Lexie Lou turned the tables on Princess Elizabeth Stakes champ Paladin Bay with a powerful front-running performance to capture Sunday’s $125,000 South Ocean Stakes, at Woodbine.
Lexie Lou, owned and trained by John Ross, arrived at the 1 1/16-mile ‘Poly’ stake off a length loss to Paladin Bay in the $250,000 Princess Elizabeth with a similar pacesetting trip.
However, in the South Ocean, the bay daughter of Sligo Bay had plenty left in the tank after setting splits of :24.61, :48.46 and 1:12.58 under Gary Boulanger to notch a three-length win in a final running time of 1:44.70.
Paladin Bay, sent to post as the 8-5 favourite, raced outside from fifth-position down the backstretch and rallied through the far turn along with Flipcup but neither could reel in the winner with Paladin Bay earning the place position.
Boulanger credits an early move as the difference maker.
“Nobody wanted to go and she has great tactical speed. The difference today is that with three and a half furlongs to go, I committed to say, ‘let’s go,'” said Boulanger. “The other day (in the Princess Elizabeth) I let them get to my hip and tried to spurt and Paladin Bay came and blew by me. I got the jump on them today and she just kept going.”
The win marked the second stakes score of the season for Lexie Lou who was elevated to the top position in the Muskoka Stakes after On Rainbow Bridge, who crossed the wire first, drifted into her path approaching the finish.
Boulanger believes the filly has room to improve going forward.
“This filly always gallops out in front of everybody,” said Boulanger. “She always has more at the end, you never get to the bottom of her.”
Lexie Lou, bred in Ontario at Paradox Farm, banked $75,000 in victory, while improving her record to 3-2-0 from seven career starts.
She returned $6.90, $3 and $2.20, pairing with Paladin Bay ($3.20, $2.10) for a $15.70 (3-9) exactor. A 3-9-1 (Flipcup, $2.70 to show) triactor was worth $37. Neesa completed a $1 Superfecta (3-9-1-5) worth $77.95. Bear’s Pride was scratched.