07/28/2004 11:00PM

'Bourbon' looks tough to run down


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Victoria Stakes runner-up Wholelottabourbon is the one to catch in Saturday's $134,000 Colin Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds at Woodbine.

Wholelottabourbon, based at Fort Erie with trainer Nick Gonzalez, ran bravely on the front end when he made his debut in a maiden special for Ontario-sired runners June 13, winning by daylight over Moonshine Justice, who came back to take the Clarendon Stakes. His five-furlong clocking of 59.60 seconds translated into a Beyer Figure of 73.

Two weeks later, in the five-furlong Victoria Stakes, Wholelottabourbon finished 4 1/2 lengths back of New York invader Flamenco, who finished second in Thursday's Grade 2 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga.

Gonzalez, who paid just $5,500 for Wholelottabourbon as a yearling, said Wholelottabourbon has been virtually problem-free thus far.

"He has a splint, which has never bothered him," Gonzalez said. "He matured really fast, and breezed well right from the very beginning. He got sick in March when he was at Woodbine, which was good for us, because he got it out of the way. He didn't have any setbacks after that. He's a good-feeling horse, and his conformation is great."

Wholelottabourbon showed his current sharpness with a five-furlong work in a bullet 59 seconds at Fort Erie on July 21. "He went [three-eighths] in 34.60, and galloped [three-quarters] in 1:12," Gonzalez said.

Trainer Mark Casse entered Quite a Ruckus and Sir Laff Alot in the Colin.

Quite a Ruckus, the lone filly in the five-horse-field, made quite a splash when she made her debut in the five-furlong My Dear Stakes on July 4, winning by four lengths while getting an 80 Beyer. My Dear favorite South Bay Cove came back to capture the Shady Well Stakes in a romp.

Casse said he wasn't shocked by Quite a Ruckus' s impressive performance.

"You never expect them to run that big, but she had trained really well," Casse said. "Now, she's got to do it two times in a row. She'll be tough if she runs that race back."

Sir Laff Alot finished 6 1/2 lengths behind in fourth when he made his debut in the Victoria. He could only manage second as the 3-5 choice in a six-furlong maiden special most recently.

"He had kind of a bad trip in his last race," Casse said. "He got hung down inside, and was intimidated being there. [What's Up Dude] got the jump on him."

Flamenco's trainer, Todd Pletcher, sends out Killenaule, who is coming off a six-length maiden victory at Delaware Park.