Santa Anita Derby
Real Quiet is an apt name for a colt that may be a sleeper pick
next month at Churchill Downs. Trained by Bob Baffert, who
guided Silver Charm to victories in last spring's Kentucky Derby
and Preakness, Real Quiet won the Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 14.
Then, on Jan. 18, as the favorite in the Golden Gate Derby, he
finished last. However, a second-place finish in the March 14
San Felipe Stakes suggests that Real Quiet is ready to make some
noise today. Absent will be 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite
Trick, who will prep for Churchill Downs in next week's Arkansas
Derby. This is Fox's first equine endeavor, but host Joe Buck is
track-wise: His family once owned a thoroughbred named O Mighty
--FOX, 5 PM
Red Sox at Mariners
Six years for $75 million! As another precocious Boston
twentysomething, Will Hunting, said, "How do you like them
apples?" The Red Sox lured 1997 National League Cy Young Award
winner Pedro Martinez, 26, from Montreal with the richest
contract in the game's history, hoping he'd make fans forget
Roger Clemens, who forsook the Red Sox for the Blue Jays and
became the '97 American League Cy Young winner with Toronto.
However, Boston's best young talent plays shortstop. Last
season's Rookie of the Year, Nomar Garciaparra (left) led the
league's batters in hits (209) and shortstops in double plays
(113). In rating the A.L.'s best players, no less an authority
than Ted Williams says, "Griffey's the best, but I'm not sure
the shortstop in Boston isn't the second best." The Splendid
Splinter might get an argument from fans of Seattle's shortstop
Alex Rodriguez, who hit .300 in '97.
--FX, 9 PM
What's another name for a 500-mile auto race through the vast
expanses of the Lone Tar State? Commuting. Though a fan's
delight, the oddly banked turns and tight corners at the
1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway (a.k.a. Tex-Mess) introduce
drivers to a new definition of bum steer. Said Rusty Wallace
(opposite) after crashing midway through last April's inaugural
race here, "I really believe they're going to have to do a total
reconstruction [of the track] to get it right." Slight
adjustments have been made, such as an attempt to ease the
transition from the fourth turn to the front stretch, and
Wallace, at week's end the leader in the Winston Cup points
standings, is confident that his Ford Taurus will be intact when
the checkered flag is waved.
--CBS, 2 PM
No two golfers have received as much ink this year as former
Stanford teammates Casey Martin and Tiger Woods (right). Martin,
whose name is an anagram of yes, I cartman, plays the Nike tour
and won't have the opportunity to turn Augusta's verdant links
into a driving range. Woods's long tee shots enabled him to turn
the course into his personal par-3 last April. However, Tiger
hasn't won a PGA Tour event since last July and is fielding an
absurd number of sophomore-slump questions for a guy who at
week's end was No. 6 on the money list. Two who could keep this
year's Masters interesting through Saturday and Sunday's
coverage on CBS are Ernie Els, who outdueled Woods at Bay Hill,
and 1992 champ Fred Couples, frisky again after an
THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, USA, 4 PM; CBS, 11:35 PM (HIGHLIGHTS)
Hawks at Hornets
Let me tell ya 'bout the birds and the bees. Atlanta and
Charlotte are on a collision course (Interstate 85) toward a
first-round Eastern Conference showdown. At week's end the
Hornets (fourth in the Eastern Conference at 45-26) led the
Hawks (fifth at 42-28) in the battle for home court advantage.
Unfortunately, the winner of their series will most likely have
a supporting role in the Bulls' next championship video.
Charlotte was buzzing about center Matt Geiger, who was
averaging 15.2 points and 9.1 rebounds since stepping into the
starting lineup on Jan. 15. Geiger's improved play casts him,
along with Phoenix's Rex Chapman, as a co-favorite to win the
Bald White Player of the Year award.
--TNT, 8 PM
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
THE ! ZAPPER
During a steamy sauna scene in the premiere of the hour-long
drama Push (ABC, Monday, 8 p.m.), Cal Southern University
assistant gymnastics coach Nikki Lang (played by Jamie Pressly)
recalls her affair with head coach Victor Yates (Adam Trese).
"All that muscle and sweat," sighs Lang, a 1996 Olympic gold
medalist, "and the sex...! " A more succinct synopsis of this
Beverly Hills, USOC can't be penned. Surprisingly, though, Push
may pull you in. Eddie Mills, as swimmer Scott Trystan, shines
in and out of the pool.