Sports News

winhorse/iStock(ARCADIA, Calif.) -- Santa Anita Park is touting a high rate of safety for the horses that train and race at the facility in the wake of the latest death on its main track.

A 3-year-old horse named Miss Romania was euthanized Wednesday after she suffered a suspected fracture on her left humerus, according to the park. She was euthanized at the recommendation from an attending veterinarian.

The death was the seventh since the winter/spring season began on Dec. 28 but the 44th since December 2018, ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV reported. However, it was the first death on the main track, where the majority of the deaths in 2019 occurred, according to the park.

Despite the highly publicized deaths, the facility boasts a high rate of safety and considers itself the largest training facility in the U.S.

In 2019, horses raced or trained at the facility more than 420,000 times at a safety rate of 99.99%, according to the park.

Since Jan. 3, when the only other horse in 2020 died on the main track, 9,245 horses have had a timed workout or raced on the main track without a single incident until Miss Romania's death on Wednesday, which highlights that recent safety measures are working, according to the park.

Santa Anita Park has been under intense scrutiny since the number of horse deaths began to rise last year.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom called for Santa Anita to be shut down after it did not heed the California Horse Racing Board's recommendation to suspend racing. At the time, the death toll stood at 29.

Santa Anita decided to continue racing because it believed that the reforms enacted earlier in the year -- which included the elimination of drugs and whips on race day -- were working, a spokesman for The Stronach Group, a company that owns the park, told ABC News in June.

Last month, following the deaths of three horses in three days at the park, a spokesman for the California Horse Racing Board said in a statement to ABC News that the board "is committed to reducing the number of racing and training fatalities."

"We already have introduced many safety measures and still others are going through the regulatory process," the spokesman said.

Those three deaths did not occur on the main track, according to the park, which will continue to consider new safety reforms in the future alongside the California Horse Racing Board.

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Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Soccer star Alex Morgan has won big both on and off the field.

Morgan, a member of the World Cup-winning U.S. Women's National Team, is expecting her first child -- a daughter -- this year, and said that while she's enjoyed her pregnancy, "I am ready for her to come out soon!"

Morgan's due date is in April.

"Taking a step back from soccer is a little different for me, but I am enjoying it," Morgan told ABC Nes' Good Morning America. "I hope that she's born into a world that she can accomplish much bigger and better things that I'm ever capable of."

Morgan, 30, and her husband, fellow soccer player Servando Carrasco, 32, married in 2014 and announced last October that they were expecting a baby girl. In her interview with GMA, which took place at the Polka Dot Summit -- an event in Burbank, California, focused on positivity, presented by Create and Cultivate and Disney -- Morgan said that family has always been important to her.

"I think I have a pretty positive mindset because of my family. I just have a huge support system, which keeps me going. It keeps me motivated and, in turn, keeps me positive," she said.

It also doesn't hurt that professionally, she's living out a dream she's had since childhood, she added.

However, Morgan and her teammates are also looking to improve the working conditions for themselves and for the women who will follow in their footsteps. Last year, 28 members of the U.S. Women's National Team filed a lawsuit against The United States Soccer Federation for gender discrimination, citing unequal pay.

A trial has been set for May 5, just weeks before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo begin. At the time of Morgan's pregnancy announcement last October, a source told GMA that she planned to participate in the Games.

"I think it's important just to stand up for yourself and stand up for the people around you that are in similar situations," Morgan said of the class action lawsuit. "We're stronger in numbers and so just having an entire team together fighting for something that we've been discriminated against for so long is just kind of a story that I want to share with people."

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thurday's sports events:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Boston 141, L.A. Clippers 133 -- OT
Oklahoma 123, New Orleans 118

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Dallas 3, Toronto 2
New Jersey 4, Detroit 1
Philadelphia 6, Florida 2
Tampa Bay 3, Edmonton 1
Buffalo 4, Columbus 3 -- OT
Ottawa 3, Arizona 2
Nashville 5, NY Islanders 0
NY Rangers 4, Minnesota 3 -- SO
Washington 3, Colorado 2
Calgary 6, Anaheim 0
Vegas 6, St. Louis 5 -- OT

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Oregon 68, Colorado 60
Indiana 89, Iowa 77

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Andy Lyons/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Soccer fans the world over are known for their loud and unwavering support -- just as America's men's team now backs the women's.

Members of the U.S. men's national soccer team again are voicing support for their female counterparts, ahead of the women's national team's gender discrimination trial in May that involves the U.S. Soccer Federation.

How the men are supporting the women


In a lengthy and emphatic statement released Wednesday by the United States National Soccer Team Players Association, the union sounded off about U.S. Soccer's "false narrative" regarding collective bargaining agreements and equal pay.

"The Federation has been working very hard to sell a false narrative to the public and even to members of Congress," the statement read, adding that the federation has used it "as a weapon against current and former members of the United States Women's National Team."

