Individual Stallion News


10.25.2014 - Sligo Bay's Lexie Lou 'Eye-Catching' Winner of G3 Autumn Miss Stakes

Queen's Plate winner Lexie Lou won her first start outside Canada with an eye-catching burst of speed in the drive to take the $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes (gr. IIIT) Oct. 25 over the Santa Anita Park turf.

With Corey Nakatani aboard, Lexie Lou swept past pacesetter Zindaya in deep stretch to win comfortably by 1 1/4 lengths over the late-running Diversy Harbor in a sharp time of 1:33.70 for the one-mile distance on firm going. New York shipper Zindaya, who set a hot pace (:23.24, :46.22, 1:09.96) and took a two-length lead into the stretch, settled for third in the field of 10 sophomore fillies.

Sent off as the slight 3-1 choice, Lexie Lou atoned for her last-place finish as the 3-2 favorite in the Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine Sept. 14 in her first try against older fillies and mares. In the Autumn Miss, she was cutting back in distance to one mile for the first time.

Owned by Gary Barber and trained by Mark Casse, the classy Sligo Bay lass earned her first graded stakes win following three consecutive Canadian 3-year-old classic triumphs this spring and summer in the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser, the Queen's Plate over males, and the Wonder Where Stakes, her turf debut. A jubilant Barber, who purchased Lexie Lou privately this spring, said after the race that he intends to race Lexie Lou in Southern California during the upcoming winter.

Nakatani said he had spoken to Barber about possibly riding Lexie Lou in the Queen's Plate in July, but Barber and Casse retained regular rider Patrick Husbands instead.

"She's definitely a grade I filly and we'll see where she goes from here," Nakatani said after riding her for the first time. "She loves to win, she's got a high cruising speed and she's tactical. "There were some questions going into this race. They felt she might not have handled the softer turf up in Canada (in the Canadian) as well as she would handle this turf. They felt the tighter turf course here could help her and it sure did."

Lexie Lou was bred Paradox Farm bred the winner in Ontario out of the winning In Excess mare Oneexcessivenite and posted her fourth win of the year from seven starts. Her career line stands at 7-2-2 in 15 outings with earnings of $1,369,714. She previously ran for owner/trainer John Ross, earning $310,244 as a 2-year-old with three victories in eight starts. A $5,577 purchase by Ross at the 2012 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario Division) Canadian-bred yearling sale, she was sold to Barber after her first start this year.

"She proved she can win in open company and I'll put her against open 3-year-olds right now on grass," Barber said. "With the exception of Untapable, I think she can run with anyone. We don't have her schedule planned out yet, but we'll keep her here for the winter and take her back to Woodbine in April."

-edited from

8.11.2014 - Third Classic Romp by Sligo Bay's Lexie Lou

Queen's Plate winner Lexie Lou made a smooth transition to the turf Aug. 10 at Woodbine with an impressive three-length victory as the odds-on choice in the $227,825 Wonder Where Stakes. With Patrick Husbands back aboard the filly for the final jewel of the Canadian Triple Tiara for 3-year-old fillies, Lexie Lou completed a sweep of Sunday's stakes events at Woodbine for trainer Mark Casse, whose Kaigun captured the Play the King Stakes (Can-IIT) earlier on the card.

Lexie Lou, owned by Gary Barber, has now won three of Woodbine's major races for 3-year-olds consecutively, romping in the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser in June prior to handily taking the Queen's Plate over males July 6.

Casse and Barber elected to skip the Prince of Wales, second jewel of Canada's Triple Crown, contested on dirt at Fort Erie, and run in the Wonder Where with an eye to autumn time grass racing. The winning daughter of Sligo Bay   completed the 1 1/4-mile journey in 2:00.90, with 22-1 Skylander Girl second and 40-1 Lapsang third.

"When I worked her 12 days ago, I told Mark she's a different horse on the turf," Husbands said. "She's probably 20 lengths better, but the only problem is I didn't know how I was going to get her to shut off."

