Briefs

The Belmont Stakes singing a new tune

The Associated PressJune 4, 2010 

Start spreading the news: Sinatra's out at the Belmont Stakes.

The New York Racing Association says Frank Sinatra's classic version of "New York, New York" is being replaced by "Empire State of Mind" as the music heard when the horses step onto the track for the $1 million Belmont on Saturday.

The change is being made because Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" has become a "quintessential 21st century theme song for New York City," says NYRA marketing director Neema Ghazi.

"New York, New York" replaced "Sidewalks of New York" in 1997.

Alicia Keys' version of "Empire State of Mind" is to be performed by teenage recording artist Jasmine Villegas.

The lyrics include, "I'm the new Sinatra, and since I made it here I can make it anywhere."

Steelers' Reed 'evaluated'

Pittsburgh place-kicker Jeff Reed says the NFL ordered him to undergo an evaluation after he became involved in an alcohol-related dispute with Pittsburgh police following a home game in October.

The former North Carolina kicker was cleared in that case after completing 40 hours of community service. Earlier last year, he paid a fine after police near Pittsburgh accused him of damaging a paper towel dispenser and harassing employees at a convenience store a few weeks after the Steelers won the Super Bowl.

Reed's NFL-mandated evaluation apparently was similar to that recently completed by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was suspended six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy after a Georgia college student accused him of sexually assaulting her in March.

Falcons' Ojinnaka punished: The NFL says Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka has been suspended without pay for the season-opener after being arrested last year.

Ojinnaka will miss the first regular-season game at Pittsburgh on Sept. 12. The league announced the suspension on Thursday, citing its personal conduct policy.

Ravens sign veteran kicker: Former Cincinnati Bengals kicker Shayne Graham signed a one-year contract as a free agent with the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday.

The Virginia Tech alum spent the past seven seasons with the Bengals. He went 23-for-28 on field-goal tries last season before missing two important kicks within 40 yards in an AFC playoff game against the New York Jets.

Armstrong rides in third place

Lance Armstrong was third overall after two days of the Tour of Luxembourg on Thursday, satisfied that he is riding stronger before the Tour de France.

Giovanni Visconti of Italy won the first stage, while Armstrong stayed up front in the main pack to finish 50th in the 111.8-mile ride from Luxembourg to Hesperange.

Scheckter gets IndyCar ride

Tomas Scheckter will race again for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, this time filling in for injured driver Mike Conway in the team's No. 24 car at Texas on Saturday night.

Conway is expected to miss at least three months with back and leg injuries after a spectacular last-lap crash at Indianapolis on Sunday.

RailHawks' opponent named

The RailHawks will host the Charlotte Eagles of the United Soccer Leagues Second Division in the first round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on June 15 at 7 p.m. at WakeMed Soccer Park.

With a win, the RailHawks would face the winner of the Charleston Battery vs. CASL Elite match. The CASL Elite adult amateur team is made up of several former RailHawks, including Chris McClellan, Steven Curfman, David Sartorio and former coach Scott Schweitzer. That match will be played on June 22, with the time and location to be determined.

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which is recognized as U.S. Soccer's National Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The tournament has crowned a champion for 95 consecutive years dating to 1914.

The RailHawks' next match is scheduled for Sunday at Portland, Ore., followed by a game at Vancouver on Wednesday.

The RailHawks have added South African midfielder Tiyiselani (Tiyi) Shipalane to the roster, pending USSF approval.

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