06/12/2003 12:00AM

High hopes for Stormthebarricade


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Laurie Silvera has never been shy about pumping up one of his juveniles, and Stormthebarricade is no exception.

Stormthebarricade will try to live up to some of Silvera's expectations Saturday at Woodbine in the $137,750 Victoria Stakes, a five-furlong dash for 2-year-olds.

Silvera, who paid $25,000 for Stormthebarricade as a yearling, promptly got his investment back and more when the handsome colt won his May 11 debut, running 4 1/2 furlongs over a muddy track in 52 seconds.

Silvera has been high on Stormthebarricade, an Ontario-bred son of Kiridashi, ever since he acquired him.

"To pay $25,000 for him at the sale, I had to like him a great deal," Silvera said. "I only sent two of my 2-year-olds to Florida this year, and he was one of them. Every time I worked him, he was bordering on sensational. He looked like something out of the ordinary the very first time he dropped his head."

Silvera was impressed with the determination Stormthebarricade showed in his race.

"He went the first quarter in 21.60, with another horse pressing him every step of the way," Silvera said. "He got clear in the straight and started to come back the last 150 yards, but he had a safe lead. I don't think he'll be backing up this go-around. He worked back [five furlongs] in 59."

Silvera expects Stormthebarricade to improve on his debut. "He's a horse who carries a lot of body weight, and I think he's a lot fitter now" than he was before his first race, Silvera said.

Rounding out the Victoria field are Third Day, Bachelor Blues, Imperial Alydeed, Zakocity, Liberatedbyforce, and Gemini Dream.

Trainer Mark Casse, who won the 2001 Victoria with first-time starter Expected Hour, will saddle a pair of first-timers - Liberatedbyforce and Third Day.

Liberatedbyforce, a late foal by Conquistador Cielo, has trained encouragingly, according to Casse. "I really like him a lot," Casse said. "He's fast, and he's a quick learner. I think he's going to be a really nice Canadian-bred. I'm not expecting big things from him for this race, but he'll run well. The only thing that's worried me about him is that he's a June foal."

Third Day is a Kentucky-bred by Distorted Humor, the sire of Funny Cide. "He's trained really well," Casse said, "but five-eighths might be a little short for him. When I worked him from the gate [May 26], he went head and head with Maple Syrple."

Maple Syrple won her May 31 debut by eight lengths and looks to have a bright future.