The Calm Before The Storm

Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat

Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat

No matter what the job is, if you let the job override your health, it's probably going to come back and bite you.

That appears to be the case for Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, who will be taking a temporary leave of absence from the courtside to focus on his health issues, according to a statement released by the team.

We've all had to make some sort of sacrifice based on our career choices. Whether it be time with the family or time for ourselves, those choices don't come easy, and they often are accompanied by some type of repercussion.

We went down this road before, most recently with current Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, and some time back with Phil Jackson shortly before his retirment as coach of the L.A. Lakers in 2011.

The job as a coach -- and I imagine it's the same regardless of sport -- comes with enormous pressures, not only to be the "face of the front office", but also the sporting end of things as well as the constant ego-driven behaviors of multi-millionaire earning athletes.

Get well soon, Tyronn. I'm sure the Cavs will be just fine during this process, and hopefully you'll be better as well.

Remember, there's nothing wrong with being selfish.

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five

"The Pain is Stronger"

You've heard the line before when it relates to a multitude of players missing in action due to an increased amount of injuries.

"The (insert team name here) roster reads like a MASH episode.

For those of you without benefit of the Sundance Channel or a good sense of television history, MASH was a hit television show, part comedy and part drama, about a fictional surgical unit located near the front lines of the Korean War.

The television show was based on a 1968 book as well as an Academy Award-winning movie released in 1970.

So I thought it would be funny (because I have no personal life) to consider which characters from the show would be best compared to the current members of the "walking wounded" on the Warriors lineup.

I imagine Steph Curry to be the Charles Emerson Winchester of the bunch. He tends to keep to himself, only occasionally letting his hair down. He's lately begun to display a bit more of his aloof self, knowing quite well how talented he is while also quietly reminding everyone how fortunate the organization is for having him around.

Kevin Durant is Sherman Potter. He came in midway through the best portion of the team's time together, and answered quite loudly any questions about how well he'd fit in with "the unit". 

Klay Thompson is a combination of both Trapper John McIntyre and B.J. Hunnicutt. He's reliable, a bit of a cut-up but can always be counted on for a smooth effort every single night.

Draymond Green is very much Hawkeye, especially in the early years of the show when it was more comedy than drama. Green is the practical joker, but also the clutch guy who holds the team together when the chips are down.

And while head coach Steve Kerr is probably a bit more Henry Blake, you can also see him as the Radar O'Reilly of the bunch. He is the all-knowing, all-seeing wise man in the room, and also plays the role of motivational speaker as well as a purveyor of things to come.

I have no earthly idea which of the bunch is Frank Burns and I'm not going to even begin to speculate which of them is "Hot Lips" Houlihan.

Sartaoga horse racing

Sartaoga horse racing

Sunland Derby fast approaching 

An array of the nation’s top trainers are planning on sending horses to the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) to be run on Sunday, March 25 at Sunland Park Racetrack Casino and Hotel. 

Elite conditioners like Steve Asmussen, Todd Pletcher, Bob Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas and Simon Callaghan are targeting Sunland Park’s biggest race. 

The $800,000 purse and 85 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby are highly attractive lures to these top outfits. The winner receives 50 points to the Kentucky Derby. Second place earns 20 points. Third place gets 10 points and fourth place earns 5 points. 

Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen could be sending two quality three-year-olds in New York Central and Dream Baby Dream. New York Central has already carved out two wins from four starts. The Tapit colt recently won an allowance at Oaklawn Park going one and one-eighth miles, the same distance as the Sunland Derby (Gr. III). He has a strong cruising speed and broke his maiden at Churchill Downs last fall. The winner of $104,600 is owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing. The grey roan colt has been working forwardly since his last Oaklawn win on Feb. 19. 

Dream Baby Dream is another imposing Asmussen runner with recent Oaklawn Park form. The Into Mischief colt is very fit coming off three straight third place finishes to stablemates New York Central and Title Ready and the Risen Star Stakes winner Bravazo. The battle tested sophomore is also a maiden winner from Churchill Downs and has a strong stretch kick. Asmussen won the 2017 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) with Hence. 

Prince Lucky represents the Todd Pletcher stable. The Pennsylvania bred son of Corinthian is a restricted bred stakes winner at Parx and is a 3-time winner from 5 starts. The winner of nearly $135,000 has a good looking form line and split the field in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 13. 

D. Wayne Lukas has a solid prospect with Kentucky Club. The Oxbow colt owned by Calumet Farm packs a solid late kick. He finished 6th in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. Bob Baffert looks to send Restoring Hope for Sunland Park’s biggest race. The son of Giant’s Causeway drilling Santa Anita maidens by over 3 lengths on Feb. 2. The victory came at one mile and one sixteenth, and Restoring Hope was full of run in the final furlong. He should be a big threat on March 25. His 5 workouts following that maiden win have been exceptional. 

Restoring Hope is owned by Gary and Mary West. Ax Man is another potential starter from the Baffert stable. Baffert has won the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) three times, most recently with Chitu in 2014. 

Simon Callaghan’s All Out Blitz will receive ample betting attention. He was a runner-up to McKinzie in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita and came in third in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes. In his maiden win at Los Alamitos last December, the Concord Point gelding beat Restoring Hope by a nose. All Out Blitz outran Southwest Stakes winner My Boy Jack in the Sham Stakes. Trainer Callaghan saddled 2015 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) Firing line who would go on to finish second to American Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby. 

Dark Vader, third place finisher in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis stakes, looms large for trainer Peter Eurton. 

Local hopes rest with Todd Fincher’s Runway Ghost. The Ghostzapper colt was a runway winner of the $100,000 Riley Allison Derby and finished second to Reride in the $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby.

Post positions for the Sunland Derby will be announced on Wednesday. Stay tuned to FOX AM1340/93.9FM during FIRST SPORTS later this week and on THE FAST TRACK this weekend for complete coverage of the race.

Sunland Park publicity and news services contributed to this piece

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