Wonder mare Enable chases Arc fairytale in Paris

She’s heading to Paris to make history, but she’s not a fashion model or a top chef.

Enable is a superstar racehorse bidding to win Sunday’s prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for an unprecedented third straight time.
To clinch Europe’s richest race once is career-defining, but three wins in the showpiece classic would elevate Enable to legendary status.
Such is her physiology and athletic prowess, jockey Frankie Dettori says, “When she takes a breath during a race I can feel my legs moving.”
A bumper first prize of more than $3.1 million would also be a lucrative payday for Dettori and trainer John Gosden — who says it’s “the race we all want to win” — but for them the appeal of the Arc and Enable adds up to far more than zeros on a cheque.
The 48-year-old Dettori is one of the sport’s biggest names, with a wealth of famous wins, including a record six Arc titles. But of all the great horses he has ridden in a glittering career, it is Enable that stirs him the most.
“It goes without saying I love horses, but she’s taken me emotionally to places no other horse has taken me,” said the Italian, talking to Aly Vance for CNN’s Winning Post after a morning gallop on Enable at Gosden’s Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket, England.
“We’ve won most of the big races in Europe and America and experienced some great times together so she’s very close to my heart. She’s never let me down. The euphoria of winning together has been special.”
READ: ‘You go into your own soul:’ Superstar jockey on the pressure of big races
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Frankie Dettori celebrates after Enable wins the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly in 2017.

‘Great mental strength’

Enable is a five-year-old bay mare bred by Saudi royal Khalid bin Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms stud as one of the first crop of foals from stallion Nathaniel, a standout champion in his racing career.
After becoming only the eighth horse since the Arc’s inception in 1920 to win a second title last year, Enable and Dettori went to the US and clinched the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs to continue a remarkable story.
The sale where royalty and billionaires can spend $4.8M on a single horse

The sale where royalty and billionaires can spend $4.8M on a single horse
She’s won all three of her outings this year — all Group 1 races — and has amassed nearly $12 million in prize money.
According to Dettori, she operates in third gear at home but she “puffs up” and the “lights come on” when she hits the race course.
“Mentally, she’s very strong,” said the veteran rider ahead of Sunday’s showdown at Longchamp. “When she gets to the race course it’s like a switch — she’s on, she’s ready to go. [But] she can also fight, she’s got everything you wish in a great horse.”
Why the best racehorses go for tens of millions

Why the best racehorses go for tens of millions
The 68-year-old Gosden, who has trained more than 3,000 winners in an illustrious career, says Enable’s competitive streak is one of her biggest assets.
“She has to be in first lot [training group], if you make her wait she’ll start digging the bedding up in her box and stamp her feet, she’s very competitive, she likes to train and she likes to race,” Gosden told Vance on the gallops above Newmarket on a sunny September day.
“Some days she just quietly goes through the motions and other days she’ll show a lot of spark — very much like us, it depends on what mood she’s in, but she certainly wants to please.”
He added: “Obviously she has the physiology — great depth, great heart room that is, the girth below where the saddle goes, the whole cardiovascular system and the lungs — and she has a wonderful stride on her and just this great mental strength,”
“In a couple of her races she’ll just look at the other horses as if to say, ‘OK, you think you can go by me? You’re not.'”
READ: Sheikh Fahad and the phone call that changed racing
Enable and Frankie Dettori surge to the line to win the 2018 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.

‘Luckiest person’

In 2017, Enable scored emphatic victories in the Oaks, the Irish Oaks, and the King George before clinching her first Arc at Chantilly, north of Paris, when Longchamp was undergoing redevelopment.
But Gosden says in the intervening years she has become “a little cleverer and smarter in her racing.”
Goodwood brings glorious end to English social season

Goodwood brings glorious end to English social season
She’s narrowly beaten the Aidan O’Brien-trained Magical three times in her last four races, alongside a gritty victory by just a neck over Crystal Ocean in the King George at Ascot in July.
“When she was youthful and exuberant she’d burst four or five lengths clear, but now she’s rather like the old cagey boxer who knows how to win it on points rather than go for an elaborate knockout. She has that mental fortitude which is very important,” added Gosden.
The groom who looks after her and rides her on a daily basis is the 34-year-old Imran Shawani, who followed his older brother Anwar from Karachi, Pakistan 14 years ago to work for Gosden, with barely any English and no riding experience.
“The boss [Gosden], he’s a gentleman, he’s always looked after me very well. He was paying me full wages and at that time I was absolutely useless. That’s the truth,” Shawani told CNN over the phone after finishing a day’s work at Clarehaven.
Royal Ascot: A day in the life

