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2019 French Derby winner Sottsass triumphant in the Arc; Enable is sixth

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Oct. 4 (UPI) — Last year’s French Derby winner, Sottsass, rallied through the final 100 meters to win Sunday’s Group 1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, putting an end to a devastating string of setbacks for Europe’s premier race.

Two-time winner Enable, bidding for the second straight year to land an historic third victory, could do no better than sixth as age and very soft turf took their toll.

The Arc suffered blow after blow this year, starting with the badly scrambled summer schedule due to a COVID-19 racing shutdown which forced cancellation of some key prep races.

Then, as race day neared, heavy rains beset Paris, saturating the turf at Longchamp and forcing Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien to withdraw the favorite, 3-year-old filly Love.

And then, things went totally south with the announcement mid-week that some batches of feed supplied to many British and Irish trainers inadvertently had been contaminated with a prohibited substance.

French labs found Saturday that urine samples taken from O’Brien’s horses showed traces of the substance and three more, including Investec Derby winner Serpentine, were ruled out of the race. O’Brien’s sons Donnacha and Joseph Patrick also withdrew entries from the Arc program.

Even Sottsass’s victory actually didn’t quite end the string of misfortune and uncertainty that plagued the Arc in the star-crossed year of 2020.

After he crossed the line first, a neck in front of In Swoop with the early leader, Persian King, holding third, the stewards hoisted the inquiry sign. They then indicated the finish position of four runners, including Sottsass, was under review as a result of a traffic jam about 300 meters from the finish.

Among other issues, a slow-motion replay appeared to show early contender Chachnak attempting to bite Enable as she made a mild move.

Eventually, the result was allowed to stand and trainer Jean-Claude Rouget was able to celebrate his first victory in the Arc.

“It has been difficult managing the races,” Rouget said of Sottsass’ schedule. The colt won the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Chantilly in June but then was second in a Group 3 event at Deauville and fourth in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown before the Arc run.

“He took the lead in the last furlong and had no problem to finish,” the trainer said.

It was a bitter end for Enable’s rider Frankie Dettori, who has made no secret of his love for the mare.

“She hated the ground,” Dettori said of the saturated turf. “I knew my fate at the 400 [meters]. She’s the queen of my heart, anyway.”

The Arc generally was presumed to be Enable’s last race and her owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah, was given full marks for keeping her in training at age 6. Before the race, racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe called out that assumption, saying, “Whether it’s her last race, that’s up to Prince Khalid to decide. We don’t know.”

In 2018, Enable went from her second Arc victory to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, where she won a classic confrontation with the O’Brien-trained filly Magical. Sunday’s renewal was a “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland Nov. 7.

Sunday’s race also could have been the swan song for Stradivarius, Europe’s pre-eminent stayer over three seasons.

The 6-year-old son of Sea the Stars was shortened up from marathon distances this year specifically to tackle the Arc and had every chance in the stretch, racing alongside Enable. But he could not find the needed turn of foot and finished seventh.

Japan’s faint hope to win an Arc, Deirdre, was away slowly and finished eighth.

Also on the Arc program:

Tarnawa rallied steadily outside the leaders through the final 100 meters of the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera Longines for fillies and mares and was just along to win by a short neck from the favorite, Alpine Star.

Audarya was another 3/4 length back in third. The non-runners in this due to the feed debacle included Fancy Blue, a 3-year-old filly by the late Japanese sire Deep Impact.

Fancy Blue, trained by Donnacha O’Brien, earlier landed the Group 1 Prix de Diane Longines at Chantilly and the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

The late changes benefitted Tarnawa, an Aga Khan homebred daughter of Shamardal. The 4-year-old filly improved to 3-for-3 on the season, backing up her win in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Vermille a month earlier. She earned a “Win and You’re In” entry to the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf.

Wooded won a spirited stretch battle with the favorite Glass Slippers in the 5-furlongs Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Longines, prevailing by a neck with Liberty Beach along for third.

Wooded, a 3-year-old filly by Wootton Bassett, came to the race on the back of a second-place finish in the Group 3 Qatar Prix Petit Couvert and won for just the third time in nine starts.

Battaash was ruled out of the race early in the week because of the heavy ground. The race was a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

One Master got by the favorite, Earthlight, well within the final 100 meters of the 7-furlongs Group 1 Qatar Prix de la Foret, winning by a neck over that rival. Safe Voyage was third.

It was the third straight Foret win for One Master, a 6-year-old mare by Fastnet Rock. She went on from the 2018 win to finish fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs and followed the 2019 win with a second in the Group 1 Qipco British Champion Sprint.

Lope y Fernandez and Speak in Colours were late withdrawals from the Foret.

Sealiway dashed away late in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere for 2-year-olds, winning by 8 lengths over the favorite, Nando Parrado. Laws of Indices was third in the race, which missed intended Irish starter St Mark’s Basilica.

Sealiway, a Galiway colt trained by Frederick Rossi, produced his fourth win from six starts. He reported second in a Group 3 prep for Sunday’s race. The victory earned a “Win and You’re In” spot for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Nov. 6 at Keeneland.

In the Group 1 Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac for 2-year-old fillies, Jessica Marcialis became the first female jockey to ride a Group 1 winner in France as she guided Tiger Tanaka to a 3/4-lengths win over Tasmania.

Tiger Tanaka, a Clodovil filly, broke well and raced patiently behind the leading quartet. Marcialis produced her down the center of the course through the final 200 meters and she finished strongly enough to show promise at distances longer than this 1 mile.

Now a Group 1 winner with six wins from seven starts and a “Win and You’re In” ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, she started her career in the claiming ranks. Tiger Tanaka was the fictional head of the Japanese Secret Service in the James Bond novel You Only Live Twice.



