03/29/2008 12:00AM

Late bloomer Niagara Causeway keeps rolling


ARCADIA, Calif. - Niagara Causeway's career has been revitalized on Santa Anita's synthetic main track. After winning just two of his first 18 starts, racing mostly on turf, Niagara Causeway has won two consecutive starts on a synthetic surface, including his first stakes win in the $108,200 Tokyo City Handicap on Saturday.

Niagara Causeway ($20.80) won the Grade 3 Tokyo City Handicap by a nose over Church Service, giving trainer Leonard Powell, 31, his first stakes win in California.

Ridden by Jon Court, Niagara Causeway tracked pacesetter Plug Me In for the first mile, led by as many as three lengths with a quarter-mile remaining and was fully extended to win, finishing 1 1/2 miles in 2:29.

"The last sixteenth, I was just saying, 'Come on wire,' " Court said.

Niagara Causeway, 5, has won 4 of 20 starts and $255,567 for Glenda Perryman's La Bahia Stud.

Church Service, second in the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo Handicap in February, finished three-quarters of a length in front of Big Booster in the field of seven. Zappa, the 8-5 favorite, finished fourth.