11/10/2005 1:00AM

Raylene takes another shot at Maple Leaf


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Raylene, a venerable 5-year-old who has competed at every major track in Canada, will likely be favored in Saturday's $198,800 Maple Leaf Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares at Woodbine.

Raylene, a multiple Grade 3 stakes winner in western Canada, finished third to the recently retired One for Rose in last year's Maple Leaf, and was a distant fifth behind that one in the 2003 renewal.

This year, Raylene has made six starts in four different provinces. She launched her campaign here with trainer Reade Baker in June, finishing behind One for Rose in the Ontario Matron Handicap. She was then reunited with Rod Haynes, her trainer throughout most of her career, and won the Aug. 28 City of Edmonton Distaff Handicap at Northlands. She was beaten a nose against males there in the Sept. 10 Speed to Spare Championship Stakes.

Raylene captured the Matron Breeders' Cup Handicap at Assiniboia in her next-to-last start, but could only manage fourth as the favorite most recently, in the Grade 3 Ballerina Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hastings.

Raylene was recently shipped back here to Baker, who has plenty of admiration for her.

"She's an honest mare who doesn't do anything wrong," Baker said of Raylene, who comes from off the pace. "She got caught in those races where One for Rose was dominant, and never had a legitimate pace to run at. Everybody laid back and was afraid to go with One for Rose, and it took her game away from her. She wants some pace in front of her."

Raylene worked six furlongs in 1:13.80 on the main track last Saturday.

"I was very happy with her work," Baker said.

Other possibilities in the Grade 3 Maple Leaf include Silver Impulse, Schooner Bay, and Ballroom Dancer.

Silver Impulse, a 3-year-old trained by Stanley Baresich, is winless in seven starts this year. She is coming off her best showing of the meeting, however, a second-place finish on turf in the 1 1/8-mile Carotene Stakes.

"She's been training well, and I think she'll get the distance," Baresich said.

Schooner Bay won her first stakes, the restricted Classy 'N Smart, going 1 1/16 miles Oct. 10. She could be the pacemaker Saturday in her first attempt beyond a middle distance.

Ballroom Dancer finished just a head back of One for Rose in this year's Ontario Matron. She has been absent since ending up third in the Sept. 10 Lighthouse Stakes at Monmouth.