03/09/2012 4:00PM

Gulfstream: Dixie Strike, Northern Passion give Casse strong pair in Herecomesthebride

Tom Cooley
Dixie Strike, with Jose Lezcano up, wins the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs. She is the winter book favorite for the Queen’s Plate.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Dixie Strike, the winter book favorite for this year’s Queen’s Plate, and her stablemate Northern Passion will put their talents on display for the first time in south Florida when forming a potent one-two punch in Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Herecomesthebride. The nine-furlong turf fixture for 3-year-old fillies also lured Dayatthespa, winner of the Sweetest Chant Stakes in her 3-year-old debut here earlier this winter.

Northern Passion was considered by most the stronger half of the John Oxley-owned and Mark Casse-trained entry along with Dixie Strike when the pair launched their 3-year-old campaigns last month in Tampa Bay Downs’ Florida Oaks. But not by Casse, who predicted Dixie Strike would beat her mate that day.

“I think Dixie Strike is a really talented filly and I knew Northern Passion was at about 80 percent for that race, but I needed to get her running with all the big races coming up,” Casse said. “That being said, if you watched the race, Northern Passion ran quite well. After they went the opening half-mile in 50 and change, I turned to Mr. Oxley and said she was in deep trouble. She did make a big run leaving the half-mile pole, but wound up being hung real wide and getting a little tired at the end.”

Dixie Strike, on the other hand, got the early jump on her mate and finished strong enough to register a hard-fought nose decision while making her turf debut in the Oaks.

“Dixie Strike is a half-sister to last year’s Plate winner Inglorious,” Casse said. “My only concern with her in the Oaks was the fact she’d never been on grass before. Both fillies have continued to train well at Palm Meadows. Unfortunately, there isn’t much pace in this race either. Somebody will probably try to steal it, although it won’t be one of ours. I think we all have to outrun Chad’s filly [Dayatthespa]. Northern Passion beat her once before, but that was six months ago.”

Dayatthespa, a New York-bred trained by Chad Brown, rallied from near the rear of the pack to register an impressive 1 3/4-length victory in the Sweetest Chant, but has enough speed to take advantage of a slow pace, having been close early in each of her three previous starts including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Frolic’s Revenge also figures to race forwardly placed as she did when registering a surprising neck decision in the Ginger Brew on Dec. 24.

Regalo Mia finished third, just a neck behind Dixie Strike and a half-length in front of Northern Passion, in the Florida Oaks. Almusafa is coming off a 2 1/4-length allowance win Jan. 26 and also is capable of having a hand in the early running.

Herecomesthebride S. (G3), Post Time: 5:35 ET Sunday

Purse: $150,000; 1 1/8 mile (T)





ML Odds



T. Bush

A. Solis



Frolic's Revenge

M. Wolfson

P. Lopez



Northern Passion

M. Casse

L. Contreras



Ann of the Dance

M. Wolfson

E. Trujillo



Dixie Strike

M. Casse

J. Lezcano



Regalo Mia

M. Nihei

J. Castanon




K. McLaughlin

J. Velasquez




C. Brown

J. Castellano



Wait Til Dawn (MTO)

T. Pletcher

J. Velasquez



Kim Hanson More than 1 year ago
They like a lot of the other horses, but our gal is gonna make us proud .... GO SHAKIN'