08/31/2004 11:00PM

Barbeau Ruckus to sit out weekend stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Barbeau Ruckus was nominated to both the 1 1/16-mile Elgin and the six-furlong Kenora, but will not be in the lineup for either of those $125,000 yearling sales stakes here Sunday.

"He had a slight problem last week, and I decided to pack it in for a while," said Ross Armata, who trains Barbeau Ruckus for his daughter, Jennifer Armata, and Thavamalar Thayalan. "I'm just going to have to miss this race and see. He's been too good to me over the years, and I hope to have him for a couple more. Horses like him are too hard to come by."

An Ontario-bred 5-year-old gelding, Barbeau Ruckus has won nine races, including seven stakes, while finishing in the money 21 times and banking $762,459 in his 27-start career.

Barbeau Ruckus won last year's Elgin after finishing third in the 2002 renewal, and Armata had been looking forward to his third appearance.

Still, Armata hopes to be heard from in the Elgin as Anglian Prince, whom Armata claimed for $50,000 from his last start here July 23, is slated to make his first appearance for his new barn.

"When I had Barbeau Ruckus nominated, I wasn't thinking about going with [Anglian Prince] there," said Armata. "He's doing really good. I just want to see if he's got anything left for this caliber."

Anglian Prince, a 5-year-old gelding owned by 3 Sons Racing Stable and S.A. Racing Stable, won the Grade 3 Marine and finished second in the Queen's Plate in his 3-year-old campaign but has been unable to cut it in the top echelon this season.

El Gran Maestro in Friday feature

Armata also will be looking to do some damage in Friday's feature with El Gran Maestro, another recent claim with some back class.

Owned by the Anglian Prince connections, El Gran Maestro was claimed for $40,000 from his last start here July 2. He will face five rivals in Friday's seven-furlong allowance for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward.

El Gran Maestro is 2 for 22, but has finished second in four stakes while banking $264,459.

For Good Measure, a 3-year-old gelding owned by Lucille Wakefield and trained by Phil Gracey, seeks his third straight win at seven furlongs and is the one to beat.

Winning Chance has easy breeze

Winning Chance, a leading candidate for Sunday's Algoma Stakes, breezed a leisurely four furlongs in 52 seconds here Wednesday, going over the "good" training track under exercise rider Stacie-Clark Rogers.

Owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Danny Vella, Winning Chance will meet her nemesis, One for Rose, in the Algoma, the 1 1/16-mile yearling sales stakes for fillies and mares.

"Just like last time, we blew her out real easy; it seemed to work," said Vella. "She had her stiff work last week."

Winning Chance breezed four furlongs four days prior to the July 18 Belle Mahone, a 1 1/16-mile race in which she defeated One for Rose for the first time.

One for Rose, owned by Tucci Stable and trained by Sid Attard, came back Aug. 7 to score impressively over males here in the 1 1/16-mile Seagram Cup.

Organ Grinder back home after win

Organ Grinder arrived home in good order Tuesday following his hard-fought victory in last Saturday's $250,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park, Attard said.

"Turning for home, I didn't think he was going to get there," said Attard, who watched Organ Grinder prevail by a last-gasp head under jockey Jim McAleney.

The next major target for Organ Grinder, a Kentucky-bred owned by Bill and Sue McClellan, is the $150,000 Ontario Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds here Oct. 10.

Woodbine gets full-time chaplain

Shawn Kennedy has become Woodbine's first full-time racetrack chaplain, effective last Sunday.

Kennedy takes over the reins from Les Riggs of the Racetrack Chaplaincy of North America, who came north this spring to get the program started at Woodbine.

"My first connection always has been with the racetrack," said Kennedy, 46.

Born into a racing family in Manitoba, Kennedy trained for 10 years and rode as an amateur jockey for 10 years before spending the past six years as the chaplain at Winnipeg's Assiniboia Downs.

But Kennedy is no stranger to Ontario, having galloped horses here for Frank Merrill as long ago as 1975 and worked at Greenwood in 1984.

"I'll walk the barn area, connecting with people, and I'll do counseling," said Kennedy.

"There are a lot of lonely people here," he said. "Sometimes they just need a pat on the back, a word of encouragement. Being out there is important."

Kennedy also leads a prayer session in the jockeys' room before each day's races and conducts a nondenominational chapel service at 6:30 p.m. each Tuesday in the recreation room adjacent to the backstretch kitchen. His offices are across the road from the kitchen, in the trailer that formerly served as an office for the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.