Lexie Lou wins Dance Smartly Stakes

Lexie Lou wins Dance Smartly Stakes

Michael Burns/Mark O'Neill

Lexie Lou Fights Back to Win Dance Smartly

Five-year-old mare set quick pace in 1 1/8-mile turf stakes July 3 at Woodbine.

Gary Barber’s Lexie Lou set rapid fractions, was collared by two other mares at the top of the stretch, and fought back for a game victory in the $200,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-IIT) July 3 at Woodbine

Video: Dance Smartly S. (G2T)

The 5-year-old Sligo Bay  mare was the first part of an unusual double for trainer Mark Casse; a few seconds after Lexie Lou crossed the line on top, World Approval, a 4-year-old Northern Afleet  gelding he trains for Live Oak Plantation, won the United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park.

BALAN: World Approval Impresses in United Nations

“Right after Lexie Lou got to the wire, World Approval was about 15 yards away from winning the United Nations,” said Casse, who was at Woodbine in Canada. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I’m so proud of both them.”

Lexie Lou, ridden by Patrick Husbands, took advantage early in the 1 1/8-mile Dance Smartly for fillies and mares and ended up flying around the firm turf course. She clicked off fractions of :22.76 for the opening quarter-mile, :45.30 for a half-mile, and 1:08.52 for six furlongs and was followed by The Tea Cups, Secret Action, and Nakuti.

As the field turned for home, Strut the Course and Nakuti appeared to engulf the leader, but Lexie Lou fought back to win by 1 1/4 lengths over favored Strut the Course, who finished a nose ahead of Nikuti in third. Heath was fourth.

The final time was a rapid 1:44.89 after one mile was covered in 1:32.55. Lexie Lou returned $8.60 to win as the second choice in a field of 11.

Lexie Lou, the 2014 Canadian Horse of the Year, was reportedly “crabby” the morning of Dance Smartly. But Husbands said the filly was “awesome” in the post parade, and “when they got to her (in the stretch), she came home.”

“She’s in a groove,” Casse said. “It’s not any different with Tepin or Catch a Glimpse. When they’re going good, you run them.”

Lexie Lou, bred in Ontario by Paradox Farm out of the In Excess mare Oneexcessivenite, now has nine wins in 23 starts for earnings in excess of $1.7 million. She finished 10th in the Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park in her previous start June 11, but before that captured the one-mile Nassau Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine.

Her only other victory at 1 1/8 miles came in the 2014 Queen’s Plate, in which she defeated males on the former Polytrack surface at Woodbine.