Queen's Plate winner Lexie Lou made a smooth transition to the turf Aug. 10 at Woodbine with an impressive three-length victory as the odds-on choice in the $227,825 Wonder Where Stakes (VIDEO).
With Patrick Husbands back aboard the filly for the final jewel of the Canadian Triple Tiara for 3-year-old fillies, Lexie Lou completed a sweep of Sunday's stakes events at Woodbine for trainer Mark Casse, whose Kaigun captured the Play the King Stakes (Can-IIT) earlier on the card.
Lexie Lou, owned by Gary Barber, has now won three of Woodbine's major races for 3-year-olds consecutively, romping in the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser in June prior to handily taking the Queen's Plate over males July 6.
Casse and Barber elected to skip the Prince of Wales, second jewel of Canada's Triple Crown, contested on dirt at Fort Erie, and run in the Wonder Where with an eye to autumn time grass racing.
The winning daughter of Sligo Bay completed the 1 1/4-mile journey in 2:00.90, with 22-1 Skylander Girl second and 40-1 Lapsang third.
"When I worked her 12 days ago, I told Mark she's a different horse on the turf," Husbands said. "She's probably 20 lengths better, but the only problem is I didn't know how I was going to get her to shut off."
Lexie Lou broke alertly before settling into a ground-saving trip fourth as Skylander Girl and Hantaloop vied for the early advantage with Fancy Ribbons stalking on the outside. Deliberate fractions of :25.29, :48.61, and 1:12.39 ensued as Lexi Lou remained comfortably in contention along the inside before angling out a bit leaving the turn.
Skylander Girl reached the quarter pole in 1:36.55 and inched away to lead by 2 1/2 lengths off the final turn as Lexi Lou took aim at the front-runner. Lexie Lou, given a couple of left-handed whacks by Husbands, took over approaching midstretch and was in command to the wire while taken in hand late.
Lexie Lou posted her sixth win from 13 lifetime appearances while extending her earnings to $1,309,353.
Purchased privately by Barber this spring and turned over to Casse, Lexie Lou ran for owner/trainer John Ross, earning $310,244 as a 2-year-old with three victories in eight starts. A $5,577 purchase by Ross at the 2012 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario Division) Canadian-bred yearling sale, the bay filly was sold to Barber after her first race this year, a fourth-place finish in the listed Star Shoot Stakes.
Barber had an early inkling that she could run on turf.
"I saw her race against Zensational Bunny (in the Star Shoot) and she galloped out like a monster," Barber said. "I said 'Wow'. I watched it three or four times over, called Mark, who was at the sales, and told him this filly could move up on the turf. She's bred for it, yet she's doing so well on synthetics. She was worth (going after) and the rest is history."
Paradox Farm bred the winner in Ontario out of the winning In Excess mare Oneexcessivenite.
Under equal weights of 121 pounds, Lexie Lou paid $2.90, $2.20, and $2.10 as the 2-5 pick in her turf debut. Skylander Girl, with Emile Ramsammy aboard, returned $8.20 and $5.50, rounding out a $29.30 exacta. Lapsang and Jesse Campbell were 6 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up. paying $9.60 to show and completing a $242.30 trifecta.
Fancy Ribbons was put up to fourth on the disqualification of Llanarmon, who was placed seventh for interference in the stretch. The official order had Hantaloop in fifth, followed by Regal Conqueror, Llanarmon, and Chique to Chique.