OCEANPORT, N.J. – Little Kiara, a homebred for Smith and Ko-Ko-Mo Stables, unleashed a furious rally down the stretch to capture the $60,000 Open Mind Handicap at Monmouth Park on Sunday by a nose.

Sent off at 7-1 in the field of eight New Jersey-bred fillies and mares, Little Kiara covered the six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:10 3/5 and returned $16.60, $6.40 and $4. Emily Allstar completed the $61.40 exacta and paid $4.80 and $3.20. It was another half-length back to Salad Girl, who paid $3.20 to show. Post time favorite Little Stitch was among the early pace setters but faded in the lane.

“I was on her when she broke her maiden here a few years back,” said winning jockey Carlos H. Marquez Jr. “It’s nice to see she’s still running hard. There seemed to be a lot of speed in the race and especially coming from longer races, I thought she’d be rallying late. We were able to get there just in time.”

“The more speed that entered the race, the more inclined we were to run,” said winning trainer owner Bo Smith. “There were some very fast fillies in this race; they had proven themselves in the past. There was some indecision on our end about running in this spot but she proved us right. We thought if she could be close at the top of the stretch she would be able to run them down coming out of longer races and that’s exactly what she did. She’s just a gutsy filly that always gives her all.”

Sunday’s stakes score was the sixth win in 22 starts for Little Kiara, who won her second straight race. The 5-year-old mare by Lion Hearted from the Baederwood mare Lil Magic Twig has now banked $326,545 for her connections.

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Friday, June 8, 2012 – gates open 11:30 a.m., first post 12:45 p.m.