Royal Ascot: A day in the life
“The boss said, ‘Oh my God, you need to learn a lot.’ He used to teach me riding for one hour every day after third lot on the pony. He taught me how to hold the reins, how to go up and down when the horse trots and how to stand on a horse when they canter. I was always doing some mistakes but the boss always ignore, and he gave me lots of chances.
“I was an absolutely s**t rider.”
Another brother Afzal rode Enable’s father Nathaniel, but when Imran chose her to look after, little did he know she would go on to become a wonder horse.
“She’s beautiful, she knows she’s a superstar,” he added. “If you take her on Warren Hill [Newmarket’s gallops], she wants to show off she’s Enable. She’s so special for everyone and if you give her a Polo mint or a carrot she’s going to be your friend.
“I think I am the luckiest person in the yard and in Newmarket.”
READ: Why the Curragh is spiritual home of Irish racing
Imran Shawani (second from right) has worked for trainer John Gosden (right) for 14 years.

‘A big ask’

Enable will face 11 rivals in the mile-and-a-half-test of speed and stamina at leafy Longchamp in the Bois de Boulogne on the western edge of Paris.
Among the challengers are Magical, multiple Group 1 winner Waldgeist, and O’Brien’s Japan.
“It’s a big ask to have them in peak condition year on year,” added Gosden. “One thing you never get in this business is overconfident.
“When you’re dealing with horses, anything can happen at any stage, just like a football manager with footballers. You’re always worried about a niggle or little injury or a little sickness.
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“We hope she puts in a big achievement but there is some mighty opposition. And you need something very important — you need some luck in running.”

A look at some potential Mets managerial candidates

With Mickey Callaway gone, the Mets need a new manager. Here are a few options for them to consider:

1. The New York option: Joe Girardi

As one one-time rival executive put it, the Mets “need someone with experience in the market.” That is Girardi, a managerial free agent who spent this season working for MLB Network and Fox — the latter of which brought him around the Mets several times and gave him opportunities to gush about the team on-air for all to hear.

Girardi won a World Series and went 910-710 in a decade as the Yankees’ manager, fired after the 2017 season when the club finished a win away from another World Series appearance. As he mulls his return to the dugout, wouldn’t he want a chance to prove the Yankees wrong?

It’s worth noting, too, that Girardi’s first managerial gig came with the Marlins in 2006. He was fired because he didn’t get along with then-owner Jeffrey Loria, then was named National League Manager of the Year. The similarities between Loria’s Marlins and the Wilpons’ Mets are obvious to those within baseball — perceived as meddlesome, hard-to-deal-with ownership — and maybe Girardi would carry lessons learned in South Florida into his dealings with his new potential bosses.

The internal option: Luis Rojas

A member of baseball’s famed Alou family (son of Felipe and brother of Moises Alou), Rojas has been with the Mets since 2007, climbing the ladder as a minor-league coach and manager and, in 2019, joining the major-league staff for the first time. He was the quality-control coach, helping players digest the mass amounts of data available to them.

Rojas managed most of the Mets’ homegrown players in the minors — Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Seth Lugo, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith and others — and has good relationships with the current Mets, especially the Latino players.

James Paxton to start ALDS Game 1 for Yankees; CC Sabathia left off roster

James Paxton will start for the Yankees in Game 1 of their American League Division Series against the Minnesota Twins on Friday at the Stadium.

Masahiro Tanaka will start Game 2, with Luis Severino taking the hill for Game 3.

CC Sabathia, in his final MLB season, will not be on the Yankees’ ALDS roster.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone made the announcements Thursday. Start time for Game 1 is 7:07 p.m. Eastern on Friday, with MLB Network and ESPN Radio broadcasting the game.

Paxton went 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA in his first season with the Yankees after coming from Seattle via an offseason trade. The lefty struck out 186 batters in 150 2/3 innings this season. Paxton ended the season strong, winning his last 10 decisions. (He pitched one inning in his last start on Sept. 27, leaving early with a tight left glute muscle.). In that span, he gave up more than three runs just one time.

