? Kentucky Derby
NBC 5 PM
With a Hollywood writers' strike looming at press time, we offer the studios a prospective screenplay on the Derby. The storyline: Your villain is white-haired, two-time Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert. (May we suggest Donald Sutherland?) His prize colt is heavy favorite Point Given, son of 1995 Derby winner Thunder Gulch. (Oh, the aristocracy!) The lovable underdog is Tincin, a maiden who musters one magnificent gallop to nip Point Given at the wire, inspiring trainer Steve Larue ( Edward Norton?) to shout, "Point taken, baby!" (Note: If Disney buys, Tincin can also say this line.)
? Fernando Vargas vs. Wilfredo Rivera
HBO 10:45 PM
The last time Vargas (20-1, 18 KOs) fought, in December, he got tore up from the floor up by Felix Trinidad, hitting the mat five times en route to losing his IBF junior middleweight crown. Vargas's road back begins against granite-chinned veteran Rivera (32-4-1, 20 KOs). Fittingly for Vargas, who's Mexican-American, the bout will be on Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican national holiday.
? PGA Verizon Byron Nelson Classic
GOLF CHANNEL, FOX SPORTS NET, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY 4 PM
In Memento, the excellent whydunnit movie, the plot moves backward, beginning with the last scene and rewinding to the start. If this tournament, Tiger Woods's first since the Masters, were to follow the film's form, the sequence would be: hyperbole flows back into mouths of announcers, Tiger's fist retracts to position next to his waist, ball pops out of cup on 18th green, glint of hope returns to eyes of rest of field.
? NHL Playoffs
ABC 1 PM, ESPN 7 PM
It may sound like a twisted Celebrity Deathmatch in which a rabid canine is subdued by a faceful of tough-actin' Tinactin, but in this case, Cujo versus John (Mad Dog) Madden means Game 5 of the Maple Leafs-Devils Eastern Conference semifinal (the seven o'clock match). The Leafs will rely on Curtis (Cujo) Joseph (above, left) to use his Gumbyesque goaltending to stop New Jersey center Madden and his mates on the NHL's highest-scoring team. If Toronto can knock off New Jersey, it will keep alive Canada's hopes of reclaiming the Cup for the first time since the Canadiens won in 1993. Afternoon Game 5s (if necessary) are Penguins at Sabres and Blues at Stars.
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.