Toronto Ont.Novemberr 26, 2017.Woodbine Racetrack.Jockey Gary Boulanger guides Moonlit Promise to victory in the $175,000 dollar Bessarabian Stakes for owners Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc.and first time stakes winner Windsor Boys Racing and trainer Josie Carroll. michael burns photo













Undefeated mare MOONLIT PROMISE did it again on Sunday at Woodbine, taking the Grade 2 Bessarabian Stakes for John Sikura’s HIll ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings and Windsor Boys Racing. In a year that has given us so many super racehorses, Moonlit Promise is a 2nd undefeated gal at Woodbine for trainer Josie Carroll. Ami’s Mesa, a 4-year-old, won all 4 of her 2017 starts, 3 stakes before going out to the Breeders’ Cup and just missing in the Filly & Mare Sprint.

Moonlit Promise is now eligible for a Sovereign Award for Champion Female Sprinter but it is likely Ami’s Mesa will get that award.

Woodbine release – Late-season starter Moonlit Promise earned her third stakes win of the year in as many starts on Sunday afternoon at Woodbine as she held off Scotty’s Model with a gritty performance in the $175,000 Bessarabian (Grade 2) for fillies and mares.

Josie Carroll trains the Malibu Moon-Smart Surprise filly, who started her four-year-old campaign with stakes wins in the Sweet Briar Too and Grade 3 Ontario Fashion.

With regular reinsman Gary Boulanger aboard for Sunday’s seven-furlong Grade 2 test, Moonlit Promise kept tabs on pacesetter Perdona racing to her outside in second-place through early fractions of :23.08 and :45.24. The Carroll trainee then collared Perdona in the final turn en route to victory in 1:21.79 while Scotty’s Model made a late run only to come up a neck short. Sister Nation closed inside to take third-place honours over Boreale and Sugar Jones.

“She’s a pretty tough filly,” said Boulanger, noting Moonlit Promise’s aggressive attitude. “She put me in a good comfortable position early on. She kind of got to the front and got waiting a little bit today, which is unusual for her, but we learn things about horses every day. She showed me she has a lot of grit and I’m just very lucky I get to ride such a nice filly.”

“I think when she made the lead early, she got a little overconfident,” said Carroll. “I saw her ears kind of prick and I thought, ‘Uh oh, she thinks this is it.’ But then she heard that horse beside her and I don’t think she would have let her by.”

Moonlit Promise now boasts six career wins to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes from nine starts. Going undefeated this season, she has boosted her lifetime bankroll over the $350,000 mark for breeder Hill ‘n Dale Equine Holdings Inc. and co-owner Windsor Boys Racing.

“She’s just a really exciting filly,” said Carroll. “She’s a very tough filly. Billy O’Connor, my exercise rider, does a great job keeping her under control. She’s strong, but she’s not silly. She just wants to go do it. She just loves to run and that’s what she wants to do.”

Carroll, who will be wintering at Gulfstream Park, campaigns one of the top three stakes-winning stables of the Woodbine meet. Nine of her 26 wins this year at the Toronto track have been in stakes races.

Moonlit Promise was the 8-5 favourite and paid $5.40, $3.10 and $2.30. She combined with Scotty’s Model ($4.70, $3.30) for a 3-9 exacta worth $23.40. A $1 trifecta of 3-9-5 (Sister Nation, $3.40) paid $39.90 and a $1 superfecta of 3-9-5-7 (Boreale) returned $207.70. Sugar Jones, Crumlin Spirit, Perdona, Minks Aprise and Liberty Kitten completed the field.


More From Sunday…

Gus Schickedanz and trainer Mike Keogh watched an impressive outing by the 2-year-old Langfuhr colt WANDOFUHR on Sunday. The pretty chestnut, who looks a lot like Wando (the Canadian Triple Crown winner by Langfuhr), posted a 77 Beyer Figure for his big win at 7 furlongs in  1:22.40. He is a half brother to  speedy stakes winner WILL SHE, Sweet Grass Creek and Sweet Crimson.

In the trainer’s race, Mark Casse won 2 races and Norm McKnight won 1 and thus the lead for the Casse team is 91 to 86.

McKnight has horses in 5 races on Wednesday night and Casse has one entrant.

There are  8 racing cards left in the season.

And congratulations to Santino DiPaola who sent out his first winner of the meeting when D’S DOUBLE EAGLE won the last race under a heady ride by Emma-Jayne Wilson. DiPaoloa, who also co-owners the gelding, trains the horse’s of his family. It is a family business and DiPaola has a hard working crew at the barn. Look out for the stable to win a few more before the season ends.

To see a feature on the process of getting a horse from the barn to the races on race day with DiPaola guiding the tour..Talkin Horse Racing Episode 9…