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AROUND AND ABOUT

The total purse for thoroughbred racing's Visa Triple Crown Challenge has been raised to $3 million guaranteed. Purses for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, the final two jewels of the Triple Crown, are being boosted from $500,000 to $1 million guaranteed, Triple Crown Productions announced. The Kentucky Derby became a $1 million event in 1996.

Norm Duke, looking for redemption, beat top-seeded Pete Weber, 236-194, in the title match of the Ebonite Challenge in Windsor Locks, Conn. Duke was beaten by Weber in the final game of the match-play round Tuesday night to fall into second place in the stepladder finals. Duke earned $21,000. Weber, who earned $11,000, became the second PBA member to reach the $2-million mark in career earnings. Walter Ray Williams Jr. hit $2 million in June. Weber was close until he missed a spare in the sixth frame and Duke struck on his next two balls.

New York will commit $5 million toward reconstructing the bobsled-luge track used in Lake Placid during the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, Gov. George Pataki said.

The United States will open its defense of the Davis Cup against Russia, which it beat in the 1995 final, on American soil April 3-5. "I am not unhappy with that draw," said Harry Marmion, president of the U.S. Tennis Association. "We shall now sit down and decide where to stage the match, and we hope to site the match near a large metropolitan area where there is a large Russian population to keep our guests happy."
ON AIR
Television
BASEBALL: American League Championship Series, Game Two, Cleveland Indians at Baltimore Orioles, 8 p.m., Ch. 2.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Syracuse at Rutgers, 8 p.m., ESPN.

GOLF: Michelob Championship at Kingmill, first round, 4 p.m., ESPN.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2.
Radio
BASEBALL: American League Championship Series, Game Two, Cleveland Indians at Baltimore Orioles, 8 p.m., 710, 1520.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Syracuse at Rutgers, 8 p.m., 1340.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres, 7:05 p.m., 104.1

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