04/08/2009 11:00PM

Gonzalez has triple threat in Achievement


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Nick Gonzalez barn got off to a quick start here last year, winning the opening-day La Voyaguese with Shilla and the following weekend's Achievement with Stuck in Traffic.

With no entrant for the La Voyageuse this year, the Gonzalez outfit would have to be content with the second half of that double and will send out three entrants in pursuit of the $100,000 Achievement here Saturday.

The Gonzalez triumvirate in the Achievement, a six-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds, comprises Win and Reign, owned by Hillsbrook Farm; Foxy Lion, who campaigns for Carol Cullen; and My Bad, racing for Tucci Stable.

The three worked five furlongs in company here last Saturday, with Win and Reign and Foxy Lion clocked in 1:00.80 and My Bad in 1:01.20.

Win and Reign, winner of the six-furlong Vandal and $141,110 from six starts here last year, is the most accomplished of the trio.

After spending the winter at Classic Mile in Florida, Win and Reign checked back into Woodbine on March 27.

"He galloped for four or five days, and then breezed here last Saturday," said Martha Gonzalez, Nick Gonzalez's wife and assistant, who runs the show here at Woodbine while her husband oversees the Fort Erie string. "He's in good order."

Jim McAleney, who rode Win and Reign to a third-place finish in the seven-furlong Frost King here last Nov. 8, retains the mount.

Foxy Lion started three times at 2, winning his maiden over Ontario-sired company at six furlongs and then doubling up for $50,000 at seven furlongs.

"He's training really well," said Martha Gonzalez. "He improved quite a bit last fall."

Chad Beckon, who moved his tack here from Fort Erie this spring, has the mount on Foxy Lion, who started training at Paul Buttigieg's Farm in mid-January and has been back at Woodbine since Feb. 11.

My Bad, who wintered at Terry Brooker's farm in Ontario, won his maiden at six-furlongs, making his second start in Ontario-sired company but then finished sixth in the Frost King.

"I'm concerned about his fitness level," said Martha Gonzalez. "He doesn't have as much foundation. He was loafing around, and wasn't getting anything out of his works."

Emma-Jayne Wilson has the mount on My Bad, who also has been back at Woodbine since Feb. 11.

Montrose Avenue, a fourth Gonzalez nominee to the Achievement, instead will go in a five-furlong Ontario-sired maiden allowance here Sunday.

Owned by Tucci Stable, Montrose Avenue started twice in restricted company here last November, finishing second and third, beaten a total of 2 1/2 lengths.

"He's a lot stronger this year," said Martha Gonzalez, who sent out Montrose Avenue to work four furlongs in 49.60 seconds here Tuesday.

Stuck in Traffic shooting for New Providence

Stuck in Traffic, who wen on to win the Bold Ruckus over six furlongs on turf before being sidelined by a lung infection in mid-July, returned to action here last Sunday but finished last of seven in the 5 1/2-furlong prep for the April 25 Jacques Cartier.

Martha Gonzalez, noting that Stuck in Traffic was beaten just six lengths after bobbling at the break, was far from discouraged by the effort.

"He's been on a pretty rigid schedule, and I thought he might need a race," said Gonzalez. "He came back healthy.

"He's a lot more relaxed. He's a bigger, stronger horse this year."

Stuck in Traffic's next target is the $125,000 New Providence, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward here May 9.

Jambalaya still out of action

Jambalaya, who has not seen action since winning the Arlington Million on Aug. 11, 2007, is back on the sidelines with his future as a racehorse in doubt.

A 7-year-old gelding, Jambalaya was on the verge of returning to action at Gulfstream this winter and had breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 there Feb. 6.

"He didn't come out of it very well - he was unsound," said Catherine Day Phillips, who trains Jambalaya for her Kingfield Racing Stable.

"He injured his left front fetlock. We've given him time to recover, but he has not progressed as we'd have liked him to.

"We've turned him out at our farm in Florida. We'll make a decision in the next month or so, whether to go on with him or retire him."

Day Phillips, who had a third-place finish from two starters here opening weekend, will be looking to break the ice with No More Tears and Short Shorts entered for Saturday's card and Mr. Foricos Two U for Sunday's.

Short Shorts, a 4-year-old filly, will contest Saturday's eighth race, a second-level allowance for Ontario-sired fillies and mares. No More Tears, a 3-year-old gelding, will start in the seventh race, a five-furlong maiden dash. Mr. Foricos Two U, a 3-year-old gelding, is to go in an Ontario-sired maiden race at five furlongs.

All three horses wintered in Florida and worked well at the Ocala Training Center.

Short Shorts, who closed out her 2008 campaign with a smart score in a first-level Ontario-sired allowance at six furlongs, had finished third when she began her season in a similar spot over five furlongs.

"She's doing well," said Day Phillips. "The change in her world was coming off Lasix.

"She'd struggled early in the year, and we put her on Lasix. But her summer wasn't very good, and we took her off it as soon as we could.

"In her three races after that, every race got better and better."

No More Tears and Mr. Foricos Two U each started once as 2-year-olds, with their debuts coming late in November.

Mr. Foricos Two U ran Nov. 28 and finished fourth in a restricted 5 1/2-furlong maiden special.

"I think he's quite a nice horse," said Day Phillips. "He'll probably want more ground."

No More Tears followed on Nov. 30, ending third in a five-furlong maiden race.

"He'll probably want more ground, too, but he's a nice little horse," said Day Phillips.