07/12/2013 12:47PM

Woodbine: Shady Well contender Lexie Lou has been pleasant surprise for Ross

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Michael Burns
Skylander Girl, winner of the My Dear Stakes last Saturday, will wheel right back for Sunday's Shady Well.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Owner-trainer John Ross had to be at least mildly disappointed last Sunday after watching his Go Greeley get nosed out for the win in the $150,000 Clarendon.

Ross will be seeking redemption here at Woodbine on Sunday with Lexie Lou, who will be looking for her second win in as many starts in the $150,000 Shady Well.

The Shady Well, a 5 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies, attracted a field of 10, including Skylander Girl, who will be returning on short notice off an impressive score in last Saturday’s My Dear Stakes.

Lexie Lou, also owned by Ross, was a $5,500 purchase at the local open yearling sale.

“I shopped her, and there were no takers,” said Ross, explaining that he would have been willing to sell outright or a share in the filly. “She’s been a big surprise. She’s been a dream come true.”

Lexie Lou wintered with Ross at Payson Park in Florida and debuted here May 25 with a half-length victory in an Ontario-sired 4 1/2-furlong maiden race.

“She’d been training all winter,” Ross said. “She had lots of miles under her. She came out of the race real good. I’ve been looking forward to this race. She’s doing everything right. She’s an improving filly.”

Lexie Lou has worked three times since her opener, including a solid five-furlong move with her male stablemate Go Greeley on June 30 and a four-furlong breeze in 48.20 seconds here last Sunday under her rider, Gary Boulanger.

“She’s good to go,” Ross said.

Skylander Girl was the first career stakes winner for her 64-year-old trainer Al Patykewich, and her 65 Beyer Speed Figure is tops in the Shady Well lineup.

Jim McAleney retains the mount on Skylander Girl.

Fair Shake, runner-up to Lexie Lou in her debut, came back to win her second start at 4 1/2 furlongs for trainer Ricky Griffith and returning rider David Garcia.

Southwest Lady, a winner at 4 1/2 furlongs at Delaware Park, also will go for Griffith in the Shady Well, with Justin Stein getting the call.

Bella’s Rebel and Where’s the Carat are the other winners in the field, with both winning their maidens in Ontario-sired company.

Trainer Scott Fairlie sent out Bella Rebel to win her debut at 4 1/2 furlongs, while Where’s the Carat ran fifth behind Lexie Lou in her opener and then graduated at five furlongs.

Where’s the Carat is trained by Ralph Biamonte, who won last year’s Shady Well with Cryptic Message.

Henry’s Island, who will be debuting in the Shady Well, and maiden starters Diamonds for Dixie, On Rainbow Bridge, and Paladin Bay round out the field.

Go Greeley targets Colin

Go Greeley, who had come into the Clarendon off a highly impressive first-out win at 4 1/2 furlongs here May 19, was a deservedly odds-on favorite in the Clarendon despite having missed a few days of training when his barn was quarantined during the recent equine herpesvirus scare.

But, after getting off slowly from post 1 and having to switch to the far outside, Go Greeley was unable to sustain his run and wound up second to a resurgent Spin the King.

Ross, undaunted, plans to bring back Go Greeley in the $125,000 Colin, an open six-furlong stakes for 2-year-olds here July 20.

“He’s ready to go, if everything looks good,” Ross said.

Spin the King, trained by Brian Lynch, is not nominated for the Colin.

Owned by Josef and Maria Stritzl, Spin the King is eligible for Ontario-sired and Ontario-bred stakes. The $150,000 Vandal, a six-furlong race for Ontario-breds, will be run here Aug. 11.

Surtsey tries turf in Ontario Damsel

Yvone Schwabe was in the spotlight here last Sunday as the breeder of Midnight Aria, who rolled to a front-running win in the $1 million Queen’s Plate.

This Sunday, Schwabe will be looking for her own stakes win when trainer Kevin Attard sends out her homebred Surtsey to make her turf debut in the $150,000 Ontario Damsel, a one-mile race for Ontario-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Surtsey had become the first homebred stakes winner to race for Schwabe when winning last year’s $150,000 Fanfreluche, a six-furlong race for Ontario-bred fillies.

After wintering on Schwabe’s farm, Surtsey returned to the racetrack when the backstretch opened at the beginning of March.

“She had a great winter,” Attard said. “She came in looking great.”

Surtsey did not make it to the post, however, until June 15 when she faced some tough older fillies and mares while running under second-level allowance terms at 6 1/2 furlongs.

“She was slow to come around,” Attard said. “When she ran in that ‘two-other than [allowance race]’ she chased a hot pace, and was tired out – she came back exhausted. She should get a lot out of that race.”

Surtsey has breezed twice in the interim, with her latest a four-furlong spin on the turf training track here July 5.

The mile also is unknown territory for Surtsey, whose longest test to date has come at seven furlongs.

“I think a mile is within her range, if she’s ridden properly,” Attard said.

That job has been entrusted to Jermaine Bridgmohan, who rode Surtsey to victory in the Fanfreluche and has been aboard for her recent breezes.

Sisterly Love heads probables for Ontario Matron

Saturday’s Colin also is expected to attract Conquest Two Step, an impressive maiden winner when debuting at Churchill Downs for trainer Mark Casse.

The same day’s Ontario Matron, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares which offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000, will feature a Casse-trained favorite in Sisterly Love, who is coming off a romping win here in the Trillium Stakes at the same distance.

Yellow Boat, who suffered severe traffic problems when fourth in last Saturday’s seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too, also is aiming for the Ontario Matron.

Sunday’s headliner will be the Grade 2, $200,000 Nijinsky a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward.

Riding the River, Valentino Beauty and Hotep, the 1-2-3 finishers in the Grade 2 King Edward at a mile on turf here July 21, all are slated for the Nijinsky.

The $125,000 Duchess, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies, also will be run on Sunday, and Casse once again would appear to have the horse to beat in the promising Sky Treasure.

In the meantime, the field for the Bold Venture, the first Wednesday night stakes of the season, was drawn on Friday.

Essence Hit Man, Canada’s male sprint champion the past two seasons, heads the field of six for the Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Venture at 6 1/2 furlongs.