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.”