BALTIMORE (AP) -- I'll Have Another waited a little longer to catch Bodemeister in the stretch this time, and now that he's done it twice in a row it's time for a Triple Crown try in the Belmont Stakes in three weeks. With a breathtaking closing rush, the smooth-striding colt won the Preakness Stakes by a neck at Pimlico Race Course on a sunny Saturday, a dramatic finish that topped his win two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby. The race unfolded the same way as the Derby, with the speedy Bodemeister moving to the lead under Mike Smith, with I'll Have Another hanging back in fourth in the 11-horse field. The early fractions were slower than the Derby, but when it came time for Bodemeister to hang on, I'll Have Another found another gear under young jockey Mario Gutierrez and ran down trainer Bob Baffert's horse in the shadow of the wire. "We're thinking Triple Crown, baby," an elated trainer Doug O'Neill said. "He's a special horse. We'll see how he comes out of it, and if he comes out of it in good shape, we're heading to New York, baby." It's been 34 years since Affirmed swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont and became the 11th and most recent Triple Crown champion. Since then, 11 horses have won the first two legs only to come up short in the Belmont. The most recent try came in 2008, when Big Brown was pulled up around the turn for home and did not finish. Before that, Smarty Jones was run down in the final 70 yards by Birdstone in the 2005 Belmont. If margins are an indication, perhaps I'll Have Another has a Triple Crown in his future. Affirmed won the Derby by the identical 1 lengths over Alydar, and then beat his rival by the same neck margin in the Preakness. "I didn't feel confident we were going to get there until 10 yards from the wire," owner J. Paul Reddam said. I'll Have Another, sent off as the second choice at 3-1 over 8-5 favorite Bodemeister, covered the 1 316 miles in 1:55.94. The winner returned 8.40, 3.80 and 2.80. Bodemeister returned 3.20 and 2.80, and Creative Cause paid 3.60 to show.
Much can be learned looking to the past, at least that's what thousands of college students hear every fall when they sit down for History 101. Assuming the premise is true, perhaps something can be learned from looking back at Bruce Allen's tenure across the NFL and the quarterbacks that started for those teams.
A refresher, Allen worked with the Raiders and Bucs before coming to the Redskins. Allen started with the Raiders in 1995, and worked his way up through the front office, earning the NFL's Executive of the Year award in 2002. He left the Raiders to work with Jon Gruden in Tampa in 2004, after the pair experienced much success together with the Raiders. Tampa fired Allen in 2008, and he came to work with the Redskins in 2010.
His tenure with the Raiders showcased the best QB find in his file: Rich Gannon. Before coming to Oakland, Gannon earned the journeyman title, starting 58 games over 11 seasons for the Chiefs, Vikings and, yes, the Redskins.
Once Gannon and Gruden worked together, everything clicked. The Raiders started winning games and Gannon started to pile up impressive offensive stats. He was the quarterback when Oakland lost the infamous 'Tuck Rule' playoff game against New England, and won an NFL MVP award in 2002 while guiding the Raiders to the Super Bowl (which they lost to a Jon Gruden coached Tampa team).
Gannon was a find, undoubtedly. Beyond that, Allen's resume on quarterbacks gets pretty ugly.
In fact, Kirk Cousins would probably rank as the second best QB of all Bruce Allen teams. In Tampa, the quarterback position was a revolving door, and included luminaries (sarcasm font) like Chris Simms, Brian Griese and Bruce Gradkowski. The Bucs added Jeff Garcia in 2007, and he had some success, but was 37 years old at that point.
Once he got to Washington, the Redskins trotted out a collection of subpar passers like a past his prime Donovan McNabb, never actually good John Beck and Rex Grossman. Rex needs no introduction.
In 2012, the Redskins quarterback fortunes changed. The team made a very aggressive trade to draft Robert Griffin III. RG3 was supposed to be the franchise savior, and for much of his rookie season, that plan seemed to be working.
Injuries and infighting ruined Griffin's time with the Redskins, and opened the door for 2012 fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins to emerge.
Now, in 2017, Cousins has twice broken the Redskins single season passing yards record and cemented himself as a quality NFL starter. His long-term future with the organization remains uncertain, as Cousins will play this season on a one-year contract and the prospect of a multi-year contract seems slim.
It's hard to draw too many conclusions looking the quarterbacks throughout Allen's tenure. Before Gannon in Oakland, the Raiders tried a variety of other journeyman QBs (Jeff Hostetler, Jeff George). One could argue they got lucky with Gannon, or that the organization brought out his best tools. Either way it's a positive grade.
In Tampa, the results look much worse. On paper, it seemed the Bucs tried to get cheap, available quarterbacks and make them work, believing strongly in their offensive system. It didn't work.
In Washington, particularly during the Grossman/Beck season, it seemed the Redskins tried a similar approach. That ended in 2012 with the trade for RG3. The Redskins paid up big time, in the form of draft picks.
Now it's arguable that a deal with Cousins can even be reached, but if that does happen, it will be because the Redskins pay up. Recent history doesn't suggest it, but this situation has never presented itself either. Cousins is a fourth-round pick that emerged after a few volatile seasons to establish himself as a Top 15 NFL starter.
There's no lesson for that in the history books.
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The Capitals have re-signed goaltending prospect Pheonix Copley to a two-year contract extension, the team announced Wednesday morning.
Copley, third on Washington’s depth chart behind Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer, agreed to a deal that is two-way in 2017-18 ($650,000 in NHL, $200,000 in AHL) and one-way in 2018-19 ($650,000).
Reacquired by the Caps in the Kevin Shattenkirk deal at the trade deadline, Copley was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
In 16 regular season games with the Bears last season, the 25-year-old posted an 11-5-0 record with a .931 save percentage and 2.15 goals against average. In the AHL playoffs, Copley went 5-4 with a .933 save percentage and 2.13 goals against average. He suffered a groin injury during Hershey's playoff run, but is expected to be ready for training camp.
This is Copley’s second stint in the Washington organization. Originally signed as a free agent in 2014, Copley was dealt to St. Louis in the deal that brought T.J. Oshie to D.C.
The Caps were extremely pleased to welcome Copley back into the fold in March for a couple of reasons: They wanted better goaltending in Hershey and they needed a backup plan in case Grubauer got plucked by Vegas in the expansion draft earlier this month. Grubauer, of course, did not get taken and remains a restricted free agent.
Speaking prior to the expansion draft, Caps GM Brian MacLellan confirmed the organization's intrigue with Copley's potential.
“We were really, really happy when we got him originally into Hershey and he played very well there, and then we were happy again to get him back,” MacLellan said. “I think he definitely has the upside here to be able to take a shot at filling [the backup role in Washington] if Philipp does leave and moves on. We think we've got some quality goalies coming through the system right now.”
Assuming nothing unforeseen happens, Copley is expected to be the No. 1 goaltender in Hershey next season.
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