11/27/2009 12:00AM

Carroll calls it a career after 36 years as trainer


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Del Carroll, who saddled more than 500 winners during a career that spanned 36 years, has retired from training horses and will pursue other opportunities outside of the sport.

Carroll's last day of training was Nov. 20. Of the 16 horses he had at the time, nine went to Bruce Brown, three to John Morrison, and four were retired. Carroll's two primary owners were Pont Street Stable and Our Eyes Wide Open Stable.

"The game was really good to us for 25 years,'' Carroll, 56, said by phone Friday. "Like everybody else, it's been a struggle the last 11 or 12 years. No regrets, no complaints. I trained for good people, trained some nice horses. It was just time for me.''

Carroll, the son of a trainer, conditioned several stakes winners in his career including Ghazi, who won the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington, and Weekend Surprise, a multiple-stakes-winning filly who went on to become the dam of classic winner Summer Squall and 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy. Other stakes winners trained by Carroll included Quantum Merit, Tap the Admiral, Shuffling Madness, Forcing Bid, Mysterious Moll, and Shareefa.

Carroll and his wife, Robin, plan to relocate to North Carolina in the near future. Del Carroll has to undergo knee replacement surgery in January.

"I'm too young and too poor to retire," Carroll said. "I'm just retiring from training. In the spring, I'll figure out something to do in North Carolina. It was simple economics, that's it.''

This year proved to be among the most difficult for Carroll, who won just 6 races from 116 starters.

"My owners are doing the best they could with the stock they could supply to me, and I was trying to do the best I could,'' Carroll said. "It was an uphill struggle for all of us.''

Dunkirk back in training

When Quality Road arrives at the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida this week, he will be reunited with a familiar face. Dunkirk, the horse Quality Road beat in the Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in March, has resumed training for trainer Todd Pletcher and could return to the work tab by mid-December, Pletcher said.

Dunkirk emerged from his second-place finish in the Belmont Stakes with a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind cannon bone. He underwent surgery on June 9 and spent about five months at Ashford Stud in Kentucky before shipping to Palm Meadows on Nov. 1.

"His rehab went as well as it could have,'' Pletcher said. "We have high hopes for next year. We'll see when we get ready and draw up a game-plan then. Hopefully he'll be participating in big races.''

Pletcher said he thought Dunkirk could be ready to run by sometime in February, but would not be aimed at the Donn Handicap - a race Quality Road is being pointed for - on Feb. 6 at Gulfstream.

Gone Astray sent to Florida

Gone Astray, who finished third as the favorite in the Grade 3 Discovery on Nov. 21, was sent to south Florida, where he will possibly make his next start in the Donn, trainer Shug McGaughey said.

Prior to his defeat in the Discovery, Gone Astray had won the Pennsylvania and Ohio derbies, both Grade 2 stakes for 3-year-olds. McGaughey likened Gone Astray's performance in the Discovery to his non-threatening third-place finish in the Withers over the main track in the spring.

"Maybe I'm grasping at straws, but he ran the identical race in the Withers that he ran in the Discovery,'' McGaughey said. "He ranged up at the head of the stretch, I thought everything was okay, then he flattened out. You go back and look at both those races on tape you'd think they're the same race. So maybe Aqueduct's not his thing.''

Prior to the Withers, Gone Astray did win a first-level allowance race over Aqueduct's main track.

Meanwhile, Haynesfield, who won his first graded stakes in the Discovery, is still in New York awaiting a decision on his future. While there are plenty of opportunities in New York for Haynesfield during the winter, none is very lucrative. His connections may opt to send him to Louisiana or south Florida for the winter.

"I think it opened up a tremendous amount of options for him,'' trainer Steve Asmussen said.

Napravnik will sit for three days

Jockey Anna Napravnik will begin serving a three-day suspension on Saturday for a careless riding incident in the fifth race on Nov. 22. Napravnik's mount, Out Nice Them, took a left-hand turn out of the gate and bumped with Ship of Fools, who unseated apprentice rider Ricardo Santana Jr.

Napravnik's suspension was reduced from seven days for not appealing. She was required to miss three NYRA racing days, meaning she can return to the saddle on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Santana, 17, suffered some back pain and he will not ride for at least a month, according to his agent Ruben Munoz. Santana had an MRI done on his back on Friday, though the results were not yet available.

Munoz said Santana would likely return to his native Panama to spend the holidays with his family.

* Nite Light, who finished eighth in the Breeders' Cup Marathon at Santa Anita, worked four furlongs in 49.01 seconds on Friday at Belmont Park. He is targeting the $65,000 Gallant Fox Handicap over the inner track on Dec. 31, trainer Todd Pletcher said. Nite Light won last year's Gallant Fox by 10 lengths.

* Jorge Velasquez has taken over as agent for jockey Nelson De Souza. Sal Russo, who had taken De Souza's book when he first arrived from Maryland, has taken the book of Channing Hill.