07/16/2009 11:00PM

Smart Surprise thriving for Carroll

Michael Burns
Smart Surprise (second from left) is 6 for 9 since her Woodbine debut.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Smart Surprise had raced 10 times and was a maiden when she came to trainer Josie Carroll's barn here last summer.

But, starting with a win in her local debut last Aug. 24, Smart Surprise has turned into a winning machine, with a 6-for-9 mark heading into Sunday's $150,000 Ontario Matron.

"What can you say about her?" said Carroll, who has sent out Smart Surprise to win three stakes here on Polytrack and another over sloppy going at the Fair Grounds.

"She's just an incredibly honest horse."

Smart Surprise, a Kentucky-bred owned by Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings Inc., will be a short price in the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Matron, which attracted a field of seven fillies and mares.

After finishing second in her first start of the meeting, the six-furlong Whimsical, Smart Surprise rallied to take the 6 1/2-furlong Hendire and then led throughout the 1 1/16-mile Hill 'n' Dale under rider Patrick Husbands.

"She does everything you ask her to do," said Carroll. "She's going to be wherever she finds herself."

Opposing Smart Surprise in the Ontario Matron will be Tell It as It Is, Arden Belle, Roses 'n' Wine, Nicki Knew, Mafietta, and Only If Split.

Tell It as It Is, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old, is back on her home grounds and will be looking to rebound off a distant fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Obeah at Delaware Park on June 20.

Owned by Richard Lister and trained by Jim Smith, Tell It as It Is won the Tattling over 1 1/16 miles on yielding turf and the Maple Leaf over 1o1/4 miles on Polytrack here last year.

Despite the mare's good record on Polytrack, trainer Jim Smith still isn't convinced that it is her favorite surface.

As a result, Tell It as It Is has done much of her training on the dirt training track here.

"She's been good, training on the main track," said Smith, who sent out Tell It as It Is to work five furlongs on the surface last Sunday.

Perhaps more importantly, Tell It As It Is has added a new weapon to her arsenal in the form of Only If Split, a speedy 5-year-old whom Smith claimed for $32,000 on Lister's behalf here July 2.

Tell It As It Is, said Smith, "has been the victim of soft paces a number of times. The reason why we claimed this filly was to ensure a good pace up front."

Only If Split was supplemented to the Ontario Matron at a cost of $3,000.

Disfunction keeping low profile

Disfunction is one of the top sprinters on the grounds and was the distant runner-up to Fatal Bullet in the balloting for Canada's champion sprinter last year.

But with Fatal Bullet and last year's champion 3-year-old, Not Bourbon, among the six entrants for Sunday's 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture, and having been absent since finishing a disappointing seventh in the May 18 Vigil, Disfunction seems to have become a forgotten horse.

"We sent him to the farm for a little bit, to freshen him up," said Julia Carey, who trains Disfunction for Joe Doi and Sheila Wei.

"Since he came back in, everything's gone according to plan."

Disfunction was making his third start of the season in the seven-furlong Vigil after winning the 5 1/2-furlong prep for the Jacques Cartier on April 5 and the six-furlong Cartier on April 25.

"Maybe we had him over the top for the Vigil, but the way he ran wasn't because of anything physical," said Carey. "The track was funny that day; he likes it hard and fast."

Reservoir penciled in for Breeders'

If all goes well, then Reservoir, who finished 11th in the Queen's Plate, will represent the Carey barn in the $500,000 Breeders' here Aug. 2.

The Breeders', a 1 1/2-mile turf race, is the final leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

Reservoir, owned by Elliot Kohn and Weila Ye, was making his third career start in the Queen's Plate after winning his maiden at seven furlongs and a first-level allowance over 1 1/8 miles of turf.

"He went to the farm for about 10 days after the Plate," said Carey. "He just needs to be tuned up a little bit. I don't think he lost anything in fitness."

Newcomer a question mark

Trainer Terry Jordan could unveil an interesting newcomer here Sunday, as Hollywood Hit, who was purchased privately in Texas last month, is entered in a second-level/$62,500 optional claiming race for 3-year-olds and upward at seven furlongs.

Jordan also has Captain Cugat, a winner for $40,000 claiming in his first start of the year, in the same race and Jim McAleney has been named on both horses.

"I don't want to run them both in there, if there's an option, but I haven't found one," said Jordan.

Hollywood Hit, a 3-year-old gelding now owned by Peter Redekop, finished second to Kensei, subsequent winner of the Grade 2 Dwyer at Belmont, in his next-to-last start.

"I don't know if he'll go seven furlongs. He's never been tried over six furlongs," said Jordan. "But, McAleney's getting on him in the morning and thinks he'll do anything you ask him to do," said Jordan.

Spice Route works toward Nijinsky

Spice Route worked four furlongs on the training-track turf course in 48.80 on Friday morning with McAleney in the irons.

"At this point in time, I think I'll probably run him in the Nijinsky," said trainer Roger Attfield.

The Grade 2, $300,000 Nijinsky, a 1o1/4-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, will be run here next Sunday.

Dozen Dancer, who also is eyeing the Nijinsky, breezed five furlongs on the training turf Friday in 1:00.

Two prepare for Wonder Where

Gore Bay and Forest Uproar both worked on the training turf Friday in preparation for Saturday's $250,000 Wonder Where, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Gore Bay, with McAleney in the irons, was clocked in 1:12 for six furlongs while Forest Uproar breezed seven furlongs in 1:25.80 under Robert Landry.