09/11/2002 11:00PM

Baker's leap of faith


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Reade Baker has been on a roll recently, sending out first-time starters Dolly Dynamite and Wire Whip to impressive victories for Stronach Stable at Woodbine last week.

Baker will be looking to pull off a feat of a different order Sunday when Light the Path, a filly whom he claimed for $40,000 here Aug. 2, contests the La Prevoyante Stakes in her second outing for the Mobile Stable.

Light the Path and the La Prevoyante, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, would have seemed an unlikely combination earlier this summer.

The filly, unraced at 2, had won her maiden for $40,000 at six furlongs on the main track here July 10 and then was beaten a head when second at 6 1/2 furlongs in the race from which she was claimed.

"She's a young horse who hadn't run very much and looked like she was improving," Baker said. "That's why I went in for her."

Mobile partners Peter Lipman, James Forster, and Joan Farrell realized a quick return on their investment when Light the Path collected $38,100 for a 2 1/4-length score in a restricted first-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs on the grass here Aug. 14.

"You've got to try them all on the turf eventually," Baker said. "The competition wasn't very strong, but she's probably the easiest winner I've run in my career."

While Baker said he had no particular designs on the La Prevoyante before Light the Path's last victory, he does admit that the race had not entirely escaped his notice.

"I knew it was there," the trainer said, "and I thought if she'd run good on grass, it typically doesn't come up the toughest race of the year.

"When she won like that, I had to run her back."


Baker had high hopes for Dolly Dynamite heading into her debut, which came in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special here last Saturday.

"She'd done everything right since I got her," Baker said. "I was pretty impressed."

And Dolly Dynamite lived up to those expectations, exploding from 10th and last place with a four-wide bid to win by a widening margin of 4 1/4 lengths under jockey Jim McAleney.

"She's a pretty nice filly," Baker said. "He stepped on the gas pedal at the half-mile pole, and she responded. She has a very bright future in front of her."

Dolly Dynamite, a Kentucky-bred, is nominated to the Grade 2, $250,000 Mazarine, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies here next Saturday.

"I'm tempted to run her there, but I won't," said Baker, who is pointing Dolly Dynamite for the seven-furlong Glorious Song, a $125,000 race for 2-year-old fillies on Nov. 10.

Wire Whip comes around

Wire Whip, a Florida-bred 3-year-old gelding, did not make the same favorable initial impression as Dolly Dynamite.

"He didn't pick it up here until his last two or three works," Baker said. "That's when he started to show some signs of life."

And Wire Whip showed plenty of spark in his opener on Sept. 6, overcoming a slow start and bursting between horses on the turn en route to a three-length victory under jockey Emile Ramsammy.

"I was surprised he got through there," Baker said. "When he started to make his move, I thought he was going to have to knock somebody over."

Baker said Wire Whip probably would not run back until late October or early November.

Forever Grand will probably go in Addison

Forever Grand, who was one of the leading candidates for Saturday's Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Handicap, instead is looking to Fort Erie's Sept. 24 Harry A. Addison Stakes, a $60,000, 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward who went through the ring in one of the open yearling sales or 2-year-olds in training sales at Woodbine.

An Ontario-sired 3-year-old gelding owned by Frank DiGiulio and trainer Bob Tiller, Forever Grand became a stakes winner last time out in the Elgin, a 1 1/16-mile yearling sales stakes on Sept. 2.

"I want something a little easier for him," Tiller said. "I don't want to hook the top horses. He has a fall campaign coming up still."

Forever Grand has won 4 of 8 starts this year. He finished third in the Queen's Plate and fifth in Fort Erie's Prince of Wales.

More Ontario quality

Tiller and DiGiulio also have a very promising Ontario-sired 3-year-old filly in Brass in Pocket, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 89 for her front-running romp over older rivals in an allowance for nonwinners of two other than maiden or claiming here last Sunday.

Brass in Pocket was nominated to the La Prevoyante but will make her next appearance in next Saturday's $125,000 La Lorgnette, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.

Tiller won last year's La Lorgnette with Madame Red, who was owned by Norseman Racing Stable before being sold this spring to Winstar Farm and moving south.

Oh Livia D. works for La Prevoyante

Oh Livia D., also owned by DiGiulio and trained by Tiller, worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 on a fast main track Thursday.

"She didn't have any serious training for about six weeks," Tiller said. "She had a cyst on her back and it filled up. It didn't break.

"I'll have to work her once or twice more before I run her."

Oh Livia D. has placed in two Ontario-sired stakes this year, finishing third in the July 17 Passing Mood over seven furlongs of turf here last time out and second in the Aug. 21 Lady Angela over seven furlongs on the main track.

* Nadia, based in California with trainer Neil Drysdale, checked in late Thursday night with an eye toward the Grade 1, $750,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for fillies and mares on Sept. 29. A 4-year-old owned by Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, Nadia was a Group 1 winner in France last year.

* Touch of the Blues, a troubled fifth for Drysdale in last Sunday's Atto Mile, has stayed at Woodbine to train for a possible appearance in the Oct. 6 Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile.