01/27/2007 12:00AM

Lexi Star upsets Yolanda B. Too


Yolanda B. Too again shipped to Laurel from New York, again was bet down to odds-on favoritism, and again was defeated, this time running third behind second-choice Lexi Star and the 7-1 It's True Love in Saturday's $91,400 Nellie Morse for fillies and mares.

Marco Groom, 9-1, stalked the pacesetting 53-1 shot My Girlie early in the one-mile race, took the lead turning for home, and opened a 1 1/2-length gap. But Lexi Star, under Ryan Fogelsonger, and Yolanda B. Too, under Jeremy Rose, were moving fast side by side and closing in.

My Girlie drifted out in midstretch, and Lexi Star and Yolanda B. Too powered past her, still noses apart.

About 100 yards from home, Lexi Star began spurting away, hitting wire 1 3/4 lengths in front. It's True Love rallied up the rail for second, a half-length ahead of Yolanda B. Too.

"Around the turn we started moving together and at the top of the stretch, my horse got inside and got through and kept on going," Fogelsonger said. "Lexi has a lot of talent, and she showed it today."

Lexi Star was timed in 1:38.75 and paid $6.60. The victory was the sixth in 13 starts for Lexi Star, a 5-year-old daughter of Mr. Prospector who is owned by Stephen Quick and trained by Christopher Grove. The win boosts her earnings to $239,420.

In Yolanda B. Too's two previous trips to Laurel, she ran second at 3-5 in the Maryland Million Distaff Handicap in October, and finished second at 3-5 but was promoted to first on a disqualification in the Squan Song in December.

* The Maryland Jockey Club planned to honor three local stars who shined in 2006 in ceremonies in-between races, but Rosie Napravnik, the circuit's top rider a year ago, missed the event after suffering a back injury in a spill on Friday.

Napravnik, who had 259 wins at Laurel Park and Pimlico last year and won the riding titles at all four meets, took off her mounts Saturday.

"All the X-rays were negative but we are planning to see another doctor on Monday just to be sure," said John Faltynski, Napravnik's agent.