SEAWAY STAKES | PURSE: $150,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP | FILLIES AND MARES | GRADE 3 | 7 FURLONGS
Back on her favorite track, Tu Endie Wei engaged 1-2 favorite Roxy Gap along the inside and refused to give way en route to a one-length victory in the $170,843 Seaway Stakes at Woodbine Sept. 1.
Jim McAleney guided Brereton C. Jones' 3-year-old homebred Tu Endie Wei to her first graded stakes victory for trainer Reade Baker. The daughter of Johar , making her first start against older fillies and mares, improved to five wins in six starts on Woodbine's Polytrack.
"She was just brilliant," said McAleney. "Reade did a wonderful job bringing her into this race. All the way down the backside, even though they were moderate splits, she was very comfortable."
Tu Endie Wei, last of six in the Prioress Stakes Aug. 4 at Saratoga Race Course last time out, was timed in 1:24.12. Roxy Gap, who was looking for her fourth graded stakes win of the current Woodbine meet, finished second by 2 1/2 lengths over Jenny's So Great.
Roxy Gap, carrying 124 pounds, had the early lead for Patrick Husbands between horses on a crowded front end, with Tu Endie Wei, breaking from the rail, keeping the pressure on along with Gold Dust Lady on their outside. Roxy Gap, fresh off a victory in the Royal North on Woodbine's turf course, made the opening quarter mile in :23.78 with Tu Endie Wei leading the favorite by a half-length at the half-mile point in :46.86.
Tu Endie Wei, who had a nine-pound weight advantage against the favorite, turned into the stretch with a narrow lead. She proved extremely stubborn through the lane under steady handling from McAleney to hold off Roxy Gap.
"Patrick (Husbands) went to getting after his filly at the quarter pole and I kind of thought I had him but she's such a nice filly, Roxy Gap, she was coming back down and even at the eighth pole I wasn't sure I was a winner," said McAleney. "This filly, I think she graduated to a mare today. She ran tough."
Jenny's So Great, ridden by Luis Contreras, was followed by the poor-starting Zermatt and Gold Dust Lady.
Tu Endie Wei had won four added-money events prior to Seaway including the My Dear, Ontario Debutante, Glorious Song, and Star Shoot Stakes, all at Woodbine. Tu Endie Wei banked $91,251 as she improved her overall record to 5-1-1 from 10 lifetime starts. The bay filly, out of the Indian Charlie mare Ms. Cornstalk, has earned $524,251.
The winner returned $7.50, $2.80, and $2.10, pairing with Roxy Gap ($2.10, $2.10) for an $11.90 exacta. Jenny's So Great, $2.30 to show, completed a trifecta worth $20.50.