Updated on 09/16/2011 6:38AM

Lake Lady best in Thelma Stakes

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NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Steve Asmussen called Sunday's Thelma Stakes* (click here for chart) "a bridge" for his 3-year-old filly, Lake Lady. She's clearly crossed over to the other side now.

Making the jump from hyped allowance winner to stakes horses proved a minor obstacle for the vastly talented Lake Lady, who won the $75,000 Thelma Stakes convincingly despite being given a ride that was intended to impart valuable racing lessons rather than produce a blowout win.

Her one and one-quarter length score over Vicki Vallencourt was Lake Lady's third straight win, and off two blowout victories last fall at Churchill Downs, she was the heavy favorite, paying $3 to win. Vicki Vallencourt finished two lengths ahead of Land Yachting, who was a half-length clear of Flick. Flick is the only horse to have beaten Lake Lady, who was second in her debut at Keeneland.

Asmussen said earlier this week that Lake Lady had benefited from favorable outside trips while racing close to the lead in her last two wins, and that he hoped jockey Donnie Meche could get the filly in behind horses in the Thelma. Lake Lady would finally have a chance to feel dirt kicked back at her during a race, and, hopefully, would have to run through traffic.

That plan was ably accomplished despite the fact that Lake Lady once again broke from an outside post. Sixth in the run down the backstretch, Lake Lady was moved to the inside by Meche on the turn and came between horses with a sharp burst to gain the lead at the top of the stretch. She was not hard-ridden to the finish and was timed in 1:11.12 for six furlongs on a fast track that did not produce quick times.

Now, it's time to see if Lake Lady, who has never raced behind six and one-half furlongs, can go two turns. She's set to make her next start for owner Robert Beck - who purchased her from Keith Asmussen, Steve's father, following her second win - in the Jan. 27 Tiffany Lass Stakes at one mile.

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