Oracle goes 2-1 to take lead in America’s Cup qualifiers

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Two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA won two of three races Sunday to take a two-point lead in the America’s Cup qualifiers on Bermuda’s Great Sound.

This is the first time the defender has sailed against challengers in the preliminaries. If Oracle wins the qualifiers, it will carry a one-point bonus into the 35th America’s Cup match beginning June 17.

Skippered by Australian Jimmy Spithill, Oracle beat Britain’s Land Rover BAR by 39 seconds, lost to Sweden’s Artemis Racing by 39 seconds and beat SoftBank Team Japan by 54 seconds.

Oracle has five points, followed by Emirates Team Zealand and Land Rover BAR with three apiece.

Emirates Team New Zealand, the hard-luck loser to Oracle in the 2013 America’s Cup, beat Japan and Britain.

Groupama Team France stunned Artemis for its first victory.