08/31/2002 12:00AM

Chauffe au Rouge home for Barksdale

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BOSSIER CITY, La. - Chauffe au Rouge, who was an explosive winner of the $50,000 Retama Turf Cup in his last start, returns to his home course Monday as the 120-pound highweight in the $50,000 Barksdale Handicap at Louisiana Downs.

The 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up drew a field of eight, including the winner of the Grade 3 Texas Mile, Unrullah Bull, who is coupled with Chauffe au Rouge, and Rebridled and Big Numbers, who finished second and third to Prince Iroquois last month in the $50,000 Ark-La-Tex Handicap.

Chauffe au Rouge will be going for his third straight win Monday. His streak started July 26 when he won a Louisiana Downs turf allowance over multiple stakes winner Candid Glen. In his next start, Chauffe au Rouge powered to a 2 1/4-length win over a full field in the Retama Turf Cup at Retama Park near San Antonio on Aug. 10.

He has remained sharp since that race, working a bullet five furlongs in 1:02 at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 26. Leading trainer Cole Norman, who has won more than one race a day this meet, has given the return call aboard Chauffe au Rouge to Gerard Melancon.

Ron Ardoin will ride Rebridled, who finished a sharp second last out in a $60,000 optional claiming turf race. Before that start, he finished second in the Ark-La-Tex on dirt, and has proven effective on both surfaces for trainer John Fister.

Others of interest in the field include One Brick Shy, third last out in the same optional claimer as Rebridled; Rahy's Secret, who gets back to his best surface after finishing fourth last out on dirt in the $75,000 Evangeline Downs Mile; and the developing Big Hubie, who has won his last three, all on turf, for trainer Kenny Smith.