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Gold Rush Dancer wins Snow Chief Stakes at Santa Anita

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ARCADIA, Calif. —¬†Gold Rush Dancer won the $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes by a nose Saturday at Santa Anita on California Gold Rush Day for state bred or sired horses.

Ridden by Flavien Prat, Gold Rush Dancer ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:49.37 and paid $5, $3 and $2.10 as the 3-2 favorite in a field of five 2-year-olds.

Ralis swung three-wide for home and returned $3.20 and $2.20, while 2-1 second choice Tough It Out was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $2.10.

“I had a good trip today, but he was still a bit aggressive,” Prat said. “Even though he’s run a lot, he’s still green, he’s still learning. He came in a little bit in the stretch but I don’t think he did anything wrong.”

The stewards posted the inquiry sign regarding the stretch run, but in a unanimous decision, decided that although a tiring Glory Bound was steadied at the sixteenth pole, the winner was not at fault. Glory Bound finished fourth.

The victory, worth $110,000, increased Gold Rush Dancer’s career earnings to $294,423, with four wins in 11 starts.

In the $200,000 Melair Stakes for fillies, Enola Gay led all the way under Tyler Baze to win by 2 1/4 lengths.

Trained by Phil D’Amato, Enola Gay ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.64 and paid $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10 as the 1-9 favorite in a field of six.

Allsquare returned $7.60 and $5, while Cheekaboo was another 4 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $2.60 to show.

The victory, worth $110,000, increased Enola Gay’s career earnings to $143,600. She is 2-0 in her brief career.

“Today was about getting her out there, getting her to relax and take some breaths,” Baze said. “She did. She learns so fast and she only continues to get better.”

In the $100,000 LennyfromMalibu Stakes for older horses, Ambitious Bew won by 2 1/4 lengths under Prat after being idle since Oct. 12.

Ambitious Brew ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course in 1:13.78 and paid $6.40, $2.80 and $2.20 as the 2-1 second choice.

Forest Chatter returned $2.20 and $2.10, while 25-1 shot Old Man Lake was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third and paid $3.60 to show.

Trained by Marty Jones, Ambitious Bew won for the sixth time in 16 career starts, including three stakes wins. The winner’s share of $60,000 increased the gelding’s earnings to $398,380.

Native River gets wire-to-wire win in Cheltenham Gold Cup

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CHELTENHAM, England (AP) Native River delivered an exhibition in front-running to outlast favorite Might Bite in a thrilling duel to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Britain’s most prestigious jumps race, on Friday.

Ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson, 5-1 shot Native River took the lead right from the start and was never passed in the race over 3 miles and 2 1/2 furlongs in front of a crowd of 70,000.

After they jumped the last fence, Native River and Might Bite were neck and neck, but Johnson got a kick out of the Colin Tizzard-trained horse on the uphill finish and Native River won by 4 1/2 lengths – a year after finishing third in the race.

For Johnson, it was a second victory in the Gold Cup – 18 years after his first on Looks Like Trouble.

“It’s been a long 18 years,” Johnson said. “To be honest, I was a passenger.

“The more I asked from him, the better he jumped.”

Might Bite’s handler, Nicky Henderson, was looking to become the first trainer to capture the Cheltenham Festival’s three signature races in the same year – the Champion Hurdle, the Champion Chase, and the Gold Cup.

It was Might Bite’s first defeat over fences, and Henderson said the heavy going didn’t do the horse any favors – especially against a rival who is a past winner of the Welsh National and the Hennessy Gold Cup

“It was the right thing to track Native River because no other horse got into the race, he had to be in the right place,” Henderson said of the 4-1 favorite.

“On better ground, stamina wouldn’t have been an issue. But in that ground you have to work so much harder. The winner is a Welsh National winner and the reason I’ve never won that race is because I can’t find horses that go in that ground.”

Native River won his owners 369,822 pounds ($515,000).

Anibale Fly, a 33-1 shot, was third.

Jockey Ruby Walsh to miss rest of Cheltenham Festival

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CHELTENHAM, England (AP) Jockey Ruby Walsh will miss the remainder of the Cheltenham Festival after aggravating a leg injury when falling off his horse during the RSA Insurance Novices’ chase on Wednesday.

Walsh, the most successful jockey in the festival’s history with 52 wins, had only recently returned to competition after a four-month layoff due to a broken leg. He was taken to a hospital for X-rays and his sister Jennifer said in a statement that “unfortunately he has aggravated a recent leg injury and will see his consultant in Dublin next week for further assessment.”

Walsh had been set to ride Killultagh Vic in Friday’s Gold Cup.

On Wednesday’s second day of the festival, Altior extended his unbeaten record over jumps to 13 in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Altior had a slow start eventually powered seven lengths clear of the Willie Mullins-trained Min.

It was also a good day for trainer Gordon Elliott who took home three wins, headlined by Samcro in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

The 8-11 favorite beat Black Op by two and three-quarter lengths.