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Awesome Maria wins at Belmont

Awesome Maria took advantage of the absence of Unrivaled Belle to easily win the $245,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap for fillies and mares on Saturday at Belmont Park.

Unrivaled Belle, winner of the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic in November, reared and flipped over in the paddock prior to the race. She sustained a career-ending injury and was retired.

With a key rival unexpectedly removed, Awesome Maria pulled away to a 3-length win over Payton d'Oro. John Velazquez was aboard as the 4-year-old captured a fourth straight stakes, improving to 7 for 12. The time was 1:41.40 for 1 1-16 miles.

The 3-5 favorite, Awesome Maria paid $3.30, $2.40 and $2.10. Payton d'Oro returned $4.10 and $2.90. Super Espresso paid $2.80 to show.


U.S. duo to play for title

Two-time Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh are within one victory of their fourth beach volleyball world title.

The Americans beat China's Xue Chen and Zhang Xi 21-17, 15-21, 15-10 in the semifinals Saturday and will face top-seeded Brazilians Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta Da Silva in the final today.

Franca and Felisberta Da Silva dispatched the Czech duo of Hana Klapalova and Lenka Hajeckova 21-14, 21-13.

May-Treanor and Walsh won world titles in 2003, 2005 and 2007 and are 32-1 for their career at the worlds. The pair, who won gold at the last two Olympics, did not play together in 2009 and 2010 due to injuries and the birth of Walsh's two sons.


Barber battled depression

Tiki Barber says failures off the field after his retirement from football in 2006 led to a yearlong bout with depression.

The 36-year-old Barber, the New York Giants' career leading rusher, acknowledged in an HBO report to be aired Tuesday that he now needs football more than it needs him.

Barber has spent the past four months working out in an attempt to make a comeback, although his chances rest on the league and its players reaching a new collective bargaining agreement.

Barber said football represents a necessary anchor in a life turned upside down by the depressive aftermath of scandalous divorce and disintegration of his television career.


Nevada receiver injured in shooting

Nevada starting wide receiver Brandon Wimberly was shot and seriously wounded early Saturday in a fight between a group of his football teammates and another group of men.

Police say the 22-year-old Wimberly was shot once in the abdomen when he approached the other men in downtown Reno as they fled in a car. He was taken to a hospital, where he was in serious condition.

Nevada coach Chris Ault said Wimberly underwent surgery and is fortunate that his injuries aren't life-threatening.

From News and wire service reports.