07/16/2007 11:00PM

Carroll has a 2-year-old for every stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Josie Carroll's barn seems to be chock full of precocious and productive 2-year-olds, and Alvena became the first stakes winner of the group here in last Sunday's Shady Well at Woodbine.

"We've definitely liked this filly from the start," said Carroll. "This race was certainly in our sights."

Alvena, bred at owner Jim and Alice Sapara's Winsong Farm in Kentucky, had finished second when beginning her career in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special, and then graduated impressively at the same distance four weeks later.

In the Shady Well, at 5 1/2 furlongs, Alvena pressed the pace before drawing off to a 2 1/4-length victory as the odds-on favorite under Patrick Husbands.

The next open stakes for 2-year-old fillies is the $125,000 Ontario Debutante, a six-furlong race here Aug. 18.

"We'll see how she bounces out of this, and then make some plans from there," said Carroll.

In the meantime, Carroll trains four of the nominees to Saturday's $125,000 Colin, a six-furlong stakes for 2-year-olds.

Lacadena is the most accomplished of the group, as she won her debut going two furlongs and then finished second to the invading colt Kodiak Kowboy in the five-furlong Victoria.

Kodiak Kowboy, a Kentucky-bred trained by Steve Asmussen, won the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs in his next start.

Carroll is not committing to starting Lacadena in the Colin. She could still opt for the stakes, but has been entered in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance race for 2-year-old fillies here on Thursday.

Carroll's other Colin candidates are Custer, owned by Padua Stables; Broderick, owned by the Saparas; and Mossbank, owned by the Saparas and partners.

"I'm thinking about running Custer or Broderick," said Carroll.

Custer, a Florida-bred, finished second in his debut at five furlongs here June 24. Bear Holiday, who also is eyeing the Colin, won the race.

Broderick, an Ontario-bred, would be making his first start and was the topper at the select yearling sale here last September at $250,000.

Other 2-year-olds who have won for Carroll at the meeting are Authenicat and Miss Van Gogh.

Authenicat is headed for the $125,000 Nandi, a six-furlong stakes for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies here Aug. 4.

Owned by Vinery Stables and Fog City Stable, Authenicat finished second in her debut at 4 1/2 furlongs here June 2 and then won at five furlongs on July 1. Both starts came against Ontario-sired opposition.

Miss Van Gogh, a Florida-bred filly who races for Padua Stables, scored in a five-furlong maiden special here June 23 and also is entered in the allowance race here Thursday.

"For 2-year-olds, there are a lot of options," said Carroll. "It's just a matter of sorting out the right horse for the right spot."

Financingavailable looking good

Financingavailable's appearance here Sunday was something of a surprise, but the result wasn't as she strode to a 1 3/4-length victory in the allowance prep for the Grade 3, $150,000 Royal North here Aug. 6.

Apprentice jockey Tyler Pizarro picked up the mount after Todd Kabel, Financingavailable's regular rider, had to leave earlier than expected for his ultimately successful ride on Alezzandro in Fort Erie's $500,000 Prince of Wales.

Canada's champion older filly or mare in 2006, Financingavailable recorded her second win in as many starts this year after capturing the six-furlong Ballade here June 23 for trainer Lorne Richards and owner K.K. Sangara.

"I wanted to run her before the Royal North, and I was hoping Sunday's race would go," said Richards, who got his wish when the minimum field of five was assembled for the open $79,900 turf allowance at six furlongs. "Those kind of races are a confidence-builder, for man and beast."

Financingavailable finished second, beaten a head, in last year's Royal North at six furlongs on turf.

"I think she's better than she's ever been this year," said Richards. "She's a lot easier on herself in her training and in her races."

Sunday stakes fields take shape

Entries will be taken Thursday for a super Sunday program that includes the $700,000 Northern Dancer, the $300,000 Dance Smartly, the $125,000 Ontario Matron, and the $125,000 Bold Venture.

As of Tuesday, a field of eight was expected for the Grade 2 Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward.

Sky Conqueror and Jambalaya, both stabled at Woodbine and Grade 1 winners in the United States this year, are the top horses in a field that also should include shippers Obrigado and Marsh Side and locally based Pellegrino, The Carbon Unit, Last Answer, and French Beret.

Last year's first running of the Northern Dancer went to Sky Conqueror, who scored by a half-length over runner-up Last Answer with Jambalaya another 2 3/4 lengths back in third.

Arravale, Canada's Horse of the Year in 2006, is scheduled to make her seasonal bow in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

Others expected for the Dance Smartly include shippers Masseuse and May Night, plus locals Elle Runaway, Essential Edge, and Scarlett Butterfly.

Meribel, based at Belmont with trainer Christophe Clement, is a possibility.

Executive Flight and She's Indy Money are leading candidates for the Ontario Matron, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares.

Stradivinsky is looming as the horse to beat in the Bold Venture, a 6 1/2-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward.