She certainly was no slouch while under her owner's conditioning program the past two years, as Alexachase earned $187,659 from 43 trips to the post, but the soon to turn harness racing 5-year-old seems to have achieved peak form since Don Brittingham took over her training regimen in October.
"Don is a good friend of mine and I've always asked him about horses I couldn't figure out," explained Johnny Waite, who owns the mare with his wife Kimberley. "I just couldn't get her right so I told him I'd appreciate it if he tried her for a bit and I haven't asked him what he's done, but he's got her as close to 100 percent as she can be."
The daughter of Bettor's Delight and themare Jett Away, has earned a total of $228,934 with a record of 51-17-7-6 and a mark of 1:51.2 set on Dec. 10. Named after the Waites two oldest children, 7-year-old Alexa and 11-year-old Chase, the mare has started on eight occasions from Brittingham's barn and has four victories in her last five races.
Alexachase will seek to extend her present winning streak to four when she leaves from post eight on Sunday (Dec. 30) in a $23,000 Filly and Mare Open at Dover Downs.
"I actually deal with a lot of claimers, but my wife's dad, Rodney Mitchell, kind of just gave us the mare (Jett Away), who was a good race horse (p,4,1:51.4f, $180,523), so we bred her," Waite said. "She (Alexachase) seemed like she would be a decent horse and she ended up doing real well in the Sire Stakes in New York last year as a 3-year-old where she raced against some nice horses. I really didn't want to shut her down when I did last year, because she was doing so well, but she had been racing all year long."
Her last race in 2011 was fifth place finish on Nov. 29 in a $16,500 Winners Over at Dover Downs and she qualified for her return this year on February 1 and 8 over the same oval. Shortly after Waite and Alexachase contested the pari-mutuel ranks, he realized something was not quite right with his mare and struggled to discover what was ailing her throughout most of her campaign.
"She qualified pretty good and after I raced her a couple times, she a-fibbed on me," Waite said. "After she did that, I gave her a couple more weeks off, checked her out thoroughly and when everything seemed normal, qualified her back. She was decent but she still wasn't up to where I thought she would be after racing her. I kept pulling blood to try to figure out and I did change farms, so I thought maybe that affected her, and then she started tying up on me a little bit so that's when I took her to Don.
"He's been in the business for years, where I have only been messing around the horses for about eight years," the Camden, Del., resident, whose pupils have earned more than $2.8 million during his career, continued. "He is very knowledgeable and works with a lot of vets. She used to kind of hike behind a little bit and was a little rough-gaited, but she doesn't put in any steps anymore. Also his son, Bret, is driving her and they make a good team."
The Waites intend to keep Alexachase competing at Dover Downs for the next several months, but would like to place her in several different spots for the remainder of her 2013 campaign.
"There are a couple series at the Meadowlands we would like to take her to," Waite said. "I think they are the Lady Liberty and the Golden Girls. They also usually have several series at Chester, but they aren't up yet and they can go for like $30,000 at Harrington. We really want to race her on a five-eighths track and keep her away from a half.
"We think a bigger track helps her because of the way she is gaited and as a 3-year-old she kind of used to hop around the turns.
"Ever since Don has been working with her, she doesn't put in any steps," he continued. "I think the biggest mile I've ever seen her go was in her last race on Dec. 17. Bret tipped her out when she was four or five deep and she came home in :27.4 easily. When he got out of the bike, I told him I was a little worried she came from five deep, because most horses can't make up that kind of ground, but he told me he knew he was a winner coming home as she was full of pace all the way to the wire. She really has just been outstanding her last three or four starts."
by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent