03/09/2008 12:00AM

Hystericalady wins Azeri BC at Oaklawn

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Hystericalady established herself as a top contender for next month’s Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park by taking down the local prep for the race, the Grade 3, $175,000 Azeri Breeders’ Cup, by 3 1/2 lengths Sunday. Brownie Points finished second, a length and a quarter in front of Clever Strike.

The Azeri was Hystericalady’s second start of the year, and after breaking with the field she tracked pacesetter Clever Strike through fractions of 23.87 seconds for the opening quarter and 48.27 for a half-mile. Hystericalady moved to the lead midway on the final turn, was asked for run after straightening up for home, then went on when Kettleoneup, who finished fourth, and Brownie Points made bids in the lane. Hystericalady covered the mile and a sixteenth on a fast track in 1:43.86. She paid $3.40 as the favorite in the five-horse field.

"This was a nice field, but when they got close she kicked in and was still going strong at the end," said Robby Albarado, who rode Hystericalady for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Hollendorfer said Hystericalady will now be considered for the Apple Blossom, to be run on April 5. Hystericalady, who was the runner-up in last year’s Breeders' Cup Distaff, had raced once since then, finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap at Santa Anita.

She earned $105,000 for the win Sunday, which was her 8th from 17 starts. Hystericalady has now earned $1,278,503. She is a 5-year-old mare by Distorted Humor and she races for Rancho San Miguel, George Todaro, William Clark, and Hollendorfer.