• Orb installed as 7-2 favorite for Kentucky Derby: LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Orb has been made the early 7-2 favorite for the Kentucky Derby, with undefeated Verrazano the second choice in a full field of 20 horses.
Trained by Shug McGaughey, Orb drew the No. 16 post on Wednesday. Four horses have won from there, most recently Animal Kingdom two years ago. McGaughey is in racing’s Hall of Fame, but the 62-year-old trainer has yet to win the Derby in six previous tries.
Verrazano drew the No. 14 post and is 4-1 for Saturday’s race at Churchill Downs. The colt is one of a record-tying five starters trained by Todd Pletcher.
Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents is the third choice at 5-1 and will break from the No. 8 post. He’s trained by Doug O’Neill, who won last year with I’ll Have Another.
Another Pletcher horse, Revolutionary, is the fourth choice at 10-1.
• McIlroy opens with 67 at Wells Fargo: CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — For all the talk about the greens, Rory McIlroy’s most important club was his driver Thursday in the Wells Fargo Championship.
McIlroy kept the ball in play and set up plenty of birdie chances at Quail Hollow. He ran off six birdies in a seven-hole stretch around the turn for a 5-under 67 that left him in a large group atop the leaderboard as the first round was winding down.
Two of the putting surfaces had to be entirely replaced with sod last week and the others are ragged. McIlroy’s final birdie from 8 feet on the 18th hole bounced more than it rolled.
Nick Watney, Ryan Moore, Derek Ernst, Daniel Summerhays and Robert Garrigus also were at 67. The group one shot behind included Phil Mickelson and Lucas Glover.
• Denny Hamlin cleared to return at Talladega: TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Denny Hamlin received medical clearance Thursday to return this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
Hamlin has missed four races after sustaining a compression fracture of a vertebra in his lower back in a last-lap accident at California on March 24.
“Don’t call it a comeback — LL cool J,” Hamlin tweeted.
Joe Gibbs Racing said exact plans will be determined at the track. Hamlin could start the No. 11 Toyota, then give way to a relief driver.
“Welcome back Denny!” NASCAR tweeted.
Mark Martin took Hamlin’s place in the No. 11 car at Martinsville, and Brian Vickers drove at Texas, Kansas and Richmond.
• Jets’ Sanchez: ‘No doubt’ I expect to win QB job: FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Mark Sanchez says there’s “no doubt” he expects to win the starting quarterback job for the New York Jets this season.
Tim Tebow was cut on Monday, but the Jets’ situation at quarterback is far from settled. New general manager John Idzik says Sanchez, David Garrard, Greg McElroy, Matt Simms and second-round draft pick Geno Smith are all candidates to be the starter.
Sanchez, with his hair slicked back and wearing a green headband that received lots of attention, says there’s “a little fire” inside him as he faces the prospect of a tough competition this offseason.
Garrard says during the first open locker room period Thursday since last season that he doesn’t think “any politics” will factor into Rex Ryan’s final decision.
• Bill limits Calif. workers’ comp for pro athletes: SACRAMENTO (AP) — Professional athletes who spent most of their careers with teams in other states would no longer be able to file workers’ compensation claims in California under a bill headed to the state Senate.
Supporters of the bill from Democratic Assemblyman Henry Perea of Fresno say those players should not be allowed to file claims in California for non-specific cumulative injuries.
California is one of nine states that allow out-of-state athletes to seek workers’ compensation awards, which are paid by their employers. Under AB1309, players retiring from out-of-state teams can still file if they spent 80 percent of their career with a California team.
Some injured former players say the bill is an attempt by team owners to avoid liability for legitimate injuries.
The legislation passed the Assembly 57-1 on Thursday.