12/01/2005 12:00AM

DeToro mare seeks repeat


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Colonial Surprise will try for her second stakes win in a row Saturday at Woodbine in the Grade 3, 172,050 Bessarabian Handicap. The seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares has attracted 11 others, including the gifted 3-year-old Hatpin and Silver Bird.

Colonial Surprise was an astute $37,500 claim by owner-trainer Nick DeToro in 2003. She won 2 of 7 outings and $92,480 in 2004, but has made just two starts this year, the first of which was a close third-place finish in a $100,000 optional claimer in September.

DeToro said a series of minor problems led to Colonial Surprise missing the first half of the meeting.

"She kept getting little setbacks," DeToro said. "She had to get over a virus and she got the flu, and then she got a sore rear end. We fixed that, and got her going again, and then she got a wrenched ankle and we fixed that. In the meantime, I entered her in three or four races, which didn't fill. When I was waiting for another one, something else would come up."

Colonial Surprise won the six-furlong Ontario Fashion Handicap Nov. 5, earning an 87 Beyer Speed Figure as a 9-1 outsider.

DeToro feels that Colonial Surprise is poised for another strong showing on Saturday.

"She's coming up to it as well as I want her to be," he said.

Hatpin, trained by Mark Frostad for Sam-Son Farm, won the Alywow Stakes on turf in June and was second to Lemon Maid in the Grade 3 Duchess Stakes on the main track in August.

Hatpin finished far back as favorite two starts ago in an $80,000 optional claimer, but then scored an authoritative allowance win last out against subsequent stakes winner Charming Ruckus.

Frostad offered no excuses for Hatpin's subpar showing. "That bad race was a real baffler," he said. "I didn't understand what happened there. I thought she was finished for the year, but when we started training her again, she started jumping through the bridle. Maybe she just had a bad day."