05/10/2009 11:00PM

Ideal outcome for Carroll

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Michael Burns
Smart Surprise gives jockey Patrick Husbands his fourth stakes win of the meet Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sunday's Grade 3 Hendrie here at Woodbine was a success on two counts for trainer Josie Carroll.

Smart Surprise, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old trained by Carroll, already had proven herself in open company but became a graded stakes winner as the 2-1 favorite in the $158,600 Hendrie, a 6 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares.

The Carroll-trained Authenicat, an Ontario-sired 4-year-old who had experienced almost all of her success in restricted races, was a good third at 12-1.

Smart Surprise was coming off a second-place finish as the odds-on favorite in the Grade 3 Whimsical over six furlongs here April 18.

Patrick Husbands, replacing the injured David Clark, recorded his fourth stakes win of the young meeting on Sunday.

"I thought the speed might set up a little bit differently; everybody just sort of went at the same time," said Carroll, who sent out Smart Surprise for Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings Ltd.. "But, it ended up the way we wanted it to.

"She's just an honest filly; you just expect her to show up."

Authenicat, coming off a last-place finish in the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland in her seasonal bow on April 9, earned her first graded-stakes placing.

"She ran a terrific race," said Carroll, who conditions Authenicat for Vinery Stable and Fog City Stable. "She validated herself, showing she could hold her own in open company.

"She got a little bit tired late but she'd been off for a while, and ran a flat race at Keeneland - she didn't get much out of it."

Carroll is unsure of what could be next for Smart Surprise and Authenicat.

Pair of maidens connect for Carroll

Carroll had a solid weekend as she also won a straight maiden race on Saturday with Careless Jewel and a $50,000 maiden race on Sunday with Silver Jag.

Careless Jewel, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly, graduated over six furlongs after finishing third at the same distance in her debut at Keeneland on April 5.

Silver Jag, a 4-year-old colt, won at six furlongs while making his first start since finishing 12th of 14 in last year's 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate on June 22.

"He went to the Fair Grounds with me last fall. I had the intention of running him down there," said Carroll. "But, he got quite sick. He was out on the farm for five weeks. He had quite a serious infection. We were very concerned."

Husbands, who is the runaway leading rider at the Woodbine meeting with 32 wins heading into Wednesday's program, was aboard for Silver Jag's very game head victory on Sunday.

Stuck in Traffic learns to rate

Stuck in Traffic showed a new dimension in last Saturday's $126,600 New Providence, settling nicely in third place before rallying for a 2 1/4-length victory under new rider Eurico Rosa da Silva in the 6 1/2-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward.

"It was funny, watching him run," said assistant trainer Martha Gonzalez, who oversees much of Stuck in Traffic's daily preparation here while her husband, Nick, runs a string at Fort Erie. "I couldn't tell if he had horse, or not."

Stuck in Traffic, a 4-year-old colt whom Gonzalez owns in partnership with M.A.D. Racing Stable, had started once this year prior to the New Providence, ending last of seven in the six-furlong prep for the Jacques Cartier after bobbling at the break.

With regular rider David Clark sidelined with a broken arm, Da Silva was recruited and had breezed Stuck in Traffic twice prior to the New Providence.

Their first collaboration, five furlongs in 1:00.20, was a typical Stuck in Traffic move. Their next, four furlongs in 51.20, was not.

"He relaxed, as kind as kind could be," said Gonzalez. "It blew me away. You could tell he was going slow."

When Stuck in Traffic drew outside the other speed in post 6 for the New Providence, the conditions were ripe for a new approach.

"It was the perfect opportunity to see if he'd relax," said Gonzalez, who is not sure what direction Stuck in Traffic's campaign now will head.

"I know Nick wants to get him back on turf. He might be a better horse on turf."

Stuck in Traffic has started once on turf, winning the restricted Bold Ruckus over six furlongs of good going last June.

Gonzalez may have two for Bold Ruckus

The Gonzalez barn has two candidates for this year's Bold Ruckus, a $125,000 race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds here June 10, in My Bad and Daniel Be Good.

My Bad opened up his current campaign with a second-place finish behind El Brujo in the six-furlong Achievement.

While El Brujo returned to take the seven-furlong Queenston, My Bad dipped into Ontario-sired first-level allowance company and was a dominant winner over seven furlongs.

Daniel Be Good debuted here April 26 with a solid score over Ontario-sired maiden opposition.

Shawanaga moves up the ladder

Shawanaga has been another bright spot here this spring for the Gonzalez outfit, which leads the standings heading into Wednesday's card with 10 victories at the meeting.

"She's awesome right now; she's probably in the best shape she's ever been in," said Gonzalez.

"She'd always had some issues, things going wrong. That's why she's only made 11 starts, and she's a 5-year-old. But, she's finally got over everything."

After scoring at the $40,000 level when making her first appearance in nine months here April 19, Shawanaga doubled up last Friday at the $50,000 level.

"We did the right thing with her - started off low, and moved up," said Gonzalez.

Ring of Greatness fourth at Presque Isle

Ring of Greatness was back at Woodbine on Sunday morning after finishing fourth in the $99,500 Tom Ridge at Presque Isle Downs the previous evening.

Under regular rider Jim McAleney, who had finished fourth in the New Providence with Drunken Love here 3 1/2 hours earlier, Ring of Greatness was steadied slightly in upper stretch and beaten 3 1/4 lengths as the 2-1 second choice.

Trainer Reade Baker, McAleney, and his agent Danny Williams took a charter flight to Erie, Pa., and were back in Toronto by 10 p.m.