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Always B Miki edges Wiggle It Jiggleit in Breeders Crown

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Always B Miki beat Wiggle It Jiggleit at the end of a thrilling stretch battle in the $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace on Friday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Their rivalry has been the highlight of the harness racing season with each posting three wins in their previous seven showdowns.

With the Crown victory, Always B Miki likely clinched Horse of the Year honors by edging the defending champion.

The race unfolded with Wiggle It Jiggleit taking the lead on the first turn while Always B Miki dropped in behind him.

They raced in that order until midway on the final turn when driver David Miller sent Always B Miki after the leader.

Turning for home, it appeared Wiggle It Jiggleit would prevail until Always B Miki surged in the final strides to win by three-quarters of a length.

“I couldn’t be happier with him,” Miller said. “He’s a tough horse. He shows up, and he was determined to get his head in front there.”

He paid $3.20 to win. It was the 28th Crown win for trainer Jimmy Takter, the career leader in the series.

It was a satisfying victory for Takter who nursed the horse through multiple serious injuries.

“I am speechless,” Hall of Famer Takter said. “The people here saw two great, great horses fighting side by side down the stretch. For me, it was maybe the best race I ever had a horse participate in.”

The Meadowlands presented the four Crowns for older horses on Friday. The eight events for 2 and 3-year-olds take place Saturday.

In other results, driver Yannick Gingras won a pair of $250,000 Crowns with Hannelore Hanover in the Filly & Mare Open Trot and Lady Shadow in the Filly & Mare Open Pace.

Hannelore Hanover, the 3/5 favorite, beat Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, by two lengths.

It was her 16th win in 19 starts this season for trainer Ron Burke.

The time was 1:53 3/5 for the mile. She paid $3.40 to win.

Lady Shadow, the 1/5 choice, beat Sassa Hanover by 2 1/4 lengths for her 11th win in 19 starts this year.

She paid $2.40 to win.

In the only upset, 4-1 shot Flanagan Memory beat Resolve, the 1/5 favorite, by a length in the $500,000 Open Trot.

Brian Sears was at the lines for trainer Rene Dion as the 6-year-old paid $10.60 to win.

Triple Crown winner Justify to resume training in California

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Triple Crown champion Justify has returned to his base at Santa Anita accompanied by a police escort and was greeted by trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith.

The winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont flew from Louisville, Kentucky, to Ontario, California, on Sunday. After landing, four Arcadia Police Department units traveled with the 13th Triple Crown winner to the racetrack.

After winning the Belmont in New York on June 9, Justify returned to Churchill Downs, where he and his human connections were honored on Saturday night.

Justify will resume training this week and be paraded between races this weekend.

NBC presents 22 hours of daily live coverage of Royal Ascot

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STAMFORD, Conn. – June 14, 2018 – NBC Sports presents daily live coverage of the Royal Meeting in Ascot, Berkshire, England  – one of the most prestigious horse racing meets in the world – including the first-ever NBC broadcast of the race on Saturday, June 23, at 9 a.m. ET. Live coverage of the event begins Tuesday, June 19, at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN, with daily telecasts of the full five-day Royal meeting on NBCSN through Friday, June 22. In total, NBC Sports Group will present 22 hours of coverage over the five days.

Royal Ascot is one of the world’s most valuable horse racing events, attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses.  The event features 30 races, including eight at the world championship “Group One” level. Highlighting the American contingent is trainer Wesley Ward, who has won nine races at Royal Ascot over the years. He is scheduled to bring 10 horses to Ascot this year, highlighted by Lady Aurelia, who is looking to win her third straight race at The Royal Meeting. She races in the King’s Stand on Tuesday during NBCSN’s first day of coverage.

The Royal Meeting is the center of the British social season and a pivotal week in the calendar of the Royal Family, who arrive every day by the world famous “Royal Procession” – with the first carriage carrying The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

NBC News’ Dylan Dreyer makes her Royal Ascot debut on Friday and Saturday, alongside Nick Luck, who will host coverage for all five days. On Friday morning, June 22, Dreyer will report live from Berkshire on TODAY.

Following is NBC Sports’ schedule for the Royal Ascot next week:

Date Time (ET) Show Network
Tues., June 19 8:30 a.m. Royal Ascot NBCSN
Wed., June 20 8:30 a.m. Royal Ascot NBCSN
Thurs., June 21 8:30 a.m. Royal Ascot NBCSN
Fri., June 22 8:30 a.m. Royal Ascot NBCSN
Sat., June 23 9 a.m. Royal Ascot NBC

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs – will stream coverage of the Royal Meeting. The NBC Sports app will stream coverage via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to their subscription service, and making high-quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. Powered by Playmaker Media, the NBC Sports app is available on Apple iOS, Android and select Samsung devices, as well as on Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Win10, and Xbox.

NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: In addition to the Royal Ascot, NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup. Also in 2018, NBC Sports Group televised the world’s richest horse race (the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational) and the $10 million Dubai World Cup, and in June presented the Epsom Derby. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown.