04/08/2013 2:10PM

Aqueduct: Swagger Jack's Carter win no shock to Wolfson

Michael Amoruso
Swagger Jack wins the Grade 1 Carter Handicap under Irad Ortiz Jr.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainer Marty Wolfson wasn’t nearly as surprised by Swagger Jack winning Saturday’s Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct as was the betting public, which sent him off at a generous 15-1.

Swagger Jack had finished second with what Wolfson felt were legitimate excuses in a pair of graded stakes at Gulfstream to Carter candidates Discreet Dancer and Fort Loudon, so he thought it was worth taking a shot in the Carter. He was rewarded when Swagger Jack rallied from fifth and beat Sahara Sky by three-quarters of a length.

“I’ve really been a strong believer in this horse for a long time,” Wolfson said Monday by phone from Florida. “He should have won the Grade 3 Gulfstream Sprint Championship – he got left at the gate.”

Wolfson noted that when Fort Larned stumbled leaving the gate in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap, that left Discreet Dancer alone on the lead through easy fractions.

“There was no way of making up any ground,” said Wolfson.

Speaking of the Carter, in which the opening half-mile went in 44.63 seconds, Wolfson said, “I knew when there was speed, he’d really fit well.”

Though Swagger Jack and Wolfson made a quick return to their Calder base in south Florida, Swagger Jack is likely to return for the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 27.

“He’ll love the one-turn mile,” Wolfson said.

Meanwhile, Wolfson will be right back for the last graded stakes of the Aqueduct meeting this Saturday when he ships up both Spectacular Sky and Nakano for the Grade 2, $200,000 Distaff Handicap at six furlongs.

Spectacular Sky, who will be the starting highweight at 119 pounds, won the Manatee Stakes at Tampa on Feb. 9 before finishing second to Aubby K in the Grade 2 Inside Information at Gulfstream on March 17.

Nakano, whom Wolfson supplemented to the race, finished third in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie and fourth in the Inside Information.

Others pointing to the Distaff include undefeated New York-bred Cluster of Stars, Hearts of Red, Silverette, and Villanesca.