Fast-Closing Ariana D Captures Bessarabian

Synthetic track specialist upsets favored Sugar Again at 18-1 odds at Woodbine.

William Thompson Jr.'s homebred Ariana D rallied from last after a half-mile to upset favored Sugar Again in Woodbine's $150,096 Bessarabian Stakes Nov. 21 (VIDEO).

In her first ever attempt at the Toronto, Canada, racetrack, the synthetic track specialist closed strongly on the outside in the 12-horse field to win the seven-furlong event for fillies and mares by a neck at odds of 18-1. Hooh Why, who seized command at the top of the stretch, stayed on for third, one length behind Sugar Again, the 2-1 choice.

Ariana D covered the distance in 1:22.97 on Polytrack for trainer Laurie Silvera.

Under winning jockey Omar Moreno, the 4-year-old daughter of Rock Slide--Derby Tie, by Black Tie Affair, boosted her record to seven wins from 17 career starts with earnings of $316,187. Ariana D entered the Bessarabian off an allowance score at Keeneland Oct. 23, also at seven furlongs, for trainer Merrill Scherer.

Moreno hadn't anticipated having to close from as far off the pace as he did with the Pennsylvania-bred.

"I thought I was going to be up at the front," Moreno said. "The gates opened and she was at the back. She was very comfortable back there."

The reserved early position allowed Moreno to save the filly's best for the stretch. "My horse was really digging in there," he said. "I'm glad we got it done."

All seven of Ariana D's victories have taken place on synthetic surfaces. The Bessarabian was worth $88,407 to the winning connections.

Ariana D returned $39.10, $15.50, and $7.40, combining with Sugar Again ($4.20, $3.20) for a $172.50 exacta. Hooh Why ($3.80) rounded out a trifecta worth $1,182.10. A $1 superfecta with Much Obliged fourth returned $3,842.35.