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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.

Horse runs race at Royal Ascot without jockey

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Well this didn’t go as planned.

At the beginning of the Diamond Jubile Stakes on the final day of the 2017 Royal Ascot, Growl’s rider was left in the starting gate as his horse took off and ran the entire race without him.

He hung with the pack for awhile before fading down the stretch.

American filly Lady Aurelia wins again at Royal Ascot

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ASCOT, England — American filly Lady Aurelia won at Royal Ascot for the second straight year, cruising to a three-length victory in the King’s Stand Stakes under replacement jockey John Velazquez on Tuesday.

“She’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse,” said trainer Wesley A. Ward after Lady Aurelia backed up her win in the Queen Mary Stakes in 2016.

Frankie Dettori was scheduled to ride Lady Aurelia, but pulled out of the entire meeting early Tuesday after failing to recover from an arm injury sustained when he was thrown off a horse in a parade ring last week.

Velazquez was drafted in and settled the U.S. horse into a good early position. Lady Aurelia took the lead with two furlongs to run and pulled away, winning the five-furlong race in 57.45 seconds, just short of a course record.

“This is wonderful for American racing,” said Ward, who has eight career winners at Ascot since 2009. Six of those wins have been by juveniles.

Ward has 10 entries at the prestigious meeting staged just outside London, as part of the largest contingent of U.S. runners – 14 – to compete at Royal Ascot.

Following the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II at the course ahead of the start of the meeting, racing was preceded by a minute’s silence in honor of the victims of attacks in Britain in recent weeks.