06/06/2007 11:00PM

Baker in unlikely Oaks spot


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Reade Baker has felt the glare of the Woodbine Oaks spotlight, sending out half of the 10-horse field in 2005 and three of the five entrants in 2004.

Gold Strike wound up dominating the 2005 Oaks for Baker as the choice, a year after Touchnow finished second for Baker behind favored Eye of the Sphynx.

But Baker will be coming into Sunday's race with a decidedly low profile, as his hopes rest with Love You Crazy, who is 20-1 on the track morning line.

Love You Crazy will be making her fifth career start in the Woodbine Oaks. After winning her debut over six furlongs impressively here last Nov. 12, Love You Crazy came back three weeks later in the 1o1/16-mile Ontario Lassie and was a well-beaten third.

"That was way too much, too early," said Baker. "You can toss that race completely."

After spending the winter at Keeneland, Love You Crazy resurfaced here with a third-place finish, beaten seven lengths, in a first-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs.

And at that point, Baker admitted, the Woodbine Oaks did not appear to be a feasible target.

"It was kind of a dream we'd had, up until then," said Baker. "But her first race was so disappointing, it kind of put us on the back burner.

"I told the owners it wasn't realistic, at that point. The first time she laid up fairly close, and then backed away, which certainly doesn't point to a horse who wants to go around two turns.

"But her last race was so much better; she was closing."

Love You Crazy rallied from just off the pace in that last start to finish second in a first-level allowance at seven furlongs. But the Beyer Speed Figure she earned there, a 74, matched that of her seasonal bow.

"It's still a leap of faith taking her Beyer from there to whatever it will take to win the Oaks, which will probably be in the upper 80's," said Baker. "But she galloped out well, and who knows, stranger things have happened."

Supporting cast members as well

Baker also will have starters in both the $125,000 Victoria Park and the $100,000 Alywow, the supporting stakes on the Woodbine Oaks Day program.

Forbidden Bear, a Kentucky-bred owned by Danny Dion's Bear Stable, will contest the Victoria Park, an open 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds.

Bear Dixiecat and Bearbullett Too, also Kentucky-bred and owned by Dion, will go in the Alywow, an open 6 1/2-furlong overnight turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Another twin Oaks try

Sealy Hill, one of the favorites for the Woodbine Oaks, is coming off a 12th-place finish in the 14-horse field of the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 4.

Trained by Mark Casse, Sealy Hill would become the fourth Woodbine Oaks entrant to have started in the Kentucky Oaks.

Dancethruthedawn finished 12th of 13 in the 2001 Kentucky Oaks but came back to win the that year's Woodbine Oaks at 3-5 and the Queen's Plate just over two weeks later.

Gal in a Ruckus, trained by John Ward, won the Kentucky Oaks and the Dogwood at Churchill Downs before shipping north for a Woodbine Oaks score at 2-5 in 1995.

Blondeinamotel, trained by Michael Doyle, finished third in the Kentucky Oaks and then won the Woodbine Oaks at 3-2 in 1989.

Turf experiment works fine for Cold War

Cold War, an Ontario-bred 6-year-old gelding, wound up as the second-leading race-winning horse in North America last year, with 10 victories from 15 starts and was named Fort Erie's horse of the year and top male distance horse.

After disappointing in his first three outings here this season, Cold War tried turf for the first time in the 52nd start of his career on Wednesday evening and was a game winner over $40,000 claiming company.

"It was definitely an experiment, and it worked out," said Monique Dionne, a Fort Erie-based rider who piloted Cold War to 4 of his 7 wins there last year.

Cold War, who is owned by his trainer, Vern Fernandes, and his wife, Pat, won 3 of his 4 races at Woodbine in 2006 and will be honored as the Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club's claimer of the year at that group's annual awards day here June 17.

* Woodbine's leading rider, apprentice jockey Tyler Pizarro, recorded his fourth triple of the meeting here Wednesday. Pizarro scored with Son Sarria ($7), for trainer Darryl Ezra, in the first race; Riverada ($22.10), for trainer Dan Vella; and Sneaky Storm ($11.80), for trainer Sid Attard, in the eighth and final race on the program.