03/26/2003 1:00AM

DePaulo starts meet in strong fashion


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Mike DePaulo had a quiet winter at Gulfstream Park, starting just four horses and failing to win a race.

But it didn't take long for DePaulo to make some noise back on his home grounds when he sent out two winners here last Saturday, the opening day of the 167-day Woodbine meet.

Shipman got the barn rolling in the sixth race, rallying for a neck victory in a five-furlong allowance race for nonwinners of two races. Two races later, stable star Krz Ruckus made the highlight reel with his one-length score in the featured $108,000 Briartic Handicap.

Dino Luciani, who along with Steven Bahen won three races opening day, was aboard both DePaulo winners.

Shipman and Krz Ruckus are nominated to upcoming stakes, Shipman for Sunday's $150,000 Achievement and Krz Ruckus for the $125,000 Jacques Cartier here April 6. Both races will be run at at six furlongs.

"I'm going to rifle him right back," DePaulo said of the 3-year-old Shipman, who placed in two stakes here last year. "It's not ideal, but I didn't think he was tight enough to go three-quarters right off the bat."

Shipman, who concluded last year with a second-place finish in the 6 1/2-furlong Sunny's Halo here Nov. 20, returned to training in January at nearby Woodlands Farm. Shipman had recorded four breezes here, the first two at three furlongs and the last pair over a half-mile, before his seasonal bow.

An Ontario-bred, Shipman is owned by Peter Marko, brother of former trainer Bill Marko; his son, Tom Marko; Bob Stevens; and Rob Jackson.

Krz Ruckus to take his time

While Shipman is slated for a quick return, Krz Ruckus is unlikely for the Jacques Cartier.

"I don't really want to bring him back in two weeks," said DePaulo, who trains the homebred for owner Ron Guidolin and his sons, Ron Jr. and David. "I only run him once a month."

Krz Ruckus is scheduled to return in the $125,000 New Providence, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and up here May 18.

Krz Ruckus, a 6-year-old gelding, recorded the first of six career stakes wins in the 2001 New Providence and finished third in his seasonal bow in the race last year.

"I was trying to make the Briartic last year. He just didn't winter well," DePaulo said. "This year, when I came back from Florida, he seemed to be in good order."

Another key to Krz Ruckus's success last Saturday was the addition of blinkers, which the gelding had not worn since his 2002 bow.

"I'd taken the blinkers off him to try to get him to settle, to rate and relax," DePaulo said. "Going five-eighths, there's not a lot of time to do that."

Wake at Noon likely to run in Vigil

Wake at Noon, Canada's reigning horse of the year and champion sprinter, finished fourth in his first start as a 6-year-old in the Briartic and is surprisingly absent from the list of Jacques Cartier nominees.

Abraham Katryan, who trains Wake at Noon for owner-breeder Bruno Schickedanz, said the horse is being reserved for the $150,000 Vigil Handicap at seven furlongs here April 26.

"We want to space his races a little bit," Katryan said. "He's getting old now. We want to see if we can prolong his career."

Armata off to another good start

It didn't take long for trainer Vito Armata, who experienced the best year of his career in 2002, to serve notice that he'll be a force again this season.

"I had a wonderful weekend," said Armata, who saddled eight horses and recorded a win, a second, five thirds, and a fifth.

Enhancing Armata's enjoyment was that the win came with his first stakes starter of 2003 when Acting Deputy, a 4-year-old filly he had claimed for $45,000 here last November, prevailed in Sunday's $107,000 La Voyageuse Handicap.

"I had a good feeling about her," Armata said. "She's a wonderful filly."

Acting Deputy is one of three very productive fillies claimed by Armata for his main client, Alpine Stable, which is spearheaded by his brother, John.

Rich Assertion, claimed for $20,000 here last July, won her last four starts of the year, including a neck decision over Acting Deputy under allowance conditions here Nov. 28.

Lightning Pace, claimed for $20,000 in November of 2001, won 5 of 8 starts and was stakes placed last year. She earned $223,658.

"Acting Deputy has more speed than the other two girls," said Armata, of the decision to let Acting Deputy represent the stable in the Briartic.

"I've nominated all three of them for the Whimsical Stakes," he said. "We'll see what happens."

The $125,000 Whimsical, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares, will be run here April 12.

Funeral service for jockey agent

A service will be held for Jesus "Mickey" Gomez, a longtime jockey agent on the Ontario circuit, at 1 p.m. Friday at Lynett Funeral Home, 3299 Dundas Street West, Toronto.

Visitation was to be available there from 2 p.m. through 9 p.m. Thursday.

Gomez, who died Tuesday at 65, represented his late brother, the legendary Avelino Gomez, and also booked mounts for leading rider George Hosang.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret; daughter, Miriam Gomez-Wakeling; and son, Darren, who is also an agent here.

Simulcast wagering on World Cup

Woodbine will offer simulcast wagering on three races from Saturday's World Cup card in Dubai.

The local post time for the first simulcast, the Dubai Golden Shaheen, will be 11:10 a.m. The Duty Free will follow at 11:50 a.m. and the World Cup at 12:40 p.m.

Advance wagering on the three races will be available Friday afternoon at Woodbine, its teletheaters, and through the telephone account betting system.