10/10/2001 11:00PM

Baker has shot at a strong finish


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Heading into the final eight weeks of the Woodbine meeting, trainer Reade Baker's outfit has just one stakes victory.

But that count could change dramatically over the next three cards, as Baker will send out contenders in Saturday's Princess Elizabeth, Sunday's La Lorgnette, and Wednesday's Deputy Minister.

Gonetofarr will be looking to get the ball rolling for Baker in the $250,000 Princess Elizabeth, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies.

Owned by George Farr, Gonetofarr finished second in her debut to the promising Boston Twist at five furlongs and then won her maiden at six furlongs in her only subsequent start here Sept. 16.

"She's a long, scopy filly," said Baker, who believes Gonetofarr will be comfortable with Saturday's distance. "As soon as you see her, you know [going long] is the obvious thing for her. She also just happens to have enough speed to sprint."

Gonetofarr was kept close to the pace in her maiden victory because her rider, Jono Jones, wanted to keep favored Wynyard within his sights. Baker would prefer to see her go about her business in a different fashion on Saturday.

"The short race dictated that she be up pushing the pace on the inside," said Baker. "I really don't want to see her run like that again."

Gonetofarr has recorded two six-furlong drills since graduating, both under Jones and in company with stablemate Road to Justice, who also is owned by Farr.

"I was tickled pink, with the second work, especially," said Baker.

Road to Justice had been under consideration for the Princess Elizabeth but is being reserved for next Sunday's $135,000 Fanfreluche, a six-furlong race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies.

Time to Decide relishes routes

Time to Decide, winner of the 1 1/16-mile Harry Hindmarsh Stakes here Sept. 22, will be looking for her third score of the year when she travels the same distance in Sunday's $100,000 La Lorgnette for 3-year-old fillies.

A Kentucky-bred, Time to Decide kicked off her 2001 campaign with an allowance romp over 5 1/2 furlongs, which earned her a Beyer Speed Figure of 100, but performed poorly in her next three outings.

"I don't know if she liked the heat too much, and I probably overtrained her," said Baker, who also owns Time to Decide in partnership with Simon Bower. "Since I backed away on her training, and ran her around two turns, it seems to have rejuvenated her."

Stretched out for the first time here Aug. 25, Time to Decide finished a closing third in an allowance race against some older rivals. Her victory in the Hindmarsh, a race restricted to fillies and mares who went through specified local sales, came at the direct expense of the 5-year-old Cafe Dancer, who was the odds-on choice.

"It's not easy to beat an older mare at this time of year," said Baker. "Especially a proven older mare, like that."

Baker praised jockey Jim McAleney, who was riding Time to Decide for the first time this season and had her dueling on the lead outside the favorite through a moderate pace.

"She benefited from a great ride," said the trainer, "and if we get the same type of trip this time I think she'll win."

Thank You Sir in peak form

Thank You Sir turned in the best race of his career, finishing second by a neck to a 4-year-old multiple stakes winner, Bold N' Flashy, in the Harry Addison, the colts and geldings counterpart to the Hindmarsh here Sept. 22.

Owned by Lloyd Simpson and Jai Narinesingh, Thank You Sir will be back with his own age group in the $100,000 Deputy Minister, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

"He was off a long time; he a fractured cannon bone," said Baker, noting that Thank You Sir did not race this year until July 8 and was making his fourth start of the season in the Addison, all under Jones.

Thank You Sir entered the Addison off his maiden win, which had come at the $50,000 claiming level here a month earlier.

"It took a while for him to round into form; he's there now," said Baker, adding that he is unconcerned about Wednesday's cutback in distance.

"I don't think it's a problem at all. The jock will tell you he's better going seven-eighths."

Thank You Sir underlined his sharpness here Thursday morning with a four-furlong drill of 47.60 seconds, the best of 12 works at the distance. Jones was aboard for the move. "I needed to sharpen him up, coming off the route race," said Baker.

Mighty Quinn cruises

Favored Mighty Quinn led all the way for a three-length win in Wednesday's $103,800 Frost King Stakes, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds.

Mighty Quinn, who was scratched from last Saturday's Cup and Saucer Stakes, set fractions of 22.35 and 44.78 seconds while being pressed by Grimer. He opened up a clear lead at the quarter pole and easily held a closing Barbeau Ruckus at bay in the stretch.

Barath rallied from far back in the seven-horse field to finish four lengths back of Barbeau Ruckus in third, while Grimer faded to fourth. The final time was 1:23.76.

"We decided to let him run his own race," said Ray Sabourin, who rode Mighty Quinn. "He jumped out of [the gate] on the bit and was ready to go, so I just let him to his thing."

Mighty Quinn ($3.70) earned $62,280 in his first stakes victory for Windways Farm, Quinn Stable, and trainer Malcolm Pierce.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink