07/05/2003 11:00PM

Sarah Nelson defeats Black Ruby

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PLEASANTON, Calif. - World champion mule Black Ruby suffered one of

the worst losses in her career when she ran third behind Sarah Nelson and

Smoking Joe in the $10,250 Pleasanton Mule Championship Stakes at the Alameda

County Fair on Sunday.

Sarah Nelson ($4.40) was the second choice in the wagering behind

even-money favorite Black Ruby in the 400-yard race. She broke on top and led all

the way, beating Smoking Joe by one-half length. Smoking Joe, a 4-year-old

like the winner, was 1 1/2 lengths in front of the 11-year-old Black Ruby, who

was one-half length in front of archrival Taz.

It was the first time Black Ruby has run third since 1998 and only the

second time she has been worse than second since 1997.