Tu Endie Wei will be the one to catch in the $250,000 Selene Stakes (Can-III), which attracted a field of six 3-year-old fillies to the Polytrack at Woodbine May 13.
The Selene, at 1 1/16 mies, is well placed on the calendar as a main prep for the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser June 3. But just one Ontario-bred is in the field, Dixie Strike. The Florida Oaks winner on grass in February figures to also be a major player in the Selene.
The Selene is race 6 on the Sunday card at Woodbine with an expected post of 3:45 p.m. EDT.
Tu Endie Wei, trained by Reade Baker, is coming off a front-running 5 1/2-length victory in the Star Shoot Stakes in her seasonal bow over six furlongs at Woodbine April 14. Brereton C. Jones' speedy homebred daughter of Johar won the seven-furlong Glorious Song Stakes Nov. 13 in similar style last November by nearly five lengths.
Out of the Indian Charlie mare Ms. Cornstalk, the 1 1/16-mile distance should not be much of an issue. But in her only prior route try, the Kentucky-bred Tu Endie Wei was no factor in the Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland last fall while finishing seventh as the 2-1 favorite.
That is the only loss in five races for the bay filly, all against stakes company. She has won her four starts at Woodbine, including the My Dear in her debut last June and the Ontario Debutante in her second try. James McAleney, who has ridden Tu Endie Wei in each of her starts so far, retains the mount and they will break from post 2.
Dixie Strike, trained by Mark Casse for owner John Oxley, is proven at the distance after finishing second in Princess Elizabeth and winning the Ontario Lassie against Canadian-breds late last year by 5 1/2 lengths.
She began her 2012 campaign with a victory in the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs in her turf debut, then remained on the grass for a third-place effort in the Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park in March. In her most recent start, the Dixie Union miss was fifth in Keeneland's Central Bank Ashland Stakes (gr. I) on Polytrack April 7.
Dixie Strike, with a 3-2-1 record from seven appearances, starts from post 3 with Patrick Husbands aboard.
Shipping in for the Selene is Michael Tabor's Wait Til Dawn, trained by Todd Pletcher. The daughter of Giant's Causeway ran fourth in the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park April 11 following a victory in Tampa's Suncoast Stakes a month earlier.
Debmar Stables' local hope Katie Get Excited brings a two-race win streak into her stakes debut. She took a first-level allowance race at seven furlongs at Woodbine in her first start of the year April 20.
$250,000 Selene Stakes (Can-III, Race 6, 3:45 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/6 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Wait Til Dawn (KY), L Contreras, 117, T A Pletcher
2. Tu Endie Wei (KY), J McAleney, 117, R Baker
3. Dixie Strike (ON), P Husbands, 117, M E Casse
4. Katie Get Excited (KY), J Stein, 115, R Griffith
5. Indyniable (KY), T Pizarro, 115, C Clement
6. Hilda's Legacy (KY), C Fraser, 115, J A Coryat