04/01/2002 12:00AM

Magic Doe scores a win for the ages


CICERO, Ill. - Between them, owner William Cortesi and trainer James Eckrosh have spent 175 years on this planet. Saturday, Magic Doe won them a trophy in the $100,000 Chicagoland Handicap.

Leading from start to finish, Magic Doe set a fast pace and narrowly held off Classic Appeal and Freeway Ticket in deep stretch to win the Chicagoland by a neck under Randy Meier. He paid $10.80 to win and ran six furlongs in a meet-best 1:09.73.

Magic Doe shows no signs of slowing at age 7, but he has nothing on his trainer, who at 92 years old continues to train a short string on the Chicago circuit.

The 83-year-old Cortesi sees fit to let Eckrosh call the shots, and why not? Magic Doe has now won 16 races and almost $700,000 in his career.

"He gets good care," Eckrosh said in the winner's circle.

Freeway Ticket was hemmed in behind the leaders turning for home, and by the time he found room to run on the rail the race was nearly over. Classic Appeal closed steadily on the outside, but could not get past a stubborn Magic Doe.

Milwaukee Avenue: Baker Road upsets

Baker Road was entered in two races on Saturday's Illinois Champions Day card at Sportsman's Park, the $100,000 Milwaukee Avenue Handicap and an optional claimer with a $34,000 purse.

Trainer Leo Gabriel and owner Diamond Racing chose the tougher route and were rewarded with a big payday when Baker Road won the Milwaukee Avenue by 2 1/4 lengths, wearing down the front-running R. Little Redhead with a sustained stretch run under jockey Robby Albarado.

Chicago Six, the heavy favorite and defending champion in the race, checked in a well-beaten fifth a week after finishing second in the Sportsman's Park Breeders' Cup.

Gabriel and Diamond Racing lost Baker Road for $35,000 in a claiming race this winter at Fair Grounds, but claimed him back March 2 for $40,000. Baker Road would have been among the favorites had he awaited his allowance race, but he was 11-1 in the Milwaukee Avenue and paid $24 to win. Baker Road was timed in 1:44.31 for 1 1/16 miles over a track that produced fast times throughout a beautiful sunny afternoon.

Land of Lincoln: Colorful Tour romps

Colorful Tour, last year's Illinois champion 2-year-old colt, picked up at age 3 where he left off last year, winning a statebred stakes race. Getting a great ride from jockey Uriel Lopez, Colorful Tour beat Nikobe by 5 1/2 lengths in the $100,000 Land of Lincoln.

Colorful Tour's big win last season came around two turns in the Jim Edgar Futurity. In his seasonal debut he finished second to the good colt War Emblem in an open route allowance race here, but Saturday he proved equally adept sprinting. Colorful Tour broke from an outside post but saved ground throughout the race under Lopez, and rallied strongly on the rail to win going away, running six furlongs in 1:10.59. He paid $5 to win as the favorite.

Colorful Tour is owned by his breeder, Irish Acres Farm, and is trained by Susan Conklin, a surrogate for the suspended trainer Noel Hickey.

Violet: Gracility comes on late

After her stablemate Margies Connection softened up the pacesetting Scarlett O'Hara, Gracility passed her in deep stretch to win the $100,000 Violet Stakes by a head. Gracility won her first stakes race for her owner and breeder, Crown's Way Farm. She is trained by Gene Cilio and was ridden by Eddie Razo.

Scarlett O'Hara blasted out of the gate but tired in deep stretch, just as Gracility ($11.40) got a full head of steam. Favored Tejano Honey was third, beaten by almost six lengths. Gracility ran six furlongs in 1:11.36 and paid $11.40 to win.

Governor's Lady: Darling L rallies

Darling L got a dream trip under jockey Jesse Campbell, rallying up the rail to win the $100,000 Governor's Lady by 3 1/2 lengths.

The pacesetting Island Riffle Cat held on for second over the longshot Little Mo.

Darling L, owned by Mel Silver Racing and trained by Terrel Gore, paid $21.40 to win, running six furlongs in 1:10.71.

* Out of Options ($13), a former $10,000 claimer, rallied in the middle of the track under Larry Sterling to win the $100,000 Peach of It by almost five lengths for her owner and trainer, Mike Reavis.