11/05/2004 12:00AM

Casse covered whatever the weather


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - There's a stakes doubleheader on Sunday at Woodbine, and no matter how the chips fall, trainer Mark Casse should be represented in both races.

Casse has Palm Avenue for the Fanfreluche, a six-furlong race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies, and P.J.'s Paulie Boy for the Labeeb, a one-mile stakes for 3-year-olds and upward.

The Labeeb is scheduled to be the last turf race of the meeting, but recent rain could force the race to the main track.

Either way, Casse has the Labeeb covered with P.J.'s Paulie Boy, a 6-year-old horse he owns as well as trains.

"It really doesn't matter what surface he runs on," said Casse.

In his last start, here Oct. 15, P.J.'s Paulie Boy finished second in a third-level allowance race that was taken off the turf and run over 1 1/16 miles of sloppy going.

Palm Avenue, owned by Casse in partnership with Will Farish Jr. and Gasparilla Stable, will be seeking her second straight score in the Fanfreluche. She won her maiden over five furlongs here Oct. 23 under regular rider Patrick Husbands.

That outing was the third for Palm Avenue, who had finished third at five furlongs on Sept. 6 and fifth at seven furlongs on Oct. 2.

"She definitely needed her first race," Casse said. "I was surprised she ran as well as she did.

"In her second race, she had a terrible, terrible trip. She didn't break real good, and Patrick tried to rate her. She was running up on heels. Patrick told me that he wasn't worried about winning - he was worried about living."

Casse will be seeking his third stakes win of the meeting with a 2-year-old filly in the Fanfreluche, having sent out Quite a Ruckus to defeat males in the Colin and Higher World to capture the Grade 2 Mazarine.

Quite a Ruckus, owned by her breeders, Richard and Nancy Kaster, finished fifth at Keeneland last Friday in her first start for trainer Jamie Fox.

Higher World, owned by Sea Soft Stable, is on the farm in Florida after finishing last of 12 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

"She bled badly there," said Casse. "That's one problem with going from the cooler to hot weather, especially when you don't have time to acclimatize."

Casse said Higher World could return to action at Gulfstream later this winter.

Gold Strike sidelined

Trainer Reade Baker, who will send out Susur in the Fanfreluche, had hoped to have a second contestant in Gold Strike.

But Baker was forced to abandon that plan when Gold Strike came down with sore shins in her final prep for the race, putting an end to her campaign.

Gold Strike, bred in Manitoba by her owner, Dick Bonnycastle, was sent to Baker after winning 2 of her 3 starts at Assiniboia Downs, including a 15 3/4-length win over males in the one-mile Buffalo Stakes.

"I told Mr. Bonnycastle she'll be a stakes horse in Ontario next year," said Baker.

Gold Strike will be wintering at Palm Meadows, where Baker has 20 stalls.

Other Baker runners headed for the Florida training center include Slew Valley, winner of back-to-back graded turf stakes here this spring; Bosskiri, a 2-year-old filly who was undefeated in two starts, including the Nandi Stakes; and Lucky Tomoli, a 2-year-old filly who overcame severe trouble to prevail in her only appearance.

Baker also is looking forward to next weekend, with Raylene bound for Saturday's Grade 3 Maple Leaf and Hong Kong Dancer set for Sunday's Jammed Lovely.

Raylene, a multiple stakes winner in Alberta who was sent to Baker here this summer, is coming off an upset victory over One for Rose in the 1 1/8-mile allowance prep for the Maple Leaf, which is a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares.

"She's in great shape," said Baker.

Trained by Sid Attard, One for Rose is Canada's reigning champion filly or mare. She romped in the Maple Leaf here last fall and will be looking to duplicate that success Saturday.

Hong Kong Dancer will be seeking her first stakes win in the Jammed Lovely, a seven-furlong race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Although Hong Kong Dancer disappointed in her latest, which was her second start back after missing the summer because of a pulled muscle, Baker believes she is capable of much better.

"When I breezed her for the race last time, she went too quick," said Baker.

"I won't work her back this time. I'll put a set of blinkers on her, and give her a whirl. I think she'll run well."

Organ Grinder done for the year

Organ Grinder, the other big shooter in the Sid Attard stable, has gone to the farm and will not see action again this season.

A Kentucky-bred 3-year-old gelding owned by Bill and Sue McClellan, Organ Grinder won the 1 1/8-mile Victoria Park here on June 13 and the 1 3/8-mile Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park on Aug. 28.

In his last start at Woodbine, on Oct. 10, Organ Grinder finished second by 1 1/4 lengths to A Bit O'Gold in the 1 1/8-mile Ontario Derby.

"The owners said, 'He's done enough for us. Let's send him home and have a nice 4-year-old,' " said Attard.

* Jockey Jono Jones will be serving a three-day suspension, Wednesday through Friday, after the Ontario Racing Commission dismissed his appeal of an earlier ruling.