The association said it has long left the women's players and their representatives to pursue any grievances on their own, but decided now to back them due to the "success" of the federation's narrative.

"By coming forward to explain the situation, the USNSTPA hopes to create a better understanding and perhaps help bring about a resolution," the statement continued.

The men's statement further broke down why equal pay in soccer matters now more than ever, particularly in comparing the women's CBA from April 2017 to the men's from 2011 to 2018.

"What we believe should happen is simple," the men's union said. "Pay the women significantly more than our recently expired men's deal. In our estimation, the women were due at least triple what our expired deal was worth in player compensation."

U.S. soccer has not yet responded to the union's statement.

How we got here


U.S. Soccer historically has "resisted any concept of equal pay or basic economic fairness for the USWNT players" and "refused" to include the same provisions in CBAs with the women's team.

"This is systematic gender discrimination that should have never happened," the men's union added.

Historically, the men have negotiated their CBA with U.S. Soccer before the women, setting the stage for those talks.

When the women's team negotiated its most recent CBA, in April 2017, the federation's revenue had grown by more than $33 million since 2011, according to the USNSTPA.

"The expectation was for dramatic increases in their compensation, comparable to the Federation's triple-digit increases in revenue," the USNSTPA said. "The women's 2017-2021 CBA did not bring the women equality in working conditions and the women did not benefit from the dramatic increase in revenue associated with the USWNT."

The men's union also is claiming U.S. Soccer potentially is spending millions on legal expenses that instead could be be used to pay players.

Last March, 28 members of the 2015 Women's World Cup champion team filed a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit against the federation, after years of publicly demanding equal pay. A trial is set for May 5.

"The USSF has utterly failed to promote gender equality," the lawsuit reads. "It has stubbornly refused to treat its female employees who are members of the [women's national team] equally to its male employees."

The U.S. Soccer Federation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

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Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- More than three years after his silent protests rocked the NFL and the nation, Colin Kaepernick is writing a memoir about his activism which he hopes will "inspire others to rise in action."

"My protest was the culmination of years of thought and experiences, of learning and unlearning," Kaepernick said in a statement. "I want to tell the story of my evolution, and the events that led me to protest systemic oppression, in hopes that it will inspire others to rise in action."

The former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers began taking a knee during the national anthem at games in 2016 as a way to protest police brutality against black people in the U.S. His silent protests sparked a national conversation, and even President Donald Trump weighed in.

After playing six seasons with the 49ers, and leading the team to the 2013 Super Bowl, Kaepernick severed his contract in 2017. He has not signed with a new team since.

He is releasing the memoir this year through his newly-formed publishing company, Kaepernick Publishing, to "reinforce the importance of Black ownership," according to a statement.

He is also partnering with Audible, which will exclusively release the audio version, to create additional original audio projects with other authors and influential figures.

Kaepernick added that he hopes to use the partnership between his publishing company and Audible to "elevate Black and Brown voices who can empower future generations."

Rachel Ghiazza, the SVP of content acquisition and development at Audible, said Kaepernick "takes listeners through the pivotal moments and experiences that inspired a national debate and cultural movement."

Kaepernick has previously been vocal about his desire to return to the NFL and filed a grievance against league owners in 2017, alleging they colluded to ensure he remains unsigned. The lawsuit was settled in February 2019.

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iStock(AKRON, Ohio) -- Students from LeBron James' I Promise School in Ohio received the surprise of a lifetime that will make the next move in their education a slam dunk.

The LeBron James Family Foundation announced Wednesday that it will provide four years of free tuition for eligible students in the school's first graduating class in partnership with Kent State University.

 The group of high school juniors from the NBA superstar's public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, visited Kent State University where university officials spoke to the room of eager students.

"You are Mr. LeBron James' first class, his first love, it all started because of you," Melody Tankersley, interim senior vice president and provost at KSU, said.

Todd Diacon, KSU president, helped to reveal the big surprise, asking the students to retrieve an envelope that was under their chairs.

 Inside every envelope was a card from the school that read, "Kent State guarantees your tuition free for four years! You will also receive free room and meal plan for your first year."

"We are doing this because we know of the transformative power of a higher education and a college degree, but most of all we're doing this because you guys have demonstrated over the past several years that you have the grit, that you have the determination, that you have the dreams to succeed," Diacon said.

The Lakers star retweeted multiple videos from the I Promise School and his foundation to help share the good news.

James first opened the public school in 2018 through the LeBron James Family Foundation to help at-risk youth.

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Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Simone Biles is raising her voice about unrealistic beauty expectations and competition in society.

In conjunction with her new partnership with skin care brand SK-II, the five-time Olympic gold medalist shared a reflective note on how much competition has influenced her life and shaped her perspective.

