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Lures, big hats and boxing gloves: Sacramento enjoys 3 sporting events Saturday

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Anglers reel in crowds for Bassmaster Elite: The big-league bass tournament kicked off at 6:15 a.m. with a boat launch at Sacramento’s Discovery Park. Saturday marked Day 3 of the fishing competition, which drew 113 of the world’s best anglers to town. Of those, 52 competed Saturday and 12 were selected to return Sunday for a shot at the $100,000 prize.

The pro anglers hailed from three countries and a dozen states, but only a handful had home-field advantage when they cast into the Sacramento waters. The Bassmaster series takes place in nine cities throughout the world each year, but hasn’t been in California since Stockton hosted it five years ago, said Mike Sophia, director of the Sacramento Sports Commission. This year marks its debut in Sacramento.

“This region is really into outdoor sports, fishing, hunting,” he said. “This is an event that really connects with the community.”

Enthusiasm exuded from the crowd of about 8,000. Some sampled rods and reels from the exposition tents; others perched on the sunny riverbank to await the anglers.

“It’s people who have a love, a passion, for bass fishing,” said Skeet Reese, a pro angler and Auburn native who learned to fish in the area. “It’s not a stick-and-ball sport you can watch in an arena where there’s tons of action. You’ve got to have persistence and patience.”

Gamblers and gallavanters take best guesses for Derby: Floppy hats and bow ties lent an air of Southern charm to midtown Saturday as socialites and big spenders gathered to watch the horse race of the year.

The Kentucky Derby, held in Louisville, Ky., each year, is known colloquially as the “most exciting two minutes in sports.” A crowd also filled the sports and wagering center at Cal Expo as early as 7 a.m. to scribble notes into race programs. The favorite, American Pharoah, came from behind to win the race by a length.

At Mulvaney’s B&L in midtown, about 150 gathered to watch the races and raise money for Lilliput Children’s Services. The event, now in its third year, features a Derby Day hat contest, a silent auction, live music and a buffet of Southern-style food.

Just a few blocks away, local jazz quintet The Crescent Katz played folk classics at The Porch, a restaurant known for its Southern twist. It serves mint juleps, a classic bourbon drink, year round but it does especially well on Derby Day, said Debbie Cortopassi, restaurant manager. About 100 dined on a lunch of crab, hot browns and Kentucky Derby pie.

Many noted the intersection of the race and the boxing match, noting that they’d watch both. Others, like Carmen Alessandro of Fresno, were more interested in attire than sporting events.

“It takes some time to make a Derby outfit,” she said, indicating a blossoming orange sunhat. “You have to look around on Pinterest for something stylish, and then you have to make it really stand out.”

Local Filipinos back boxing icon: While a handful of Sacramento bars aired the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao boxing match, billed worldwide as the “fight of the century,” the real excitement happened in the living rooms of the area’s many Filipino families.

The local Filipino population, about 50,000 in total, feels a personal connection to Pacquiao and sees him as a role model, said Gelmar Carreon, an attendee at a watch party at an Elk Grove home who knew Pacquiao as a boy. When the fighter has a bout, the streets in the Philippines are quiet, and nobody goes to work, partygoers said.

“The entire Philippines are in the hands of Manny Pacquiao,” Carreon said. “So it’s very painful, the punches.”

Many Filipinos invited friends and family for traditional food, including caldereta, a goat stew, and pancit, a noodle dish. Some claim that balut, a special fertilized duck egg, is the snack that fuels Pacquiao before each match.

The busy day ended with Mayweather winning the 12-round fight by unanimous decision.

Call The Bee’s Sammy Caiola, (916) 321-1636.

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