Updated on 09/16/2011 7:27AM

Azeri takes Milady


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The gap is widening between Azeri and the other older fillies and mare racing on dirt in California.

On Saturday, Azeri won her third consecutive Grade 1 in the $211,400 at Hollywood Park. Ridden by Mike Smith, Azeri finished 3 1-2 lengths in front of Affluent. In their last meeting, the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 6, there was 1 3-4 lengths separating the two.

In the Milady, Azeri, the 122-pound highweight, led throughout, setting fractions of 23.42 and 46.46 seconds. She led by a length on the backstretch over Ask Me No Secrets and pulled clear through the stretch, finishing 1 1-16 miles in 1:42.02.

"That was everything because she has natural speed," trainer Laura de Seroux said of the tactics. "I didn't feel like she had to have a target. Mike rode it the way it came up, which I what I wanted him to do."

Affluent, who carried 119 pounds, closed from last. She finished four lengths in front of 21-1 Collect Call, who was followed by Elaine's Angel and Ask Me No Secrets.

Azeri began her current winning streak in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap at Santa Anita in March. Owned by Allen Paulson Living Trust, the 4-year-old Azeri has won 6 of 7 starts and $727,240.

The race was marred by a serious injury suffered by Cashmina, who was stakes-placed at Santa Anita. She was pulled up at the five-eighths pole with a fractured cannon bone and sesamoid of the right foreleg.