Lexie Lou, Canada’s 2014 Horse of the Year, thrilled a hometown crowd with a 12-1 upset in Sunday’s $230,800 Grade II Nassau Stakes, at Woodbine.
Under regular pilot Patrick Husbands, who guided the filly to a famous Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate double in 2014, Lexie Lou stalked the early foot of Moon Rainbow and stablemate Mississippi Delta before being set down for a thrilling stretch run to notch a 3/4-length win.
“She’s a funny filly,” said Husbands. “You’ve got to play with her mind. You’ve got to let her do what she wants to do. Last time when I rode her, nobody wanted the lead, and she took the lead and quit. She’s happy to be back home. She’s a nice filly. She’s a little champion.”
Trained by Mark Casse for owner Gary Barber, the now five-year-old Sligo Bay mare last won on October 25, 2014 when taking the one mile Grade III Autumn Miss Stakes on the Santa Anita turf. She arrived at Sunday’s one-turn mile over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course from a third-place effort in a main track allowance tilt, well back of Nassau rivals Strut the course and Moon Rainbow.
Moon Rainbow set splits of :23.07 and :45.26 in the Nassau under pressure from Mississippi Delta as Lexie Lou tracked from third position just in front of Fuscetta. Stormy Victoria, the 7-5 mutuel favourite off a stylish allowance win at Belmont Park, was away slowly and settled well back of the leaders beside the 5-2 second choice, Strut the Course.
Moon Rainbow led the field to the turn but the Casse entrants wore the Sam-Son Farms homebred down as Mississippi Delta emerged with the lead at the top of the lane. That lead was short lived with Mississippi Delta being overtaken by an energetic Lexie Lou in the final sixteenth en route to a first win on home turf since her three-length score in the Wonder Where Stakes, third leg of the filly Triple Tiara, on August 10, 2014. Mississippi Delta held on for place by a neck over a rallying Strut the Course, who made up a significant amount of ground in the stretch. Lexie Lou covered the mile in 1:32.98 over a firm turf course.
Lexie Lou, bred in Ontario by Paradox Farm, banked $144,000 in victory while improving her record to 8-4-4 from 21 starts.
She paid $26.50, $9.20 and $5.10, combining with Mississippi Delta ($7, $4.60) for a $136.50 (6-1) exactor. A 6-1-10 triactor (Strut the Course, $2.80 to show) was worth $548.40, while a $1 Superfecta [6-1-10-8 (Moon Rainbow)] came back $1168.05. Academic was scratched.