05/29/2005 11:00PM

Baker prepares five possible Oaks starters


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The more, the merrier.

Or so might say trainer Reade Baker, when it comes to the June 12 running of the $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks.

After Bosskiri's romp in Saturday's $125,000 Lady Angela, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, Baker could have up to five starters in the 1 1/8-mile Oaks, which is this country's premier race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Gold Strike, winner of the open Grade 3 Selene at 1 1/16 miles May 22, and River Nore, winner of the seven-furlong Fury for Canadian-breds May 8, are the other leading lights in Baker's Oaks cast.

Supporting roles could be played by Pirouetting, who was a distant second to Oaks-bound Dancehall Deelites in a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles May 22, and Whiskey and Low, who finished third in the Lady Angela.

"I would think that when push comes to shove, we will end up with the five of them in there," said Baker. "I'm going to train them all as if all five are going to run."

Gold Strike, Pirouetting, and Whiskey and Low run for the Harlequin Ranches of Dick Bonnycastle, who also is the majority owner of Bosskiri. River Nore is owned by David Butler's Ormonde Farm.

Jim McAleney rode Bosskiri, Gold Strike, and River Nore to their latest stakes victories.

"McAleney will have his choice of the five," said Baker.

Bosskiri remained undefeated in four starts in winning the Lady Angela, scoring by 3 3/4 lengths in an effort that yielded a Beyer Speed Figure of 89 and did not appear to be particularly draining.

Baker, however, admits to some concern when it comes to Bosskiri stretching out.

"I would say it's 50-50," said Baker. "She seems to relax if the others leave her alone. But she's so bullish in the things she does. That's what makes me have some trepidation about her going around two turns."

Meanwhile, McAleney was in the irons Sunday morning when River Nore worked one mile over the fast main track in 1:41.

"That's as much as I needed from her," said Baker. "She will have another five-eighths next week, and that will be it."

Plate Trial probables tune up

Stag Nation, Atanas, Granique, Dance With Ravens, and Get Down all worked over the main track last weekend for the $150,000 Plate Trial, the 1 1/8-mile feature for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds here Sunday.

The $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run June 26.

Stag Nation, trained by Danny Vella, worked six furlongs in 1:16.60 Sunday under Constant Montpellier, who has picked up the mount for the Trial.

Stag Nation finished a respectable fifth when he faced older rivals in a second-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles May 14. Stag Nation had finished last of six in the six-furlong Woodstock in his only other start of the season here April 23.

Stag Nation has run with blinkers in his two starts this year, but Vella has experimented in two subsequent drills, going with them when the colt worked a bullet four furlongs in 48 seconds here May 23 but without them in Sunday's move.

"He worked in behind a horse both times, and got a little bit of dirt in his face," said Vella, who will decide which way to turn this week.

Atanas and Granique, both trained by Alec Fehr, worked a smart six furlongs in 1:12.60 while going in company Saturday.

Rui Pimentel was aboard Atanas, who had finished second to leading Queen's Plate candidate Dance With Ravens in a 1 1/16-mile first-level allowance here May 7.

Julia Brimo piloted Granique, who was an impressive maiden winner at 1 1/16 miles here that same afternoon.

"My first concern was they might have gone too fast," said Fehr. "But they weren't really asked; they did it very willingly."

Dance With Ravens, who was making his first local start of the season when he won the first-level allowance, worked six furlongs Saturday in 1:13.60.

Regular rider Todd Kabel was aboard Dance With Ravens, who broke off about a half-dozen lengths behind stablemate Song of the Desert and finished on almost even terms.

Get Down breezed a mile in 1:41.40 on Saturday with his trainer, Nancy Triola, in the irons.

"I breeze him all the time," said Triola. "That way, I can get him to settle down early when he wants to go a little bit too strong."

Get Down is coming off an impressive second-level allowance score at seven furlongs in his second start of the season.

"He's doing great," said Triola. "I'm looking forward to the Trial."

Dave the Knave scratched by vet

Dave the Knave, a Queen's Plate candidate, was entered in a 1 1/16-mile second-level allowance for 3-year-olds and upward here Sunday but was a vet scratch. Bob Tiller, trainer and co-owner of Dave the Knave, declined to comment on the specific reason.

Dave the Knave is nominated to the Trial but will not be eligible to enter a race until seven days after the date of the vet scratch. He is also nominated to both the Steady Growth, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward here June 11, and the Victoria Park, an open 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds on June 12.

'Signals' gets extended vacation

Signals inthe Wind, a Plate Trial nominee who had shown much promise racing at Turfway Park last winter, is heading back to Kentucky after finishing a creditable fourth in his only start here this spring.

"He wasn't really training as we had thought he would be at this stage," said Catherine Day Phillips, who had Signals inthe Wind in her barn here last year and welcomed him back this spring. "He will probably have two or three months off."