07/23/2003 11:00PM

Stormthebarricade good to go


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Stormthebarricade came into the June 14 Victoria Stakes as the odds-on favorite, based on his winning debut here May 11.

But the Victoria came close to turning into a nightmare, as Stormthebarricade clipped heels heading into the far turn and fell to the racetrack.

"Fortunately, apart from a slightly busted mouth, he came out of that in one piece," said Laurie Silvera, trainer and co-owner of Stormthebarricade.

The colt seemed so well, in fact, that Silvera contemplated running him back in the June 28 Clarendon. Instead, he decided to wait and run him in Sunday's $125,000 Bull Page.

"Given the extent of the accident, I decided rather than rush him back in two weeks I'd give him a chance," said Silvera.

"So I canned the Plan A, and went to Plan B, to go for the Bull Page. That would be an easier option, and gave me extra time to be absolutely certain everything was A-okay."

Judging by his morning activities, Stormthebarricade will be one to reckon with in Sunday's six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 2-year-old colts and geldings.

The colt has recorded two bullet workouts this month, drilling four furlongs in 47.20 seconds on July 6 and five furlongs in 1:00 on July 16, and Silvera believes his charge will have no trouble with the Bull Page distance.

"He'll get six furlongs without a problem," said Silvera. "He's extremely ratable - he'll wait until he's asked."

Silvera also believes that returning to actual racing conditions will not faze Stormthebarricade despite his unpleasant experience.

"I think we probably overplay that," said the trainer. "People think a horse becomes timid. But I don't think horses are that impressionable, that one incident will compromise their mental attitude. Horses learn by repetition."

Apalachee Cola, another Ontario-sired 2-year-old colt in the Silvera shed row, was nominated to the Bull Page but will not see action.

"He has bad shins," said Silvera, who also owns Apalachee Cola.

Apalachee Cola finished a rallying second in his 4 1/2-furlong debut here June 1. He's galloping now and should be ready to race in about four weeks, Silvera said.

Tusayan a disappointment in grass mile

Silvera also has taken advantage of the Ontario-sired program with Tusayan, whom he owns in partnership with Iniva Kilambi.

Tusayan, a son of Canyon Creek, won his maiden in the Bold Ruckus, a six-furlong turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds here June 4.

The colt also performed creditably when fourth behind some tough opponents in the Charlie Barley, an open one-mile turf handicap for 3-year-olds here June 22.

Last Saturday he seemed to be in an ideal spot, dropping into a first-level allowance at a mile on grass. But Tusayan came up empty in the drive and finished sixth in the field of 10.

"I was disappointed," said Silvera. "I can't put my finger on it, why he didn't kick on when asked. He was well positioned."

Silvera plans to run Tusayan in the $125,000 Vice Regent, a seven-furlong turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds here Aug. 6.

Online contest starts Saturday

The Woodbine Entertainment Group is set to launch the Ultimate Survival Challenge, a free web-based fantasy horse racing game, at www.woodbineentertainment.com.

Online participants will be asked to select one horse from each contest stakes race at Woodbine, beginning Saturday. If the selection fails to hit the top three or is not submitted in time the player will receive one strike. Three strikes will result in elimination from the contest.

The contest is limited to one entry per person and entrants must be 18 years of age or over.

The Ultimate Survival Challenge offers a variety of prizes, including the grand prize of a Florida golf vacation for four and a second prize of a ski vacation for four to Tremblant, Quebec.

Theme day to celebrate 'Seabiscuit'

What Woodbine is billing as "Seabiscuit Sunday" will mark Friday's general release of the movie "Seabiscuit," with a 1930's theme featuring food, music, an antique car display, and celebrity look-alikes who will tour the track and participate in winner's circle presentations.

Six races on the card will be unofficially named after key players in the Seabiscuit story: trainer Tom Smith, jockeys Red Pollard and George Woolf, owner Charles Howard, rival War Admiral, and Seabiscuit himself.

A local movie chain is giving out $5 coupons redeemable for a betting voucher or food discount this Sunday only.

* Jim Bannon, a television host and handicapper for the Woodbine Entertainment Group, will host the first of a new series of teaching seminars here Saturday. The one-hour seminar begins at 11 a.m., in the second floor east grandstand location.