06/10/2002 11:00PM

Adjalah hints big effort forthcoming

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Adjalah, a contender for the $1 million Queen's Plate on June 23 at Woodbine, tuned up with a sharp six furlongs in 1:12.60 on a fast main track Tuesday morning.

With rider Richard Dos Ramos in the irons, Adjalah worked in company with Peaks or Valleys, a 4-year-old filly who was clocked in 1:15.40.

"He worked very strongly," said David Bell, who trains Adjalah for the Beclawat Stable of Les Pereira. "He just galloped away from her."

Adjalah, a winner at first asking when tagged for $80,000 here last year, ran third in the six-furlong Vandal in his next start.

After finishing last of 10 when trying turf for the first time in the one-mile Summer, Adjalah concluded his first campaign with fourth-place efforts in the 1 1/16-mile Grey Breeders' Cup and the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity.

Bell had planned to run Adjalah once more, in the 1 1/16-mile Display, but the colt had emerged from the Coronation with a problem that was not resolved as soon as expected.

"He'd come back loaded with mucus," said Bell. "I breezed him, and scoped him again, but we hadn't got it cleared up.

"So we decided it was time to stop and put him away. He wasn't going to be effective, and there was no sense hurting him."

After beginning his winter at Plumley Farm near Ocala, Fla., Adjalah spent a month with Bell at Gulfstream before returning to Woodbine, where he finished second in a seven-furlong entry-level allowance in his seasonal bow.

Then, after scoring by five lengths at the same level, Adjalah stretched out to 1 1/8 miles and finished fifth in the Plate Trial.

Dos Ramos, who had ridden the colt in all his starts at 2, was aboard for the first time this season in the Trial and is expecting better things in the 1 1/4-mile Plate.

"I think he's going to run a real great race," said Dos Ramos, who had been sidelined for almost eight weeks after being injured on the second day of the meeting. "He was real rank with me last time he ran. I'm hoping he's going to just come off the bridle, and relax."

Dos Ramos scored a victory aborad Ginger Gold in the Woodbine Oaks on Saturday.

Bell concurred with the jockey's assessment of Adjalah's Trial.

"It was the first time ever he kind of broke, and jumped on the bridle," said Bell. "He picked the wrong day to do it - he needed to rate and didn't, and was wide the whole way.

"But he came out of the race good, and should have got a lot out of it. I think he'll improve tons."

Bell plans to work Adjalah again next week, probably over five furlongs.

Barbeau Ruckus will go to Plate

Barbeau Ruckus, who finished third here in last Saturday's 1 1/8-mile Victoria Park, is slated to make his next appearance in the Plate.

"It was a very positive race," said Ross Armata, who trains Barbeau Ruckus for his daughter, Jennifer, and Monty Muthulingham. "He's just got to move late, and hope we get a trip."

Barbeau Ruckus concluded his first campaign with a victory in the Kingarvie, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds. In his two starts this year prior to the Victoria Park, he finished third in the mile and 70-yard Marine prep and fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Marine.

Rider Dino Luciani will retain the mount for the Plate.

Montpellier gets mount on Bravely

Bravely, who finished second in the Kingarvie but wound up seventh of 11 in the Trial while coming off his maiden victory, also is Plate-bound.

Catherine Day-Phillips, who trains Bravely and also owns the gelding under the nom-du-course Kingfield Farm, said Tuesday that jockey Constant Montpellier has the call for the Plate.

Montpellier, who finished second in last year's Plate aboard Win City, would be riding Bravely for the first time.

Maiden winner takes huge class leap

T J's Lucky Moon, who won his maiden over 1 1/16 miles in his last start here May 25, is slated to make his next start in the Plate.

Vito Armata, who trains T J Lucky Moon for the Molinaro Stable of Gino Molinaro, said the gelding will be ridden by Steven Bahen.

Playing Games faces elders

Playing Games and Sheila's Prospect are the main contenders here in Thursday's feature, a $62,500 optional claimer for fillies and mares.

Playing Games, a 3-year-old owned by Pin Oak Stable, wintered in Florida with trainer David Bell. She made two starts in entry-level allowance company at Gulfstream, the best of which was a fourth-place finish behind Miss Dixie Chick.

Playing Games returned here April 6 to win a 6 1/2-furlong allowance sprint by eight lengths. She has worked five-eighths no less than four times in the interim, and will face older opponents for the first time.

Sheila's Prospect, trained by Lorne Richards, had an easy time of it on the lead in a six-furlong allowance April 20, when she set slow fractions before drawing off for a 5 1/2-length victory.

Sheila's Prospect reversed her style most recently in a 6 1/2-furlong race at this level, in which she rallied wide to finish third behind next-out winners Miss Sweep and Chanceisalady.

Completing the field for the seven-furlong race will be Cottonpickinminute, Wager's Joy, Emilyna, Bar U Mokwa, Classic Bird, and Regalclass.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink