Updated on 09/17/2011 10:47AM

Extra weight can't stop Azeri

Azeri runs her winning streak to 10 with a two-length win in Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The winning streak and impressive performances continue for Azeri.

The latest conquest for the 2002 Horse of the Year came in Saturday's $250,000 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park. Azeri easily beat six rivals and stretched her unbeaten streak to 10 while carrying a career-high 127 pounds.

With an ultra-confident ride from jockey Mike Smith, Azeri won by two lengths, finishing 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.48. She became the fourth two-time winner of the Vanity, and first to successfully defend her title since It's in the Air (1979-80).

The win left Smith and trainer Laura de Seroux convinced that the 5-year-old Azeri is in the best form of her remarkable career, which includes 13 wins in 14 starts and earnings of $2,804,820 for the Allen Paulson Living Trust.

"She is so calm now," de Seroux said. "This bodes well for her longevity and her streak. She was dead calm in the paddock and post parade."

Carrying topweight equal to her highest assignment of 2002 (the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap last October), Azeri was always near the front in the Grade 1 Vanity.

Sister Girl Blues, second in the 2002 Hollywood Oaks, led early, setting fractions of 23.86 and 47.31 seconds. Azeri, racing outside of Sister Girl Blues, was within a half-length on the first turn and led briefly on the backstretch until jockey Goncalino Almeida urged Sister Girl Blues back in front.

The pair were separated by a head after six furlongs in 1:10.66.

"On the backstretch, she was pricking her ears like she was saying, Tell me when," Smith told owner Mike Paulson and de Seroux in the winner's circle.

In the final five-eighths, Azeri was never farther than a neck behind Sister Girl Blues. She took the lead for good in early stretch.

"I wanted to stay with Gonzo as long as I could," Smith said. "If I won by 5 then what?" "You'll get another pound. I wanted to cut it close, but not be stupid.

"In the last sixteenth, I asked her, just to get her going. The most impressive part of the race was the gallop out. She took off. The outrider had to pick me up."

Sister Girl Blues, who has yet to win a stakes, held second. The winner of a first-condition allowance race on May 22, she carried 111 pounds.

"She was courageous," trainer Terry Knight said. "We told Goncalino to ride aggressively. He rode a great race. She gave us a lot of weight, but coming from a one-other-than to take her on, we couldn't be happier."

Bare Necessities, who had won three consecutive stakes, finished third, followed by Tropical Blossom, Keys to the Heart, Meguial and American Czarina.

Wally Dollase, who trains Bare Necessities, approached the race realistically. He said he was satisfied that Bare Necessities finished third.

"We got our Grade 1 placing," Dollase said. "This is a filly that could be Horse of the Year two years in a row."