04/16/2009 11:00PM

Fairlie filly ready to go


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Cawaja Beach, unbeaten and virtually untested in four starts last year for trainer and part-owner Scott Fairlie, had her campaign cut short last fall when she came up with a lesion on a tendon.

That left Milwaukee Appeal to carry the baton for the Fairlie stable in the 2-year-old filly ranks, and she responded well, with a second-place finish in the 1 1/16 mile Princess Elizabeth and a victory in the 1 1/16 mile Ontario Lassie.

On Sunday, Milwaukee Appeal will return to action in the six-furlong Star Shoot, an open race that Fairlie hopes will be her first-stepping-stone to the 1 1/8 mile Woodbine Oaks.

"It's a place to start," said Fairlie. "It's not her ideal distance - she's better going further."

Milwaukee Appeal debuted here last July with a second-place finish for $32,000 and followed up with a victory for $40,000 before bidding adieu to the claiming ranks.

"She was mentally immature at first," said Fairlie. "She just kept improving, as the year went on."

Following her success in the Nov. 30 Ontario Lassie, Milwaukee Appeal was sent to Florida for the winter.

"She had a bit of a break, then started up training in January," said Fairlie, who welcomed back Milwaukee Appeal about four weeks ago.

"It took her a couple of days to get over shipping, and in her first couple of works we just went easy with her."

Milwaukee Appeal picked up the pace with a four-furlong drill in 47.20 seconds here last Saturday.

Na Somsanith, who has ridden Milwaukee Appeal in each of her six starts, retains the mount for the Star Shoot.

Meanwhile, Cawaja Beach is ready to start galloping after undergoing stem cell therapy and a lengthy recuperative period.

"It looks perfect," said Fairlie of the affected tendon. "It's totally healed over."

Fairlie is reluctant to speculate but is hopeful that Cawaja Beach will be ready to roll again in a couple of months.

Baker back with Stronach

Reade Baker, who was one of the Stronach Stable trainers in 2002 and 2003, is having a second go-round with the powerful outfit.

Baker recently welcomed five Stronach horses into the barn, has set aside stalls for an additional five, and will have an unspecified number at nearby Adena Springs North.

"The five I have now are all unraced 4-year-old maidens," said Baker. "They're big, good-looking, healthy horses.

"But, obviously something's happened along the way that they haven't made it over there."

In his first stint with Team Stronach, Baker compiled a record of 34-28-15 for earnings of more than $1.8 million from 119 starters.

Highlights included stakes victories with Hour of Justice here in the Alywow, Alpha Heat here in the Zadracarta, and Real Doll in Fort Erie's Matchmaker.

Fully booked for stakes

Meanwhile, Baker has candidates for all three stakes scheduled to be run here next weekend, with Judiths Wild Rush on tap for Saturday's Jacques Cartier, Bear's Rocket aiming for Saturday's Wando, and Bear It's True and Bearcatt pointing for Sunday's Woodstock.

Judiths Wild Rush, an 8-year-old horse who rejoined the Baker stable recently, will be making his fourth appearance in the $150,000 Jacques Cartier, a six-furlong race for 4-year-olds and upward.

After finishing second by a nose in 2005, Judiths Wild Rush returned to win the following year's edition. Both those starts were for Baker.

In 2006, racing for trainer Julian Canet, Judiths Wild Rush finished seventh.

Other prominent contenders for the Jacques Cartier include Disfunction and Legal Move, who finished first and third in the 5 1/2-furlong allowance prep for the Jacques Cartier here April 5.

Bear's Rocket, second by a half-length in the Grade 3 Holy Bull over a mile at Gulfstream and then sixth beaten 5 1/2 lengths in the Tampa Bay Derby over 1 1/16 miles, could be hard to handle in the Wando.

The 1 1/16-mile Wando, an open race for 3-year-olds, was inaugurated last year as a prep for the 1 1/16-mile Marine and a possible stepping-stone to the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate.

The Wando, however, is an overnight stakes and would require a field of at least five to be carded. Only 14 horses were nominated, and several of those also are nominated to the Queenston, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds here May 2.

Bear's Rocket also is nominated to the Woodstock, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds, and could wind up joining his stablemates there if the Wando does not fill.

Bear It's True would be making his first start since finishing sixth in a minor stakes at Santa Anita last Oct. 18, while Bearcatt would be making his seasonal debut after winning his maiden over five furlongs in his second of two starts here Nov. 7.

Two generations to be on hand

A pair of athletes from different fields and different eras will be the honorary drawmasters for this year's Woodbine Oaks and Queen's Plate.

Chris Bosch, 25, an all-star forward with the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association, will be on hand for the Woodbine Oaks draw on June 4 at WEGZ Stadium Bar in nearby Vaughan.

The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, will be run on June 7.

Gordie Howe, 81, a Hockey Hall of Famer following a career National Hockey League career spanning the years 1946 through 1980, will be at Woodbine for the Queen's Plate draw on June 18.

The $1 million Queen's Plate, for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run here June 21.