05/17/2007 11:00PM

Ardoin: New kid might be 'all right'


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Just 5,225 to go.

That is how many trips to the winner's circle remain in order for apprentice Lyndie Wade to catch his agent and all-time Louisiana Downs leading rider Ronald Ardoin after the 16-year-old won his first career race on Thursday.

"He might just be all right," Ardoin said Friday morning. "He's kind of a tall kid but he sits well on a horse. The most important thing is that he is intelligent and he listens. We get together every night to go over films of the day's races."

Wade was born and raised in the Shreveport area, which is not nearly as well known as the southern part of the state for producing top jockeys, including Ardoin himself. The most recent rider from the Cajun region of the state to excel is apprentice Joe Talamo, who won the Fair Grounds riding title this year, supplanting another Louisiana native, perennial champ Robby Albarado. Ardoin is quick to dismiss any comparisons between Wade and Talamo, at least so far.

"Riders like Talamo come along once every 20 years," he said. "I knew the first time I saw him on a horse he was something special. Guys like myself, Albarado, E.J. Perrodin all have ridden a long time. I told Lyndie I didn't know if he would be in this business two years or forever. Just stay focused."

In his first winning ride, Wade, on board longshot Joesfullofit ($35), cleverly backed down the early pace in an entry-level allowance that was moved from the turf to the main track because of rains earlier in the week. Undeterred after his mount was headed following a half-mile in 50.89 seconds and a three-quarter fraction of 1:15.40, Wade went to work on Joesfullofit turning for home. Joesfullofit regained a daylight advantage before comfortably holding off 3-5 favorite Elluna.

Toolights Ruckus back on turf

Sunday's featured eighth race is for fillies and mares who have started for a $5,000 claiming price during the last two seasons, but you would hardly guess that some of the participants had ever been that low on the class ladder.

No fewer than four in the full field of 12 exit either allowance races or optional claimers. One filly, likely favorite Toolights Ruckus, was second in the Fresa Starter Stakes here last week.

Toolights Ruckus, trained by Sam David Jr., has been on quite a roll since David plucked her out of a $7,500 claimer at Delta Downs last November. After winning for that same $7,500 tag in late January by a resounding 11 lengths, Toolights Ruckus was shifted to the grass for the first time in early March and the result was 1 1/2-length victory in a $50,000 allowance for Louisiana-breds. She returns to the turf for the first time since that victory on Sunday.