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Unique Bella upsets Champagne Room to win Las Virgenes

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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Unique Bella won the $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 8} lengths Sunday at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Unique Bella ran a mile in 1:35.66 and paid $2.20 and $2.10 in the Grade 2 race.

Mopotism returned $4, while Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Champagne Room was another 1\ lengths back in third. There was no show wagering because of the four-horse field. Miss Southern Miss was last.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Unique Bella was coming off a 7+-length win in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes on Jan. 8. Champagne Room, last year’s Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly, had been idle since winning the BC Juvenile Fillies at 33-1 odds on Nov. 5 at Santa Anita.

Unique Bella has three wins in four career starts. She earned 10 points toward qualifying for a spot in the 14-horse field for the $1 million Kentucky Oaks on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

Champagne Room earned two points for her third-place finish, but she tops the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 23 points. Unique Bella is third with 20 overall points.

Former Kentucky Derby, Preakness winner Charismatic dies

15 May 1999: Charismatic wins the 124th Preakness and leads Badge #4 across the finish line at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, Maryland.
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Former Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Charismatic has died at a thoroughbred retirement farm in Kentucky.

Old Friends farm says the chestnut horse that won the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 1999 was found dead in his stall Sunday.

Old Friends President Michael Blowen says everyone at the farm near Georgetown, Kentucky, is “pretty much inconsolable.” He says Charismatic deserved a much longer retirement. Charismatic arrived last December after a long stud career in Japan.

Charismatic’s Triple Crown bid ended when the horse fractured his left foreleg with an eighth of a mile to go. Charismatic finished third.

Doctors said the fracture could have proved fatal, and they praised jockey Chris Antley for dismounting quickly and lifting Charismatic’s injured leg to take weight off it.

Santa Anita cancels racing card ahead of major storm

ARCADIA, CA - NOVEMBER 05: A general view during the Mile race on day two of the 2016 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on November 5, 2016 in Arcadia, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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ARCADIA, Calif. —¬†Santa Anita has canceled its eight-race card on Friday with over 5 inches of rain, local flooding and high winds predicted for the Los Angeles area.

Officials said Thursday that the track will also be closed for simulcast wagering. The National Weather Service is forecasting the storm could be the strongest in recent years.

The track will re-open on Saturday for live racing over the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend.

Santa Anita was forced to cancel a day of racing last month because of heavy rain and wind.