11/24/2008 12:00AM

Smart Surprise wins stakes bow


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Smart Surprise came to trainer Josie Carroll this summer as a confirmed bridesmaid, with a record of 6 seconds and 4 thirds from 10 starts.

But Smart Surprise, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old filly owned by John Sikura, has discovered a winning touch and recorded her third victory from four local outings in her stakes debut in Sunday's $169,000 Bessarabian.

"I always liked her," said Carroll, who had sent out Smart Surprise to capture a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles prior to her success in the seven-furlong Bessarabian. "She was stepping up to face seasoned mares, competitive mares, who know how to win races. But she was doing so well that I was confident that if she was good enough she would get it done.

"Clearly, she likes the surface she's running on. As she's maturing, she's getting better. You can see the change from a filly to an older mare."

Smart Surprise came to Carroll with plenty of pedigree. The daughter of Smart Strike is out of the Storm Bird mare Weekend Storm, who is a full sister to Summer Squall and a half-sister to A.P. Indy.

"Our goal was to win a stake, and we have that accomplished," Carroll said. "Now, we'll have to set our sights on the next stage."

Smart Surprise was the sixth stakes winner of the meeting for Carroll and the fourth for rider Robert Landry.

Carroll, who has 16 stalls at the Fair Grounds and another eight at Palm Meadows for the off-season, will be looking to add to her totals here with candidates for three of the five remaining stakes at the meeting.

Wildcat Fashion, owned by Vinery Stable and Singer Stable, is coming off back-to-back second-place finishes in restricted stakes and will be stretching out for the first time in Saturday's 1 1/16-mile Kingarvie for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds.

"I think the distance should suit him," Carroll said.

D'Country, who also is owned by the Vinery and Singer outfits and graduated in her last start, which came at 6 1/2 furlongs, will be trying two turns for the first time in Sunday's 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies.

Patena, a Kentucky-bred owned by John and Glenn Sikura and Dominic Dilalla, won his maiden over seven furlongs last time out and is headed for the Display, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds on Dec. 6.

Carroll also will be active on the stakes front at Aqueduct this Saturday, with Springside slated for the Grade 2, 1 1/8-mile Demoiselle for 2-year-old fillies.

Springside, who is owned by Jim and Alice Sapara, was a very impressive winner of a first-level allowance over 1 1/16 miles here Nov. 6.

Shadowless ends campaign with win

Shadowless, a 3-year-old gelding trained by David Bell, went through several phases during the 2008 season.

After beginning the year as a Queen's Plate prospect, Shadowless appeared to have found his true calling on the turf later this summer.

But Shadowless also showed ability sprinting on the main track and wound up his campaign last Saturday with a half-length score over a solid field in the $162,350 Kennedy Road for 3-year-olds and up.

"I'm ecstatic with him," Bell said.

"He did kind of keep getting better and better. He overcame the Plate trail - he didn't want to go a mile and an eighth or a mile and a quarter on the main track.

"He's been doing well all year. He just was kind of an immature horse."

Even before watching Shadowless finish 11th of 14 in the June 22 Queen's Plate, Bell had been looking forward to getting the son of Stormy Atlantic on the turf.

"I always thought he wanted turf; he had some turf in his pedigree," Bell said. "I hoped that would move him into a new league."

Shadowless did show a fondness for grass, moving through his first two conditions in his first two starts while sprinting on the surface and later finishing a good third behind the talented Just Rushing and Ice Bear in the one-mile Labeeb.

In his start prior to the Labeeb, Shadowless returned to Polytrack and ended second in the seven-

furlong Mt. Sassafras. But Shadowless was facing Ontario foals there, a fact that helps explain his 17-1 price in the open Kennedy Road.

"I almost didn't go in the race," said Bell, who now will send Shadowless to the nearby farm of trainer Paul Buttigieg for a winter vacation.

Bell, who will not be racing over the winter, was sending out his first stakes winner of the season but could take a couple more shots at the big money before the meeting winds up here Dec. 7.

Accurate Shot, a Trajectory gelding in which Bell owns a part interest, is aiming for the $125,000 Kingarvie. Gone Trajectory, a 4-year-old Trajectory gelding owned by Morgan Firestone, could run in the $125,000 Sir Barton, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and up Dec. 3.

Accurate Shot has finished third in each of his two outings, the first over six furlongs and the latest at seven furlongs.

"He's been good in his two races, and I think he'll go two turns," Bell said.

Gone Trajectory, who ran fourth in last year's Kingarvie, ran the best race of his career when second in the Bunty Lawless over one mile of turf but then was a beaten choice in a restricted second-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles.

Stein riding a hot streak

Justin Stein, who was riding Shadowless for the first time, continued a late-season tear that saw him win three races here last Wednesday and a total of four Saturday.

For the week, Stein was a healthy 9 for 27 and is heading into the final 10 days of the meeting in a tie for eighth place with 75 victories.

Barnett handed a 15-day ban

Trainer Earl Barnett will be sitting out the balance of the meeting after San Nicola Whiskey, who finished first in the fourth race here Oct. 4, tested positive for the Class 4 drug ketoprofen, a commonly used medication that has anti-inflammatory properties.

The stewards suspended Barnett for 15 days and fined him $1,000. San Nicola Whiskey has been declared unplaced for all purposes except parimutuel wagering and will run Wednesday night for trainer Greg Cox.