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Ireland-trained Sizing John wins Gold Cup

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CHELTENHAM, England (AP) Ten years after winning the Grand National, jockey Robbie Power won the equally-prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup when Sizing John galloped to victory on Festival Friday.

Trained in Ireland, Sizing John won by two-and-three-quarter lengths on St. Patrick’s Day.

Power had Sizing John in a good position throughout the race, finishing ahead of Minella Rocco (18-1) and Native River (7-2).

“Unbelievable, Jessica Harrington is a genius,” said Power, who won the Grand National on the Gordon Elliott-trained Silver Birch in 2007.

“I always said when this horse stepped up in trip he’d win. Everyone has done a top-class job. It means more than any winner I’ve ridden for Jessica. I was only 25 when I won the National and I’m 35 now. When you’re 25 you think you can win everything, so this is very special.”

Sizing John, a 7-year-old, has previously done most of his racing over two miles. But this year connections decided to race him over a longer distance with notable success – winning the Irish Gold Cup last month.

“It’s absolutely fantastic. My first runner in a Gold Cup,” Harrington said. “I don’t know when I’ll come down to earth. This is the jewel in the crown. I’ve been watching and listening for as long as I can remember.”

Djakadam, twice the runner-up, travelled well for most of the race and looked as though he might finally win for Willie Mullins. But after making a costly jumping error at the second-to-last fence. he faded to finish fourth.

Triple Crown winner Justify under observation at Del Mar

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DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) Triple Crown winner Justify has re-located to Del Mar where trainer Bob Baffert is keeping him under observation after swelling in his left front ankle emerged two weeks ago.

Baffert says Justify will probably just walk around the stable area for the next two weeks at the track north of San Diego. The probable scenario for the colt is a return to racing sometime in the fall with the ultimate goal being the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.

“Right now, we’re just looking to get him 100 percent,” Baffert said Monday. “We’re in a holding pattern. I’d love to run him again because he’s so much fun and exciting to watch. We should know more in a couple of weeks.”

Justify has won all six starts in his brief career that began this year. He has won four straight Grade 1 races, including a sweep of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become horse racing’s 13th Triple Crown champion.

The colt hasn’t had a workout since the Belmont Stakes on June 9.

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.