11/14/2005 1:00AM

Ballroom Deputy seizes rare opportunity


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Josie Carroll has had a difficult time finding dances for Ballroom Deputy at Woodbine this year.

But Ballroom Deputy found herself with plenty of partners in Saturday's Grade 3, $210,100 Maple Leaf Stakes and took advantage of the occasion to record her first career stakes victory.

"She's just a really honest filly," said Carroll, who trains Ballroom Deputy for Padua Stable. "Every time you lead her over there, she tries. She seems to really like this Woodbine course. We were happy to get to run her here again. It's been really frustrating, getting a race for her."

As a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old filly whose forte is two-turn dirt racing, Ballroom Deputy has had few opportunities here. Her only other start on the main track here this year came in the June 18 Ontario Matron, a 1 1/16-mile race in which she finished second by a head to One for Rose, who recently retired.

After entering Ballroom Deputy in the July 20 Belle Mahone, a 1 1/16-mile dirt race that failed to fill, Carroll tried her here on turf despite her previous lack of success on the surface.

"We just really wanted to get another race into her," said Carroll, who had watched Ballroom Deputy finish fifth of six in the open turf allowance at one mile here Aug. 5. "We had to try something. We were kind of at a loss for somewhere to run. We thought she might handle it, but she didn't. It was a very disappointing race."

Carroll's quest for a spot for Ballroom Deputy next took her to Monmouth for the Sept. 10 Lighthouse, a mile-and-70-yard race in which she finished third.

"We went to Monmouth simply because the filly needed to run, and it looked like a race she'd be very tough in," said Carroll. "She actually got a little wound up when she got there, got a little wound up in the paddock, and got a little wound up on post parade. I believe that cost her considerably."

Ballroom Deputy was on her best behavior in the Maple Leaf, however, as she stretched out to 1 1/4 miles for the first time and reported home a one-length winner under regular rider Dino Luciani.

"I had some faith she'd get the distance, as long as she'd relax, and she settled nicely off the leaders," said Carroll. "When she did that, I knew she'd be tough."

Carroll will meet with the Padua people to discuss Ballroom Deputy's immediate future. Carroll will be taking a string to Santa Anita for the first time this winter, and that contingent should include High Volt Jolt, who was claimed for $40,000 by Carroll and owners Jim and Alice Sapara here last Friday. A Kentucky-bred 5-year-old gelding, High Volt Jolt recorded his fourth win of the season in Friday's 1 1/16-mile race. He also had one second-place finish and earned $168,800 in six starts for trainer and part-owner Dave Cotey.

A week of triumphs for Carroll

Ballroom Deputy capped a successful week for Carroll, who also sent out Estevan to become a stakes winner in the $115,800 Labeeb here last Thursday. Carroll also clicked with a pair of 2-year-old Louisiana-bred first-time starters: Regal Star scored a maiden special here Saturday, and Mr. Zulu won for $20,000 last Wednesday night.

Carroll has now won eight stakes at the meeting and will be looking to add to that total here Sunday with Gumboots, who looms the horse to beat in the $125,000 Glorious Song.

Gumboots, owned by Eaton Hall Farm, is undefeated in two starts, including a 7 1/4-length win over fellow Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies here in the six-furlong Fanfreluche last time out.

The Glorious Song is an open seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies, and Gumboots tuned up by working five furlongs in a bullet 59.60 under regular rider Patrick Husbands here Sunday.

"Some horses broke off in front of her, and she got a little bit focused on them and just a little bit strong, because she was being a little bit competitive," said Carroll.

Apprentice records first win

Michelle Rainford, a 25-year-old apprentice jockey, recorded her first career win when guiding Tracy's Tonka Toy to a 9 1/2-length victory in the first race here Saturday.

Tracy's Tonka Toy is trained by Scott Fairlie, who has been employing Rainford as an exercise rider. Rainford was riding in just her third race, having finished fifth with Matthews Gold here Oct. 26 and sixth with Best Manners here Nov. 11.

Rainford has two mounts on Wednesday's nine-race program: Affluent Motion and Takstar River, in the last two races.

* Woodbine canceled the last three races on Sunday's 11-race card after the jockeys voted not to continue because of winds gusting up to 40 miles per hour. The abbreviated program marked the second wind-related cancellation in a week, as last Sunday's card was called off after just three of 11 races were run.

* Daniel David recorded his 999th career victory aboard Solihull in Saturday's ninth race and has five calls, including one also-eligible, on Wednesday's card.