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asterisk () — BELMONT STAKES

California Chrome’s Triple Crown quest collapses

NEW YORK (AP) — California Chrome has failed in his bid to win the first Triple Crown in 36 years.

Tonalist won the Belmont Stakes, and California Chrome finished far back in a tie for fourth Saturday. The result means the longest drought without a Triple Crown champion in history is extended.

California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza lost the 1 1/2-mile race on a hot day at Belmont Park, where tens of thousands of fans were packed in hoping to see history. It was not to be, leaving Affirmed as the most recent Triple Crown winner in 1978.


NEW: For Tonalist owner, victory brings memory of loss

NEW YORK (AP) — Tonalist upset California Chrome to win the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, reviving memories of another failed Triple Crown bid.

The victory was the first in the Belmont Stakes for owner Robert Evans, whose family owned Pleasant Colony, the horse who won the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 1981 before finishing third in the Belmont Stakes.

The win also was the first in the Belmont Stakes for jockey Joel Rosario. He finished third the past two years, riding Brilliant Speed in 2012 and Orb last year.

California Chrome became the 12th horse since Affirmed to lose his Triple try in the Belmont, the longest race in the series.


UPDATE: Comedian Tracy Morgan injured in fatal crash

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A truck driver has been charged in a fatal accident on the New Jersey Turnpike that left comedian Tracy Morgan hospitalized in critical condition and seriously injured two other people.

Authorities say the man’s tractor-trailer rammed into Morgan’s limousine bus Saturday as he and a group traveled home from a standup comedy show in Delaware.

Prosecutors say truck driver, 35-year-old Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Comedian James McNair, who performed as Jimmy Mack, was killed in the crash. McNair was described as a mentor to the 45-year-old Morgan — the former “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” cast member.

Morgan’s spokesman said Morgan was receiving “excellent” hospital care.


Poet Maya Angelou remembered at memorial service

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (AP) — Maya Angelou (MY’-uh AN’-juh-loh) is being remembered as a poet, orator and sage.

At a memorial service at Wake Forest University today, former President Bill Clinton said Angelou lived enough to experience five lifetimes. He recalled how Angelou was a single mother at 17 and San Francisco’s first African-American streetcar conductor before becoming a civil rights leader and an accomplished writer. Clinton likened Angelou to a firefly, saying she would light up at the most unpredictable times and show you something in your mind you had been burying or something in your heart you were afraid to face.

First lady Michelle Obama remembered Angelou as the first person who let her know she could be a strong, powerful and smart black woman. She said reading Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” changed a little black girl whose first doll was Malibu Barbie by celebrating “black women’s beauty like no one had ever dared to before.”

Oprah Winfrey says she struggled to put what Maya Angelou (MY’-uh AN’-juh-loh) meant into words, then realized she owed the poet not words, but actions. A sometimes tearful Winfrey called Angelou her spiritual queen mother, saying she always took notes when they spoke on the phone. Winfrey concluded that while she cannot fill Angelou’s shoes, she can walk in her footsteps.

Angelou died last week at age 86.


Obama to take executive steps on student loans

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama is prepping new executive steps to help Americans struggling to pay off their student debt.

Obama plans to announce Monday that he’s expanding an existing program that prevents borrowers from having to pay more than 10 percent of their monthly income in student loan payments. That program is only available to people who borrowed during certain years, but Obama intends to expand the timeframe for eligibility.

Obama also plans to announce that he’s directing the government to renegotiate contracts with federal student loan servicers so encourage them to make it easier for borrowers to avoid defaulting on their loans.

And the president is going to ask the Treasury and Education departments to work with tax preparers to increase awareness about tuition tax credits and flexible repayment options.


Texas GOP endorses ‘reparative therapy’ for gays

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The Texas Republican Party now endorses so-called “reparative therapy” for gays under a new platform given final approval at its annual convention.

Roughly 7,000 delegates Saturday ratified the platform without debating their party’s stance on homosexuality on the convention floor. They instead argued for five hours over immigration and medical marijuana before adjourning.

Gay conservatives had lined up to speak against the therapy language that had been added earlier this week. But they never got a chance to address delegates because a parliamentary motion to approve the full platform was called first.

An influential tea party group called Texas Eagle Forum had urged the party to support psychological treatments that seek to turn gay people straight.

Such therapies are banned for minors in New Jersey and California.


Clippers owner Donald Sterling hasn’t inked deal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling still hasn’t signed off on the deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer because the NBA won’t revoke its $2.5 million fine and lifetime ban.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations who wasn’t authorized to talk publicly says Sterling had agreed to sell the team and drop his $1 billion federal lawsuit against the NBA assuming “all their differences had been resolved.”

