Ryan Fogelsonger had the 5-year-old daughter of Crypto Star in front of her six rivals a dozen strides after the start of the nine-furlong test. After passing the first quarter mile marker in a leisurely 25.09 seconds and leading by 2 1/2 lengths, the race was as good as over. Lexi Star circled the Laurel Park inner rail at a steady clip and drew away to win by 6 1/4 lengths in 1:51.27. It’s True Love and Oliver Castillo chased the favorite to no avail and settled for second money. Raging Rapids struggled down the lane to nip Katie’s Love and take third.
“She does it a lot easier right now,” Fogelsonger said. “It worked out after the first quarter. I knew I had it in about 25, and I figured now we just have to hold on and she did it pretty easily. I gave her a little encouragement at the top of the stretch. I just wanted to keep her mind focused after not seeing anybody the whole race, and she did it fine.”
Lexi Star won the Nellie Morse Stakes in Maryland on Jan. 27 under Fogelsonger for trainer Chris Grove. She won her first stakes race in the Just A Kiss Stakes at Delaware. The win marked her seventh triumph in fourteen starts and the $60,000 first place purse boosted her career mark to $299,420.
“Prior to the Delaware win, there was something about her being a bad luck horse,” Grove said. “She’s just got a different attitude.”
Lexi Star paid $4.80, $3, and $2.20. The exacta with It's True Love ($3.40, $2.60) paid $11.80 and the triple with Raging Rapids ($2.8) third, came back $26.20.
Prior to the race, the Maryland Racing Media Association honored owner/trainer King Leatherbury and Ah Day, who was the recipient of the group's Maryland-based horse-of-the-year award for 2006. As a 3-year-old, the son of Malibu Moon won seven of 15 races a year ago, including six stakes, with 12 in the money finishes for $455,560.