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Champion filly Songbird retired after 2nd loss in 15 starts

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Champion filly Songbird has been retired five days after she lost for just the second time in 15 career starts.

Owner Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farm said Thursday that he made the decision after an examination showed an enlargement of both of the 4-year-old filly’s hind suspensory ligaments.

Porter said it would be dangerous for Songbird to continue training and veterinarian Larry Bramlage wasn’t optimistic that the situation would improve in time.

Last Saturday, Songbird lost by a neck to longshot Forever Unbridled in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga. Her season debut had been delayed while she recovered from bone bruising last winter.

Songbird had 13 wins and two seconds in 15 career starts and earnings of $4,692,000. She won Eclipse Awards as champion 2-year-old filly in 2015 and champion 3-year-old filly last year. She was trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by fellow Hall of Famer Mike Smith.

She won 11 straight races in her first two seasons on the track. She won the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and finished second to Beholder by a nose in last year’s BC Distaff.

“She meant a lot to every single person in the stable, from the grooms and hot walkers on up to the trainer,” Hollendorfer said.

Late owner of Secretariat to receive Big Sport of Turfdom

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Penny Chenery, who owned Triple Crown winner Secretariat, will be presented posthumously with the Big Sport of Turfdom award given to a person who enhances coverage of thoroughbred racing through cooperation with media and racing publicists.

The Turf Publicists of America said Monday that Chenery will receive the award for the second time. She was the winner in 1973, when Secretariat swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.

Chenery died Sept. 16 at age 95. For years after Secretariat’s Triple Crown win, she was a careful steward of the colt’s legacy.

The award will be presented to Chenery’s daughter, Kate Tweedy, at the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program’s luncheon on Dec. 5 in Tucson.

Chenery joins two-time winners jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., and trainers Bob Baffert and Carl Nafzger.

Rekindling storms home to win the 157th Melbourne Cup

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Rekindling stormed home to win the Melbourne Cup by a long neck on Tuesday, overhauling Johannes Vermeer near the finish to give trainer Joseph O’Brien a victory over his famous father in Australia’s most famous race.

Max Dynamite was 2 + lengths further back in third to give the Irish a 1-2-3 finish in the 157th running of the 2-mile classic .

Joseph O’Brien said one of the first things he did was phone his father, Aidan O’Brien, who trains Johannes Vermeer but was not at Flemington for the race.

“He is delighted. Unbelievable,” the younger O’Brien said. “I’m just so thankful to (Williams). They suggested to bring (Rekindling) down and that he’d have a good chance in the race and his prep went really good, and Corey gave him an unbelievable ride.”

It was a second Melbourne Cup victory for jockey Corey Brown, and a sixth for owner Lloyd Williams, who is also a co-owner of Johannes Vermeer.

“It’s extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary,” Williams said of Joseph O’Brien, who won in his first attempt at the Melbourne Cup. Williams said the 24-year-old former jockey had a big future as a trainer. “He’s going to emulate his father and maybe more.”

Big Duke was the first Australian-trained horse across the line, finishing fourth, in a field containing 11 foreign horses.

British-based jockey Frankie Dettori rode 2016 winner Almandin, which finished 12th.