08/31/2001 11:00PM

Dominant pair meet once again in Toon's

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SASKATOON, Saskatchewan - Only three others have been entered to face Beau Ring and Rouge Royale in Monday's $6,000 Toon's Mile Handicap for older horses at Marquis Downs.

Beau Ring and Rouge Royale have been dominant on the local scene. Between them they have won 22 of 44 lifetime starts and been second or third in 16 others.

Beau Ring appears to be in the driver's seat now, as he destroyed the field, including Rouge Royale, last time out in the Fred Mendel Memorial.

A 4-year-old owned by Jack and Rob McDonald and trained by Dick Fior, Beau Ring is making a strong bid to be named Saskatchewan's champion older horse, which would be in addition to his prior awards as the province's top 2-year-old and 3-year-old.

Beau Ring, who has earned $67,489 from 16 starts, was an easy winner of the Mendel, getting loose on the lead and winning by 8 1/2 lengths in a good time of 1:52 for 1 1/8 miles. Before that, Beau Ring and Rouge Royale staged a stretch-long duel in the Coca-Cola Classic, with Rouge Royale prevailing by a neck.

Rouge Royale, a 6-year-old owned by Stan Schmidt and trained by Sandra Foster, has won $66,020 from 28 starts and has been the top older horse in the province for the past two years.

With wins this year in the Early's Top Seeded and the Coca-Cola Classic, Rouge Royale was bet down to even-money favoritism in the Mendel. He may have had an excuse for his subpar effort in the Mendel, as he had finished third in a $25,000 claiming race at Northlands Park just six days earlier and then spent six hours in a trailer on the trip home.

Rouge Royale, who will be ridden by Serge Rocheleau, is the 123-pound highweight and concedes one pound to Beau Ring, whose jockey is Hugh Huston.

Completing the field are Cap in Hand, Eviticus, and Jaboo.