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The Royal Post
From Track to Gridiron
This weekend is a beauty for gamers abroad. There's now regular season NBA, NHL, NCAA football, NFL, Breeders' Cup World Championship and much more. In this edition of The Royal Post we take a look at Bernardini, who's the favorite in the Classic, also the big SEC matchup between LSU and Tennessee.
The 2006 Breeders' Cup World Championship is set to take center stage this Saturday, Nov. 4. from Churchill Downs. Wagering on Breeders' Cup day ranks second in America only to the Kentucky Derby, where purse money is $2 million or more for every race, including $5 million for the day-ending Classic.
$5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, Powered by Dodge
Saturday, Bernardini will be going for the Horse of the Year title in the day's richest race, the $5 million Classic, when the Breeders' Cup takes place at Churchill Downs. This will be the first time Bernardini has been to Churchill Downs but bettors will be supporting him heavily and will be the odds on favorite at post time.
Bernardini owns dominating wins in the Preakness, Travers Stakes, and Jockey Club Gold Cup. Following the Breeders Cup, Bernardini will likely have finished off his career with a ''classic'' performance.
Bernardini put in a solid final workout Tuesday at Belmont Park before shipping to Churchill Downs. With regular exercise rider Simon Harris aboard, the Classic favorite worked five furlongs in 1:02.94 on the main track.
Bernardini has won six straight to become racing's top draw. He not only wins but he also does so by embarrassing his competion. Barring a defeat, which there is no reason to expect, he will become the 2006 Horse of the Year.
QB Will Erik Ainge be Ready to Face LSU
Erik Ainge said a bad ankle won't keep him out of Tennessee's matchup with LSU on Saturday. The No. 8 Vols also hope their QB won't be limited by the injury as they try to keep pace in the SEC title picture.
Ainge and the Vols (7-1 SU & ATS) look to continue their pursuit of Florida in the East Division when they face the No. 13 Tigers (6-2 SU & ATS), who boast one of the nation's toughest defenses.
Ainge hurt his right ankle during Tennessee's 31-24 win over South Carolina last week when he was tackled following a run. He finished the fourth-quarter drive while limping, but did not return. X-rays and an MRI were negative, but Ainge said the ankle was sore and he was uncertain about the amount of practice time he was going to see this week.
Ainge, though, said he had "no doubt" he'd be ready for Saturday and believed the lack of preparation won't be a cause for concern.
A healthy Ainge is crucial to Tennessee's offense. The Vols average 174 more passing yards than rushing, ranking 11th in the country with 288.1 passing yards per game.
Ainge ranks 11th in the nation with a 67.9 completion percentage, and coach Phillip Fulmer is less at ease about his QB not getting enough practice than Ainge is.
Ainge was 21-of-29 for 254 yards and two TDs against the Gamecocks last weekend. After blowing a 14-point lead, the Vols scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, including Ainge's second TD pass of the day to Bret Smith, for the win.
Tennessee has won five consecutive games SU since a 21-20 loss to Florida, which at 5-1 leads the East Division in the race for a spot in the conference championship game.
The Vols will likely need Ainge at his best against one of the nation's stingiest defenses. LSU is allowing 8.3 points per game -- second only to top-ranked Ohio State -- and has outscored opponents 287-66.
LSU is coming off a bye week following a 38-6 win over Fresno State two weeks ago. JaMarcus Russell, who's completed nearly 70 percent of his passes this season, went 15-of-19 for 210 yards and two TDs.
Alley Broussard and Trindon Holliday each rushed for a TD. Coach Les Miles was particularly satisfied with the effort by Broussard, who had a season-high 67 yards on just five carries.
The junior missed the 2005 season following reconstructive knee surgery and has been limited to 202 yards and four TDs in six games this season.
Miles' team faces another tough SEC opponent as it tries to get its first road win in three tries this season. The Tigers lost to then-No. 3 Auburn and then-No. 5 Florida by a combined 30-13 in their two games away from Baton Rouge.
The Vols defeated the Tigers 30-27 in overtime in the last meeting Sept. 26, 2005. Tennessee rallied from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to tie the game with a 28-yard field goal in the final minutes and won on Gerald Riggs' one-yard touchdown run.
Notable game trends:
- Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite.
- Tigers are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games as a road favorite.
- Tigers are 12-5-2 ATS in their last 19 road games.
- Tigers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a SU win.
- Tigers are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS win.
- Volunteers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. win.
- Volunteers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 conference games.
- Volunteers are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 games as an underdog.
- Volunteers are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games in November.
- Volunteers are 8-25 ATS in their last 33 home games.
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