05/10/2005 11:00PM

Bettors throwing support at Wright


The most anticipated boxing match of the spring takes place Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Felix "Tito" Trinidad takes on Ronald "Winky" Wright in a middleweight bout between two of the best in the fight game. Both have impressive r?sum?s and faithful followings that will have the Garden Arena rocking.

Trinidad opened as high as a -220 favorite (risk $2.20 to win $1), but money has shown for the underdog, and most sports books now have Trinidad in the -160 to -180 range. Odds on Wright range from +140 to some offshore books offering +170, providing an opportunity for bettors to hedge their bets by taking the -160 with Trinidad and the +170 with Wright.

The over/under is set at the full 12 rounds, with the "will go" offered at between -125 and -145 and the "won't go" from +105 to +115.

The popular five-way KO/decision/draw prop at the MGM Mirage properties has Trinidad by KO at +160, Trinidad by decision at +150, Wright by KO at +550, Wright by decision at +250, and the draw at +1500, or 15-1.

Corrales-Castillo one for the ages

As much as this fight is being hyped, it's going to be hard for it to surpass last Saturday night's lightweight title fight between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo at Mandalay Bay.

Most ringside observers proclaimed it the fight of the year, and many said it ranks up there with the best of all time. Time will tell if it continues to be held in that high esteem - which may be difficult since it was in a lower weight class and only before a crowd of 5,168 - but it absolutely had the round of the year to this point and one for the ages.

The first nine rounds were fought mostly toe to toe, with Corrales leading on two of the three judges' scorecards. In the 10th round, Corrales, the -180 favorite, was knocked to the canvas not once but twice. Corrales spit out his mouthpiece after each knockdown and had another point deducted by referee Tony Weeks for stalling, so Castillo was clearly in control and moved in to finish him off.

The extra time Corrales received to get a replacement mouthpiece was just enough for him to catch his breath and shake off the cobwebs. Even with his left eye swelling, Corrales delivered a crunching left hook that sent Castillo into the ropes. Corrales then delivered four blows to the head before referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight after seeing Castillo go limp and unable to defend himself.

If Trinidad-Wright is one-tenth as thrilling as this one, it won't be a disappointment.

* In other boxing news, various news outlets Tuesday were reporting that James Toney, who defeated John Ruiz for the WBA heavyweight title at Madison Square Garden on April 30, tested positive for steroids in his post-fight test. It is expected that Toney will be stripped of the title and the belt will go back to Ruiz. The New York State Athletic Commission has also asked that the result of the fight be changed to a no-decision.

Unfortunately for Ruiz bettors, the wagering result stands, just like a horse race that is changed by stewards at a later date.

Phone accounts dwindling

Boyd Gaming will be closing its sports betting phone accounts effective June 1, according to Bob Scucci, director of race and sports book operations at the Stardust, which acts as the hub for the Boyd Gaming group. Scucci said account holders will need to go to the property - other Boyd properties include Sam's Town, the Fremont, the California, Main Street Station, and Joker's Wild - where they signed up in order to close their accounts.

This will leave the only phone accounts in town at the Station Casinos, the Leroy's chain of books, and the Coast Casinos, a wholly owned subsidiary of Boyd Gaming and the one expected to pick up the bulk of their phone business.

The Coast Casinos also have the only race-betting phone accounts in town.

City celebrates 100 years

Anyone visiting Las Vegas this weekend will be walking into a huge party atmosphere to celebrate the city's centennial anniversary. Most of the events have been aimed at locals, but tourists, of course, are also invited to join in the festivities.

Events are being held all over the valley this weekend (a full schedule can be found at www.lasvegas2005.org), with the biggest concentration in downtown Vegas. For decades, the city's annual festival was called Helldorado Days, and that is being resurrected for the centennial. In addition to a Western village that is set up downtown with an old-West post office, a livery stable, and a general store, the highlights include the Helldorado Days Parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday and a re-creation of the May 15, 1905, land auction that created the city, at 10 a.m. on Sunday by the Golden Gate Hotel-Casino.

Sports book notes

The Nextel Cup circuit has its third night race in four weeks this Saturday, when the Chevy American Revolution 400 takes place at Richmond International Speedway in Virginia.

Based on odds at Station Casinos, this should be one of the most competitive races of the year. While favorites in these stock car races are usually in the range of 4-1 to 7-1 depending on the track, this week has Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, and Kasey Kahne as co-favorites at 10-1 apiece. Right behind them are Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, and Mark Martin all at 11-1, and Tony Stewart at 12-1.

* Checking the futures for the Nextel Cup driver's title, Johnson, the current leader, is the 5-2 favorite, with Gordon at 7-2 and Busch, the defending champ, at 5-1. Biffle, who was a longshot at the beginning of the year but has been red-hot of late, is the fourth choice at 6-1.

* The Arena Football League is heading into its final two weekends of the regular season, with most playoff berths still up in the air. The local team, the Gladiators, visits the Los Angeles Avengers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Gladiators, who are 4-point underdogs, will try to avenge a loss to the Avengers earlier in the season. After this weekend, the Gladiators could either be tied with the Avengers for the lead in the Western Division, or they could be out of the playoff picture altogether.

The only home underdog this weekend is the Arizona Rattlers +4 vs. the San Jose SaberCats on Saturday night. The Gladiators could use an upset here, since they're battling the SaberCats for a playoff spot.

* Tickets are still available for ArenaBowl XIX, the first neutral site championship game in arena history, at the Thomas & Mack Center at 11:30 a.m. on June 12.