But now he’s considering continuing the suit after being told by intermediaries the NBA won’t budge on the punishments doled out by Commissioner Adam Silver after Sterling’s racist comments were publicized.

Sterling’s consent to his wife’s potentially record-breaking $2 billion deal was the first sign of an end to weeks of uncertainty. The NBA must approve.


Poroshenko takes oath of office as Ukrainian president, offers amnesty to armed groups

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s new president is promising peace and calling for dialogue with the country’s east, where Ukrainian officials say a violent separatist insurgency has left more than 200 people dead.

In his inaugural address in parliament today, Petro Poroshenko called for armed groups to lay down their weapons and offered amnesty for rebels who “don’t have blood on their hands. He also offered a corridor for safe passage of “Russian militants” out of the country.

But Poroshenko gave little sign of a quick resolution to the conflict, saying he will not talk with rebels he called “gangsters and killers.” He also took a firm line on Russia’s annexation of Crimea, insisting that the Black Sea peninsula “was, is and will be Ukrainian.”

Rebel leaders in the east are dismissing Poroshenko’s speech, saying his statement “doesn’t concern us.”


US officials to hold direct talks on Iran nukes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is sending two top negotiators to Geneva for direct talks with Iranian officials over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The American officials are Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman. Talks are set for Monday and Tuesday.

An interim deal reached in November by Iran and six world powers — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — limited Iran’s uranium enrichment program. In exchange, some penalties imposed against Iran were eased. But sanctions such as those targeting Iran’s oil imports, have remained in place.

The nuclear talks are set to resume June 16. There’s an informal deadline of July 20 for a comprehensive deal.

The West suspects Tehran is seeking atomic weapons. Iran denies that, saying its aims are peaceful.


Police and medical officials say at least 52 people killed in bombings around Iraq’s capital

BAGHDAD (AP) — Officials say a series of car bombs exploded across Iraq’s capital, killing at least 52 people.

The attacks took place over a one-hour period Saturday night, largely focusing on Shiite neighborhoods. The first took place in Baghdad’s western district, killing nine people and wounding 22.

Later on, seven car bombs in different parts of Baghdad killed at least 41 people and wounded 62.

Police also say a roadside bomb in western Baghdad killed two people and wounded six.

Meanwhile, separate fighting in a northern city of Mosul killed 21 police officers and 38 Sunni militants. It was the second day of clashes there.

Violence also hit western Anbar province, where militants stormed a university, taking students hostage for several hours. Police and military officials say three police officers guarding the university gate were killed.

One student who was taken hostage says the gunmen identified themselves as members of an al-Qaida splinter group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Sunni terror group did not immediately claim the attack, and the gunmen left the university under unclear circumstances.


NEW: FBI: Child porn found on Josh Powell’s computer

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — FBI documents say investigators found child pornography on Josh Powell’s computer at least 17 months before he killed his children and himself.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the documents show the FBI was investigating the disappearance of his wife, Susan Powell, as well as possession of child pornography.

Anne Bremner, an attorney for Susan Powell’s parents, said the family was never told the FBI was investigating Josh Powell for child pornography. She said if the state of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services had known about the suspected child pornography, it “never would have let him have those kids.”

Josh Powell ignited a fire that killed himself, 7-year-old Charlie and 5-year-old Braden at his rented home in Graham, Washington, on Feb. 5, 2012.


Police: Suspect in Ga. shooting made supply list

ATLANTA (AP) — Authorities say the man suspected of an assault on a Georgia courthouse carefully planned the weapons and supplies he needed to enter the building and harm people inside.

Police found a checklist at the home of Dennis Marx whose items matched the supplies inside the SUV used in Friday’s attack. The items included homemade explosive devices that could be clipped to hostages, a gas mask, two bulletproof vests and hand grenades. Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Doug Rainwater says Marx’s intent was to drive across a courtyard to the courthouse door, but he was intercepted by Deputy Daniel Rush, who was shot in the leg as the two exchanged fire.

Rainwater says Marx’s home was not booby-trapped as police believed, but authorities did find at least four explosive devices.


NEW: Quebec sees second jailbreak involving helicopter

MONTREAL (AP) — Police say three inmates have escaped from a detention center in Quebec City with the help of a helicopter.

It’s the second helicopter-aided inmate escape in Quebec province in two years.

Provincial police said Saturday night that the three escaped from the Orsainville Detention Center. They gave no other details.

Last year, a helicopter pilot was forced at gunpoint to pluck two inmates from the St-Jerome prison on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Police caught the two escapees and the two suspects who hijacked the helicopter within a few hours of the escape.

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