06/03/2012 5:27PM

Monmouth: Lil Kiara gets up in time to win Open Mind


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Lil Kiara stormed home to pull a 7-1 upset Sunday in the $60,000 Open Mind Stakes for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares at Monmouth Park. Lil Kiara got up by a nose over Emily Allstar with Salad Girl third.

The victory gave jockey Carlos Marquez Jr. a sweep of the statebred stakes over the weekend. He scored with The Hunk on Saturday in the John J. Reilly Handicap.

While The Hunk was a front-running winner, Lil Kiara came from way back get this victory.

On paper, Lil Kiara seemed compromised by the distance. A 5-year-old trained by Cal Lynch at Parx Racing, Lil Kiara has enjoyed most of her recent success in routes. Her three prior wins came in two-turn races, including the Spruce Fir Handicap here last July.

She had just enough time, and real estate, to get up in the six-furlong Open Mind. Three wide entering the stretch, Lil Kiara angled to the far outside for the run through the lane to out finish Emily Allstar, who split rivals in the stretch to gain running room.

“There seemed to be a lot of speed in the race, and coming from longer races, I thought she’d be rallying late,” Marquez said. “We were able to get there just in time.”

Ima Jersey Girl was fourth followed by Little Stitch, who was the 19-10 favorite, Miss Tallahassee, Cee the Country and My Lil’ Red Rodeo.

Lil Kiara paid $16.60 to win. The time was 1:10.74 on the fast track.