07/21/2005 11:00PM

Try to catch Cricket Wicket


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Cricket Wicket, a speedball and turf specialist, gets top billing in Sunday's $125,000 Rainbow Connection, a five-furlong turf stakes for Ontario-sired fillies and mares. The Rainbow Connection is the last of seven stakes on the Fort Erie calendar.

Cricket Wicket, who is partly owned by her trainer, David Bell, has won four times and finished in the money in half of her 12 grass starts.

Cricket Wicket's major triumph came in the $80,000 Zadracarta at Woodbine on June 19. She hung on bravely to win the six-furlong turf race by a head.

"She's real quick, always the speed of the speed," said Bell. "She ran in the [Rainbow Connection] last year but didn't break well. She was unhappy being in the middle of the pack and was kind of all over the place, yet she got beat less than four lengths. She has more seasoning now."

Bell admitted he is a little worried about the tight turn on the seven-furlong course.

"She wears an extension blinker on the outside, because she has messed up on the turns before," said Bell. "She trains with the blinker on, too."

Dino Luciani, who was aboard for all of Cricket Wicket's lifetime wins, has the mount. He didn't ride Cricket Wicket in last year's Rainbow Connection because he had commitments at Woodbine.

"I'm happy he's making the trip," Bell said. "She's kind of one of those fillies that you need to know."

Believe in Missy and Deputy Cures Blues are the chief opponents. Both, however, lack turf experience.

Deputy Cures Blues, who boasts a triple-digit Beyer on the dirt, was a badly beaten eighth in her sole turf try.

Believe in Missy, who won the $125,000 Ballade at Woodbine in her last start June 8, has never tried the turf in 18 races.

"I hope it rains and comes off the grass," said Sid Attard, who trains Believe in Missy. "We would have a better shot. She worked pretty good on the grass last Sunday."

Believe in Missy breezed five furlongs on Woodbine's turf training course that day, going in 1:01.

Attard said he wishes Cory Fraser was available to ride Believe in Missy. Fraser, an apprentice locked in a battle for leading rider at Woodbine, has ridden Believe in Missy to six of her eight wins. Eurico Da Siva will be in the saddle Sunday.

Tetherette, On Silent Wings, Wisdomisgold, and Decadent Dash complete the field.

Decadent Dash is the only horse in the Rainbow Connection who has won over the local turf course. Her victory came in a $5,000 starter allowance.