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FUNABASHI, Chiba Pref. — No Christmas cheer awaited this year’s superstar Deep Impact on Sunday, at least not in the form of an Arima Kinen victory and its 180-million yen winner’s bounty.

Instead, this year’s Triple Crown champion was handed the first defeat of his career, a loss by half a length to Japan Cup runnerup and race fourth pick Heart’s Cry. Sixth-choice Lincoln and 10th-pick Cosmo Bulk finished in third and fourth place, respectively.

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