Updated on 09/17/2011 5:42PM

Musical Chimes victorious in Oak Tree

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Musical Chimes (center) wins Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Kent Desormeaux went into the Hall of Fame earlier this year, but he hasn't stopped putting up Hall-of-Fame rides. His daring and skill, combined with the tenaciousness of Musical Chimes, enabled the 4-year-old filly to defeat males in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 , a performance that should earn Musical Chimes a trip to the Breeders' Cup.

Desormeaux made the difference. In a thrilling, five-horse battle to the wire, Musical Chimes defeated Buckland Manor by a nose, with 3-2 favorite Singletary another nose back in third. Gondolieri missed by a half-length, and a very unlucky Tsigane finished fifth after getting stopped at mid-stretch.

Musical Chimes ($10) was timed in 1:33.29 for one mile on firm turf.

Desormeaux settled Musical Chimes into third place during the early going. As the field neared the top of the stretch, he angled Musical Chimes outside the leaders, and subtly but effectively floated Singletary wider still.

Desormeaux then straightened Musical Chimes and closed the door on Tsigane, who was attempting to extricate himself from the rail under Jose Valdivia Jr.

Now it was up to Musical Chimes, and she was up to the task. With Desormeaux whipping with his right hand, encouraging her further with his left boot, and screaming encouragement, Musical Chimes stuck her nose in front in the shadow of the wire to prevail.

"She stayed tenacious," Desormeaux said. "That was what we needed."

Neil Drysdale chose the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile after Musical Chimes missed the previous weekend's prep races with some mucus in her respiratory system. Now, he and Allen Kershaw, who represents owner Maktoum al Maktoum, must decide where to run in the Breeders' Cup on Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park.

There are three options. The Filly and Mare Turf, at 1 3/8 miles, is beyond what Drysdale thinks is ideal for Musical Chimes, but it is restricted to females. The Distaff is also restricted to females, and the 1 1/8 miles is suitable, but it would mean moving Musical Chimes to dirt for the first time. The Mile is an ideal distance, but Musical Chimes would have to face males. Then again, she already proved she could do it Saturday, so that might make the most sense.

Singletary is headed to the Mile, trainer Don Chatlos Jr. said. The favorite was farther off the pace than usual, but finished with determination.

"I didn't expect him to be that far back, but I wanted him to finish. I didn't want him to fight for the lead and die," Chatlos said. "That'll set him up perfect."