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Aug 15, 2014

Up the Backstretch: Look north for champion filly

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

 Philadelphia, PA ( - The talking is over in Canada as to who is the best 3-year-old filly of 2014.

Sunday at Woodbine in the $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes, Lexie Lou returned with a three-length victory just five weeks after claiming the $1 million Queen's Plate, Canada's version of the Kentucky Derby.

Most impressive was the fact that the Wonder Where Stakes was Lexie Lou's first career start on turf and it came in one of the important races for Canadian-bred fillies.

"When I worked her 12 days ago, I told Mark (trainer Casse) she's a different horse on the turf," jockey Patrick Husbands said. "She's probably 20 lengths better, but the only problem is I didn't know how I was going to get her to shut off."

It was the second straight 1 1/4-mile stakes win for the filly, owned by Gary Barber.

"I saw her race against Zensational Bunny (in the Star Shoot) and she galloped out like a monster," Barber said. "I said 'Wow'. I watched it three or four times over, called Mark, who was at the sales, and told him this filly could move up on the turf. She's bred for it, yet she's doing so well on synthetics. She was worth (going after) and the rest is history."

Lexie Lou was three seconds faster on the turf Sunday than she was when winning the Queen's Plate on Woodbine's synthetic main track. On July 6, she covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.94 and came back Sunday with 2:00.90 for the Wonder Where Stakes.

The filly has never run a race anywhere but Woodbine. In 13 career starts at the Toronto track she has won six with two seconds and a pair of thirds for $1,399,250.

Lexie Lou has notched three straight stakes victories beginning with the Woodbine Oaks and all six of her lifetime wins have come in added-money events.

As good as Lexie Lou has been racing on Woodbine's main surface. her connections were pointing all along for a turf start with more to follow.

"This is why we bought her," said Casse before Sunday. "Gary had done the homework on her and we thought her numbers were good, but not great, on synthetic. Our feeling was that she could be better on the grass and if her number did improve on the grass, she could be as good as any 3-year-old filly in North America."

Certainly, Lexie Lou has wrapped up the Sovereign Award as Canada's champion filly, but she needs a winning start in the United States for any consideration as an Eclipse Award champion. The Breeders' Cup is the place for that.

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