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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.

Texts reveal extent of doping scandal in Aussie horse racing

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MELBOURNE, Australia — A newspaper has revealed text messages between a leading trainer and stable staff involved in a doping scandal that resulted in eight persons being charged and may have included the 2015 Melbourne Cup, Australia’s richest and most prestigious horse race.

The Herald Sun in Melbourne said Wednesday the texts, uncovered by integrity investigators, detailed conversations over the alleged administration of illegal doses of performance-enhancing sodium bicarbonate in a practice known as “tubing” just before a race.

The newspaper said the most explosive text came on the eve of the 2015 Melbourne Cup where a trainer and stable hand discussed using “top-ups,” allegedly a reference to a mix of prohibited substances often administered within minutes of competition.

The stable hand responds that he’ll need a “wheelbarrow” to carry them all after the trainer requests the top-up. He then adds: “I’ll be walking funny, got two Cup horses as well.”

The eight persons charged last month face 271 offenses since 2010.

“The Integrity Services Department and our stewards have worked swiftly to fully investigate these matters resulting in the laying of charges,” Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said when the charges were announced in January.

British horse racing inspired by Formula 1 for new series

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LONDON (AP) British horse racing is drawing inspiration from motor racing for a new championship.

Twelve branded teams will compete over eight consecutive Thursdays at different race courses across Britain when “The Series” is launched by Championship Horse Racing in 2019.

The aim is for each team to feature 30 horses and four jockeys. Each of the teams will enter one horse into each of the races to create 12-runner fields.

Organizers say a Formula One-style points system will be used to determine the winners of championships for teams and jockeys.

Championship Horse Racing CEO Jeremy Wray says it’s a chance to engage fans with “bite-size, interactive content.”

The Series has been developed with the Jockey Club, which hopes to attract a new audience to horse racing.