Blackhawks

Whiskey Ticket wins Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course

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Whiskey Ticket wins Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course

Whiskey Ticket held off fast charging Conquest Curlinate by a nose Saturday to win the $400,000 Illinois Derby for 3-year-olds at Hawthorne Race Course.

Ridden by Martin A. Pedroza, Whiskey Ticket ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.82 on the fast track and paid $6.40, $4 and $3.20 as the second choice in the eight-horse field.

Whiskey Ticket had a clear lead halfway down the stretch when Conquest Curlinate made a strong move from the outside and just ran out of track.

"Turning for home I was screaming bloody murder and whipping him left-handed and right-handed," Pedroza said. "I don't think he ever saw the horse coming on the outside. Anyway, we got the job done."

Trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Karl Watson, Michael E. Pegram and Paul Weitman, Whiskey Ticket looms as a possible entrant for the Preakness Stakes — the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Whiskey Ticket, shipped in from California, won his second consecutive race. He won March 19 at Santa Anita in his debut.

"I was a little concerned before the race," Pedroza said. "He was a little anxious. Not nervous, but anxious."

Conquest Curlinate returned $6.00 and $4.60, and Phenomenal Phoenix paid $4.80 to show.

Conquest Curlinate, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, was coming off a third-place finish at Oaklawn on Feb. 19.

"I had to ride on him a little bit just to get him going," Bridgmohan said. "He takes a little encouragement. He's a big kid that's still learning but at least he's going in the right direction."

Phenomenal Phoenix, with Luis S. Quinonez on board, was bumped at the start of the race and eventually started to gain ground in the stretch, but didn't have a final kick.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Robin Lehner calls out team defense plus Mike Gapski on his 2500 games with the Blackhawks

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Robin Lehner calls out team defense plus Mike Gapski on his 2500 games with the Blackhawks

Another night and another awful showing by the Blackhawks team defense, and this time, Robin Lehner let the team hear about it. Pat Boyle, Adam Burish and Scott King discuss the Blackhawks' ugly loss to the Coyotes and whether there should be some more line mixing happening soon. Plus, head athletic trainer Mike Gapski took part in his 2500th game with the Blackhawks and he sat down with Pat Foley 1-on-1 to re-live his 33 years with the organization.

1:13 - The odd-man rushes are piling up against this defense

5:54 - Is the power play getting going kinda maybe a little bit?

7:43 - Should Jeremy Colliton mix up the lines once again?

9:20 - The Kirby Dach playing-time dilemma

13:45 - Celebrating Mike Gapski's 2500 games with the Blackhawks

17:00 - Pat Foley's 1-on-1 interview with Mike Gapski

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Chris Simms says Bears are a dangerous team entering Week 15

Chris Simms says Bears are a dangerous team entering Week 15

The Bears have completely flipped the narrative of their 2019 season over the last three weeks, thanks in large part to Matt Nagy's offense finally resembling the 202-level that was promised last summer.

It may have taken quarterback Mitch Trubisky a little longer than expected to arrive this year, but if his last two games are an indication of his development in his second season under Nagy's tutelage, the Bears have a bonafide quarterback. And it's been a while since that could be said.

"Mitchell Trubisky is hot, there's no doubt about it," NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms said Thursday. "He seems so much more comfortable. Decisive. He's accurate with the football. Running around at the proper time. I don't think it was all Mitchell Trubisky's fault with the struggles of the offense, either."

Those struggles spanned the first half of 2019 when Chicago seemed incapable of sustaining drives or scoring points. It began with Week 1's three-point output against the Packers and continued through Thanksgiving Day when Trubisky finally got his mojo back, throwing for 338 yards and three touchdowns against the Lions.

With Trubisky clicking, and the running game receiving a jolt from rookie David Montgomery's productive back-to-back weeks (in which he's averaged more than four yards per carry in successive games for the first time all year), the Bears appear capable of beating just about anyone. 

They'll need to. If Chicago wants to keep their weak playoff pulse going, they have to win out. And that includes games against the Packers, Chiefs and Vikings. 

The odds seem stacked against them, and it's their own fault. It took way too long to get the offense going, but it's better late than never. 

According to Simms, the Bears are that team no one wants to play.

"They're a dangerous team right now. They really are."

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