11/21/2008 12:00AM

Lucas Street eyes big finish


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Lucas Street will try to go out a winner Sunday at Woodbine in the $150,000 Bessarabian Stakes, a competitive seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares.

Lucas Street, owned by Melnyk Racing Stable, graduated in her season opener on the dirt at Fair Grounds, and subsequently won back-to-back allowances here in the spring. She ran strongly when she was second in the July 18 Scotzanna Stakes behind Sugar Swirl, who came back to be third in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga.

Lucas Street has performed admirably since her disappointing fifth-place finish in the seven-furlong Seaway Stakes in September. She won the allowance prep for the Ontario Fashion Stakes, and wound up second in the Fashion itself, behind New York invader Porte Bonheur.

Trainer Malcolm Pierce said Lucas Street had excuses for both of her substandard efforts this year.

"She had a bad trip on the grass one day," Pierce recalled. "If I had to do it over again, I probably wouldn't have run her in the Seaway. We were messing around with her, and she missed some training heading into that race. She didn't go into it 100 percent."

Pierce said Lucas Street is on the verge of retirement.

"This could possibly be the last race of her career," Pierce said. "She's definitely going to be bred in the spring. She may be a little better at six furlongs than seven furlongs, but she's doing well. I'm looking forward to her running at least one more time."

Arden Belle has made a name for herself as a stakes-winning router, but she has scored twice in three starts over seven-eighths.

Arden Belle captured the restricted Algoma Stakes for the second year in a row Sept. 1, and was beaten a nose in the 1 1/4-mile Maple Leaf Stakes Oct. 19. She then cut way back to six furlongs in the Ontario Fashion and wound up three lengths back in fifth.

Marina Ballerina was rated just off the pace on the outside en route to running fourth in the Ontario Fashion. She had led for at least the first half-mile in each of her five previous races, which included a runner-up placing in the Grade 3 Seaway. Expect her to set the pace under new rider Eurico Da Silva.

Saskawea has stuck to the grass since ending up fifth in her belated season opener in the Scotzanna. She has an excellent synthetic track record.