HORSE RACING

Report: Justify failed drug test before Crown

The New York Times says Justify won the 2018 Triple Crown after a failed postrace drug test at a California track that could have kept the horse out of the Kentucky Derby.

The newspaper reported Wednesday that Bob Baffert-trained Justify tested positive for the drug scopolamine after winning the Santa Anita Derby, one of the final prep races for the Kentucky Derby. Justify went on to win the Derby and took the Preakness and Belmont stakes to complete the Triple Crown.

The Times said instead of a speedy disqualification, the California Horse Racing Board took more than a month to confirm the results. The newspaper also reported that instead of filing a public complaint, the board made decisions behind closed doors as it moved to drop the case and lighten the penalty for horses found to have scopolamine in their systems.

The newspaper said test results, emails and internal memorandums show how California regulators waited nearly three weeks, until the Kentucky Derby was only nine days away, to notify Baffert of the positive test. Then, two months after the Belmont victory, the board disposed of the inquiry altogether during a closed-door executive session.

The Times said Baffert didn’t respond to multiple attempts seeking comment.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

France knocks out U.S. in World Cup upset

The U.S. reign atop international basketball has ended — this time, thwarted by France at the World Cup.

For the first time since 2006, the U.S. sent NBA players to a major international tournament and won’t win gold.

Evan Fournier scored 22 points, Rudy Gobert had 21 points and 16 rebounds and France beat the U.S. 89-79 in the World Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday, rallying from a 7-point fourth-quarter deficit to pull off the upset.

The U.S. had won 58 consecutive tournament games in FIBA and Olympic competition, starting with the bronze-medal game at the 2006 world championships and continuing through every FIBA Americas, World Cup and Olympics event since. It was bidding to become the first nation to win three consecutive World Cups, after winning three straight Olympic golds in that span.

The best the Americans can do now in China is finish fifth, and they’re assured of their worst finish in a big tournament with NBA players since placing sixth at the 2002 world championships.

Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points for the U.S., all of them coming in the first three quarters.

The Americans came up scoreless on six consecutive possessions down the stretch, the drought that allowed the French to take control of a back-and-forth game for the final time.

The French held the U.S. to 4 for 15 shooting in the fourth quarter. The Americans went 4 for 11 from the foul line in the final 10 minutes.

WNBA

Delle Donne named AP player of the year

Elena Delle Donne put together a historic season in Washington and has been named the Associated Press WNBA player of the year.

Delle Donne became the first WNBA player to shoot over 50% from the field (51.5, 40% from behind the 3-point line (43%) and 90% from the foul line (97.4%). Only eight NBA players have accomplished that milestone. She helped the Mystics finish with the best record in the league and the top overall seed in the playoffs.

Mystics coach Mike Thibault was voted the AP coach of the year.

Minnesota’s Napheesa Collier edged Dallas’ Arike Ogunbowale for rookie of the year honors. Other award winners include Seattle’s Natasha Howard, the defensive player of the year; Las Vegas’ Dearica Hamby as the sixth woman of the year; Dallas’ Isabelle Harrison as comeback player of the year and Phoenix’s Leilani Mitchell as most improved player.

GOLF

McIlroy wins PGA player of year over Koepka

Rory McIlroy was named the PGA Tour player of the year for the third time, beating out Brooks Koepka in a vote of the players.

McIlroy won three tournaments, including The Players Championship and the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup and its $15 million prize. He also had a tour-best 14 top 10s and finished out of the top 20 only four times in the 19 tournaments he played.

Koepka, who won the PGA of America’s player of the year based on points, won three times, same as McIlroy, led the FedEx Cup in the regular season and won the money title by nearly $2 million over McIlroy.

He also won the PGA Championship, joining Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winners since the PGA switched to stroke play in 1958. Koepka was runner-up at the Masters and the U.S. Open, and he tied for fourth in the British Open, nine shots behind.

ELSEWHERE

Georgia Tech guard Bubba Parham

  • was ruled immediately eligible to play the upcoming season after transferring from VMI in June. Parham averaged 18.1 points per game in two seasons with the Keydets, and he led the Southern Conference with 21.4 points per game last season. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Sam Davis

  • , the guard who helped the Pittsburgh Steelers win four Super Bowls in the 1970s, has died. He was 75. Mr. Davis was found dead Tuesday at New Life Personal Care in McKeesport southeast of Pittsburgh. Mr. Davis, who suffered from dementia and was legally blind, had been reported missing from the facility earlier in the day. There was no evidence of foul play. Mr. Davis played 168 games with the Steelers from 1967-79, starting in all four of the team’s Super Bowl victories in the 1970s.
  • Tennessee cornerback

Bryce Thompson has returned to practice less than three weeks after his arrest on a misdemeanor domestic assault charge. When he will start playing again remains uncertain. Thompson was arrested Aug. 24. Pruitt announced two days later that Thompson

was suspended

  • indefinitely. A court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 23.

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— From staff and wire reports

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