'Relaxed' Azeri Tunes Up for Vanity Defense

'Relaxed' Azeri Tunes Up for Vanity Defense
Photo: AP/Benoit
Azeri goes for ten in a row Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Azeri, reigning Horse of the Year, seeks her 10th straight victory in defense of honors in the $250,000 Vanity Handicap (gr. I) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles Saturday at Hollywood Park.

"She worked a very, very relaxed 1:01," said trainer Laura de Seroux of a five-furlong drill Saturday at San Luis Rey Downs. "She went the first eighth in 12 and four-fifths, and clicked off eighths in 11 and change the rest of the way."

The 5-year-old mare drilled under regular work rider Brian Eide and will be shipped to Hollywood Park on Tuesday.

"I knew after the Milady that she would settle down," said de Seroux. "She had relaxed more in her morning gallops."

Azeri was assigned high weight of127 pounds on Sunday by the racing office.

She won the Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) in her last start at Hollywood on May 24 under 125 pounds and seeks to become the first repeat winner in the Vanity in 23 years. That was last accomplished by It's In The Air in 1980.

In the 61-year history of the race, only It's In The Air, Convenience (1972-73) and Annie Lu-San (1957-58) have won it twice. Azeri will carry the most weight of a Vanity winner since champion Paseana won in 1992 under 127. The most weight ever carried by a Vanity winner was 131 by champion Gamely in 1968.

A field of five appears probable: Azeri, Mike Smith 127; Bare Necessities, Alex Solis, 118; Keys To The Heart, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 112; Sister Girl Blues, Patrick Valenzuela, 110, and Tropical Blossom, no rider, 110.

Keys To The Heart, winner of the Hawthorne Handicap and fourth-place finisher in the Milady, worked five furlongs in 1:03.20 at Hollywood Sunday for trainer Beau Greely.

Trainer Wally Dollase, who will send out Sixty Sails Handicap winner Bare Necessities in quest of her fourth straight victory, is also considering American Czarina (111), whose status will be clarified following a work on Monday.

Also weighted was Enjoy (114), Milady runner-up and a Vanity possible.

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