September 27, 2019

Midnight Run: Chepngetich sweats it out for marathon gold


DOHA, Qatar (AP) Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya overcame sweltering heat and humidity to win the first gold medal of the 2019 world championships in a runaway marathon victory under the lights.

Chepngetich finished in 2 hours, 32 minutes, 43 seconds and crossed the finish line at 2:34 a.m. Doha time Saturday in a race that began at midnight in an attempt to beat the heat.

It was anything but comfortable.

The conditions when she crossed the finish line: 88 degrees (31 Celsius), 77 percent humidity and not a breath of wind.

Twenty-three of the 68 starters had dropped out by the time Chepngetich finished – a good indicator of the suffering taking place all across the 7-kilometer loop the runners ran through six times.

Defending champion Rose Chelimo, representing Bahrain, took the silver medal.

Bettor wins $2.2 million on 6-race bet at Gulfstream


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) A bettor at Gulfstream Park turned a 20-cent, six-race wager into more than $2.2 million Friday.

Someone hit Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 on Friday, the first time that the total jackpot had been claimed for that wager since July 6. To win the entire jackpot, someone must pick winners of six consecutive Rainbow 6 races and hold the only ticket that does so – otherwise, much of the jackpot rolls over to the next day of racing.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many six-horse combinations that the winning bettor played.

The Rainbow races Friday were the fourth through the ninth at Gulfstream. Paco Lopez rode Resident Liberal, a 5-1 shot, to victory in the ninth race to complete the win that was worth $2,211,783.62 for the bettor. Lopez had two other winners in the Rainbow series, riding Sherpa in the fifth race and Verdict Is In in the seventh race.

Other race winners were Angelic Knugget in the fourth, Native Hawk in the sixth and One Hot Drama in the eighth. One Hot Drama was by far the biggest longshot of the six, going off at 14-1 odds.

Friday’s payout was enormous, but far from the Gulfstream record for a Rainbow 6. A bettor hit the jackpot for $6,678,939 in 2014.

John Velazquez sets graded stakes record at Santa Anita

AP Photo

ARCADIA, Calif. — Jockey John Velazquez set a record with his 660th career graded stakes victory in the U.S. and Canada on Friday, and added his 661st three races later.

He won the $300,000 Chandelier Stakes aboard Bast at Santa Anita, snapping a tie with fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey.

It’s the second career mark owned by Bailey that Velazquez has taken down. The Puerto Rico native became the all-time leading rider at Saratoga in 2013 with win No. 694 to break Bailey’s mark.

“This means a lot,” Velazquez said. “Jerry is a guy who I rode with for so many years and have looked up to for so long.”

The New York-based Velazquez was making a rare appearance in Southern California to ride for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

“Todd Pletcher is the one who got him all those graded wins,” Baffert said of his fellow trainer. “I just threw him a couple bones.”

Velazquez returned later to ride Eight Rings to a six-length victory in the $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes, named for the 2015 Triple Crown winner trained by Baffert.

Eight Rings, the 6-5 favorite overseen by Baffert, paid $4.40 to win. The 2-year-old colt earned an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race this fall at Santa Anita.

Earlier, Baffert gave Velazquez a leg up on Bast, who rallied to win the Grade 1 Chandelier by a neck and earn an automatic berth in the BC Juvenile Fillies race.

The Chandelier began with 2-year-old filly Leucothea dumping jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. after leaving the starting gate. The filly ran along the outside rail and grazed two photographers who were shooting the race and didn’t see her charging. Neither was seriously injured.