TORONTO, November 25, 2018 – Moonlit Promise successfully defended her title in the $175,000 Bessarabian Stakes (Grade 2) defeating a field of 13 distaffers on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack.
While Kasuga fired to the lead from the inside post in the seven-furlong filly and mare affair, Moonlit Promise raced mid-pack outside the top grouping before making her bid in the final furlong for meet-leading jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva.
Moonlit Promise, who was just four lengths off the lead at the half-mile mark, delivered on her pari-mutuel promise as she rallied five-wide off the turn and prevailed by 1-1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:22.28.
Kasuga had fronted the field of 13 through opening panels of :22.47 and :44.59 before tiring in the stretch. Silent Sonet followed the pacesetter and overtook her in upper stretch before settling for the runner-up role while Let It Ride Mom came on late to finish third.
Trainer Josie Carroll noted that Moonlit Promise benefitted from a post position more suitable to her racing style, getting gate 10 after a pair of scratches in the field.
“She had a bit of a tough year,” said Carroll of her trainee, whose prior Bessarabian victory had capped off a perfect three-race stakes campaign in 2017. “Of her last five starts, she had the one-hole four times. She’s a filly that doesn’t really want to run inside so it was a really tough year for her. To see her get a decent draw where she could show what she could really do was pretty exciting.”
Moonlit Promise had hit the board in a trio of Grade 3 events this year, including the Whimsical, Hendrie and Ontario Fashion last time out on October 28. The win was just her second of the season after taking the Sweet Briar Too Stakes in mid-September.
“It’s so much easier in life when you have a good post,” said Da Silva, who had partnered with the bay mare for her last two inside starts. “I was just watching the speed and I don’t need to worry. In my heart, she was the best horse and I was not even concerned to go a little bit outside. I wanted to make sure she had a very clean trip. She’s so nice and she runs so hard.”
Owned by Windsor Boys Racing and breeder Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc., the five-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon out of the 2008 Bessarabian champion Smart Surprise returned to a jubilant winner’s circle after notching her eighth career victory.
“This is just an exciting group. They’re getting a group of nice horses together,” said Carroll. “John Sikura has put them in the business and I think they’re going to have a great deal of fun.”
Moonlit Promise has now earned more than $650,000 from 18 career starts.
Sent postward as the 7-2 favourite, Moonlit Promise paid $9.60, $5 and $4.10. She combined with Silent Sonet ($7.80, $5.50) for a $73.80 exacta while a winning $1 trifecta ticket with Let It Ride Mom ($4) was worth $187.40. Jessica Krupnick edged out Ladies Night in a photo for fourth-place to complete the superfecta, which paid $670.40 for a $1 ticket.
Live Thoroughbred racing resumes on Wednesday evening, with first race post time set for 6:45 p.m.