A Florida homebred of Jacks or Better Farm, Bayou’s Lassie's last win was Dec. 20, 2006 in the Frances A. Genter Stakes (gr. III) on the Calder Turf. Off for nearly eight months to begin this year, she was winless in three starts but was close in both of her last two efforts, including a three-quarters length defeat in the Dec. 7 My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT), also on the Calder turf.
In the 1 1/16-mile Stage Door Betty, the 4-year-old filly by Outflanker saved ground fourth in the early going while Amazing Speed led the way. Annabill and Exchanging Fire were just behind Amazing Speed, who set fractions of :24.17 and :48.89 under Carlos Olivero.
Amazing Speed, a Victoria Farm homebred, continued to lead through three-quarters while fighting off Annabill, but Bayou’s Lassie and Elvis Trujillo were hustling up closer. By the time the field of nine hit the top of the stretch Bayou’s Lassie closed to within two lengths. With Amazing Speed on the inside, the pair dueled for the final sixteenth.
Bayou’s Lassie, carrying four pounds less, was just a bit more game, holding her narrow advantage at the wire.
“It got a little bit tight in the first turn," Trujillo said. "A couple of horses went to the lead and a couple others had to steady behind them. My filly usually is right up there with them, but we had to take back a bit also. I moved to the outside to keep her from getting too much dirt kicked in her face since she is more used to running on the turf.
"We had to fight hard in the stretch, but she is competitive and she knows how to win.”
The final time was 1:46.16. Cindy’s Mom rallied to get third, a length in front of Quiet Royal.
Out of the Bayou Hebert mare Bayou Plans, Bayou’s Lassie has been trained by Christophe Clement since coming back from her layoff. Stanley Gold was the previous conditioner.
“She was a little unlucky finishing a close second in her last two starts," Clement said. "She is a very nice filly and obviously can run on turf or dirt. The owner (Fred Brei) knows a lot about his horses and is a pleasure to train for. She’s a graded stakes winner, which will help make sure she gets into the Sunshine Millions, probably the dirt race (Distaff), but I will wait for (Mr. Brei’s) input.”
A winner of six of eight races as a 3-year-old, Bayou’s Lassie has now earned more than $470,000 in 13 lifetime starts. It was her second graded stakes triumph.
Going off as the slight favorite at 2-1, Bayou’s Lassie paid $6, $5.20 and $3.40. The exacta (1-6) with 10-1 Amazing Speed was worth $59, while the trifecta (1-6-7) returned $338.20.