09/04/2003 11:00PM

Two vie as chalk in Oaks

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Winnipeg, Manitoba - Pete's Surprise and Ocean Effect will likely vie for favorite status among eight runners in Sunday's $35,000 Assiniboia Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.

Pete's Surprise, owned by Fred Bennett and trained by Jack Robertson, comes into the 1 1/16-mile Oaks off a two-length victory in the one-mile Manitoba Distaff in restricted company on Sept. 1.

A daughter of Peteski,, Pete's Surprise finished second to Ocean Effect, beaten half a length two starts ago in open company going a mile. Nevertheless, she does appear to be improving.

Ocean Effect, owned and trained by Lise Pruitt, could end up as the favorite in the Oaks at post time, based on the aforementioned half-length victory over Pete's Surprise.

Before that race, Ocean Effect had an excuse in the one-mile Jack Hardy stakes. She was a victim of an eventful trip that led to a fifth-place finish.

Rounding out the field are Stolen Sheena, Stately Manor Alipalooza, Red at the Helm, and Winovers Gal.

The race does set up for a closer, since Stately Manor, Alipalooza, and Ocean Effect like to run on the lead.