LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — Finest City caught the pacesetters nearing the finish line and went on to a 1 1/4-length victory in the $200,690 Great Lady M. Stakes for fillies and mares Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Finest City ran 6 1/2 furlongs in a track-record 1:14.48, bettering the mark of 1:14.60 set by Patriots Rule in the E.B. Johnston Stakes on Sept. 5, 2014. The 4-year-old filly paid $19.60, $5.60 and $4 at 8-1 odds.
Defending champion Fantastic Style returned $2.40 and $2.10 as the 1-2 favorite. Lost Bus was another head back in third and paid $3 to show.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Fantastic Style had a 1 1/2-length lead with an eighth of a mile to go in the Grade 2 race. The 4-year-old filly has yet to finish worse than third in eight career races. She had won three in a row coming in.
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Desormeaux rode four winners on the card. He was aboard Finest City for the first time.
“I was elated the way she went to the post like a real professional, then went to school when she got to the gate,” he said. “Even though she has a lot of speed, she was able to relax perfectly.”
Finest City has three wins in 10 career starts and earnings of $275,594. Ian Kruljac, the 27-year-old trainer of Finest City, earned the biggest win of his career.
“I thought we could win because she is all heart and I really didn’t think we had seen her best yet,” he said. “All I told (Desormeaux) before the race was, `Good luck.’ You don’t really tell a Hall of Famer how to do their job.”
ARCADIA, Calif. — Lady Eli won the $300,000 Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares by a half-length at Santa Anita, ending a two-race skid as the heavy 3-5 favorite.
Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Lady Eli ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:45.29 on Saturday.
Goodyearforroses was second, followed by Avenge, Mokat and Pretty Girl.
Lady Eli paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10. All but $18,388 of the total show pool of $315,505 was wagered on her in the Grade 1 race.
The 5-year-old dark brown mare has eight wins in 11 career starts and has never finished worse than second for New York-based trainer Chad Brown, who won the Preakness with Cloud Computing last weekend.
Lady Eli was coming off two close losses: by a nose in the Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland in April and by a head in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf last November.
NEW YORK — Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming will skip the Belmont Stakes next month after finishing eighth in the Preakness.
Trainer Todd Pletcher says the 3-year-old colt will be pointed toward either the $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 29 or the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 30, according to the Daily Racing Form.
Trainer Chad Brown says he will wait until after the Memorial Day weekend to announce where Preakness winner Cloud Computing will run next. However, it appears unlikely he will run in the Belmont.
The Belmont field is limited to 16 starters. Besides Classic Empire, who came in second at the Preakness Stakes, other horses expected to run are Conquest Mo Money, Japan-based Epicharis, Gormley, Irap, J Boys Echo, Lookin At Lee, Meantime, Multiple, Patch, Senior Investment, Tapwrit, True Timber and Twisted Tom. Other possibilities are Irish War Cry and Hollywood Handsome.