Racing: Millions lost on a nose

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The Independent Online
IT WAS the most expensive nose job in history when Real Quiet was prevented from becoming the first horse since Affirmed 20 years ago to land the Triple Crown in America - the party-pooper Victory Gallop got on up on the line to deny the bay's connections a $5m (pounds 3.2m) payday.

Victory Gallop gained revenge for its losses in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness to make the loudest of noises and produce an inspired burst to beat Real Quiet by the shortest of noses in the Belmont Stakes in New York.

Victory Gallop was ridden by Gary Stevens, who experienced the agony that Real Quiet's jockey, Kent Desormeaux, felt when finishing second on Silver Charm last year to miss out on the Treble. Three furlongs out Desormeaux looked certain to win on Real Quiet before Stevens produced the surge to deny history. "I felt it [victory] for a moment. I might have moved a little prematurely," Desormeaux said.

For Real Quite's trainer, Bob Baffert, who trained Silver Charm, it was another tale of glory and misery. "I guess we're going to have to do it again," he said. They had to settle for $200,000 instead of the $5m bonus offered by a credit card company for any horse who could win the three races.

Today at Chantilly, Zainta will take on 10 rivals when she bids to give the Aga Khan a second straight win in the Prix de Diane Hermes (French Oaks). The unbeaten filly faces a rematch with Loving Claim who chased her home in the Prix Saint-Alary, the premier French Oaks trial, at Longchamp last time out.

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