06/11/2005 11:00PM

Gold Strike romps in Woodbine Oaks

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Gold Strike wins the Labatt Woodbine Oaks at Woodbine on Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Gold Strike ($4.20) established herself as a serious candidate for the June 26 Queen's Plate with a dominant victory over fellow Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies in Sunday's $502,000 .

Gold Strike rated kindly for jockey Jim McAleney, about four lengths off a sizzling early pace in the nine-furlong event. Bosskiri, who was unbeaten going into the race, set fractions of :22.70, :46.71 and 1:12.18 seconds. A three-wide Gold Strike and the 2-1 second choice, Ready and Alluring, both loomed into contention on the far turn, and they swallowed up Bosskiri nearing the quarter pole.

Gold Strike assumed command at the head of the stretch, and then drew away from Ready and Alluring to prevail by three and a half lengths, while Victorious Ami finished another 10 lengths back in third. The final time was a 1:51.63.

"The race unfolded almost identical to the way we expected," said McAleney. "Ready and Alluring had a bad break, which set her up to show less speed. I had my eye on her, because I thought she was the one to beat. (Gold Strike) settled really well in behind horses, and the most impressive thing was the way she picked it up and quickened when I asked her. I believe if somebody had tested her in the last eighth of a mile, that there was a lot left."

Javier Castellano, who rode Ready and Alluring, said he had a good trip. "I thought I had (Gold Strike), but I think two turns was too far for her today. It was her first time going two turns, and the filly who won is a good filly."

Gold Strike, bred in Manitoba by her owner, Harlequin Ranches, earned $300,000, which boosted her bankroll to $542,242.

Gold Strike was one of five Reade Baker-trained runners in the 10-horse field, along with fourth-place finisher Whiskey and Low, Bosskiri (5th), Pirouetting (7th) and River Nore (9th).

Baker said if everything went perfectly with Gold Strike in the next two weeks that she would go on to face males in the $1 million Plate.

* Roger Attfield-trained 3-year-olds Palladio and Ablo ran one-two in Sunday's $136,525 Victoria Park Stakes, one of two supporting features on the Oaks card.

Palladio ($3.50) took control early in the stretch and edged away for a four and a half-length score, in a final time of 1:51.95. Commander Pat wound up eight lengths in arrears in third in the six-horse field.

Richard Dos Ramos rode Palladio, who earned $81,675 in his first stakes triumph for owner/breeder Haras Santa Maria de Araras.

* Hatpin ($6.50) blew away her 10 rivals under Robert Landry in Sunday's $113,400 Alywow Stakes, a six and a half-furlong turf dash for 3-year-old fillies.

Hatpin covered the distance in 1:16.31, and won by three and three-quarter lengths over Elle Runaway. Mark Frostad trains Hatpin for Sam-Son Farm.