimlico's vice president of communications. "We felt it was important to honor Mr. Kelly so the next generations of turf writers know what he meant to this place. He was a tremendous resource and positive influence. We just finished our third week of the spring meet, and it is weird not to see him in his office or in the chair where he sat while wagering each afternoon." On October 30, 1947, Kelly was part of Baltimore's first live remote television broadcast on WMAR-TV when he called the fifth and sixth races at Pimlico with his then-colleague Jim McKay. Kelly is also the only two-time winner of the Old Hilltop Award for excellence in horse racing coverage (1979 and 2000).
Ortiz injured: Apprentice rider Yomar Ortiz was hurt when he fell from his mount during the stretch run in the fifth race at Pimlico. Ortiz was riding Badon when his mount broke down closing in on the finish in the five-furlong turf race for $35,000 claimers. Ortiz was on the ground when he was struck by Gator Gone Wild, a trailing horse. The 21-year-old was taken to Sinai Hospital for X-rays on his left leg, according to Pimlico medical director Dr. Harry Harris. Ortiz leads the rider standings after three weeks of the spring meeting, with 13 trips to the winner's circle; he won the Laurel Park winter meet title earlier this year. Badon suffered a right ankle injury and was humanely euthanized, according to Maryland Racing Commission veterinarian Dr. David Zipf.
In first-ever home game, Spirit ties Flash on penalty
A late penalty conversion by the Washington Spirit's Diana Matheson followed a headed goal by Samantha Kerr in the 84th minute to mark the return of professional women's soccer to the Mid-Atlantic region Saturday night as the host Spirit drew, 1-1, with the visiting Western New York Flash. An announced 4,569 filled every seat — and then some — at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds. In the opening 15 minutes, Flash forward Abby Wambach had a pair of chances but couldn't convert. The former Washington Freedom member and reigning FIFA World Player of the Year crashed a full volley off the bar from 6 yards early, then was denied from 18 by USA teammate Ashlyn Harris. The Spirit will remain at the SoccerPlex for the next three Saturdays, all with 7 p.m. kickoffs. This week Sky Blue FC comes to town for the first of two short trips south this season, followed by Portland Thorns FC's only trip to the area, on May 4. The Spirit wraps up its homestand May 11 against the Boston Breakers.
College baseball: Despite a second consecutive quality start from Jake Stinnett, Maryland's offense couldn't muster enough run support and lost a baseball series finale to visiting Virginia Tech, 3-2, on Sunday. The Terps (21-20, 6-15 Atlantic Coast Conference) finished with five hits and two runs against starter Devin Burke, who pitched a complete game for the Hokies (24-17, 9-12). Maryland scored twice on back-to-back triples in the fifth inning but left runners on second and third in the second, and left the bases loaded in the fourth. Stinnett turned in another solid performance for the Terps, his third quality start in his last four appearances. The junior gave up three runs on nine hits over seven innings with six strikeouts. In his last four starts, Stinnett has an ERA of 2.08. The Hokies scored once in the fourth, fifth and seventh. ... Shane Davies pitched seven strong innings and Nathan Pitts (Digital Harbor) drove in a run, leading Coppin State (12-25, 7-11 the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) to a 2-1 victory over host Norfolk State (15-21, 10-8) in the first game of a doubleheader. Davies allowed seven hits and one run while striking out four batters. The Spartans won the nightcap, 9-5. ... Sophomore right-hander Brett Collacchi pitched a six-hit shutout, beating York (Pa.), 4-0, as No. 4 Salisbury (27-6) captured its second straight Capital Athletic Conference tournament championship at the SU Baseball Field. Collacchi struck out four, walked two and didn't allow a runner beyond second base as the Sea Gulls secured their 11th CAC title.
College softball: Freshman Juli Strange hit two home runs, including a two-run shot to end the game, to lead host Maryland (25-23, 9-6 ACC) past Boston College (11-30, 2-13) in five innings, 10-1.
—From Sun staff and news services