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California Chrome romps to 12-length win at Los Alamitos

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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — California Chrome won the $180,000 Winter Challenge by 12 lengths in track-record time Saturday at Los Alamitos in his final start in California.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, California Chrome ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.03, breaking the old mark of 1:40.82 set by Uncle Lino on April 30 in the California Chrome Stakes.

California Chrome paid $2.10 as the 1-20 favorite in a race that featured only win wagering.

The victory, worth $50,000, increased California Chrome’s career earnings to $14,502,652, with 16 wins in 26 starts.

Point Piper was second at 21-1 odds, while 98-1 shot Papacoolpapacool was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third.

With 5,023 cheering him on, California Chrome made his first and last start at Los Alamitos where he has trained since January 2014 under Art Sherman.

The race served as a prep for California Chrome’s rematch with Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 28 at Florida’s Gulfstream Park.

Outrun early after breaking from the outside in the field of 10, California Chrome was kept in the clear and extremely wide by Espinoza to avoid any possible traffic problems.

Fifth after the opening half-mile, the 2014 Horse of the Year and world’s richest active thoroughbred moved up to join the leaders without urging and swept to the lead with about 2 1/2 furlongs to run.

“I was pretty nervous before the race,” Sherman said. “You know your horse is better than the others running in the race, but it is a horse race and anything can happen. You could see he was much the best. It was just perfect.

“Now I can relax and get ready for the Pegasus. I want Arrogate bad. I have something in my heart that says Chrome can beat him,” the trainer said.

California Chrome is set to begin his stud career in Kentucky after he competes in the Pegasus World Cup.

In the $100,000 Soviet Problem Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, 1-2 favorite Sircat Sally won by 12 lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Sircat Sally ran a mile in 1:35.42 and paid $3, $2.60 and $2.20.

Cash Prize returned $9.40 and $6.20 at 17-1 odds, while Bella Luma was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $3.60 to show.

Funtastic wins Monmouth’s United Nations Stakes in 23-1 upset

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OCEANPORT, N.J. — Funtastic led all the way in a 23-1 upset Saturday in the $300,000 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Chad Brown, the Eclipse Award winner the last two years as the nation’s leading trainer, got his third victory in the New Jersey’s biggest turf race. He won with Big Blue Kitten in 2013 and 2015.

The U.N. and the $1 million Haskell on July 29 are the two Grade 1 stakes at Monmouth.

Brown saddled four of the nine runners in the U.N. and ran 1-2 as Money Multiplier rallied to finish a half length behind Funtastic and jockey Antonio Gallardo.

The other two Brown horses were Silverwave (fifth) and Kurilov (eighth).

The time was 2:12.36 for 1 3/8 miles over the firm course.

Funtastic paid $48, $15.80 and $8.60. Money Multiplier, the 2-1 favorite, returned $4 and $2.80.

Bigger Picture, last year’s U.N. winner, was third, paying $5.80 to show.

Wonder Gadot beats heat to win $1 million Queen’s Plate

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TORONTO (AP) Wonder Gadot won the 159th running of the $1 million Queen’s Plate on Saturday at hot and muggy Woodbine Racetrack.

The 3-year-old filly beat Aheadbyacentury by five lengths, running 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.26 in the first jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown.

John Velazquez rode the winner for owner Gary Barner and trainer Mark Casse.

Wonder Gadot is the second straight filly to win the event, following Holy Helena, and the fourth in eight years.

Cooler Mike was third in the 16-horse field.

The other Triple Crown races are the $400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes on July 24 on Fort Erie Racetrack’s dirt course and the $400,000 Breeder’s Stakes turf race at Woodbine on Aug. 18.