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SPORTS TODAY

Records expected
in Indy 500 race

Lest there were any doubts, the final warm-up for Sunday's Indianapolis 500 served notice that record practice and qualifying speeds may mean a record race.

"It's going to be a fast race, from what I've felt in practice and the kind of numbers I've seen from everybody," said Rick Mears, the defending champion, pole-position starter and heavy favorite to win a record-tying fourth Indy on Sunday.

There was plenty of evidence to support that in the two-hour "carburetion day" test, a modern misnomer stemming an earlier era.

First, Mears, the fastest qualifier in Indy history the last two years, wasn't the fastest driver on the track. Al Unser, a four-time winner and Mears' teammate, former winner Mario Andretti and surprising Teo Fabi of Italy all were above 217 mph. Mears' best was in the 216 range. Second, at least eight drivers were faster than the 215-plus by Andretti that was the top speed in last year's final practice.

All 33 cars that qualified for the fastest racing field ever -- averaging 216.588 mph -- practiced Thursday.

The weather forecast for Sunday calls for sunny skies and pleasant temperatures, with highs in the 70s, according to the National Weather Service.

Taped talks with Johnson
presented by physician

Ben Johnson's personal physician disclosed that he secretly tape-recorded a phone conversation with the sprinter about steroids so "my tail would be covered."

The brief, tape-recorded conversation between Johnson and Dr. Jamie Astaphan, said to have been made in January 1988, was played at the Canadian inquiry into drugs and athletics.

Astaphan also played tape recordings of phone conversations with Johnson's coach, Charlie Francis, top Canadian female sprinter Angella Taylor Issajenko and Italian champion Pier Francesco Pavoni.

In the taped conversation Johnson responded mostly "Yes" or "No" to Astaphan's questions, including about whether the last steroid he took had been Dec. 18, 1987. The doctor testified he decided to make the recording, the original and copies of which he kept in bank vaults, after speaking with Johnson in August 1987 about being more careful on steroid use. He said Johnson's response was, "Yeah, but Charlie or you would take the rap."

Niagara Falls, Ont. skipper
nears 'round-Horn' mark

Closing in on the Golden Gate, skipper Georgs Kolesnikovs of Niagara Falls, Ont. , and crewman Steve Pettengill of Newport, R.I., steered their damaged sailboat for a new record today for the 14,500-mile passage from New York to San Francisco around Cape Horn. Their boat, Great American, was in its 77th day since leaving New York, three days ahead of the time of the 80-day, 20-hour record.

Kentucky wants to keep
Mills on cage roster

The University of Kentucky would file an eligibility appeal to keep Chris Mills on the basketball team if he wants to stay, according to the player's attorney.

Ron Hecker said that the school's legal counsel told him this week that Kentucky would act on Mills' behalf in an appeal to the NCAA. Meanwhile, Sean Sutton and Derrick Miller said there were still undecided about their status on the team.

The NCAA last week declared Mills ineligible to play at Kentucky in one of its rulings against the program that included three years of probation.

Texas schoolboy loses
first game of his career

High school pitching star Jon Peters lost for the first time in his prep career as West Orange Stark High School defeated Brenham High, 3-0, in the Texas 4-A playoffs in Houston.

Peters, who holds the national high school record for most victories in a row, is now 53-1 in his prep career. Brenham drew eight walks, but did not get a hit in the game. The best-of-three playoff series between Brenham and West Orange Stark is now tied at one game apiece. Peters has drawn considerable attention for his winning streak and was recently featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Around & About

Right-hander Jack Morris, baseball's winningest pitcher this decade, was placed on the 21-day disabled list with an injured right elbow. It's the first time Morris has gone on the disabled list since he joined the Tigers in 1977. Morris, 34, was rocked for four home runs in 2 2/3 innings by the Cleveland Indians Monday night. The Tigers recalled right-hander Randy Nosek from Double-A in London, Ont., to take Morris' spot. . . . Mexican boxer Hector Ruiz Coello, 20, died in of complications from a blood clot on the brain in Tijuana, Mexico, three days after being knocked out by Cecilio "Torito" Espino, the Mexico City newspaper Esto said. . . . Champion turf mare Triptych died after running into a truck while a night watchman was making midnight rounds at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky. Triptych, a 7-year-old mare in foal to Mr. Prospector, died of a hemorrhage caused by multiple pelvic fractures, according to Claiborne manager John Sosby. . . . James Miller won seven of eight match games to move from 12th place into the fourth-round lead in the PBA $125,000 Fresno (Calif.) Open. Miller knocked down 5,888 pins for his 26 games. Tony Marrese, who shared the third-round lead, slipped to second place with a 5,837 total. Buffalo's Tom Baker finished 25th with a 3,740 total for $1,065 while Jack Jurek of Lackawanna was 28th with a 3,732 total for $990.

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