07/30/2001 11:00PM

Alexius rallies to Gordon win

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In just the second start of his career, Alexius came from last to first to win the 1 1/2-mile Group 3 Gordon Stakes on the opening day of Goodwood on Tuesday in England.

Trained by Michael Stoute and owned by Sheikh Mohammed, Alexius, a son of Rainbow Quest, missed the break and was 15 lengths behind, but rallied to lead at the quarter pole and then held off Demophilos by a neck to win at 7-1. Nayef was third, while the 11-4 favorite, Perfect Sunday, was seventh.

Alexius has now been installed as favorite for the St. Leger Stakes on Sept. 15.

* Dietrich put trainer Aidan O'Brien in the winner's circle with a three-quarter-length score at 11-2 over the 100-1 Afaan in the five-furlong Group 3 King George Stakes.

* In a subpar edition of the six-furlong Group 2 Richmond Stakes for 2-year-olds, Mister Cosmi, a Royal Applause colt trained by Mark Johnston, caused a mild 7-1 surprise with his one-length victory over Prince Dayjur.