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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Ken Weingartner, for US Trotting Assn. — This time, Alexis has landed the leading role.

Lilbitalexis, whose name is a reference to the song performed by character Alexis Rose during her failed Cabaret audition on the acclaimed Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in Friday’s $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female trotters. Lilbitalexis was one of two elimination winners last week, with the other, Raised By Lindy, the 3-1 second choice in the final.

A daughter of Walner out of Jolie De Vie, Lilbitalexis was bred by Keith Clark, Jeffery Ruch, and Daniel Phillips. It was Phillips’ wife, Jacquie, who came up with the Schitt’s Creek-inspired name. In the episode, Alexis Rose bills her Britney Spears-styled dance song as “the title track off of my critically reviewed, limited reality series, A Little Bit Alexis.”

Feel free to sing along if you know the words.

“I wasn’t a big follower of the show, but my wife is a big fan,” said Daniel Phillips, who was among the owners of Berto Primo, the fourth-place finisher in the 2006 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters. “I’ve had pieces of a couple nice horses along the way, but this is the first really kind of special horse that we bred. So, we’re excited. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed and pulling for the big filly. I’m nervous, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Lilbitalexis, trained by Richard “Nifty” Norman, has seven wins and a second in nine starts. She has five wins on the Grand Circuit, including a division of the Bluegrass Stakes earlier this month. She won her Breeders Crown elimination by 1-3/4 lengths over Selfie Queen in 1:53.3. She was the 9-5 second choice in the race behind previously unbeaten stablemate Venerable, who went off stride on the last turn.

“She got a good trip,” Norman said. “It worked out nice and she was pretty strong. That’s the best trip she’s had, a nice two-hole trip, so that was good.

“She’s fast. She’s just flat-out fast. And she’s good gaited. She’s a nice filly.”

As for Venerable’s miscue, Norman said, “I don’t really know. It’s just unfortunate. I think she was a little keen and (driver David Miller) was just trying to calm her down and she was wanting to get going too much on the turn there and made a mistake.”

Lilbitalexis, owned by Pinske Stables and David Hoese, will start Friday from post three with driver Dexter Dunn. Norman also will send out Delilah Hanover, who was fourth in the elimination won by Raised By Lindy. She is 12-1 on the morning line and leaves from post four with Todd McCarthy.

Raised By Lindy, a daughter of Walner out of Birthright trained by Domenico Cecere, will start from post five with Yannick Gingras. She brings a three-race win streak to the final and has won five of nine races overall for owner Lindy Farms of Connecticut. She won her elimination by 1-1/4 lengths over Joviality S in 1:54.4.

“I’m very happy with how she raced,” Cecere said. “This, I think, is the second time she raced on the lead, and she’s been learning a lot. It looks like she has developed into a very nice filly. I think we are in good shape. She has a lot of speed. You can see it. And her mind now, she is in a very good place. In the beginning when we started, she was anxious to do everything quick. But we did a good job to get her to settle down. When you have the head, the brain, in the right place, we see the speed is there, that’s the best thing.”

Joviality S, the New York Sire Stakes champion and Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes winner, saw a five-race win streak halted with the loss in her elimination. One of two Marcus Melander-trained entries in the final, with Jaya Bae, she is the 9-2 third choice.

The Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old female trotters is race eight Friday, the third of the card’s four Breeders Crown championships for 2-year-olds. For complete entries click here. Racing begins at 6:20 p.m. (EDT).

Breeders Crown finals for horses ages 3 and up are Saturday at The Meadowlands. Racing gets underway at noon Saturday.


Branded By Lindy will go for his eighth consecutive win when he faces nine rivals in Friday’s $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters. The Domenico Cecere-trained colt is the 9-5 morning-line favorite and will start from post three with driver Yannick Gingras.

A son of Chapter Seven out of The Lindy Label, Branded By Lindy has won eight of 10 starts for owner Lindy Farms of Connecticut. His triumphs included divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes and the Kentucky Commonwealth Series final.

He won his Breeders Crown elimination by 2-3/4 lengths over Kentucky Championship Series winner Double Deceiver in 1:53.

“We always thought he was a nice horse,” Cecere said. “We had a little bit of early issues. It wasn’t much. He just really wasn’t strong yet. When we moved to Lexington, he started to get stronger and stronger. He showed me in Lexington that he was the real deal.

“He’s a nice horse, a great horse. He is making our job much easier. I don’t think we saw the end of the tank. Now, we dream for (the final).”

Lucas Wallin-trained Rebuff, who won his elimination by 2-1/4 lengths over Gigondas in 1:53.4, is the 4-1 second choice followed by Testing Testing, who captured his elim by 1-1/4 lengths over Majestic J in 1:53.4, at 5-1. George Ducharme, who trains Testing Testing, entered Wednesday with 999 career victories.

Testing Testing, a son of Walner-Sound Check, will start from post two with Andy McCarthy. He has won four of seven races for owners Bill Donovan, Purnel & Libby, Joe Sbrocco, and Jim Winske.

“I was very happy with him,” Ducharme said. “I thought he raced very good. Hopefully, that sets him up good for the final. That was a good field, and he did it comfortably. He wasn’t asked for too much in the stretch, he did it more on his own. I’m very happy. We’ll see what happens.”

Rebuff, by Muscle Hill out of Meucci Madness, will start from post four with Tim Tetrick. He has won three of 10 races for owners Wallin, Kjell Andersen, and Pieter Delis.

“He was very talented from the beginning, but he was very, very green,” Wallin said. “We took our time and raced him from behind and it is paying off.”

The Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old male trotters is race six Friday, the first of the card’s four Breeders Crown championships for 2-year-olds. For complete entries click here. Racing begins at 6:20 p.m. (EDT).

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