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Perfect records at risk

Smarty Jones is 7 for 7 going into this afternoon's Preakness Stakes. There's likely to be more pressure on the pace, and hence on Smarty, than in the Derby. If he wins again, superstar status awaits. Here's Jennie Rees' Preakness story.

Arsenal are "On the brink of immortality" as they take the pitch in the 38th and final game of the season. They are heavy favorites to become the first unbeaten side in modern English history. Paul Hayward makes interesting observations while considering the achievement:

If Arsenal's quest to become the first team since Preston 115 years ago to go through a campaign in the top-flight undefeated is a mere 'stat', ... how come so many great English sides never managed to post a zero in the losses column?

It was beyond Spurs in 1961, Don Revie's Leeds, Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest and countless illustrious Liverpool teams - not to mention Sir Alex Ferguson's eight Premiership-winning ensembles. There is enough spurious record breaking in modern sport for us to be legitimately excited by a new standard being set in the domestic game - especially one set with such grace and style.

These are some of the many reasons to be cheerful (and not tycoon-obsessed) at the top end, but there are countless others in the leagues below. When no sentence seems able to work its way along the page without containing the names Roman Abramovich or David Beckham, I remind myself of two eternal truths: 1. Four clubs make it into the Champions League each summer and 88 don't. 2. More people watch live football in the three Nationwide divisions than they do in the Premiership.

That last stat is one to file away for future reference.