06/28/2006 11:00PM

Tothemoonandback in top form


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Funny Cide will be the center of attention when he runs in Saturday's Dominion Day here at Woodbine, but there is a second stakes on the menu.

And trainer Reade Baker would be more than happy to settle for a best supporting actor role on behalf of Tothemoonandback, who looms the horse to beat in the $150,000 Achievement, a six-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds.

Tothemoonandback, who tuned up for the Achievement by breezing four furlongs in 49 seconds on the training track here Wednesday, will be seeking his third straight win.

"He's in great shape," said Baker.

Tothemoonandback defeated older rivals in his first start of the season, which came in a six-furlong Ontario-sired allowance race here May 7.

In his only subsequent outing, Tothemoonandback made his turf debut in the six-furlong Bold Ruckus for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds, and came from just off the pace to score by a length under regular rider Jim McAleney.

"He wants to be up close at this point," said Baker. "The other day Jimmy rated him a little bit. He got banged around a little bit, and that shook him up. I think he'll be more rateable this time."

Tothemoonandback started just twice as a 2-year-old, winning his 5 1/2-furlong debut in front-running fashion and then finishing seventh in the six-furlong Bull Page.

"I was very high on him," said Baker. "He bucked his shins; he should never have lost that race."

Tothemoonandback will carry 119 pounds and break from post 6 in the Achievement, which drew a field of seven.

The only other stakes winner in the field is Bad Hat, trained by Mike DePaulo, who won the restricted Frost King and Kingarvie while going undefeated in three starts last year.

Bad Hat, who entered his current campaign as a Queen's Plate hopeful, opened with a close fifth-place finish in the seven-furlong Queenston but then fell ill with the virus that was prevalent here this spring. Bad Hat then breezed on the grass and tried turf for the first time, but finished last of five in the Bold Ruckus, beaten 7 1/2 lengths.

"Hopefully, The Hat hated the turf," said DePaulo. "And, it was his first race back after being sick. I don't think he got a lot out of his breeze on the turf; he went slow."

Bad Hat worked five furlongs in 59.60 seconds on the training track here last Sunday.

Extended break for Atlas Shrugs

Tothemoonandback will be looking to become the second multiple-stakes-winning male 3-year-old in the Baker barn this year.

Atlas Shrugs, winner of the six-furlong Woodstock and seven-furlong Queenston in his first two starts of the season, went on to finish fifth in the Plate Trial but was well back when seventh in last Sunday's Queen's Plate.

"He'll get a bit of a break now," said Baker, adding that the next stakes target for Atlas Shrugs would be the $125,000 Vice Regent, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds here Sept. 3.

Baker also has a leading candidate for Sunday's feature as Coy Coyote will face nine rivals in the $125,000 My Dear Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at five furlongs.

Coy Coyote will be looking for her second win in as many starts after rallying to take a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special here May 27.

"I expected good things from her," said Baker. "But it's very difficult for a 2-year-old, making her first start, to get in behind horses like that and then come running. She was pretty impressive."

Husbands gets mount on Nolan's Cat

Funny Cide will be one of four invaders in the Dominion Day, along with Nolan's Cat, Summer Book, and Scipion, all of whom also will be racing here for the first time.

Nolan's Cat and Summer Book both checked in on Thursday, while Funny Cide and Scipion were slated to arrive on Friday.

Dale Romans, who trains Nolan's Cat, has had just one previous starter here, sending out Jinny's Gold to finish third in the Ontario Colleen in 2004.

Local rider Patrick Husbands has picked up the mount on Nolan's Cat, whose main claim to fame is a distant third-place finish behind Afleet Alex in the 2005 Belmont.

Summer Book is trained by Niall O'Callaghan, who won the Grade 3 Royal North with Tara's Touch here last summer.

Jockey Brian Hernandez, who is riding at Woodbine for the first time, will be aboard Summer Book. He rode Summer Book to victory last time out in the 1 1/16-mile Slipton Fell Handicap at Mountaineer Race Track.

Hernandez also has the call on Meadow Breeze, the lone shipper for the My Dear. Meadow Breeze, trained by Carl Deville, was a 9 1/2-length winner of a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special at Evangeline Downs in her only start on June 1.

Long-range target for V S O P Please

V S O P Please, a 4-year-old gelding, recorded his third win in as many starts here last Sunday and will get a breather now before looking for new fields to conquer.

"I'm going to give him four or five weeks off and keep him fresh," said trainer Jody Hammett.

Hammett's main target for V S O P Please is the $125,000 Kenora at six furlongs, one of six yearling sales stakes that will be run here Sept. 4.