09/21/2003 11:00PM

Baker takes two shots on turf


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Reade Baker will take two shots at Wednesday's Woodbine feature when he runs the uncoupled duo of Fritz Blitz and Taipan.

Fritz Blitz should be favored in the 6 1/2-furlong allowance on turf. A 3-year-old Stronach Stable runner by Friendly Lover, Fritz Blitz set honest fractions before weakening when sixth in his July 24 debut.

Fritz Blitz showed considerably more staying power most recently, in another maiden special weight sprint on the grass, in which he led throughout to prevail by a five lengths. His six-furlong clocking of 1:08.80 earned him a Beyer Speed Figure of 88, which is the highest turf number in this field.

Baker said he anticipated improvement from Fritz Blitz in his second outing.

"I'd worked him six days before his first race, and it was way too close and way too fast," Baker recalled. "I think that's why he ran badly. I don't think there was much behind him the other day, but he ran pretty quick. There will be more give to the ground this time, and I don't know if he'll like it or not. If he doesn't, we'll just have to count on Taipan."

Taipan, a 4-year-old by Alphabet Soup, did his best running last summer, when he won his maiden in a romp and finished fourth in the 1 1/2-mile Breeders' Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Taipan, who hasn't raced since Nov. 20, is making his first start for Baker, who believes the colt is sufficiently cranked up for the task at hand.

"It might be little too short for him, but he won't need a race," Baker said. "If he can get up in time, this will be his race."

Baker said Taipan can handle both surfaces and most distances.

"When you look at his numbers, he doesn't seem to have any real preference," Baker said. "He ran real good going long on the grass in the Breeders', and he also ran well sprinting [on the main track] last fall."

Baker, currently sixth in the Woodbine trainer standings, has clicked with 33 percent of his new acquisitions and 12 percent of his extended layoff runners since the beginning of 2002.

Rounding out the field for Wednesday's feature are Highland Turn, Spanish Johnny, Cobra Star, Memo to Dixie, Fantastic Day, and Johnny Hollywood. Cloud Jumper and Potato Lad were entered for the main track only.