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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.

Long shot Puig finishes second in Del Mar debut

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DEL MAR, Calif. — Long shot Puig finished second in his career debut at Del Mar, with Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig supporting the horse on Twitter.

Puig lost by 3 1/4 lengths in the $60,000 fifth race on Sunday at the seaside track north of San Diego. He paid $17.80 and $9.60 at 32-1 odds under jockey Santiago Gonzalez.

The Kentucky-bred colt earned $12,000 in the 6 1/2-furlong race. He is trained by Scott Hansen and owned by Gary Broad.

Puig of the Dodgers re-tweeted a photo of the horse leaving the paddock before the race.

Songbird to run at Saratoga, won’t face males at Del Mar

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Songbird will return to Saratoga to run in the $700,000 Personal Ensign on Aug. 26 rather than taking on male horses in the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar a week earlier.

Owner Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farm said Sunday that Saratoga is his favorite track and the Personal Ensign is the right race for the 4-year-old filly.

Songbird is 13-1 in her career and has earnings of over $4.5 million. Her only loss came by a nose to Beholder in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Songbird put in a five-furlong workout at Del Mar on Sunday, completing the distance in 1:01 in her home state of California.

Trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, Songbird earned back-to-back Grade 1 victories at Saratoga last year in the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama.