Lexie Lou, Danish Dynaformer star on Queen’s Plate undercard

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 3rd, 2016

File photo of Lexie Lou courtesy of WEG/Michael Burns Photography

Fittingly enough, two past Queen’s Plate principals triumphed in stakes on Sunday’s Queen’s Plate Day at Woodbine.

Former Canadian Horse of the Year Lexie Lou, who beat the boys in the 2014 Queen’s Plate, delighted her legions of fans with a gutsy victory in the $180,592 Dance Smartly (G2). And Danish Dynaformer, runner-up as the favorite in the 2015 Queen’s Plate, finished with an irresistible flourish in the $133,119 Singspiel (G3).

Gary Barber’s Lexie Lou almost didn’t make it to the gate in the Dance Smartly. Trainer Mark Casse, who watched World Approval cross the wire victorious in the United Nations (G1) only seconds after Lexie Lou at Woodbine, revealed that the mare was “stiff and crabby this morning.” He told jockey Patrick Husbands to scratch her if he didn’t like the way Lexie Lou was warming up. But the daughter of Sligo Bay sent all the right signals in the preliminaries, and at every stage of the race.

Speeding straight to the early lead, the 3-1 chance cleared away by as many as three lengths through fast fractions. (The splits were posted live as :22.76, :45.30, and 1:08.62, but were scrubbed to N/A on the chart. Woodbine publicity explained it was due to the "about" distance of the race.) Down the long Woodbine stretch, Lexie Lou looked vulnerable as Nakuti and 2-1 favorite Strut the Course erased the deficit. Not only did they draw alongside, but they appeared to head Lexie Lou. That was a mirage, for Lexie Lou knuckled down on the rail, regained the advantage, and drew off by 1 1/4 lengths. By covering about 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:44.89, she handed Husbands his fourth win – and third stakes – on the day.

“She is a little funny little filly,” Husbands said. “You can’t play around with her. She comes out of the gate and she wants to run, you got to let her run. She wants to relax, she relaxes.

“She left there pretty smart. I just gave her her head and she was enjoying it and when they were getting to her, I had enough air to come home.”

Strut the Course, the defending Dance Smartly champion, was all out to grab second in a blanket finish for the minors. Nakuti was third; Heath, not seeing a lot of daylight on the inside, came in fourth; Uchenna fifth; and Ball Dancing, still in search of her old form for Chad Brown, wasn’t beaten far in sixth.

Lexie Lou had snapped a losing skid two starts back in the May 29 Nassau (G2) over this course. She wasn’t as happy in the June 11 Just a Game (G1) at Belmont, fading to 10th, but was determined to reign back at Woodbine. She has now amassed $1,706,005 from her 23-9-4-4 line.

One race earlier on the card, Husbands guided Danish Dynaformer in the Singspiel, and Charles Fipke’s homebred showed he’s ready to fulfill his great promise with his first graded score.

The Roger Attfield trainee looked like a budding star when stretching out to 1 1/2 miles on turf for Breeders’ Stakes last summer. His 7 3/4-length romp, admittedly versus restricted company, suggested that he could play a major role at a much higher level in the long-distance turf division. It’s taken a little longer for the royally-bred colt to make good on that assessment – as Attfield noted, you’d expect that from a Dynaformer – and it’s onwards and upwards from here.

The Singspiel is “leading to the best part of the season for him,” the Hall of Fame trainer said.

“He’s a different horse," Husband said. "He’s a relaxed horse. Last year, when he was 3, he was more a kid. This year, he is more business.”

Prospective opponents can consider themselves warned.

Bet down to 9-5 favoritism off a generous 6-1 morning line, Danish Dynaformer was confidently handled by Husbands. As Money Talker tried to open up through fractions of :26.73, :49.84 and 1:14.45 on the firm course, only Hardest Core made any effort to keep tabs on him. The rest of the field bided their time.

Nearing the final turn, Danish Dynaformer began to improve his position steadily, and when turning for home, he was approaching the leaders. Hardest Core was the first to take up the baton from the tiring Money Talker, but he never looked like having enough to hold off the looming danger of Danish Dynaformer. The favorite kicked on strongly the further they went and drove to a one-length decision, covering 1 1/2 miles in 2:27.20.

Hardest Core held second by a neck from two-time defending Singspiel champion Aldous Snow, who edged Generous Kitten for third. Generous Kitten, the morning-line favorite who went off as the 5-2 second choice, lagged further back early and hit his best stride late. Jockey Julien Leparoux claimed foul against Aldous Snow’s rider, Eurico Rosa da Silva, alleging that a late bump cost Generous Kitten, but the stewards disallowed it. Money Talker retreated to fifth.

Danish Dynaformer’s resume now reads 14-5-1-1, $641,554. Also successful in last year’s Plate Trial, he was most recently a sneakily-good sixth in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) on Derby Day. The Woodford Reserve runner-up, World Approval, also highlighted the form when landing Sunday’s United Nations. The one question is when Woodford Reserve hero Divisidero will win a major away from Churchill.