Warrawee Xenia Set For Oaks Challenge

Published: July 29, 2022 03:40 pm EDT

Of the 16 fillies in Saturday’s eliminations of the Hambletonian Oaks, only one — Ontario-based Warrawee Xenia — has never competed at The Meadowlands. But the newcomer arrives as Canada’s fastest three-year-old female trotter this season and brings a six-race win streak to the event.

Warrawee Xenia, trained by the father-son team of Mark and Shawn Steacy, is in the second of Saturday’s two $40,000 Hambletonian Oaks elims. She will start from post eight with driver Bob McClure and is 8-1 on the morning line. Fashion Schooner, who has won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship and a division of the Delvin Miller Memorial at The Big M, is the 9-5 favourite.

This will be Warrawee Xenia’s Grand Circuit debut this year. Her races this season, all at Woodbine Mohawk Park, have been in conditioned classes against primarily three-year-old male trotters. She trotted a career-best 1:53 on July 7.

“She’s been racing really good and beating some honest three-year-old Ontario-sired colts,” Shawn Steacy said. “We made a point to stay in our backyard and let her develop confidence and get stronger.”

Last year, Warrawee Xenia won her career debut, but went off stride in her remaining four races of the campaign, which was halted in late September.

“She just didn’t have it all put together last year, and she got a little sickish at the end of the year, but she always had high speed,” Steacy said. “This year, we wanted to bring her along slowly at the start knowing how much money there is in the back half if she’s good enough.”

Warrawee Xenia is a daughter of Walner-Endless Flirt and was purchased for $50,000 at the 2020 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Her second dam, Flirtin Victory, produced Breeders Crown winners Pick Me Up and Flirtin Miss and Breeders Crown runner-up Flirtin Man.

“She’s never faced top stakes-caliber horses yet, but she’s cleared every hurdle we’ve put in front of her,” Steacy said of Warrawee Xenia. “Bob has been doing a good job babysitting her, keeping her out of trouble. I don’t think Bob has reached to the bottom of the well with her yet.”

In addition to Fashion Schooner, Warrawee Xenia’s Hambletonian Oaks elimination includes Grand Circuit winners Mon Cheval, Raised By Lindy, Delilah Hanover, Baptism, and Peyton Hanover.

“Over the years, we don’t come down (to The Meadowlands) too often, but when we do, we come with a horse that we believe is going to be competitive,” Steacy said. “I’m really interested in the elimination just to see how we stack up. I think we’re going to stack up pretty good. I can’t see her being too far off of them.”

Venerable, the 2021 Dan Patch and O’Brien awards winner for best two-year-old female trotter, is the 8-5 morning-line choice in the first elimination.

The top five finishers from each elim advance to the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks final Aug. 6 at The Meadowlands. Elim winners draw for post positions one through five followed by the remaining finalists receiving their posts in an open draw.

Saturday’s card also includes two eliminations of the Hambletonian, with the top five finishers from each group advancing to the $1 million final, also on Aug. 6.

Racing begins at 6:20 p.m. (EDT). Free TrackMaster past performances for all Meadowlands cards can be found at the track’s website, with Saturday's program available here.