Lexie Lou broke alertly before settling into a ground-saving trip fourth as Skylander Girl and Hantaloop vied for the early advantage with Fancy Ribbons stalking on the outside. Deliberate fractions of :25.29, :48.61, and 1:12.39 ensued as Lexi Lou remained comfortably in contention along the inside before angling out a bit leaving the turn. Skylander Girl reached the quarter pole in 1:36.55 and inched away to lead by 2 1/2 lengths off the final turn as Lexi Lou took aim at the front-runner. Lexie Lou, given a couple of left-handed whacks by Husbands, took over approaching midstretch and was in command to the wire while taken in hand late.

Lexie Lou posted her sixth win from 13 lifetime appearances while extending her earnings to $1,309,353. Purchased privately by Barber this spring and turned over to Casse, Lexie Lou ran for owner/trainer John Ross, earning $310,244 as a 2-year-old with three victories in eight starts. A $5,577 purchase by Ross at the 2012 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario Division) Canadian-bred yearling sale, the bay filly was sold to Barber after her first race this year, a fourth-place finish in the listed Star Shoot Stakes.

Barber had an early inkling that she could run on turf. "I saw her race against Zensational Bunny (in the Star Shoot) and she galloped out like a monster," Barber said. "I said 'Wow'. I watched it three or four times over, called Mark, who was at the sales, and told him this filly could move up on the turf. She's bred for it, yet she's doing so well on synthetics. She was worth (going after) and the rest is history."

Paradox Farm bred the winner in Ontario out of the winning In Excess mare Oneexcessivenite.

- edited from

7.7.2014 - Sligo Bay's Lexie Lou Humbles Boys in Queen's Plate

As the lone filly in the race, Woodbine Oaks winner Lexie Lou whittled down her male peers in the $1 million Queen's Plate Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday.

A 3-year-old filly by son of Sadler's Wells top actice son in North America, Sligo Bay, and out of an In Excess dam, Oneexcessivenite, Lexie Lou was bred in Ontario by Paradox Farm. She was a $5,576 purchase in September of 2012 in the barn of John Ross, before being privately purchased by Gary Barber after her fourth-place finish in the Star Shoot on April 19.

Asserting Bear broke sharply and showed the way for the full field of 15, knocking out fractions of :23 1/5, :47 flat, and 1:11 2/5 for the opening quarters. Lexie Lou traveled to the outside midpack while wagering favorite, Grade 1 winner We Miss Artie broke a bit slow and settled towards the back of field.

Lexie Lou then picked off rivals through the far turn and turned three wide for home. We Miss Artie took a five-wide path into the stretch and made a mild bid. Lexie Lou passed Asserting Bear and held off late charges to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Ami's Holiday charged late to finish second while Asserting Bear held on for third.

The win gives Husbands his second Queen's Plate victory after sweeping the Triple Crown with Wando in 2003. It was the first Queen's Plate for Mark Casse, the winning trainer.

The filly now boasts a lifetime record of 12-5-2-2 and earnings of more than $1.1 million.

The next leg of the Triple Crown series is the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on July 29, to be contest over 1 3/8 miles on dirt. The Breeders' Stakes, the final leg, is a 1 1/2 mile turf contest  held at Woodbine on Aug. 17.

-edited from

6.23.2014 - Ol Winedrinker Who is Sligo Bay's Third Stakes Winner in Five Weeks

Sammy L. & Sam E. Stevens' Ol Winedrinker Who used a courageous late surge to capture the $75,000 San Juan County Commissioner Stakes on June 22. It was the fourth Stakes victory, all on dirt, for the 5-year-old son of Sligo Bay.

The victory also confirmed Sligo Bay as the hottest stallion in Canada as he's now sired a trio of Stakes winners in the past five weeks. The streak began on May 18 when Paladin Bay captured the Selene S. (G3) over Grade 1 winner My Conquestadory. On June 15, Lexie Lou was much the best in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, speeding to the third-fastest score in the long history of Canada's most important fixture for sophomore fillies.

Ol Winedrinker Who upped his career bankroll to $401,847 with his Stakes tally on the 22nd and is Sligo Bay's seventh runner to surpass the $400,000 earnings mark.