“I expect him to go pitch really well and have a ton of confidence in his ability to do that,” Boone said Wednesday about Paxton, who has never pitched in the postseason. “I have no reservations about him not being able to flourish in the environment.”

Tanaka went 11-9 with a 4.45 ERA this season for the Yankees. But in five career postseason starts, Tanaka is 3-2 with a 1.50 ERA and has pitched five innings or more in each of those starts.

Severino made his season debut on Sept. 17 after missing most of the year with a shoulder injury and a lat injury. Severino went 1-1 with a 1.50 in three starts. In 12 innings pitched, Severino struck out 17, walked six and gave up six hits. In six previous postseason starts over the previous two seasons, Severino is 1-2 with a 6.26 ERA.

Seahawks’ Chris Carson among seemingly few NFL players who like Thursday Night Football

RENTON — It was angry Doug Baldwin at his angriest.

Richard Sherman had just torn his Achilles tendon and was out for the year. Kam Chancellor had just injured his neck and would never suit up again. And considering all this happened during a Thursday-night game — a 22-16 Seahawks victory over the Cardinals — Baldwin couldn’t help but vent about playing on such short rest.

Perhaps this is where I didn’t use my best judgment in sizing up the moment.

What would you say to those who enjoy the light practice week and long break after Thursday games? I asked Baldwin.

He didn’t smile.

“Tell them (expletive) you.”

OK.

I never did pass Doug’s message along to anybody, but what if my question wasn’t so ridiculous? What if, despite the prevailing narrative to the contrary, there are actually benefits to playing on Thursday night?

You’re not going to hear that from Rams running back Todd Gurley, who recently called Thursday games “the dumbest thing ever.” But Seahawks running back Chris Carson?

“I like Thursday-night games. I’m gonna be real with you,” Carson said. “I like Thursday-night games because the practices aren’t as intense — the games are hard, physically — but you get that time off afterwards. I like that time.”

There wasn’t a “Competition Wednesday” for the Seahawks during practice this week. There wasn’t really a competition anything. If you just played Sunday, and your next game is Thursday, you’re not enduring anything more than some glorified walk-throughs.

The reason, of course, is because players are still recovering from the bruisings they took in their last game, which you’d think would leave them vulnerable on Thursday nights. But according to data over the past five years, NFL injuries occur slightly less often on four days’ rest than they do on seven.

Sherman’s Achilles had been tenuous all season. That thing was gonna go. And three extra days’ rest wouldn’t have helped Chancellor’s neck in the slightest. The guys most affected by the short turnaround are the ones who can’t play Thursday but could have had they had 72 more hours to rest. That doesn’t increase their injury odds, though.  That keeps them off the field, out of harm’s way.

Plus, once that game is over, players essentially have a mini bye week. No game for another 10 days. And when they do come back, they’re playing an opponent that’s had at least three fewer days rest than they have. So maybe Thursday nights aren’t so atrocious?

Well, don’t tell that to Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, who said he’d like to see a change. He suggested that every team have a bye week before their Thursday games, but I’m not sure that’s feasible — especially with teams taking their byes after trips to London.

Don’t tell that to Seattle left tackle Duane Brown, either. He said if he were negotiating the next collective-bargaining agreement, he’d eliminate the Thursday-night contests.

“My body would thank me,” he said.

I believe he believes that, but I doubt he speaks for all of his peers. Fox, after all, agreed to pay $550 million per year to broadcast 11 annual Thursday-night games, which works out to $50 million per game. That’s up from the $45 million per game CBS and NBC paid from 2016-17, which was up from $37.5 million for the two years before that. Considering 47 percent of the league revenue goes to the players, do you think they’d really want to give up that stream?

Maybe, but probably not.

I’m not going to pretend to know what it feels like to wake up Monday morning after playing an NFL game. I’m not going to pretend to know what it feels like to have to get back on the field four days later, either. Only those who experience that level of carnage can truly understand it.

But I also wonder if Thursday-night games are like an extreme workout that you dread all week. You hate having to do it, but you’re glad that you did.

NOTE: This story has been corrected to reflect that Richard Sherman’s Achilles’ tendon injury occurred in a 22-16 victory over the Cardinals in 2017, not during a 6-6 tie with the Cardinals in 2016 as originally reported.