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Saint Liam takes Woodward Stakes

NEW YORK -- Saint Liam won a wacky Woodward Stakes on Saturday -- a race that turned into a showdown between two trainers who saddled all five horses in the field.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.'s Saint Liam ($2.80) came out on top of trainer Nick Zito's Commentator, rolling to an easy victory in a most unusual running of the $500,000 Woodward at Belmont Park.

Dutrow sent out three horses, two of whom were used as "rabbits," speed horses entered for the purpose of making sure of an honest pace.

Show Boot and Crafty Player did exactly that, preventing Commentator from gaining an easy lead like he did in beating Saint Liam in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 6.

In another Grade 1 stakes at Belmont, Better Talk Now ($8.10) and Ramon Dominguez won the $500,000 Man o' War Stakes.

At Finger Lakes Race Track, long shot Sindbad the Sailor ($71.50) and jockey Joe Badamo took the $50,000 Genesee Valley Breeders' Handicap. Earlier, Ruby's Rocket ($16.20) drew off under Jose Martinez Jr. to a 5 1/4 -length win in the $50,000 Jack Betta Be Rite Handicap.

At Batavia Downs, Pandarin Duck ($12.40) and Four One One ($4.20) won the richest races of the season -- the $128,226 New York Sire Stakes miles.


Connecticut returning to WNBA Finals

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- The Connecticut Sun is back in the WNBA Finals for the second straight year but needed an extra five minutes to get there.

The Sun got 15 points from Taj McWilliams-Franklin and a key three-pointer from Nykesha Sales in overtime to sweep the Eastern Conference finals with a 77-67 win over the Indiana Fever on Saturday. It was the Sun's first overtime game of the season. It will play Sacramento, which defeated Houston in the Western Conference, 74-65, in the best-of-five Finals beginning Wednesday in Connecticut.

"I think it was great that it went to overtime, it sort of refreshed us," Sales said.

It was also the final game of Natalie Williams' 10-year professional career. She announced her retirement earlier this season.

Williams, the all-time leading rebounder in U.S. women's pro basketball, had a season-high 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Her 43 minutes were also a season high.


Jamestown reaches Can-Am consolation

At the 15th annual Can-Am/PAL Basketball Tournament, Jamestown, with a roster of mostly Southern Tier athletes, will play in the consolation today versus Toronto at noon at Niagara Falls High School. The tournament has scouts from 37 NCAA Division II, III and NAIA schools.

Jamestown won its first two games beating the Buffalo Storm, 62-52, behind 22 points from Dominique Kendrick, and Team Hoopville, 77-64, as Fransico Lantigua netted 19.

Niagara PAL, which split its games, plays Waterloo at 9 a.m at NFHS. PAL lost to the Niagara Rebels, 67-64, despite 19 points from Jon Flynn and 15 from Mike Berkun.

The Buffalo Pride and Buffalo Storm have 0-2 records.


Defenseman Brown signs with Leafs

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs signed free agent defenseman Brad Brown to a one-year contract.

Brown had three assists and 66 penalty minutes in 43 games during the 2003-04 season, which he split between Minnesota and Buffalo. The Wild traded Brown to the Sabres in March 2004.

He has played 330 career NHL games, also spending time with Montreal, Chicago and the New York Rangers. He has two goals, 27 assists and 747 penalty minutes.

Compiled from wire service reports.

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