In a photo provided by Benoit Photo, Finest City and jockey Kent Desormeaux, right, outleg Lost Bus, left, with Fernando Perez, and Fantastic Style, with Rafael Bejarano, inside, to win the Grade II, $200,000 Great Lady M Stakes horse race Saturday, April
AP Photo
April 23, 2016

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. (AP) 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.

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.''

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