06/05/2002 11:00PM

Ginger Gold: Catch her if you can


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Ginger Gold take on all comers on the lead as the favorite in Saturday's $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks, formerly the Canadian Oaks.

The 47th running of the 1 1/8-mile race has drawn 10 Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, including sharp contenders Gonetofarr and Mulrainy.

Ginger Gold won the Sovereign Award as champion 2-year-old filly in 2001 on the strength of her three stakes victories, which include a 4 1/2-length triumph in the prestigious Princess Elizabeth Stakes.

Ginger Gold has lost both of her starts this year, but not without a fight. She set a rapid pace before giving way grudgingly when beaten three-quarters of a length by Gonetofarr in the seven-furlong Fury Stakes.

Most recently, going 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 1 Selene Stakes, Ginger Gold dueled through fast fractions en route to another second-place finish, this time behind unbeaten American shipper See How She Runs.

Ginger Gold gets a jockey switch Saturday, going back to her regular rider at 2, Richard Dos Ramos, who was injured during for the first portion of the meeting.

"Dos Ramos knows her very well," said Sid Attard, who trains Ginger Gold for Mel Lawson's Jim Dandy Stable. "Hopefully, she'll relax for him the way she did last year."

Gonetofarr hit the board in both of her two-turn outings at 2. She was a well-beaten fifth when she came off the shelf April 6 in the Star Shoot Stakes, and then benefited from a perfect outside stalking trip when she upset Ginger Gold in the May 5 Fury.

Trainer Reade Baker said Gonetofarr had a legitimate excuse for bombing in the six-furlong Star Shoot.

"She threw herself against the wall in the paddock, when we were putting the equipment on her," Baker recalled. "She was a bit dazed, and I almost scratched her. Her last race was super, and I expect another huge race from her on Saturday."

Gonetofarr drew outside most of the other speed, in post 9, and figures to assume a stalking position under Jim McAleney.

Mulrainy, trained by Tom O'Keefe, gave it a big speed try in the Selene, and weakened to finish just a length behind Ginger Gold in third.

Her rider, apprentice Chantel Sutherland, believes Mulrainy doesn't need the lead. "The best thing I can do is to let her do what she wants and give her a clean trip," she said.

* Forever Grand and Tails of the Crypt head the other stakes on Saturday's 11-race card, the $135,500 Victoria Park Stakes. First post is 12:35 p.m.

for Woodbine entries.

Subscribers: to purchase past performances for Woodbine.

Non-subscribers: to purchase past performances for Woodbine.