08/19/2004 12:00AM

Blonde Executive at tops for Duchess


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The speedy Blonde Executive goes for her third stakes triumph of the Woodbine meeting Saturday in the $160,650 Duchess, a seven-furlong dash for 3-year-old fillies.

Norfolk Knight heads a seven-horse field in Saturday's supporting feature, the $104,000 Izvestia Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile test for older Canadian-breds.

Blonde Executive defeated Ontario-sired opposition in her other stakes successes this year, in the Lady Angela on dirt and the Passing Mood on turf. She meets open company in the Grade 3 Duchess and is coming up to the race in career-best form, according to trainer Radlie Loney.

"She's probably in the best shape of her life," Loney said. "Since the last time she ran on the turf, everything with her is better than ever. She's matured 100 percent off that race."

Blonde Executive's only loss in four starts this year was when she was a retreating fourth against older opposition in the six-furlong Ballade Stakes. Loney said he felt Blonde Executive wasn't at her best heading into the Ballade.

"She came into that race with a little blister on her foot," Loney said. "She missed some training, and I didn't get a chance to work her. I only worked her once in a month. I took a shot, and the horse who won [Brass in Pocket] is a very nice mare."

Blonde Executive has had two strong works since the Passing Mood. Last Sunday, she went five-eighths in 58.80 seconds on the training track under jockey Richard Dos Ramos. It was the fastest of 17 moves at the distance.

"She did it so easily," Loney said. "Richard couldn't believe that she went that fast."

Silver Bird should have an ideal stalking trip in the five-horse field, which is chock-full of speed. Trained by Reade Baker, Silver Bird has been second in three of four starts this year, including in the Grade 2 Selene Stakes.

Silver Bird came up empty two starts back, in the Woodbine Oaks. She was off for seven weeks heading into an $80,000 optional claimer Aug. 6, when she finished a half-length back of Miss Grindstone in second.

Even though Silver Bird earned a career-high 88 Beyer Figure last out, Baker said she may have needed the race.

"I probably didn't have her quite fit enough," Baker said. "I had her entered on 10 different occasions trying to get her into a race, and I couldn't really fine-tune her for that specific race. The horse who beat her is a tough older mare, who's won a lot."