John C. Oxley’s Dixie Strike returned to winning form with an impressive rally up the rail to overtake Tu Endie Wei in Sunday’s Grade 3 $280,000 Selene Stakes, at Woodbine.
The Dixie Union-Noble Strike bay, bred in Ontario at Arosa Farms, raced from off-the-pace in the early going as Tu Endie Wei made the half in :49.29 with Wait Til Dawn on her flank.
Tu Endie Wei maintained a narrow lead into the far turn as Patrick Husbands urged Dixie Strike along the rail and into contention, putting away the leader at the eighth pole and coasted home a three and three-quarter length winner. Tu Endie Wei held on for second, two and a quarter lengths in front of a closing Katie Get Excited. Dixie Strike covered a mile and a sixteenth in 1:43.79.
Dixie Strike, who was third in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream Park and fifth in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland in her last two starts, was ridden confidently by Husbands in the Selene.
“I gunned her away (from the starting gate), and then she wasn’t comfortable,” said Husbands. “I just left her alone, and she got her legs together. She showed me that she was the best today.”
The Mark Casse trainee was named the Queen’s Plate Winterbook favourite in March following a sharp score in the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs. With her return to winning form in the Selene, Dixie Strike will now be amongst the favourites for the Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser, which will be held on Sunday, June 3, and the Queen’s Plate, which will be held on Sunday, June 24.
She returned $9.40, $3.30 and $2.70, combining with Tu Endie Wei ($2.40, $2.10) for a $17.80 exactor. Katie Get Excited ($3.90) rounded out a triactor worth $63.30.