"I would have loved to see Kobe Bryant and Ronnie Fields in the McDonald's Classic," says Garnett. Asked if he has stayed in touch with his old teammate, the Timberwolves' $126 million man shakes his head. "We're in different worlds," Garnett says. "But he's still my friend."
Fields, looking back on his wrong turns, says, "I've learned to stay focused on my goal—to play ball and have fun at it."
Challenging the General
Late last Saturday afternoon trainer Bob Baffert watched his leading Kentucky Derby contender, General Challenge, stride in slow circles around the crowded paddock ring at Churchill Downs. The giant gelding had just begun his final week of schooling, a series of daily training sessions in which he would get accustomed to the paddock where Baffert will saddle him for Saturday's race.
An easy winner of the April 3 Santa Anita Derby, General Challenge is expected to go off as one of the favorites in a field of as many as 20 horses, the Derby maximum. The General is a fractious, high-strung sort, and Baffert's job this week will be to keep him mentally straight as well as physically fit. "I'll school him in the paddock every day," Baffert said. "By Derby day he'll be used to the place and the crowds."
The 125th running of the Derby will be wide open, with as many as 10 horses having a shot to win, including the General's stablemate, Prime Timber, who finished second in the Santa Anita Derby; Florida Derby winner Vicar; Adonis, hero of the Wood Memorial; Adonis's stakes-winning stablemate Stephen Got Even; the Blue Grass winner, Menifee; the always threatening Cat Thief; and Dubai-trained mystery horse Worldly Manner.
This Kentucky Derby is so rich in mystery that it defies rational analysis. Still, the bet here is that General Challenge holds off Vicar and Cat Thief down the lane to win it.
A Teammate And a Friend
Late last week Columbine High senior Rachael Danford was carrying around three photos of Lauren Townsend, her best friend and fellow co-captain of the Columbine volleyball team, who was among 15 people killed in the shooting rampage in Littleton, Colo. In one picture, a bit more dog-eared than the others, Lauren looks at Rachael and laughs while Rachael looks downward, as if struggling to stay composed. "She could always make people laugh," Rachael says.
The 5'10", 125-pound Lauren led the Rebels in blocks and aces last season. "Any coach would have loved to have five or 10 Laurens," says Kay Danielson, the coach at rival Chatfield High. The one and only Lauren had a full academic scholarship waiting for her at Colorado State, where she planned to study wildlife biology. A straight-A student who was Columbine's valedictorian-to-be, Lauren spent her daily free fourth period in the school library and often lingered there with friends into lunchtime. She was in the library last Tuesday when classmates Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked in and started shooting.