One is a legend in the CFL. The other is in his first pro training camp. For Ricky Ray and Anthony Coombs, the connection they share is more than just playing on the offensive side of the ball; more than just wearing the same double-blue uniform. They are brothers -- union brothers. While members of the CFLPA were in CBA negotiations with league officials in a hotel conference room near Torontos Pearson International Airport, 20 kilometres to the northeast the Argonauts were holding their first practice of the season for rookies and quarterbacks. The most recognizable player on the field on Wednesday was Ray. Entering his 12th season in the league, his third with the Argos, the Northern Californian is pragmatic in his approach to the labour situation, which to a large extent, is out of his control. "We just have to wait and see," said Ray. "Obviously I stand by the players union and what were fighting for and hopefully well be able to come to an agreement." What has he thought of the process to date? "Im not in the meetings," said Ray. "Its hard for me to comment on things because I havent been in there listening to whats going on, but theyre fighting for what they want, were fighting for what we want, and hopefully we can come to an agreement and share whats going on with this league. I think a lot of good things are happening in the CFL - new stadiums, a new team coming back, seems like were growing pretty well, so hopefully we can find some middle ground and all benefit. There are few players in the league that garner the same respect, on or off the field, than the 34-year old does. When he gives advice people usually take notice. He took the opportunity to pass along a helping hand to those rookies who may be going through this type of distraction for the first time. "All you can focus on, especially the rookies, is out here (on the field)," Ray continued. "They cant be thinking about whats going on and whats going to happen. Theyve just got to take the time they have right now and do the best they can to be focused and make the team." Ray is very mild mannered and leads by example as opposed to being overly vocal. That said; hes used to the give and take with members of the media and there are days when its easy to tell that hed rather be doing something - anything - else than being interviewed. This topic seemed to hit home, however, and in an answer that was longer than the norm for him, the signal caller continued his advice for those newcomers trying to become his teammate. "Thats what youve got to do sometimes when youre an athlete. There are a lot of outside distractions, whether its at home or anywhere else, and when you step on this football field, be able to focus and do your job." Coombs is one of those youngsters in an uncommon situation in the long history of the CFL. Hes entering his first season in the shadow of a work stoppage. Selected with the third-overall pick in the CFL draft a fortnight earlier, Coombs arrived at camp focused on the on-field activities, not what was happening in the labour dispute. "Theres a lot of stuff going on," said the running back. "I tend to just focus on what I can control. As a rookie Ive already got a lot of playbook stuff coming at me so Ive got a lot of stuff that I need to learn, so Im trying not to focus on the business side or whatever politics that are going on around me, it would just distract me from my play." A pretty mature answer for a 21-year old. He says hes read some articles on the dispute, but says even some of the veterans dont seem to know everything that going on. He just wants to maintain his focus. "The advice I was told is just worry about what you have to do," said the University of Manitoba product. The first game on the Argos schedule is Monday, June 9. Its a preseason game in Winnipeg, not only the city where he grew up, but the game would be played on the same field that he starred for the Bisons last year. If the game isnt a casualty of the labour dispute and hes fortunate enough to play, he has one wish. "Hopefully my hometown will cheer for me, not boo me," Coombs said with a chuckle. The rookie RB is hopeful the game will be played, as is the veteran QB Ray, who in one sentence summed up perfectly the feeling of players, owners, and most importantly, CFL fans. "I think all of us want to see training camp start and the season get underway on time, so hopefully they come to an agreement." Amen. Marquise Brown Jersey
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. He will be practicing with the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) on a conditioning assignment. - @AnaheimDucks Corey Perry has a knee sprain and will miss the next three to four weeks.LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Untapables dominant effort in the Kentucky Oaks gave Rosie Napravnik big momentum in her bid to become the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. Whether she follows up aboard Vicars In Trouble on Saturday in the 140th Run for the Roses and becomes the eighth rider to complete the Oaks-Derby double remains to be seen, but Napravnik is making the Oaks her domain. Untapable gave Napravnik her second Oaks win in three years and put her on the brink of history by surging past My Miss Sophia entering the stretch and rolling to a 4 1/2-length victory Friday in the 140th Oaks at Churchill Downs. "We got the first half completed, so were moving on to the second half of the double," Napravnik said. The overwhelming favourite in the $1 million race for 3-year-old fillies earned, Untapable raced her third straight victory and fifth in seven starts. She has won her last three by a combined margin of nearly 22 lengths. "We got into a great position," said Napravnik, who has ridden the horse for all but one start. "She runs her best when she can get into a great stride and she relaxes so nicely. She has grown up and she is maturing. She is magnificent." Untapables victory also turned up the spotlight on trainer Steve Asmussen, who is being investigated by Kentucky and New York racing officials after an animal rights group alleged he and his former assistant mistreated horses in their care. Asmussen sidestepped the matter, choosing instead to focus on his horses stellar closing run. However, Winchell Thoroughbreds racing manager David Fiske conceded that the attention was "a little bit" of a distraction, adding, "Id be lying if I said it wasnt. ... But we thought we had the goods when we came in here and she proved us right." Thanks to Napravnik, Untapable positioned herself to charge at just the right time. Breaking from the far 13th spot, Untapable stayed within reach of early leaders Sugar Shock, My Miss Sophia and Thank You Marylou before getting clear outside turning for home.dddddddddddd The winner ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.68, the races second-fastest time, and paid $4, $3.20 and $2.60. "The development of the filly, I think Rosie has been a key part of it," Ausmussen said. My Miss Sophia returned $4.20 and $4.40, and Unbridled Forever paid $6. Untapables dramatic finish followed some pre-race suspense involving two horses who violently balked in the gate. The first was Empress of Midway, partly owned by Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. She thrashed and flipped in the gate and then sat down for a tense moment. Jockey Corey Nakatani wasnt hurt in the fracas and stood by watching as workers quickly got the horse out; she walked away uninjured but was quickly scratched. "She just went up in the gate and lost her balance and kind of sat down on her haunches and couldnt get herself back up in the right position," attending track veterinarian Larry Bramlage said afterward. "We didnt see anything obviously wrong and shes back to her barn." Minutes after horses in surrounding gates were guided back in, second betting choice Fashion Plate also had issues before settling down. She hopped out of the gate and quickly fell behind in finishing 11th of 12 entrants. "She was real tight in the gate," jockey Gary Stevens said. "When (Empress of Midway) flipped, she tried to flip. She has never had to stand in the gate that long and shes used to smaller fields. As soon as the gate opened, my race was over." At that point, Napravnik was guiding Untapable to one of her smoothest victories before 113,071, which is saying something considering how dominant she has been this year. It was no contest after Untapable caught My Miss Sophia, quickly gaining a length and widening the gap. ' ' '