6.15.2014 - Sligo Bay's Lexie Lou Dominant in Historic Woodbine Oaks

Lexie Lou (by Sligo Bay) romped in Sunday’s $500,400 Woodbine Oaks under Patrick Husbands, who said that blinkers off was a key to victory in the 59th running of the prestigious Canadian-bred 3-year-old filly stakes.

Lexie Lou tracked her stablemate, Wild Catomine (by Milwaukee Brew), who set honest fractions of 23.25 seconds, 47.98, and 1:12.25 under Gary Boulanger in the nine-furlong route. Lexie Lou joined Wild Catomine on the lead on the far turn before drawing off to score by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:49.77. The time was a full second faster than the Grade 1-winning colt We Miss Artie posted in the Plate Trial one race earlier.

Wild Catomine finished a clear second over Llanarmon, who outran the 2-1 favorite, Paladin Bay (by Sligo Bay), for third in the nine-horse field.

Lexie Lou was exiting a close third behind Wild Catomine in the seven-furlong Fury Stakes, which was her first start for owner Gary Barber and trainer Mark Casse. Barber had purchased her from owner-trainer John Ross.

“Last time when I rode her, she never relaxed at all,” Husbands said. “With no blinkers on today, she relaxed. I didn’t want to go head and head, and I asked [Boulanger] what he was going to do, and he said he was probably going to put his filly on the lead, depending on how she breaks. [Lexie Lou] was happy today.”

Lexie Lou earned $300,000, which boosted her bankroll to $649,250. She figures to start next in the $1 million Queen’s Plate here July 6, according to assistant trainer Kathryn Sullivan.

-edited from

5.18.2014 - Paladin Bay (by Sligo Bay) Best in Grade 3 Selene Stakes

Paladin Bay established herself as the favorite for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks with a determined victory over 2-5 choice My Conquestadory in the $208,500 Selene Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday.

Paladin Bayraced along the inside in third in the four-horse field of 3-year-old fillies, as Grade 1 winner My Conquestadory set moderate fractions in the 1 1/16-mile route. Paladin Bay came inside My Conquestadory early in the stretch, and they proceeded to battle to the wire with Paladin Bay prevailing by a nose, in 1:43.96. Midnight Bliss and Cool Faith completed the order of finish.

A daughter of Sligo Bay, Paladin Bay earned her third stakes victory and pushed her career bankroll over the half-million dollar mark ($537,367).

Gerry Olguin rode Paladin Bay for owner Jessie Ladouceur, the wife of trainer Harold Ladouceur.

“She has been training better than she ever has,” Olguin said. “Coming up to this race, I told Harold she’s getting better, and she showed it. We’re going to enjoy this one, but we want the next one,” he said, referring to the June 15 Woodbine Oaks.

Paladin Bay earned an Ontario-bred and an Ontario-sired bonus in the Grade 3 event, in which she banked a total of $151,200. She was bred by Ericka Rusnak, the manager of Hill ‘N’ Dale Farm in Ontario.

-edited from

11.25.2013 - Sligo Bay Filly Tops Adena-Sired Trifecta in South Ocean S.

The Sligo Bay filly Lexie Lou held off another daughter of Sligo Bay, Paladin Bay and the previously unbeaten second choice, Flipcup (by Milwaukee Brew), to take the $125,000 South Ocean Stakes under jockey Gary Boulanger at Woodbine on Sunday.

Lexie Lou went right to the front and set honest fractions in the 1 1/16-mile route for Ontario-sired juvenile fillies. She opened up a 3 1/2-length cushion on the far turn, then saw her lead dwindle in midstretch before she kicked away late to prevail by three lengths in 1:44.70.

“Nobody really wanted to go, and she’s got great tactical speed,” Boulanger said.

Paladin Bay finished a length ahead of Flipcup for second, and Neesa rallied belatedly for fourth in the eight-horse field. Bear’s Pride was scratched.

Lexie Lou banked $75,000 for owner and trainer John Ross and her bankroll now stands at $294,656. With two Stakes wins and a pair of Stakes seconds, Lexie Lou will likely be on the Sovereign Award ballot for Canada's champion juvenile filly of 2013.

Led by Lexie Lou and Paladin Bay, Sligo Bay ranks as the clear leading juvenile sire in Canada this season.

