02/16/2013 1:16PM

Australia: Black Caviar sets course record in return to the races

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The Australian sprinter Black Caviar keeps finding ways to amaze.

Stretching her unbeaten streak to 23 races, Black Caviar won her first start since June in Saturday’s Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington Racecourse, running 1,000 meters, or about five furlongs, in course record time of 55.42 seconds.

Ridden by regular rider Luke Nolen, Black Caviar ($2.10 in American pools) was prominent from the start in the race over a straightaway. She was in command midway through the race, and cruised clear of her seven rivals to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

Black Caviar is trained by Peter Moody, who swept the first three positions with Moment of Change and Golden Archer.

A 7-year-old Australian-bred mare by Bel Esprit, Black Caviar has won 13 Group 1 races, and won the Lightning Stakes for the third consecutive year. This year’s running was the first named in her honor.

“It could be her best career performance, given the time she ran,” Moody told the Australian press.

Owned by a partnership, Black Caviar won the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last June, her only start outside of Australia. Her next race could be the Group 1 William Reid Stakes over six furlongs at Moonee Valley on March 15.

Black Caviar was the subject of several mighty gambles in Australia, with bookmakers recording one bet of $515,000 at odds of 1-10.