05/03/2008 12:00AM

Bayou's Lassie wires Turf Mile


Trainer Dale Romans ended an 0-for-35 skid in Kentucky when he sent out Bayou's Lassie to a gate-to-wire upset victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $169,050 Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile Stakes.

Under Edgar Prado, Bayou's Lassie beat the favored front-runner Dreaming of Anna to the lead and held that rival at bay through the lane for a 1 1/4-length victory. Dreaming of Anna, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2006, finished second by 2 1/2 lengths over Ventura. The top three finishers ran 1-2-3 all the way around the "good" Churchill Downs turf.

Bayou's Lassie, a 5-year-old daughter of Outflanker, was making her first start for Romans after making her previous 15 starts for trainer Christophe Clement. Romans said owner Fred Brei of Jacks or Better Farm Inc. wanted to race Bayou's Lassie in Kentucky. He also told him about the mare's excellent speed.

"He had been telling me all along that she's fast and can sustain a long run, and so we tried to take the race to Dreaming of Anna; thought if we could get in front of her and make her try to take back off of us we might have more horse than her turning for home," said Romans, who had gone 0 for 17 at Churchill after enduring an 0-for-18 meet at Keeneland. "It worked out perfectly and Edgar rode a great race."

Prado said the win was harder than it looked.

"Every time I tried to open up, Dreaming of Anna just came and got me again," Prado said. "She was fighting real hard; it was not an easy race. My horse ran hard, but Dreaming of Anna, she ran very hard too."

Bayou's Lassie, who is now 9 for 16 lifetime, covered the mile in 1:37.70 and returned $26.20.

Cornelio Velasquez, the rider of Dreaming of Anna, was content with his early position, but said his filly just faltered in the final furlong.

"I don't know, maybe she didn't like the track," Velasquez said.