11/24/2008 1:00AM

Smart Surprise fires late in Bessarabian


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Smart Surprise ($15.20) caught Saskawea at the sixteenth pole and edged away to take the $169,000 Bessarabian Stakes on Sunday at Woodbine.

Saskawea tracked front-runner Marina Ballerina through splits of 22.82 and 45.07 before taking control early in the stretch of the seven-furlong sprint. Smart Surprise commenced an inside rally from midpack on the turn, and closed strongly in the stretch to prevail by a half-length in 1:22.14.

Arden Belle rallied on the outside to finish another four lengths back in third. Favored Lucas Street was fifth in the 10-horse field of fillies and mares.

Smart Surprise banked $90,000 in her first stakes success for owner John Sikura. Robert Landry rode the Josie Carroll-trained 4-year-old.

"I got lucky, and the rail opened up," said Landry. "She just towed me around there. She’s got a lot of talent."