TORONTO, November 26, 2017 – Late-season starter Moonlit Promise earned her third stakes win of the year in as many starts on Sunday afternoon at Woodbine as she held off Scotty’s Model with a gritty performance in the $175,000 Bessarabian (Grade 2) for fillies and mares.
Josie Carroll trains the Malibu Moon-Smart Surprise filly, who started her four-year-old campaign with stakes wins in the Sweet Briar Too and Grade 3 Ontario Fashion.
With regular reinsman Gary Boulanger aboard for Sunday’s seven-furlong Grade 2 test, Moonlit Promise kept tabs on pacesetter Perdona racing to her outside in second-place through early fractions of :23.08 and :45.24. The Carroll trainee then collared Perdona in the final turn en route to victory in 1:21.79 while Scotty’s Model made a late run only to come up a neck short. Sister Nation closed inside to take third-place honours over Boreale and Sugar Jones.
“She’s a pretty tough filly,” said Boulanger, noting Moonlit Promise’s aggressive attitude. “She put me in a good comfortable position early on. She kind of got to the front and got waiting a little bit today, which is unusual for her, but we learn things about horses every day. She showed me she has a lot of grit and I’m just very lucky I get to ride such a nice filly.”
“I think when she made the lead early, she got a little overconfident,” said Carroll. “I saw her ears kind of prick and I thought, ‘Uh oh, she thinks this is it.’ But then she heard that horse beside her and I don’t think she would have let her by.”
Moonlit Promise now boasts six career wins to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes from nine starts. Going undefeated this season, she has boosted her lifetime bankroll over the $350,000 mark for breeder Hill ‘n Dale Equine Holdings Inc. and co-owner Windsor Boys Racing.
“She’s just a really exciting filly,” said Carroll. “She’s a very tough filly. Billy O’Connor, my exercise rider, does a great job keeping her under control. She’s strong, but she’s not silly. She just wants to go do it. She just loves to run and that’s what she wants to do.”
Carroll, who will be wintering at Gulfstream Park, campaigns one of the top three stakes-winning stables of the Woodbine meet. Nine of her 26 wins this year at the Toronto track have been in stakes races.
Moonlit Promise was the 8-5 favourite and paid $5.40, $3.10 and $2.30. She combined with Scotty’s Model ($4.70, $3.30) for a 3-9 exacta worth $23.40. A $1 trifecta of 3-9-5 (Sister Nation, $3.40) paid $39.90 and a $1 superfecta of 3-9-5-7 (Boreale) returned $207.70. Sugar Jones, Crumlin Spirit, Perdona, Minks Aprise and Liberty Kitten completed the field.
Click here to watch the replay of the Bessarabian Stakes.