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Watch: Andy Dalton suffers concussion in Cowboys’ loss to Washington

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Oct. 25 (UPI) — Already without starter Dak Prescott due to a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle, backup quarterback Andy Dalton was knocked out of the Dallas Cowboys‘ 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team on Sunday because of a concussion.

Dalton, who was making his second start in place of the injured Prescott, took a violent hit to the helmet from Washington linebacker Jon Bostic as he slid to the turf with under seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. Officials ejected Bostic for the illegal hit to the head of Dalton, who went straight to the locker room for further examination.

Before the injury, Dalton completed 9 of 19 pass attempts for 75 yards and an interception. He was sacked three times and lost a fumble on the Cowboys’ first possession, which resulted in a safety. Third-stringer Ben DiNucci replaced Dalton in the matchup.

A team spokesman told ESPN that Dalton was alert and in “good spirits” following the hit, and he will be flying home with the team. If Dalton is unable to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol by next week, DiNucci would get the start.

After the game, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said he was unhappy with the passive reaction teammates had to Bostic’s hit.

“We speak all the time about playing for one another, protecting one another,” McCarthy said. “It definitely was not the response you would expect.”

Washington finished with 208 rushing yards in the win over Dallas, including Antonio Gibson’s 128 yards and one score on 20 carries. Kyle Allen completed 15 of 25 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns.

The Cowboys (2-5) are set to play the Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1) next Sunday, while Washington (2-5) will take on the New York Giants (1-6).

This week in the National Football League

Philadelphia Eagles’ Boston Scott (L) makes the 18-yard, game-winning touchdown catch at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Thursday, to defeat the New York Giants 22-21. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo



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UFC 254: Khabib Nurmagomedov beats Justin Gaethje, announces retirement

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Oct. 24 (UPI) — Khabib Nurmagomedov, while fighting with a broken foot, submitted Justin Gaethje via triangle choke during the second round in the main event of UFC 254 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

It was Nurmagomedov’s first bout since his father and head coach, Abdulmanap, died in July from COVID-19 complications. After the fight, an emotional Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.

The 32-year-old Nurmagomedov said his mother didn’t want him to continue competing without his father. He told her his fight against Gaethje would be his final.

“I want to say this was my last fight,” Nurmagomedov said. “… I promised her this was going to be my last fight. If I give my word, I have to follow this. … It was my father’s dream.”

Nurmagomedov put the final touches on his MMA career as he took Gaethje down and locked in the triangle choke to make him go unconscious at one minute, 34 seconds of the second round. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Nurmagomedov’s submission finish was only the third ever in UFC title history.

Nurmagomedov’s win unified the UFC lightweight title. Nurmagomedov entered as the UFC lightweight champion, and Gaethje was the interim titleholder.

“I know he made his father so proud,” Gaethje said.

Nurmagomedov (29-0) went into the fight undefeated. The victory ties him with B.J. Penn and Benson Henderson for the most title defenses in UFC lightweight history (three).

Nurmagomedov, a native of Dagestan in Russia, also improved his record to 13-0 in the UFC, becoming only the second fighter after Anderson Silva to begin a UFC career with 13 consecutive wins.

“What this guy has been through, we’re all lucky that we got to see him fight [Saturday],” UFC president Dana White said. “… Apparently, he was in the hospital and he broke his foot three weeks ago. So he has two broken toes and a bone in his foot that’s broken. That’s what his corner told me.

“He’s the toughest human being on the planet. He’s the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.”

Gaethje (22-3) was on a four-fight winning streak going into the bout against Nurmagomedov. He beat Tony Ferguson to win the UFC interim lightweight belt at UFC 249 in May.

The fight between Gaethje and Nurmagomedov took place without fans at the Flash Forum on Yas Island, which the UFC has dubbed “Fight Island.”



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World Series: Dodgers top Rays in Game 5, take 3-2 lead

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Oct. 25 (UPI) — The Los Angeles Dodgers grabbed an early three-run lead and held on for a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

With the victory, the Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and sit one win away from their first championship since 1988. Game 6 of the series is Tuesday night.

Corey Seager, the National League Championship Series MVP, continued his red-hot hitting this postseason with a single that scored Mookie Betts in the first inning. A few at-bats later, Cody Bellinger pushed the Dodgers’ lead to 2-0 with an infield single.

Dodgers slugger Joc Pederson led off the second inning with a solo homer to deep center field, giving Los Angeles its early 3-0 advantage.

The Rays’ offense finally got going in the third when Yandy Diaz tripled to right, scoring Kevin Kiermaier. Rookie sensation Randy Arozarena then singled to shallow left to score Diaz from third base to cut the Rays’ deficit to 3-2.

Arozarena’s run-scoring single was his 27th hit in the 2020 playoffs, setting a MLB record for most hits in a single postseason. The 25-year-old star already set the record for most home runs in one postseason (nine) during Game 4 of the series.

In the fifth inning, the Dodgers got a much-needed insurance run when Max Muncy blasted a 434-foot home run to right. The Rays stranded two runners in the eighth and another in the ninth, failing to replicate the miraculous comeback they had in the ninth inning of Game 4.

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw allowed only two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He recorded six strikeouts to become the all-time postseason strikeout king with 207, breaking the record of 205 set last year by the Houston AstrosJustin Verlander.

Blake Treinen shut the door in the ninth for his first career postseason save. He gave up a leadoff single, but settled down with two strikeouts to seal the Dodgers’ win.

Tyler Glasnow gave up all four runs on six hits in five innings for the Rays. He struck out seven batters, but issued three walks. The Rays’ bullpen didn’t allow any hits after Glasnow departed.

The Rays are expected to send ace Blake Snell to the mound in Game 6, while the Dodgers have yet to reveal their starter.



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