11/03/2005 12:00AM

No 'Overture' good news for Silver Bird


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Those who were aiming for Saturday's $135,375 Ontario Fashion Handicap at Woodbine certainly didn't mind seeing Fifth Overture show up in last Sunday's Grade 2 First Flight Handicap at Belmont.

Fifth Overture, the top older filly or mare sprinter at Woodbine, would have been the prohibitive favorite in the Fashion, a six-furlong race. In her absence, Silver Bird will most likely be favored.

Silver Bird ended a 10-race losing streak three starts back on July 9, when she scored a five-length win here in an $80,000 allowance. She then suffered a half-length loss in the Regret at Monmouth, in which she inherited the lead from a staggering front-runner inside the eighth pole, before being overhauled by two rivals in the final strides. "She just got caught after chasing a stopper in the Regret," said trainer Reade Baker.

Most recently, Silver Bird ran second to Fifth Overture in the Grade 3 Seaway Stakes on Sept. 10, earning a 94 Beyer Speed Figure, following Beyers of 94 and 95 in her previous two outings. She has worked quickly in the interim and usually acquits herself well with some space between her engagements.

Baker is also running Hong Kong Dancer, who looked rejuvenated when winning her two most recent races on the front end, a two-turn allowance and a seven-furlong optional claimer.

Hong Kong Dancer won her first two starts last year impressively and was a serious contender for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, where she finished fourth. She struggled last fall and this past spring, dropping her first four starts this year.

Baker said he believes a pulled muscle before the Oaks eventually took its toll on Hong Kong Dancer.

"It took her a long time to get her back to 100 percent again," Baker said. "I think we made a mistake reserving her off the pace, which accounts for two or three of her bad races this year. Her last race was a doozy."

Just five others were entered in the Fashion, including Tamara and Colonial Surprise.

Tamara placed in two restricted stakes at Fort Erie in July and was sixth last time out here in a grass allowance.

If a fast pace materializes, Colonial Surprise should be closing prominently. She was a close third in her only outing of the year, a $100,000 optional claimer Sept. 3.

* Mona Rose, the seventh-place finisher in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor, heads Saturday's supporting feature, the $110,000 River Memories, a one-mile grass stakes for fillies and mares.