"Let's talk about competition," she wrote. "Specifically, the competition I didn't sign up for and feel like has become almost a daily challenge for me. And I do not think I'm the only one."

The 22-year-old explained the down side of the attention she's experienced outside of her profession.

"I'm talking about beauty," she explained. "I don't know why but others feel as though they can define your own beauty based on their standards."

She shared how much these standards have taken a toll on her mental state throughout her life.

"I've learned to put on a strong front and let most of it slide. But I'd be lying if I told you that what people say about my arms, my legs, my body ... of how I look like in a dress, leotard, bathing suit or even in casual pants hasn't gotten me down at times," Biles said.

The gymnast, who has been open in the past about being a victim of body shaming, said she believes many young women are affected by constant critiques of their physical appearance.

"I don't have to look very far to see how common this judgement has become," she wrote. "I'm tired of everything in life being turned into competition, so I am standing up for myself and for everyone else that has gone through the same."

With that declaration, she added that she is "done competing VS. beauty standards and the toxic culture of trolling when others feel as though their expectations are not met."

"Nobody should tell you or I what beauty should or should not look like," she finished her post.

The #NOCOMPETITION campaign also stars athletes like Liu Xiang, Kasumi Ishikawa, Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo among others.

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Orlando 116, Detroit 112
Cleveland 127, Atlanta 105
Brooklyn 101, Toronto 91
Washington 114, New York 96
Indiana 118, Milwaukee 111
Memphis 11, Portland 104
Charlotte 115, Minnesota 108
Dallas 130, Sacramento 111
Phoenix 112, Golden State 106
Utah 116, Miami 101
Denver 116, L.A. Lakers 120 -- OT

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Boston 4, Montreal 1
Los Angeles 5, Calgary 3
Vancouver 3, Chicago 0

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Kansas 58, West Virginia 49
Georgia Tech 64, Louisville 58
Creighton 87, Seton Hall 82
Auburn 95, Alabama 91
Villanova 72, Marquette 71
Butler 66, Xavier 61
Houston 62, South Florida 58

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Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images(ANAHEIM, Calif.) --The player with the NHL's St. Louis Blues who was rushed to the hospital after collapsing on the bench during Tuesday night's game against the Anaheim Ducks appears to be on the mend, the team's general manager said Wednesday.

Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, 36, suffered a cardiac episode and collapsed on the St. Louis bench after completing his shift, according to Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong. The remainder of the game was postponed.

During a press conference Wednesday, Armstrong said Bouwmeester was doing "very well," and undergoing a battery of tests to determine what caused him to collapse. Players were able to visit Bouwmeester in the hospital Tuesday night and said he was in good spirits.

The incident late Tuesday caused a rush of medical attention to the NHL star.

Medical trainers and team physicians were able to stabilize Bouwmeester, who was alert and moving all of his extremities as he was transported to UC Irvine Medical Center, the statement said.

"Currently, Jay is conscious and alert as he undergoes further testing by Anaheim's physicians," said the statement, which was released late Tuesday night local time.

Bouwmeester had returned to the bench after a long shift about halfway through the first period, when he appeared to fall slowly to the floor.

The game, which was tied 1-1 at the time, was postponed following the incident. The Ducks announced that the contest would be made up at a later date.

The Blues will play their regularly scheduled game in Las Vegas on Thursday, the team confirmed.

A veteran defenseman, Bouwmeester was the third overall pick in the 2002 NHL draft and a member of the Blue's Stanley Cup-winning team last season. He ranks second among active defensemen with 1,241 career games played, behind only Boston's Zdeno Chara.

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DenisTangneyJr/iStock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Two Ohio State University Buckeye football players are facing charges of kidnapping and raping a woman, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Franklin County Municipal Court in Ohio.

Amir Riep, 21, and Jahsen Wint, 21, are charged with rape with the threat of force, and kidnapping with engaging in sexual activity, both in the first degree.

The incident happened on Feb. 4 and involved a 19-year-old woman, according to Columbus police.

Both players turned themselves in to police Thursday evening and were being held at Franklin County Jail without bond.

OSU announced Wednesday that the players had been dismissed from the team.

"I have dismissed Amir Riep and Jahsen Wint from our football program," Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day said in a statement. "I am not making any statement on the criminal charges, but it is clear they did not live up to our standards and my expectations. The athletics department will make sure they both continue to have access to the health and well-being resources available to students and student-athletes. Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, I will not be commenting further."

The program had initially issued a statement Tuesday saying they were aware of the players' arrests.

"We are aware that two of our students have been arrested and criminally charged," the school said in a statement, according to Columbus ABC affiliate WSYX. "They have been suspended from all activities involving the football program. We will share more information when available."

The players are both redshirt seniors for the Buckeyes' defense. Riep, a cornerback for the team, is from Cincinnati and is majoring in sports industry.

Wint, who played safety, is from Brooklyn, New York, and is majoring in human development and family science.

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