06/10/2002 12:00AM

Horse and rider, both fit and ready, reunite and romp


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Not long ago both Ginger Gold and her rider, Richard Dos Ramos, looked to be touch and go to make it to the post for the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks.

But such worries proved to be unfounded. as Ginger Gold, with Dos Ramos in the irons for the first time this season, put on a dazzling display in last Saturday's $500,000 Oaks for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

"She's a dream come true," said Dos Ramos, who had guided Ginger Gold to three stakes victories from four starts in her Sovereign Award-winning 2-year-old campaign.

"She's so athletic, and she's easy on herself. She does everything like she's a class act."

Dos Ramos had broken a bone in his left ankle during an incident in the paddock on the second day of the meeting here March 24, and did not return to action until May 17.

"It was a time-consuming injury," said the jockey, who was riding just his third winner of the season in the Oaks. "I spent seven weeks in a cast.

"But the therapist in the jocks' room put me on a workout program, and a week after I got hurt I was working out every day. I kept fit."

Meanwhile, trainer Sid Attard had become somewhat concerned with the fitness of Ginger Gold, who had been scheduled to train up to the Oaks after opening up her campaign with a second-place finish in the seven-furlong Fury here May 5.

But Attard, who trains Ginger Gold for the Jim Dandy Stable of Mel Lawson, decided the filly would benefit from another outing and sent her out for the 1 1/16-mile Selene here May 20.

"There's nothing like a race," said Attard, who watched Ginger Gold finish second to the talented invader See How She Runs. The three weeks between races, he said, "turned out to be beautiful."

Patrick Husbands, who had been aboard for the Fury, retained the mount for the Selene while the recently returned Dos Ramos gradually rode his way back toward peak form.

But there was never any question that Dos Ramos, if ready, would regain the mount on Oaks Day.

"Mr. Lawson called me, and we talked about it when the Oaks was a little over a month away," said Dos Ramos. "He said 'Take your time, and get better. That's our game plan.' "

While she remains eligible for the June 23 Queen's Plate, Ginger Gold's next objective is Fort Erie's July 1, $250,000 Labatt Bison City, a 1 1/16- mile race which is the second leg of the Canadian Triple Tiara.

The series for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, which concludes with the $250,000 Wonder Where over 1 1/4 miles on turf here Aug. 5.

If Ginger Gold could sweep the series, then Lawson would collect a $350,000 bonus.

Rides Adjalah in Plate

While there will be no Plate for Ginger Gold, Dos Ramos is scheduled to ride Adjalah in that $1 million race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

Adjalah, owned by the Beclawat Stable of Les Pereiera and trained by David Bell, showed promise at 2 and is coming off a fifth-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial here June 1.

"Mr. Pereira was very supportive too," said Dos Ramos, who missed Adjalah's first two outings of the season. "He basically told me when I got back the horse is mine."

Stablemate Plate-bound

Tails of the Crypt was a romping winner of last Saturday's Victoria Park, the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds that is the last local stakes stepping-stone to the Queen's Plate.

But Tails of the Crypt, being Kentucky-bred, will be in the barn on Plate Day.

Still, the Plate remains very much on the horizon for Tails of the Crypt's owners, Bud and Jackie Reynolds, trainer, John Ross, and jockey, Jake Barton, as Shaws Creek was born on the right side of the border and is coming off back-to-back victories in the seven-furlong Queenston and 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial.

Barton, who relocated here from Alberta in the fall of 2000, picked up the mount on Shaws Creek this spring and will be riding in the Plate for the first time.

"It's nice to even ride one in the race," said Barton, "but it's even nicer to have a definite shot at it."

Meanwhile, Barton was reunited with Tails of the Crypt after guiding the colt to back-to-back victories here last fall in their only previous collaborations.

"He was awesome," said the jockey. "He ran the race I thought he was capable of running. He only ran hard enough to beat them; I never had to uncock my stick."

Ross will consider trying Tails of the Crypt against older horses in the Dominion Day Handicap, a Grade 3 race over 1 1/4 miles here July 1. But his options also include the Grade 3 Toronto Cup, an open race for 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles of turf here July 13.

"Do we want to run against older horses?" asked Ross rhetorically. "I think we'd be okay. But he's run good on turf, too. I'm just kind of sitting on the fence right now."

Not bad for Forever Grand

Forever Grand was beaten 6 1/4 lengths but was best of the four Plate eligibles in the field as the Victoria Park runner-up.

Owned by Frank DiGiulio Jr. and trainer Robert Tiller, Forever Grand was seeking his fourth straight win while making his stakes debut and traveling around two turns for the first time.

"He fell on his face, coming out of the gate," said Tiller. "But I was still a little disappointed with his race, until I saw the time.'

Tails of the Crypt was clocked in a very respectable 1:50.36. For comparative purposes, Ginger Gold finished in 1:51.56.

Forever Grand is "50-50" to start in the Queen's Plate, said Tiller, who can envision the possibility of Forever Grand bringing home a Plate paycheck despite the challenging distance.

"He's definitely not a mile-and-a-quarter horse," said Tiller, "but it's a million-dollar race."

Wolverine out with injury

The Queen's Plate lost a contender Monday morning when Wolverine, who finished a creditable fourth in the Trial, fractured a rear cannon bone during a five-furlong workout.

Trainer Reade Baker, who also owns Wolverine in partnership with Derek Cornelius, said the colt was to undergo surgery Tuesday.