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SportsHorseracing

Uncle Mo takes Champagne at Belmont

Uncle Mo, the 1-5 favorite, rolled to a 4 3/4-length win over Mountain Town in the $300,000 Champagne Stakes for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park Saturday.

Unbeaten in two starts, Uncle Mo has emerged as a leading contender for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile next month at Churchill Downs. John Velazquez was aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher as Uncle Mo led all the way. The time was 1:34.51 for the mile.

"The sky's the limit," Pletcher said. "I don't see how a horse could start a career more impressively than he has. His times have been exceptionally fast; he gets stronger as he goes along. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile would be the obvious goal."

Earlier on the card, A Z Warrior ($9.80), trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Alan Garcia, beat 9-5 favorite R Heat Lightning by 13/4 lengths in the $300,000 Frizette for 2-year-old fillies.

Gio Ponti cinches BC spot

Dual Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti, trained by Christophe Clement, secured a spot in the Breeders' Cup, winning the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, the champion gained control late under jockey Ramon Dominguez to beat Society's Chairman by a length.

One race earlier, J.B.'s Thunder led a well-matched field of 11 juveniles nearly gate to wire in the $400,000 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity, but is only "50-50" to make the Breeders' Cup despite his automatic berth, according to trainer Al Stall Jr. J.B.'s Thunder ($13.60), ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, covered 11/16 miles in 1:44.12.

Also at Keeneland, Juddmonte Farms' Proviso earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Mile, beating C.S. Silk by a half-length in the $400,000 Abu Dhabi First Lady Stakes. Proviso ($4.60), trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Mike Smith, ran a mile in 1:34.81.

West Coast preps

Smiling Tiger ($9.20), trained by Jeff Bonde and ridden by Russell Baze, held off Supreme Summit by a half length in the $250,000 Ancient Title at Hollywood Park, a prep for the Breeders' Cup Sprint next month. Smiling Tiger covered 6 furlongs in 1:09.37. Earlier on the Oak Tree at Hollywood card, Liberian Freighter, at 22-1, nosed out Colgan's Chip in the Grade II Oak Tree Mile on turf.

Etched rules on Jersey Shore

Etched ($16.20) held off favored Musket Man by a neck in the $300,000 Monmouth Cup at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Eddie Castro, the 5-year-old horse covered 11/8 miles on a fast track in 1:50.31. Etched has seven victories in nine starts.- AP

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