06/23/2007 11:00PM

Mike Fox springs Queen's Plate surprise


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Under a strong ride by jockey Emma Wilson, longshot Mike Fox overhauled front-running Alezzandro three strides from the wire to capture the 148th running of the $1 million Queen's Plate at Woodbine on Sunday.

Wilson became the first female rider to win the mile and a quarter event for 3-year-olds. It was also the first Plate victory for owner Morgan Firestone and Ian Black, who began training the handsome son of Giant's Causeway in the spring.

Alezzandro set fractions of 23.66 seconds, 47.74 and 1:12.51 over a speed-favoring Polytrack. Six others raced in close proximity to the lead, including favored Jiggs Coz and a three-wide Mike Fox.

Jiggs Cozz made a four-wide bid on the backstretch, and took dead aim at Alezzandro on the far turn. Wilson put Mike Fox into a stiff drive after he began to weaken on the far turn, and they rallied between the leaders in deep stretch to win by a half-length.

Alezzandro finished a length and a quarter clear of Jiggs Coz. Daaher, the surprising second choice in eight-horse field of Canadian-breds, wound up fourth. Leonnatus Anteas was scratched.

The final time for the first Plate run on Polytrack was 2:05.45. Mike Fox paid $32.40 to win in the eight-horse field.

"I had a beautiful stalking trip," said Wilson. "I was exactly where I wanted to be. Down the backside, Jiggs Coz made a big move and ran by me. I wasn't too concerned until the three-eighths pole, when Jiggs Coz and Alezzandro moved away from me. I started getting after my horse, and it took him a while to get going. I just buried my head and kept on driving. He dug down so deep. It was unbelievable."

Mike Foxearned $600,000 in his first stakes score, which boosted his bankroll to $750,550.

Smart Enough all the way in Highlander

Maryland shipper Smart Enough led throughout Sunday's Grade 3, $201,200 Highlander Stakes, upsetting Stradivinsky in the six-furlong turf sprint.

Patrick Husbands sent Smart Enough to the lead, and they proceeded to set splits of :22.12 and 44.56 while being stalked by Stradivinsky, the 4-5 favorite.

Smart Enough opened up a daylight advantage at the eighth pole, and then held off Heros Reward for a half-length score. Stradivinsky was another three-quarters of a length back in third in the eight-horse field.

Smart Enough got the distance in 1:08.53, and returned $7.50 as the second choice. In notching his second consecutive stakes, he banked $120,000 for owner Edith Dixon and trainer John Fisher.

Pellegrino holds on

Pellegrino ($11.50) held off favored Royal Challenger in the final strides for a head victory in the $101,600 Singspiel Stakes.

Pellegrino ran a mile and a half on the grass in 2:27.79. Trained by Roger Attfield, he earned $60,000 for owner Gary Tanaka.

Ice Bear wins Charlie Barley

Ice Bear ($16.80) won Sunday's other stakes, the $102,800 Charlie Barley for 3-year-olds, by 2 1/2 lengths over Payday Peril.

Ice Bear completed a mile on the grass in 1:33.82, earning $60,000 for Augustin Stable and trainer Mac Benson.

* Apprentice Stephanie Fedora won her first career race aboard her 122nd mount, Black Tea, in Sunday's first race.