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Churchill Downs to pick up 2 stakes from Arlington Park

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. —¬†Churchill Downs will pick up two graded stakes races previously run at sister track Arlington Park during the Kentucky track’s 38-day spring meet.

The $100,000 Matron and the $100,000 Chicago Handicap are both for older fillies and mares and are Grade 3 races. The 80th edition of the Matron will be run at 1 1/16 miles on May 20, and the 28th edition of the Chicago Handicap will be contested at seven furlongs on June 24.

Churchill Downs racing secretary Ben Huffman says the pair of stakes races from Arlington Park would otherwise have gone on hiatus.

The addition of the two races raises the total stakes purses to $8.84 million for the spring meet, an increase of $200,000 from the $8.64 million in purses offered last year.

Arlington Park outside Chicago is owned by Churchill Downs Inc.

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.