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NFL, union continue to engage in labor talks

NFL owners and players met for a second straight day in New York, with Judge Arthur Boylan joining Commissioner Roger Goodell and union chief DeMaurice Smith. Also on hand Wednesday were five team owners and five players.

“NFL owners and players continue to be engaged in confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan,” the sides said in a joint statement. “Both sides met again this week as part of ongoing court mediation. Those discussions are expected to continue.”

A person familiar with the talks told the Associated Press the owners and players will meet again “soon and often. That means in the near future, not in a month or anything like that.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were supposed to remain confidential.

Meanwhile, the date for NFL owners to argue for a dismissal of the antitrust lawsuit filed by a group of locked-out players has been moved up by two weeks to Aug. 29. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson issued an amended notice on the league’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. She originally scheduled the hearing for Sept. 12, four days after the regular season is supposed to begin.

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders acquired the negotiating rights to Terrelle Pryor and have spoken to Pryor’s attorney about bringing the former Ohio State quarterback to the Canadian Football League. Pryor announced Tuesday that he is giving up his senior season. The NCAA is looking into issues dealing with improper benefits and cars.

HORSE RACING

Animal Kingdom is favorite

The top two finishers in the Kentucky Derby are 1-2 on the morning line for the Belmont Stakes at New York. Derby winner Animal Kingdom was made the 2-1 favorite for Saturday’s final leg of the Triple Crown, with Derby runner-up Nehro the second choice at 4-1. Preakness winner Shackleford was next at 9-2 when a field of 12 was entered Wednesday for the first rubber match between a Derby winner and Preakness winner since 2005.

Animal Kingdom, with John Velazquez riding, leaves from the No. 9 post, which has produced only four Belmont winners since 1905. The colt, trained by Graham Motion, could become the 12th to complete a Derby-Belmont sweep. Shackleford, with jockey Jesus Castanon aboard, will try to become the first Belmont winner out of the No. 12 post. The colt, trained by Dale Romans, also could become the 22nd Preakness-Belmont winner.

ETC.

Nadal wins at Queen’s Club

Three days after winning the French Open for the sixth time, Rafael Nadal began his preparations for Wimbledon with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden in his opening match at Queen’s Club at London. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both pulled out of Wimbledon warmup events this week.

Mardy Fish, the 31-year-old American who lives in Beverly Hills, joined the field for the Farmers Classic on July 25-31 at UCLA’s Los Angeles Tennis Center. Fish will join defending champion Sam Querrey, who is from Thousand Oaks, and 2009 U.S. Open winner Juan Martin del Potro at the ATP event.

— Diane Pucin

Duke’s Juliet Bottorff became the Blue Devils’ first individual national champion in track and field, winning the 10,000 meters in 34 minutes 25.86 seconds at the NCAA meet in Des Moines, Iowa. The only other finals on the first day of the meet were in selected field events.

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Kevin Cheveldayoff was hired as the general manager of the NHL club that is relocating from Atlanta to Winnipeg. He recently served as assistant general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks.

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Jim Northrup, an outfielder who hit a decisive two-run triple for the Detroit Tigers in Game 7 of the 1968 World Series, died Wednesday at 71. Longtime friend Bill Wischman said Northrup died after having a seizure at an assisted-living facility in Grand Blanc, Mich. … Former major leaguer Jose Pagan, who drove in the eventual winning run for the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 7 of the 1971 World Series, died Tuesday at 76. The Pirates announced his death after learning of it from Pagan’s family. No cause was given for his death. … Former Duke basketball player Thomas Emma fell from the 12th floor of the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan to his death in an apparent suicide, police said. Emma, 49, was the captain for the 1983 Duke team. He was drafted in the 10th round by the Chicago Bulls but never played in the NBA.

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