04/10/2003 11:00PM

Baker's fillies worth following


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Reade Baker is strong in the 3-year-old filly division this season. He came close to capturing the first local stakes race for that division when Hour of Justice finished second, beaten a half-length at 2-5, in last Saturday's $143,500 Star Shoot.

"I didn't get lucky the other day," said Baker. "She got shuffled back far enough, then got into trouble."

Hour of Justice, owned by Stronach Stable, suffered her first defeat following two impressive victories here last fall.

As a Kentucky-bred, Hour of Justice's opportunities here are limited. The racing schedule on the road to the June 8 Labatt Woodbine Oaks favors Canadian-breds. Baker said he would like to run her in six-furlong races, and may look out of town for spots.

While Baker watches and waits with Hour of Justice, he has stakes races in mind for a pair of Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Regal 'n Bold, owned by George Farr, is headed for the $125,000 Lady Angela, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired fillies here next Sunday. Elusive Thought, owned by Baker in partnership with his wife, Janis Maine, is being pointed for the $150,000 Fury, a seven-furlong race for Canadian-bred fillies May 4.

Both Regal 'n Bold and Elusive Thought won their only start here this spring. Regal 'n Bold's win came in a first-level allowance race and Elusive Thought won a maiden special weight race. Jockey Jim McAleney was aboard both winners.

Regal 'n Bold, a rallying second in her five-furlong debut here last fall, followed up with an 11 3/4-length score at 5 1/2 furlongs. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90. But Regal 'n Bold disappointed badly in her last start of the year, finishing a distant fourth as the odds-on favorite in the six-furlong Victorian Queen.

Baker said he thinks a shin problem was responsible for Regal 'n Bold's performance in the Victorian Queen.

"She trained well this spring and won off effectively." Baker said of her allowance win. "I like her for the Lady Angela, but if it was six furlongs I'd really like her."

Elusive Thought finished a troubled fourth in her five-furlong opener last fall and then ran third in the six-furlong Fanfreluche in her only other start of the campaign.

Baker is hoping Elusive Thought can use the Fury as a stepping-stone to the $250,000 Selene, an open 1 1/16-mile race here May 19, which could then lead to an appearance in the $500,000, 1 1/8-mile Labatt Woodbine Oaks.

"Jimmy [McAleney] thought she's worked like a horse that would go around two turns," Baker said.

Baker won last year's Fury with Gonetofarr, who then finished fourth in the Oaks.

Gonetofarr, owned by George Farr, was retired last fall and is at Overbrook Farm in Kentucky, in foal to the A.P. Indy stallion Jump Start.

Dolly Dynamite in Sunday allowance

Baker also has two Kentucky-bred Selene candidates in Dolly Dynamite and Sweet Dynamite, second-place finishers in their 2003 bows here.

Dolly Dynamite won smartly at 6 1/2 furlongs in her debut here last September and then finished second, beaten a neck, in the seven-furlong Glorious Song in her only other 2002 appearance. She is entered in Sunday's sixth race, an entry-level allowance at seven furlongs.

Sweet Dynamite appeared just once at 2, winning her maiden at 6 1/2 furlongs.

No excuses for Handpainted

Handpainted, who would have been considered a very serious candidate for the Selene, was beaten 10 1/2 lengths as the fifth-place finisher in the Star Shoot in her 2003 bow.

"Obviously, we're disappointed," said trainer Josie Carroll, who said Handpainted had trained well in New Orleans this winter. "I'm not entirely sure she liked the track, but she had no real excuses.

"She came out of the race fine. We're just going to regroup."

A Kentucky-bred owned by John and Glenn Sikura, Handpainted was a two-time stakes winner here last year and a finalist for Sovereign Award honors in her division.

Slow recovery for Kabeeb

Kabeeb, seen as a Labatt Woodbine Oaks candidate following her victory here in last year's 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth, has faded from that picture.

Kabeeb suffered what her trainer and part-owner Roger Attfield termed "a small condylar fracture" when prepping for last fall's Ontario Lassie and the injury did not heal as projected.

"I was advised it would heal on its own without putting screws in it," Attfield said. "I gave her 90 days off, and brought her down to Florida. It hadn't healed a bit and we had to put two screws in it. So, I'm way back now."

Kabeeb was coupled in the Princess Elizabeth with Clair de Lune and Speak Out, who finished fourth and fifth.

Clair de Lune, who was coming off a solid score at 1 1/16 miles and was the main reason for the entry's odds-on status, also wound up on the injured list last fall.

"She's on a very tight schedule to be able to make the Oaks," Attfield said.

Speak Out is due to arrive from Florida this week with the Oaks as her long-term target.