Lexington Lady favored in Orange & Blue 2FP
September 09, 2015
« Return to News
Lexington Lady, a winner of seven of 10 starts this season, looks to be the one to beat in the $155,000 Orange & Blue Filly Championship on Saturday night at Balmoral Park.
Trained and owned by Hosea Williams, the daughter of Lexington Legend-Sephie Kay-Sportsmaster was bred by Jerry Graham and was foaled May 18, 2013 in Salem, Ill.
A bargain price at just $2,500 at the 2014 Illini Classic Yearling Sale, Lexington Lady is a half-sister to: Captain Obvious p,4,1:55 ($46,914); Stephie Clay p,6,1:56.1 ($36,260); Tornado Henry p,4,1:53.4 ($19,074); and Runinthrudabridle p,4,2:01.1f ($11,686)—all by Henry Clay.
"I always liked her sire, Lexington Legend, and had always followed his career,” Hosea explained. "She was the only one by him in the sale and I studied the bloodline and I knew the mare too and I decided to look at the filly.”
When Hosea went to take a look at the filly, he wasn't initially impressed.
"I really didn't like her,” he offered." She was sway-backed. But she had a nice barrel on her and her legs were straight and she stood well. I went and looked at a few other fillies, but in the end, I came back to her. I thought she might grow into herself and grow out of being sway-backed, and she just about has.”
Being a bit sway-backed sure hasn't affected Lexington Lady's performance on the racetrack. She began her career by finishing second in a Balmoral 2-year-old test, clocked in 1:56.3 on June 6 and two weeks later broke her maiden in a Balmoral overnighter in 1:55.4.
"John DeLong drove her those first two starts and told me when he won with her, ‘Hosea, you can throw these hobbles away.' I thought well, maybe, I do have something here,” Hosea remembered.
Five days later she won in wire-to-wire fashion (which would become her mantra) in 1:57.4 by four lengths at Maywood Park, with Brian Carpenter driving for the first time.
"When we first broke her to the cart and she hit the track, she did nothing but pace,” Hosea explained. "I kind of thought then she might be a pretty nice filly.”
On June 9 Lexington Lady posted a 1:55.4 clocking at Maywood and 10 days later won by six lengths with a front-stepping 1:54.1. On Aug. 2 she prevailed by 3¼ lengths in another wire-to-wire performance at Balmoral, than was a close second at Balmoral on Aug. 8 in 1:53.4.
Hosea then decided to ship his prize filly to Springfield for Illinois State Fair action.
"The morning of her Springfield race I put her grain in her bucket and she walked away from her feed, which wasn't like her.But I took her temperature and she was fine,” said Hosea. "Then, I got a call from Brian (driver Carpenter) who told me he was sick and wasn't going to be able to be there to drive her. So after a while, I find a driver, but then he doesn't show up to drive and the horses are going out of the paddock, and I have to score her down. I borrow a race bike and I'm out there warming her up with my knees up to my chin, because the bike was set for a shorter driver, and I'm thinking, ‘there's no way I can drive this filly with this bike.' I go around Springfield and on the backside I see Casey Leonard leaning on the fence and realized that he didn't have a horse in my race, so I get him to drive her at the last minute and he did a fine job with her.”
Lexington Lady finished second in 1:54.2 , beaten just a neck, for Leonard.
"Casey told me afterward he thought she was just a little sick, so I gave her some time off before her next start,” Hosea related. "But that whole Springfield experience was a bit nerve-wracking, to say the least.”
Lexington Lady returned to Balmoral, where she posted a 1:53 score by 2½ lengths on Aug. 29, reunited with Carpenter, before winning her Orange & Blue elimination a week ago in an impressive 1:53.4. Hosea said he doesn't believe in training fillies too much and that Lexington Lady had an easy week since her last race.
"I grew up around Bruce Nickells and he didn't believe in training fillies really hard and I kind of follow his line of thinking,” Hosea said. "We've got the 10 hole, which isn't where I'd like to be, but I'm happy just to have a horse in this race.” (Balmoral Park)