-edited from

8.29.2013 - New Juvenile Stakes Winner for Sligo Bay

Sligo Bay's 2yo daughter Lexie Lou was awarded victory in the $200,000 Muskoka S. at Woodbine on August 28, with another Sligo Bay lass finishing third.

Lexie Lou broke her Maiden at first asking on May 25 and has competed in Stakes events ever since. She was coming off a solid 4th-place run in the Nandi S. on August 3 before breaking through in the Muskoka.

The filly was bred by Paradox Farm and has now earned $151,096 racing in the colors of J. R. Racing Stable, Inc. Lexie Lou is out of the In Excess mare Oneexcessivenite.

Among the other exciting Sligo Bay juveniles in 2013 is Paladin Bay, who earned blacktype for the third time when capturing the show spot in the Muskoka. She's also placed in the Nandi S. and the Shady Well S.

3.31.2013 - Sligo Bay's Regalo Mia Makes the Grade in Orchid S. (G3)

In a span of 10 weeks, Regalo Mia has wiped away a 2012 marked by tough defeats.

Powering down the center of the Gulfstream Park turf course, Regalo Mia bounded home a two-length winner of Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Orchid Stakes. It was her second straight victory here, having won the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf in January.

Regalo Mia, a daughter of Sligo Bay, has won three races in her career, all at Gulfstream Park.

Regalo Mia lost three graded stakes by a neck, a neck, and a nose as a three-year-old in 2012. She then missed the entire summer after developing pneumonia following a ship to Southern California for the American Oaks at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Michelle Nihei, who trains Regalo Mia for Steven Ciccarone, said the two wins at this meet have helped make up for last year’s disappointments.

 “Enormously,” Nihei said. “It was huge. She was small anyway. The maturity helped her.”

Nihei said she was confident that Regalo Mia could get marathon distances such as the 1 1/2 miles of the Orchid, but she couldn’t find races for her at the distance last year.

“Her running style allows her to do so much because she’s rideable,” Nihei said. “She’s the kind of horse that likes to take her time. She doesn’t need to be rushed. Anything at a mile and an eighth or more was going to suit her perfectly.”

Luis Contreras was confident that Regalo Mia could get the distance after he worked her five furlongs at Palm Meadows on March 23. He said he couldn’t pull her up.
Saturday, Regalo Mia broke well and settled into fifth along the inside as Closing Range set the pace chased by Game Fair, Seanchai, and Starformer.

Approaching the top of the lane, Contreras swung Regalo Mia out to the center of the course, and she closed powerfully to get the win.

Regalo Mia covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:23.48 and returned $19.40 to win.

“She kicked very hard at the end. She was so nice and relaxed pretty much all the way,” Contreras said. “I was in a great position behind the leaders. At the time I asked her at the quarter pole she just exploded.”

Nihei said that she would keep Regalo Mia at marathon distances and may look at the Bewitch at Keeneland on April 25.

-edited from

1.20.2013 - Regalo Mia Latest Stakes Winner for Sligo Bay

Regalo Mia overcame a wide trip and a relatively paceless race, rallying from last to a three-quarter-length victory over defending champion, Grade 1 winner Hooh Why, in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf.

The victory was the first stakes success for Regalo Mia, a 4-year-old daughter of Sligo Bay who is owned by Steven Cicarone and trained by Michelle Nihei. Regalo Mia, who was graded stakes-placed three times at 3, missed five months of her 2012 campaign after contracting pneumonia while in California last summer for the Grade 1 American Oaks.

With the scratch of Speak Easy Gal, Romacaca set the pace as expected, with jockey Javier Castellano content to allow Regalo Mia to relax at the rear of the field for the opening six furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile Filly and Mare Turf. Regalo Mia began her rally on the second turn, came four wide around the leaders to join for command entering the stretch, and edged away from Hooh Why through the final sixteenth.

“You just have to throw her last race out, it was just unusual conditions at Churchill Downs and it wasn’t our day,” Nihei said. “There’s no question she’s back to where she was before she got sick last year. You can’t run outside all these horses at a mile and one eighth under these conditions and not be okay. We knew we had a nice filly the way she came in as a 2-year-old, she runs with so much heart.”

