07/01/2016 9:56AM

Resurgent Lexie Lou returns for Dance Smartly

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Michael Burns
Lexie Lou regained her good form when she won the one-mile Nassau Stakes on May 29.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – She’s back. Just when it looked like 2014 Canadian Horse of the Year Lexie Lou was past her prime, she jumped up and won the Grade 2 Nassau at 12-1. Following a foray to New York, she’s back in action at Woodbine on Sunday in the $200,000 Dance Smartly Stakes on the Queen’s Plate undercard.

Lexie Lou won the 2014 Plate and Woodbine Oaks for owner Gary Barber and trainer Mark Casse. She snapped a five-race losing streak by taking the Nassau over stablemate Mississippi Delta on May 29. Just 13 days later at Belmont, she checked in 10th, 7 1/4 lengths behind the victorious Celestine, in the Grade 1 Just a Game. Casse said he was content with her effort.

“She didn’t really run badly there,” Casse said. “She got a 92 Beyer. It was just a tough race. She only got beat a couple lengths for second, and the winner is a pretty good horse. Tepin and [Celestine] may go at it somewhere down the road.”

Ten others were entered in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly, scheduled for lane 1 at about nine furlongs, including the Casse-trained longshots Uchenna, Industrial Policy, and Season Ticket.

Dance Smartly, Race 9

KEY CONTENDERS

Lexie Lou, by Sligo Bay

Last 3 Beyers: 92-93-74

◗ She breezed an easy half-mile in 47 seconds flat on Tapeta on June 25. Patrick Husbands, who knows her best, has the mount on the 5-year-old.


DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 3 Lexie Lou. Trainer Mark Casse is 78-5-11-12 with a $0.30 ROI over the past 30 days in turf races. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Strut the Course, by Strut the Stage

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Last 3 Beyers: 92-90-85

◗ Last year’s Dance Smartly winner also took the Grade 2 Canadian in September before finishing a troubled fourth in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor. After beating Lexie Lou while notching her comeback in an April 30 allowance on Tapeta, she rallied for third in the Nassau.

◗ Trainer Barb Minshall said the one-mile Nassau distance was too short for the nine-furlong expert, and she anticipates another strong showing from the 6-year-old.

“She’s doing really well,” said Minshall. “She hasn’t lost a step with her old age. It’s a competitive race. We just have to hope for a good trip.”

Ball Dancing, by Exchange Rate

Last 3 Beyers: 82-88-90

◗ Her recent form is weak, and trainer Chad Brown is taking the blinkers off the classy 5-year-old, who won the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in 2015.


DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 1 Ball Dancing. Trainer Chad Brown is 14-7-1-1 with a $3.66 ROI over the past five years taking blinkers off in turf routes. Click for more details. Mike Hogan


Heath, by Pulpit

Last 3 Beyers: 87-87-83

◗ The Saratoga shipper came wide from well back last time to finish a close third in the Grade 3 Gallorette at Pimlico.