Little Alexis Set for Highly Anticipated Return in Saturday’s Feature

Little Alexis Set for Highly Anticipated Return in Saturday’s Feature

06/20/2014

Florida Sires Stakes Highlight 24-Race Summer Stakes Schedule
 
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Little Alexis made an eye-catching debut at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 9, surging in the stretch to post a 23-1 upset by 1 ¾ lengths over early pacesetter My Miss Sophia.
 
The 3-year-old daughter of Mr. Greeley was sent to the sidelines with a minor injury following her most promising unveiling, but her victory went on to become more and more auspicious with each subsequent start made by the runner-up.
 
The Todd Pletcher-trained My Miss Sophia followed up her second-place showing in her debut with an 11-length graduation at Gulfstream on March 9, a 7 ¼-length victory in the $300,000 Gazelle (G2) at Aqueduct on April 5 and a runner-up finish behind Untapable in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 2.
 
Little Alexis, who was on the shelf with a stone bruise, will finally get back into action at Gulfstream in Saturday’s featured eighth-race.
 
“I took my time with her. She’s a nice filly and the way she beat My Miss Sophia was very impressive,” trainer Carlo Vaccarezza said. “I figured I would take my time.” 
 
Although she was a longshot in her debut, Little Alexis had impressed her connections during her early training, when she was conditioned by Dale Romans before Vaccarezza took out his trainer’s license during the winter.
 
“I always knew she was a quality filly. When Dale used to have her, he wanted her to run first time out in the Pocahontas, a graded race at Churchill last fall. That’s how much he thought of her,” said Vaccarezza, whose Little Dreams Racing group owns the Kentucky-bred filly.
 
Little Alexis, who ran 5 ½ furlongs in a swift 1:02 4/5 in her debut, returns in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up. She has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a field of eight against several more experienced rivals, including Four Aria, a four-race winner who is seeking her third straight victory at the level while racing for a $25,000 claiming price.
 
“Experience is good to have, but quality is hard to get,” Vaccarezza said. “It would be easier to run against just 3-year-old fillies in non-winners of two lifetime, but that’s alright. She’s looking good and she’s training good. I hope she runs the way she looks.”
 
Leading jockey Edgard Zayas has been named to ride the favorite.
 
Florida Sires Stakes Highlight 24-Race Summer Stakes Schedule
 
The introduction of the Florida Sires Stakes at Gulfstream Park will highlight 24 stakes races scheduled for the Hallandale Beach’s summer meeting through Oct. 4.
 
The stakes schedule will be kicked off on July 5 with the running of five $75,000 stakes sprints, including four at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track and one at five furlongs on the turf course. The Paseana (3-year-olds and up, fillies and mares), Housebuster (3-year-olds and up), Cherokee Run (3-year-olds), Cash Run (3-year-olds, fillies) and the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint (3-year-olds and up) are scheduled to get the stakes schedule off to a fast start.
 
The Florida Sires Stakes for juveniles will be featured on Aug. 9 with the runnings of the $100,000 Desert Vixen (fillies) and $100,000 Dr. Fager, on Sept. 6 with the runnings of the $250,000 Susan’s Girl (fillies) and $250,000 Affirmed, and on Oct. 4 with the runnings of the $350,000 My Dear Girl (fillies) and the $350,000 In Reality