09/10/2006 12:00AM

Lisa M victorious in Lassie

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Benoit Photo
Lisa M (left) rallies from last at the top of the stretch to pass Sutra in the shadow of the wire to win the Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Lassie by a nose on Sunday at Arlington Park.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - On a muddy Sunday afternoon at Arlington, Carlos Marquez Jr. began his ride aboard Lisa M in the with six sets of goggles. He was down to his last pair at the end, but managed to see his way to a major upset, guiding 35-1 Lisa M to the slimmest of victories in the Grade 3, $150,000 race.

Sutra, an 8-1 shot, sat nearly a perfect trip, took the lead in mid-stretch, and did everything but win the Lassie, fighting back after Lisa M split horses in deep stretch and took aim at the front. After an agonizingly long look at a nearly inseparable photo finish, it was Lisa M by the breadth of a hair.

This all came about because a wild three-wide speed-duel set up the one-mile Lassie for a stretch-runner. Even with speedy Dreaming of Anna, one of the favorites, scratched because of the wet conditions, there was no downshifting the trio of Sea the Joy, 4-5 favorite Change Up, and Nola Star. On a sloppy track playing somewhat slow, the early leaders went the opening quarter-mile in 22.69 seconds, the half in an impossible 45.13: Sea the Joy would wind up last of eight, Change Up seventh, and Nola Star fifth.

Several lengths behind the leaders, but fourth while racing in the clear, were Shaun Bridgmohan and Sutra. "I thought I was in the right spot," said Bridgmohan.

Almost. Like Sutra, Lisa M had won her career debut here, but while Sutra was making her second career start in the Lassie, Lisa M had raced in the Aug. 20 Top Flight. She finished a distant fourth, which accounted for her long price, but Dave Kassen, who trains Lisa M. for owner-breeder Larry Bielfeldt, blamed the performance on a poor trip.

"I said to (Marquez) before the race 'Snag her back, save as much ground as you can, and maybe we'll get lucky,'" Kassen said.

Worked to perfection. Timed in 1:38.90, Lisa M paid $73 to win. Call The Kitty, the longest price on the board, completed a $9,727.60 trifecta.