06/08/2005 11:00PM

Off her Selene victory, Gold Strike heads Oaks


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Gold Strike, an impressive winner of the Grade 3 Selene over 1 1/16 miles here May 22, has been made the favorite in a field of 10 for Sunday's $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks.

Gold Strike drew post 6 on Thursday and has been established as Daily Racing Form's 8-5 choice for the Oaks. She is one of five horses in the field trained by Reade Baker, who also will send out Bosskiri, River Nore, Pirouetting, and Whiskey and Low.

Dick Bonnycastle's Harlequin Ranches is the owner and breeder of Gold Strike, Pirouetting, and Whiskey and Low and is the majority owner of Bosskiri, a double stakes winner who is undefeated in four starts but has not raced around two turns.

River Nore, winner of the seven-furlong Fury here May 8, races for the Ormonde Farm of her breeder, David Butler.

Jim McAleney, who has been the regular rider of all the Baker horses except Whiskey and Low, has stated a preference for Gold Strike but also is named on Bosskiri, who is DRF's second choice at 7-2 and drew post 4.

Patrick Husbands will take over aboard River Nore, who breaks from post 7, and he also is named on Whiskey and Low, who drew post 8. Pirouetting will be piloted by Dino Luciani and will start from the outside.

Baker will have to firm up the jockey assignments before the start of wagering on Sunday's card.

Ready and Alluring, coming off a very impressive maiden win at Belmont after being supplemented to the Oaks at a cost of $5,000, is the 9-2 third choice and will be ridden by Javier Castellano.

Based at Belmont with trainer Randy Schulfhofer, Ready and Alluring drew post 5.

Dancehall Deelites also will attract support off her 13-length first-level allowance win over 1 1/16 miles here May 22. Todd Kabel retains the mount on Dancehall Deelites, who will break from post 3.

Gold Strike prepped on the main track here Thursday, zipping three furlongs in a bullet 34.60 seconds under McAleney.

Gold Strike had not been scheduled to work back after breezing five furlongs in 1:00 here last Sunday, but circumstances led Baker to call an audible.

"I just wanted to make sure that we were 100 percent," said Baker, "and we are."

Baker said Gold Strike had suffered a nail puncture in a sensitive area of the hoof when she twisted a shoe after coming back from Sunday's workout.

The hoof was treated, and Gold Strike walked Monday as scheduled but did not train Tuesday.