Claude Le Roy’s side managed a 1-0 victory over the Black Meteors of Ghana on Sunday in regulation time and eventually saw them off the Olympic Games 5-4 on penalties in Brazzaville the capital city of Congo.Ghana entered the second leg of the qualifiers with a 1-0 home advantage, but the Congolese shattered their dream of progressing to the next stage of the qualifiers through Sylvere Ganvoula’s goal.Penalty shootout which has been the bane of the national teams of Ghana, again denied Malik Jabir’s team from progressing, as they lost 4-5 from the spot kicks.Black Meteors last qualified for the Summer Olympic Games in Athens 2014, when they were drawn in a group with Paraguay, Italy and Japan, but couldn’t go through the group stage.Congo therefore qualify to the final stage of the Rio 2016 qualifiers and will face Nigeria’s Dream Team.
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 8, 2017) – Graded stakes winner Masochistic returns to the races for the first time in 2017 this Saturday at Santa Anita. The 7-year-old gelding, trained by Ron Ellis, heads a competitive field of seven sprinters in the Gr. I, $400,000 Triple Bend Stakes going seven furlongs on the main track.MASOCHISTIC: Favored in his last three starts, California bred Masochistic was most recently a second place finisher in the Gr. I Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 5, beaten only 1 ¼ lengths by eventual Eclipse Award winner, Drefong. Though recent controversy has surrounded the horse after a medication violation stripped the owners of Breeders’ Cup purse money, the talented gelding hasn’t lost a step.With Mike Smith aboard for almost every recent work, Masochistic posted two bullet six furlong moves early in February in preparation for the Triple Bend. With his natural born ability rarely in question, some of Masochistic’s best Beyer Speed Figures have come in the three graded stakes he has won, including a 102 in the Gr. II Kona Gold in April 2015, a 109 in the 2015 Triple Bend and a career best 110 in the Gr. II Pat O’Brien in Aug, 2016.Owned by Los Pollos Hermanos Racing and Jay Em Ess Stable, Masochistic is 14-8-2-0 overall with $772,550 in career earnings.KOBE’S BACK: A horse with a ton of heart but not exactly a ton of speed leaving the gate, Kobe’s Back returns in his first race since the 2016 edition of the Triple Bend run on June 25, in which he ran third to Lord Nelson.Trained by Peter Eurton and owned by CRK Stable, LLC, the 5-year-old horse will be looking for his first ever Grade I win. With regular rider Gary Stevens just now coming off the bench from hip replacement surgery, the team had already secured a possible replacement and will welcome East Coast based Javier Castellano to ride on Saturday.By Flatter and out of the Well Decorated mare, Well, Kobe’s Back is 20-5-3-4 overall with $1,036,250 in lifetime earnings. Denman’s Call, Tyler Baze, 120Point Piper, Mario Gutierrez, 122Kobe’s Back, Javier Castellano, 122Silent Bird, Flavien Prat, 120Masochistic, Mike Smith, 122Nowalking, Edwin Maldonado, 120Conquest Cobra, Rafael Bejarano, 120 Be sure to tune into XBTV on Saturday at www.xbtv.com/watch-live/ from any mobile device or computer. The XBTV team will feature live, on-site coverage all day long on Santa Anita Handicap Day, and Gulfstream Park bonus coverage will be provided as well.Fans can watch video of Triple Bend workers at www.xbtv.com/video-on-demand/workouts/.Special early first post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For scratches, changes and complete morning line information, please visit: www.santaanita.com/horse-racing/live-racing/. THE GRADE I TRIPLE BEND STAKES IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS AND WEIGHTSRace 8 of 11 – Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PST