06/12/2005 11:00PM

Plate next target for Gold Strike

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
After easily winning the Labatt Woodbine Oaks, Gold Strike will attempt to become only the fifth filly to also win the Queen's Plate on June 26.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Bring on the boys.

Gold Strike, dominant winner of Sunday's $502,000 , now will set her sights on the $1 million Queen's Plate here June 26.

Four fillies have pulled off the double of the 1 1/8-mile Oaks and 1 1/4-mile Plate since the Oaks was run for the first time when Woodbine opened in 1956.

Flaming Page, in 1962, had exactly one week between the two races, while Dance Smartly had a three-week break in 2001. La Lorgnette and Dancethruthedawn both had two weeks between their Oaks-Plate scores.

Gold Strike also will be coming back in two weeks, but, with the usual proviso that all remains well, she would seem to have the tools to give her male rivals all they can handle.

Gold Strike had been supplemented to the Oaks at a cost of $5,000 and to the Plate at a cost of $15,000. Trainer Reade Baker, who has had both races in mind all spring, wasn't about to change his tune on Monday morning.

"Everything seems fine," said Baker, who had endured some pre-Oaks trauma after Gold Strike suffered a puncture wound in her foot early last week.

"I thought her race in the Oaks was amazing," he said. "She ran fast and did just what we wanted. The race played out right, with everything in the right place. But, all that aside, she's just got a lot of raw talent."

Gold Strike, running back to her strong performance in the 1 1/16-mile Selene here May 22, won the Oaks by 3 1/2 lengths over Ready and Alluring and earned $300,000 and a 94 Beyer Speed Figure.

Two races earlier, Palladio won the 1 1/8-mile Victoria Park, an open race for 3-year-olds, and earned a 90 Beyer.

Gold Strike, who became the first Manitoba-bred to win the Oaks, was one of five Baker entrants in the field of 10.

Whiskey and Low picked up fourth money of $30,000, and Bosskiri earned $15,000 for her fifth-place finish. Pirouetting, eighth, and River Nore, ninth, brought home the mandatory $400 starter's fee.

Gold Strike, Whiskey and Low, and Pirouetting are homebreds owned by Dick Bonnycastle's Harlequin Ranches, which also owns two-thirds of Bosskiri.

Bosskiri will go back to sprinting

Bosskiri, who had been undefeated in four starts but had not run beyond seven furlongs, showed good early speed before faltering to wind up 15 3/4 lengths back.

"I thought when she kicked on, at the half-mile pole, she was going to stay a little longer," said Baker. "I was kind of surprised she backed away as quick as she did and got beat that far. I guess she truly is a sprinter."

Bosskiri will be pointed for the $150,000 Ontario Damsel, a 6 1/2-furlong turf stakes for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies here July 10.

Whiskey and Low and River Nore are scheduled to proceed to Fort Erie's $250,000 Bison City, the 1 1/16-mile race on July 4 that follows the Oaks as the second leg of the triple tiara for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Whiskey and Low rallied to be beaten just a neck for third but was 13 3/4 lengths behind the winner.

"I was happy enough with her," said Baker. "I think the farther for her, the better. Maybe her forte will be going long on the grass this fall."

River Nore raced in midpack early but wound up more than 20 lengths back.

"She came from off the pace in her previous two starts," said Baker, who had sent out River Nore to win the seven-furlong Fury here May 8.

"We thought that was the right thing to do, to take her off the pace again, but it obviously wasn't. We'll just have to let her run her own race at Fort Erie."

Pirouetting, who raced in Florida this winter, could get a break on the farm.

Several options for Palladio

Trainer Roger Attfield experienced the best of two worlds when he sent out Palladio and Ablo to finish one-two in the $136,525 Victoria Park.

Palladio, a Florida-bred, was taking advantage of an open stakes on the schedule, while Ablo, a Canadian-bred, earned a chance to proceed to the Queen's Plate.

"The winner ran like I thought he would run," said Attfield, who watched Palladio score by 4 1/2 lengths. "I was pleased with my other horse, to run as well against him.

"I thought Ablo ran his race. He needed that kind of race, right there; that will tighten him up a little more."

Ablo, winner of the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity here last fall, turned in his best effort of this season in his fourth appearance.

Meanwhile, the next logical local option for Palladio would be the $150,000 Toronto Cup, an open race for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf here July 16.

Attfield also has nominated Palladio to a pair of turf stakes for 3-year-olds at Colonial Downs: the $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup, a 1 3/16-mile race June 25, and the $750,000 Virginia Derby, a 1 1/4-mile race July 16.

"He's a better horse on turf than he is on the dirt," said Attfield. "He's just a very versatile horse."