New York champion Alexis Faith proves surprises can be superb

by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Kim French

Columbus, OHOne of the primary components of the sport of harness racing is the hope of discovering the next champion despite the odds being stacked in the opposite direction. Therefore, when a horse comes along who defies the unwritten legislation of harness racing it is an inexplicable emotion, which Casie Coleman is now experiencing with the Empire State’s defending freshman filly pacing champion, Alexis Faith.

“I focus on the horse rather than the pedigree and this filly was just what I was looking for,” Coleman said. “She had the conformation and size as she was not too big or too small, but she didn’t show us much so I only staked her to New York. When we hooked her up to the race bike though something changed and she became a surprise, but a very good one.”

A daughter of the Coleman-trained champion American Ideal and stakes winner Cannae Cammie, Alexis Faith is the first foal from her dam, who collected $538,140 during her career and is a half sibling to Cannae Princess (Cambest, $137,729) and a full sister to Shark On Board ($139,131).

Purchased for $55,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, this filly is owned by Coleman’s West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding, J. Robert Darrow and Kevin McKinlay.

Mike Lizzi photo

Alexis Faith has amassed a resume of 9-6-2-1, banked $228,810 and took a mark of 1:53.1.

“She is by American Ideal,” said Coleman. “And the pedigree is there on her mother’s side so she does have that behind her, but selecting her was on how I felt about her individually.”

Although she was a bit on the lazy side when it came to training, Alexis Faith demonstrated her talents in her debut as she dispatched O’Brien Award finalist Kendall Seelster by two lengths in 1:54.2.

The young lady accumulated four more consecutive triumphs until she suffered her first defeat at the hooves of Dan Patch Award winner and world champion Youaremycandygirl in an $80,200 division of the New York Sire Stakes at Yonkers Raceway on Aug. 29.

Alexis Faith then finished second to a very nice filly in Azreal As It Gets in a $54,500 sire stakes contest at Batavia Downs on Sept. 8 and third behind that rival, in addition to Hurrikane Shorty, under the same conditions at Monticello Raceway on Sept. 19.

The filly, however, atoned for those losses by defeating each of the aforementioned colleagues in the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final at Yonkers Raceway on Oct. 14 in 1:55.2.

In her sole season of competition she amassed a resume of 9-6-2-1, banked $228,810 and took a mark of 1:53.1.

“When she was training she did everything we asked of her, but she just didn’t show us the spark the good horses do,” Coleman said. “But having a New York champion was exciting for us all and for her to exceed our expectations was more than gratifying.”

Although Coleman acknowledges she did second guess herself for not paying Alexis Faith in to premier stakes engagements last season, she also admits she will not make the same mistake twice.

“She is training great and we are looking forward to her season,” she said. “I did stake her so she has an opportunity to go against the top horses in her division. You never know what is going to happen and even if those races do not work for her, I have a fresh horse that will hopefully do well in the New York Sire Stakes again this year. That is more than enough to ask for, so anything else she does is just extra and how could we not be happy with that? As I told her owners, it could be a blessing she did not have to go up against the toughest horses every week last year and could make her a better horse this year.

“We don’t ever know what can happen, but she is awfully good on a half-mile track.”

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