Those fans who tossed the B.C. Lions onto the scrap pile back in July are going get a huge surprise waking up Monday morning after reading the morning website.Because surprise, surprise, the B.C. Lions are 2011 Grey Cup Champions.The Canadian Football League’s Most Outstanding Player, Travis Lulay, tossed consecutive second half touchdown passes to Kierrie Johnson and Arland Bruce sparking the Lions to a 34-23 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Sunday at B.C. Place in Vancouver.“It’s a championship game. You’ve got to keep the faith and this feels pretty sweet,” Lulay told TSN following the game after struggling before getting the job done.Lulay completed 21 of his 37 passes for 320 yards and two scores.The Lions, winning the sixth championship in franchise history, are the first team in CFL history to start the season with five straight losses and win the Grey Cup.“I told the guys to stay focused,” said Geroy Simon when asked about the 0-5 start.B.C. led 10-0 a field goal by Paul McCallum and touchdown by Andrew Harris.A single point along with a field goal by McCallum increased the lead to 14-0 before Winnipeg kicked two fields goals to make the score 14-6 at the half.The teams exchanged field goals before Lulay & Company went to work as the B.C. quarterback connected with Kierrie Johnson on a 66-yard TD pass.In the fourth quarter after Odell Willis muffed on a potential game-changing interception, the Lions engineered a nine-play 82-yard drive that ended in a six-yard TD pass to Arland Bruce.Winnipeg scored two late touchdowns before McCallum put the game away with a 34-yard field goal. Lulay revealed after the game he was playing with a bad groin injury suffered during the first quarter. The injury slowed Lulay’s ability to run during the game.The Lions win tied head coach Wally Buono with Don Matthews and Hugh Campbell with the most Grey Cup wins at five.B.C. running back Andrew Harris was named the Most Outstanding Canadian in the Grey Cup.There are four teams in CFL history to win a Grey Cup at home. The Lions have done it twice, also capturing the title in 1994.
By BETH HARRISAP Racing WriterARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Turns out the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap wasn’t much of a challenge for prohibitive favorite Shared Belief.The 5-year-old dark bay gelding collared pacesetter Moreno on the turn for home and went on to win by 4 1/4 lengths Saturday, improving to 10-1 in his career.Shared Belief ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.67 and paid $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10 as the 1-5 favorite of 26,134 fans.Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith earned a record third consecutive Big `Cap victory, having won the previous two years aboard Game On Dude. He had Shared Belief in the middle of the pack much of the way before they went four horses wide to take the lead into the stretch.“Not to take anything away from the competition, but I geared him down a few times and he still won like that,” Smith said. “I was watching the (infield) TV from the quarter-pole to the wire and I feel bad to say this, but I was trying to not win by so far. As they say, don’t squeeze a lemon if you don’t have to.”Shared Belief’s only blemish is a loss in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic after a messy start last fall at Santa Anita. He finished fourth, losing by 3 3/4 lengths. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer marvels at his gelding’s consistency.“Horses get ups and downs and he just stays the same and he does whatever we ask him to do,” he said. “He seems very happy and enthusiastic about it.”Moreno returned $4.80 and $4.20 in his first start since getting slammed hard out of the starting gate in the BC Classic, while Catch a Flight was another head back in third and paid $4.20 to show. Hard Aces was fourth and Bronzo fifth.Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, aboard Catch a Flight, fell beyond the finish line.“He just tripped with me,” Stevens said. “He started to go down head-first and he caught himself. When he did, it shot me straight up in the air. I tried to tuck and I landed on my back. It knocked the wind out of me. I’m OK.”Co-owned by sports talk host Jim Rome, Shared Belief was coming off a victory over reigning Horse of the Year California Chrome in the San Antonio Invitational exactly a month ago. The gelding is based in the San Francisco Bay area, so Rome doesn’t see him often.“It’s like he shows up every single time _ he always runs big, is always tough and just has a lot of grit, a lot of heart,” Rome said. “He never disappoints.”Hollendorfer earned his second Big `Cap win, and first since 2008. He is another of the gelding’s co-owners.“I’m just so grateful to have a horse like this,” he said. “I’m very pleased to have this horse and hope that we can keep him racing well like he has been.”Crimson Giant, a 6-year-old gelding, finished last in the 13-horse field in his virtually unheard of 67th career start. He has just one win to his credit.There was $201,669 bet to place on Shared Belief.The victory, worth $600,000, increased Shared Belief’s career earnings to $2,932,200. –30–