Tu Endie Wei took the lead at the top of the lane and held on strong to win the $168,500 Grade 3 Seaway Stakes, Saturday at Woodbine.
The three-year-old bay daughter of Johar-Ms. Cornstalk, trained by Reade Baker and ridden by Jim McAleney, made her return to the Polytrack a successful one following losses on the turf in the Alywow Stakes at Woodbine and on the dirt, in the Grade 3 Victory Ride at Belmont and the Grade 1 Prioress Stakes at Saratoga.
It was favoured Roxy Gap, fresh off a driving win in the grassy Grade 3 Royal North, who emerged from the chute with a narrow lead in the seven furlong event with Tu Endie Wei in second position along the rail.
Roxy Gap made the opening quarter in :23.78 and was joined by Tu Endie Wei into the turn through a half in :46.86.
Tu Endie Wei turned into the stretch with a narrow lead and had plenty in reserve to hold off Roxy Gap for a one-length score in 1:24.12. Jenny’s So Great finished third, a further two and half-lengths back.
McAleney was pleased with the effort of the Brereton C. Jones homebred.
“She was just brilliant,” said McAleney. “Reade did a wonderful job bringing her into this race. All the way down the backside, even though they were moderate splits, she was very comfortable.”
The veteran rider noted that Tu Endie Wei, who had won four added-money events prior to Seaway including the My Dear, Ontario Debutante, Glorious Song and Star Shoot Stakes, showed great determination to hold off the talented Roxy Gap, ridden by Patrick Husbands.
“Patrick went to getting after his filly at the quarter pole and I kind of thought I had him but she’s such a nice filly, Roxy Gap, she was coming back down and even at the eighth pole I wasn’t sure I was a winner,” said McAleney. “This filly, I think she graduated to a mare today. She ran tough.”
Tu Endie Wei banked $90,000 in victory as she improved her record to five wins, one second and one third from 10 lifetime starts.
She returned $7.50, $2.80 and $2.10, pairing with Roxy Gap ($2.10, $2.10) for an $11.90 (1-2) exactor. A 1-2-5 (Jenny’s So Great, $2.30 to show) triactor was worth $20.50.