Blossoms picked to repeat in GAC softball

MONTICELLO — The Arkansas-Monticello softball team was picked to repeat as Great American Conference champion, according to a preseason coaches’ poll released Tuesday by the conference.

UAM won the regular-season and tournament championships in the conference’s first season last year, going 40-14 overall with a 21-5 conference mark. The Cotton Blossoms return 10 lettermen, including four all-conference honorees, from last year’s team.

Southeastern Oklahoma State, which was runner-up in the regular season and conference tournament, was picked to finish second again with 39 points.


Borel at least another week away from riding

HOT SPRINGS — Jockey Calvin Borel will not ride this week at Oaklawn Park, it was reported in an Oaklawn press release.

According to agent Jerry Hissam, Borel was told by his doctor Tuesday morning he needs at least one more week to heal his broken wrist. He was one victory shy of his 5,000th career victory when he injured his wrist in a starting gate mishap during morning training Jan. 8.

Oaklawn and the city of Hot Springs will be prepared to distribute commemorative trading cards the moment Borel reaches his 5,000th win.


Ravens’ Lewis denies using substance at Media Day

NEW ORLEANS — The crowd around Ray Lewis, about 200 members of the media and fans — some of the latter in costume — was the biggest Super Bowl media day pack, so large that a small grandstand was installed.

The first question came regarding “deer antler spray,” which Sports Illustrated reported earlier Tuesday, Lewis sought from an Alabama supplement company during his recovery from a torn triceps earlier this season. The spray includes small amounts of a substance, insulin-like growth factor, banned by the NFL and other pro leagues, the magazine reported in an online story. Lewis spoke with the owner of the company and received instructions on how to take the substance, Sports Illustrated reported.

When asked about it Tuesday, Lewis shrugged off the question, saying he wouldn’t give the report or its source any press by acknowledging it.

“To even entertain stupidity like that,” he said, “tell them to go get their story off somebody else.” As he was repeatedly asked about the matter, though, Lewis’s patience seemed to erode; he eventually flatly denied taking the product.

“Nah,” he said when asked again later. “Never.”

— Staff and wire reports