07/20/2009 12:00AM

Fatal Bullet impresses in Bold Venture return

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Michael Burns
Fatal Bullet scores by 2 1/4 lengths in Sunday's Bold Venture at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Fatal Bullet, Canada's Horse of the Year and top sprinter in 2008, returned with a vengeance here in Sunday's $151,350 Bold Venture.

Making his first start since finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, Fatal Bullet was off a touch slowly but quickly established command and led throughout the 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture.

At the wire, Fatal Bullet was 2 1/4 lengths the best under confident handling by regular rider Eurico Rosa Da Silva and stopped the clock in 1:14.90, just shy of the 1:14.54 track record that he established in last year's Bold Venture.

Reade Baker, who trains Fatal Bullet for the Bear Stable of Danny Dion, had been brimming with confidence heading into the Bold Venture after watching Fatal Bullet breeze five furlongs in 59 seconds.

"His work the other day was so effortless," Baker said. "I thought he'd have a big one in the tank."

As post time approached, however, Baker and perhaps Fatal Bullet experienced some prerace jitters.

"He was a little nervous, got on his toes, kind of prancing around," Baker said. "He's never really like that. I think that's why he didn't break as sharp as he usually does."

Although Baker may have been able to breathe a sigh of relief following the Bold Venture, the step was just the first on what he hopes is a return journey to the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.

"I'd like to keep him here, but it just isn't possible," Baker said. "There aren't enough races for him."

The only open sprint remaining on the local schedule is the $100,000 King Corrie, a six-furlong race Sept. 30. The race is an overnight stakes and would need at least five entrants to be carded.

If Baker can make suitable travel arrangements, he would like to send Fatal Bullet to Del Mar for the Grade 1, $300,000 Bing Crosby over six furlongs on Aug. 8.

A trip to Saratoga for the Sept. 5 Forego also could be considered, although that would involve a move to dirt.

Carroll's fillies extend win streaks

Trainer Josie Carroll was at Delaware Park on Saturday, sending out Careless Jewel for a stunning 7o1/4-length victory under regular rider Robert Landry in the Grade 2, $250,000 Delaware Oaks.

On Sunday, Carroll was back home saddling Smart Surprise for an emphatic four-length score under her regular rider, Patrick Husbands, in the $160,800 Ontario Matron.

"It doesn't get any better than this," Carroll said after she had watched both horses record their third straight wins in their respective 1 1/16-mile stakes.

But it might, in fact.

Careless Jewel was making just her fourth career start, her stakes debut, and her first appearance on dirt in the Delaware Oaks.

"We'll certainly take the Alabama into consideration now," said Carroll, with reference to the Gradeo1, $600,000 stakes race for 3-year-old fillies that will be run at Saratoga over 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 22.

"She's just a very good horse."

The same already has been said many times of Smart Surprise, who was reasserting her dominance over the local fillies and mares in the Ontario Matron.

"I thought this was a strong race for her," Carroll said. "What I liked about her was that at any point in the race I thought she had control."

The next race for the division here is the $100,000 Belle Mahone, a 1 1/16-mile overnight stakes on Aug. 15.

"That's tentatively where we would look," Carroll said. "Why change anything, when things are going so well?"

Just Rushing still going strong

Just Rushing, at age 8, was the senior member of the six-horse field for Saturday's $100,400 Ontario Jockey Club Cup, a seven-furlong turf race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds and up.

But, Just Rushing certainly is showing no signs of slowing down as he rallied gamely through the stretch and held off the late charge of Sterwins to prevail by a neck under regular rider Emma-Jayne Wilson.

"He's a nice old horse," trainer Sid Attard said. "I think he might be as good as he's ever been."

Just Rushing, claimed for $40,000 here in fall 2005, has gone on to win 13 races, including six stakes, while pushing his earnings to $1,072,923.

Last year, Just Rushing began his campaign with a third-place finish in the Ontario Jockey Club and carried on with a second-place finish in the Play the King prep, a victory in the Grade 3 Play the King, and a third-place finish in the Woodbine Mile.

Those four races came within a seven-week span, and Just Rushing could follow a different agenda this time around.

"We might just wait for the Play the King," Attard said. "He likes to run fresh."

The Play the King, a seven-furlong turf race, has been moved back in the schedule to Aug. 29 and now sits three weeks weeks out from the Woodbine Mile, which will be run Sept. 20.

Dominguez trains first stakes winner

Sandra Dominguez, who has trained a string of nine or 10 horses here since 1999, recorded her first stakes win Sunday when Fearless Cowboy prevailed in the $155,300 Colin.

"I think he's awesome," said Dominguez, 43, who trains Fearless Cowboy for owner/breeders Gulf Coast Farms of Jerry Bailey and Lance Robinson.

Dominguez sent out the 2-year-old colt Katolak Cowboy to win his maiden for the same owners last year.

While Katolak Cowboy went on to campaign at Arlington Park, Fearless Cowboy has been a more than adequate replacement.

After breaking poorly and finishing well in his two-furlong debut, Fearless Cowboy graduated over 4 1/2 furlongs and then set and pressed the pace before ending second in the five-furlong Victoria.

"He was too sharp in his last race," Dominguez said after watching Fearless Cowboy settle in second behind a quick pace in the six-furlong Colin before coming on for the score. "I did a little bit more training with him; I knew he'd handle it. I even trained him the day of the race.

"He's the easiest horse you can possibly have to train. It's like training an older horse."

Fearless Cowboy has been nominated to the 6 1/2-furlong Silver Deputy, a $100,000 overnight stakes here Aug. 16 that is the next open stakes for the 2-year-old division.

"I don't know about him going longer," Dominguez said. "But who knows, he galloped out pretty good on Saturday and he gets better as he goes along."