12.2.2012 - Sligo Bay Son Rolls in Rich Zia Park Derby

Local hope Ol Winedrinker Who overcame some drifting in the homestretch to capture the $150,000 Zia Park Derby by 3 3/4 lengths Dec. 1 in Hobbs, N.M.

A Texas homebred son of Sligo Bay owned by Sam E. and Sammy L. Stevens, the winner was ridden to victory by Carlos Madeira for trainer Joel Marr.

Ol Winedrinker Who rallied on the far outside while drifting out in the drive to sweep past odds-on favorite Alsvid near mid-stretch.

Ol Winedrinker Who, one of only two horses in the race based in New Mexico, was facing five shippers.

"We knew it would be tough," Marr said. "But we knew... that was that he was training as good as he could train and loved the course. I think that's got to help. He just likes it here."

Ol Winedrinker Who chased the pacesetters Motown Men and Alsvid in third as the leaders separated themselves from the rest of the pack by as many as seven lengths, carving out a solid pace of :23.55, :47.29, and 1:11.73. Ol Winedrinker Who, Whining, and Master Rick cut the gap on the final turn and the leaders were four across in upper stretch after Motown Men gave way.

Ol Winedrinker Who had posted three consecutive runner-up finishes since taking the six-furlong Norgor Derby June 17 at Ruidoso Downs. The last two races came around two turns at Zia Park against $30,000 allowance/optional claiming rivals. The dark bay or brown gelding, out of the Prenup mare Silverup won for the first time in four starts over the track.

"We've always been wanting to go long, and this is the race we've pointing towards for the last six to eight months," Marr said.

The victory, worth $89,100, boosted Ol Winedrinker Who's career earnings to $179,713.

- edited from

4.23.2012 - Bourbon Bay (by Sligo Bay) Takes Historic 'Capristrano' Again

The longest race at Santa Anita Park, the closing day $150,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IIT), was settled by less than an inch when Bourbon Bay (by Sligo Bay) came from far out of it at the quarter pole to tag upset-minded Eagle Poise at the wire April 22.

Neither 5-1 shot Eagle Poise, ridden by Alex Solis, nor even-money favorite Bourbon Bay, with Joel Rosario aboard, were anywhere near the pace. But both came home charging down the Santa Anita turf course in heart-pounding style to stage a memorable finish.

This is getting to be old hat for Bourbon Bay, who came from well out of things in the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. IIT) to win by a head March 25 with Rosario riding him for the first time. Rosario was much farther behind in the San Juan but 6-year-old Bourbon Bay, a tiger on the Santa Anita turf, would not be denied no matter how precarious things were.

"I just wanted him to relax," Rosario told HRTV immediately afterward. "Maybe he was a little too relaxed today."

Trainer Neil Drysdale picked up his fourth win in the San Juan and his second in the about 1 3/4-mile event with the 122-pound high weight Bourbon Bay, who previously won the race in 2010.

Drysdale, commenting on the closeness of the finish, said he didn't think Bourbon Bay had won. “I have to be honest; I thought we’d been pipped, but I’m very happy. He’s a lovely horse. I actually thought he hadn’t gotten there today, I really did. I was pleasantly surprised when they put his number up.”

The Hall of Fame trainer had complained following the San Luis Rey that Rosario let Bourbon Bay get too far behind. This time, he said with a smile, "I don't know who was sleeping, the jockey or the horse. But he'a a great horse."

Bourbon Bay, a gelding by Sligo Bay out of the Conquistador Cielo mare Coral Necklace, certainly is a great horse at Santa Anita, where he has taken seven of nine starts on the turf including a half-dozen grade II triumphs.

Drysdale is a former assistant to the great Charles Whittingham, who won an incredible 14 renewals of the San Juan Capistrano. Asked if he thought he'd be able to catch his mentor, Drysdale deadpanned, "I think I'll run out of time."

David and Jill Heerensperger own Bourbon Bay, who was bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs.

