12/01/2007 12:00AM

J'ray turns tables on Bayou's Lassie

EmailMIAMI - For the second year in a row, J'ray and Bayou's Lassie put on quite a show at Calder Race Course. Only this time it was J'ray who came out on top after posting a hard-fought three-quarter-length decision in Saturday's $100,000 My Charmer Handicap.

Last December, Bayou's Lassie proved narrowly best when she held off J'ray's final surge to post a head victory in Calder's Grade 3 Frances Genter Stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs. But with an additional furlong and a half to work with in the rematch, J'ray was able to avenge that setback, overtaking the pacesetting Bayou's Lassie near midstretch and hanging on resolutely for her third win of the season.

Bayou's Lassie, the 5-2 favorite in a scratch-reduced field of nine fillies and mares, was allowed to set a relatively slow pace and tried vainly to come back after relinquishing the lead to J'ray, but was not good enough. She was easily second best, finishing 2 1/4 lengths in front of Redaspen, who rallied belatedly near the inside to finish third.

J'ray, a 4-year-old homebred daughter of Distant View, is trained by Todd Pletcher for owner Lawrence Goichman. The My Charmer was her first victory since March 25 and second Grade 3 win of the year. J'ray covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.93 under leading rider Manoel Cruz over a firm turf course and paid $9.20.

Despite being sent off as the two favorites in the My Charmer, J'ray and Bayou's Lassie combined for a surprisingly generous $47 exacta.

Three Ring: Indy's Alexandra unbeaten

Indy's Alexandra remained undefeated and served notice that she could be a force to be reckoned with in the 3-year-old filly division this winter at Gulfstream Park after she led throughout to post a four-length triumph over Awesome Dreamer in the $100,000 Three Ring Stakes.

Indy's Alexandra, a 2-year-old daughter of Flatter, went right to the front from her inside post under jockey Elvis Trujillo, settled into the stretch with a commanding advantage, and was never seriously threatened despite shortening stride through the final furlong. Awesome Dreamer saved ground but proved no match for the winner while finishing second, three lengths clear of Paint Me Red, in a scratch-reduced field of only five juvenile fillies.

Indy's Alexandra, who had won her previous start by 13 lengths, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:48.06 over a fast track and paid $3.

"She's come along very quickly," said Marty Wolfson, who trains Indy's Alexandra for the Den-Pal Stables. "I was confident that she would get the distance today."

What a Pleasure: Check It Twice wins off bench

Trainer Kathleen O'Connell had planned on running Cigar Man in the $100,000 What a Pleasure Stakes. But when a bruised foot temporarily put Cigar Man out of commission, O'Connell found an ample substitute in Check It Twice, who rallied through the stretch to post a 3 1/2-length decision over the pacesetting favorite, Coal Play, in the 1 1/16-mile What a Pleasure.

Check It Twice ($5), running on only two weeks' rest, advanced into contention around the second turn, then rallied to catch the tiring leader in late stretch before edging off to his second straight victory under jockey Manoel Cruz.

"Normally I wouldn't run a 2-year-old back in two weeks, but this horse bounced out of his last race so well we decided to run him and it worked out," said O'Connell, who trains Check It Twice for Cloverleaf Farm II.

Coal Play, bet to 4-5 for his stakes debut, set a lively pace and settled into the stretch with a seemingly comfortable advantage, but shortened stride badly near the sixteenth pole and proved no match for the winner. It was another 15 lengths farther back to Honey Honey Honey.