Lexie Lou, a 5-year-old mare who was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2014, heads the field today’s seventh and feature race at Tampa Bay Downs.
The race is an allowance with a $28,000 purse, at one mile on turf for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up. Scheduled post time is 3:25 p.m.
Tampa Bay’s nine-race card begins at 12:25 p.m.
In 2014 the Ontario-bred Lexie Lou won the 1 1/4 mile Queen’s Plate Stakes against males and the 1 1/8 mile Woodbine Oaks. Both races were restricted to Canadian-breds and both were on the synthetic surface at Woodbine in Etobicoke, Ont.
Based on those victories, Lexie Lou was voted the winner of three Sovereign Awards in 2014 as Canada’s Horse of the Year, Champion 3-Year-Old Filly and Champion Grass Female.
In her last 2014 start, on Nov. 29 that year, Lexie Lou finished second to California Chrome, the 2014 t Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner. That was in the Hollywood Derby (Grade 1) at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Del Mar.
In her only 2015 race, on Jan. 17, she finished second in the La Canada (Grade 2) at 1 1/16 miles on dirt at Santa Anita.
Later in 2015, Lexie Lou scratched her left eye (trainer Mark Casse is unsure how the injury happened) and was given the rest of the year off.
Casse gave the Tampa Bay Downs media department this overview for today’s race: “She is training really well and while I wouldn’t want to say she probably is at peak performance, I’m expecting a big effort out of her.”
Antonio Gallardo, who leads Tampa Bay Downs jockeys in wins, will ride Lexie Lou in her debut at the Oldsmar track.
Lexie Lou has the outside post in an eight-horse field and likely will be stalking the pace.
Speed Seeker and Lovely Loyree, both with early speed are the likely second and third betting choices.
Casse said that if Lexie Lou runs well today, she probably will race on March 12 in the Hillsborough Stakes (Grade 2) at 1 1/8 miles on turf for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up
Casse is also bringing his 4-year-old colt Conquest Tsunami for Wednesday’s $28,000 Tampa Bay Stakes Prep, to be contested at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf. Eight horses are entered in the race, which is the fifth on the card. Conquest Tsunami is owned by Conquest Stables and will be ridden by Manoel Cruz.
“He was brilliant as a 2-year-old (winning three stakes) before he chipped a knee in the (Grade III) Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes, and we’re trying to get him back on track,” Casse said.
-- Jim Freer