Facing five opponents in the San Juan Capistrano, Bourbon Bay dropped back to last soon after the start as Hog's Hollow went to the front and set a solid pace for the distance. Hog's Hollow covered the opening six furlongs in 1:12.92, the mile in 1:38.19 and 10 furlongs in 2:03.44 as Harrods Creek, Bonfire Knight, and Dhaamer tracked. Eagle Poise and Bourbon Bay trailed, with Bourbon Bay more than 15 lengths behind with a half-mile to run.

Harrods Creek made a big move for Mike Smith on the final turn and opened up quickly in the stretch to lead by about four lengths as Eagle Poise and Solis wound up their charge. Bourbon Bay still had just one beaten at the top of the stretch with about nine lengths to make up. Eagle Poise swept past a weakening Harrods Creek in deep stretch and appeared headed for victory under strong right-handed urging from Solis.

But Bourbon Bay, still fourth at the furlong mark and nearly six lengths behind under left-handed urging, was building tremendous momentum. Rosario coaxed just enough out of him to reach the wire first in the final lunge.

“I was probably too far back but I was never worried about it," said Rosario, who was a runaway winner of the jockey title at Santa Anita this season. "He’s a great horse and he can handle this distance well. It was pretty close. Right in the middle of the race I thought they were probably going a little too quick for the distance. I never panicked and didn’t try to make a move early.”

Bourbon Bay improved his career record to 9-5-4 in 26 races and bumped his earnings to $968,536 with the winner's share of $90,000.

Drysdale said Bourbon Bay deserves a vacation. "This was a very demanding race,” he said.

-edited from

3.25.2012 - Sligo Bay's Bourbon Bay Win 6th Graded Stake

David and Jill Heerensperger’s classy long-distance specialist Bourbon Bay turned in one of the best performances of his career Sunday, mounting a furious rally from last at the quarter pole and reeling in game Slim Shadey (GB) to win the $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes (G2) by a head at Santa Anita Park.

The six-year-old Sligo Bay (Ire) gelding secured his first win since taking the Cougar II Handicap (G3) on Del Mar’s synthetic Polytrack surface on July 29 and won his sixth graded stakes overall, adding to a sterling résumé that includes a win in the 2010 San Luis Rey. Only two other horses have won the San Luis Rey twice, the last being the great John Henry in 1980 and 1981.

Jockey Joel Rosario kept the gelding reserved behind his four opponents through an opening half-mile in :48 and six furlongs in 1:13.12. Pacesetter Hog’s Hollow was joined by stalkers Utopian and Slim Shadey entering the final turn and those three battled in early stretch. Bourbon Bay rallied from 5 1/2 lengths back at the quarter pole to prevail with a powerful rush as the 6-to-5 favorite.  

Slim Shadey dispatched Hog’s Hollow with a sixteenth of a mile remaining and momentarily appeared to have the race in hand, but Bourbon Bay surged home under Rosario to deny Slim Shadey at the finish line. He covered about 1 ½ miles in 2:25.78 on turf rated firm despite rainy weather on Sunday. The starting gate for the San Luis Rey was moved from its normal position on Santa Anita’s downhill course and placed near the half-mile marker on the backstretch due to the course conditions.

This is a really good horse,” Rosario said. “I’ve never been on him before, but he has a nice turn of foot. He tries really hard at this distance. My horse felt good on the track. I don’t know how others handled the rain, but everything worked out perfect for my horse.”

Bourbon Bay blossomed into one of the top turf performers on the West Coast as a four-year-old under trainer Neil Drysdale’s guidance, winning three consecutive Grade 2 turf stakes at Santa Anita during spring 2010. He followed that up in 2011 by winning the San Marcos at Santa Anita and setting a track record at Del Mar for 1 1/2 miles in the Cougar II last July.

Overall, Bourbon Bay has eight wins in 25 career starts and $878,536 in purse earnings. Drysdale indicated following the San Luis Rey that he would point Bourbon Bay to the about 1 ¾-mile San Juan Capistrano Stakes (G2) on April 22, a race that Bourbon Bay won in 2010 and that serves as the traditional closing stakes race of Santa Anita’s spring meet.

Bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs, Bourbon Bay is out of the winning Conquistador Cielo mare Coral Necklace and is a half brother to Canadian champion Ginger Brew.

-edited from