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.”
SHELBYVILLE, Ind. — Irap won the $500,000 Indiana Derby by five lengths over Colonelsdarkemper, owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt.
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Irap ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.21 on Saturday night at Indiana Grand. He paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60 in the Grade 3 race for 3-year-olds. Irap is trained by Southern California-based Doug O’Neill.
Colonelsdarktemper returned $9.60 and $5.80, while Untrapped was another length back in third and paid $2.80 to show.
Foyt is in Toronto for this weekend’s IndyCar race, so he sent grandson A.J. Foyt IV to the track outside Indianapolis.
“He’s always shown a lot of heart and he showed it tonight,” the younger Foyt said about the colt. “He ran a great race.”
The younger Foyt works in the Indianapolis Colts’ front office. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, where his father Tony trained horses.
“Horse racing holds a special place in my heart, and I’m glad my grandfather still has it going on,” A.J. IV said.
STANTON, Del. — Songbird turned back a determined challenge from Martini Glass through the stretch to win the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap by a length Saturday.
The 1-9 favorite covered 10 furlongs in 2:03.96 to earn her 13th win in 14 career races and raise her career earnings past $4.5 million.
With regular rider Mike Smith aboard, Songbird went right to the front at start of 1 1/4-mile fixture and set moderate fractions but never was able to shake Martini Glass and jockey Jose Ferrer.
After Martini Glass ranged to the outside, Smith was forced to go a stiff left-hand stick through the final furlong.
Line of Best Fit finished third, two lengths behind Martini Glass.
Songbird owner Rick Porter, who’s battling cancer, was among those in attendance at Delaware Park.
Songbird paid $2.10 across the board.