07/07/2001 12:00AM

Woodbine: Alexis surprises


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Longshot Alexis burst out of the pack in the stretch to take the Grade 3 $171,300 Dance Smartly Handicap by three-quarters of a length over American invader Badouizm at Woodbine.

Irish-bred Alexis returned $25.30 while winning her second North American stakes for owner Morgan Firestone. Trained by Cliff Hopmans Jr., she earned $102,780 for winning the 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

Jockey Jono Jones rated Alexis in fifth on the backstretch, about 3 1/2 lengths off Good Game, who set moderate fractions while being tracked by last year's Dance Smartly winner, Except for Wanda.

Alexis was behind a wall of horses early in the drive, but found room around the three-sixteenths pole and held Badouizm at bay in the final strides.

Only to You, the 8-5 favorite, was never a serious threat and finished another three-quarters of a length back in third in the 10-horse field. The final time, over a course rated as good, was 1:47.81.

"It's like a dream come true," said Hopmans. "We've worked so hard on her to try and get her to relax and to keep her sound. She just put it all together, and it was a terrific ride by Jono."