11/15/2006 12:00AM

Ex-stablemates to duel in Slots Cup


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The matchup between Barracuda Boy and Just Rushing will be an interesting race within a race in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Woodbine Slots Cup at 1 1/16 miles.

Barracuda Boy and Just Rushing both are 5-year-old geldings and once raced for claiming prices as low as $20,000 when they were trained by Nick Gonzalez for Stronach Stable. Both have taken new leases on life in 2006 and come into the Woodbine Slots Cup on win streaks that include stakes victories.

Barracuda Boy will be seeking his sixth straight win. In his last start, he romped by 5 1/4 lengths when he made his stakes debut in the Grade 3 Durham Cup at 1 1/8 miles here Oct.o14.

Just Rushing will be seeking his eighth straight win, and his third straight win in a stakes. In his last two starts, he captured the seven-furlong Mt. Sassafras here Oct. 8 and the mile-and-70-yard Labeeb on Nov. 2.

Barracuda Boy still races for Gonzalez and Stronach Stable; there were no takers when he put together impressive back-to-back victories for $20,000 in his first two starts at the meeting.

Just Rushing, however, was claimed for $40,000 here last fall and has been doing his damage for trainer Sid Attard and owners Carlos and Lou Tucci.

Emma-Jayne Wilson has been aboard Barracuda Boy throughout his streak and aboard Just Rushing for his last four victories. She will ride Barracuda Boy in the Woodbine Slots Cup.

"You could ride either horse and be deliriously happy," said jockey agent Mike Luider, who represents Wilson. "They're both really good horses."

Heightening the intrigue of the race is that both Barracuda Boy and Just Rushing have been winning on the front end. Barracuda Boy earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 103 in the Durham Cup and seems to be getting stronger with each start.

"We're really looking forward to Saturday," said Gonzalez. "I think he's doing a lot better than he was going into his last race. He was doing great, and he's just doing so much better now. He's doing tremendous."

Gonzalez said he is aware that Just Rushing's presence could affect the game plan of Barracuda Boy.

"He's been winning all his races on the front end or real close to it," said Gonzalez. "He's going to be sharp. He's always sharp.

"I've only been racing him once a month - two months going into the Durham Cup - but I always thought that he could rate if we really had to," said Gonzalez. "I just don't think he's as one-dimensional as his last five races look on form. If it came down to a real torrid pace, I think he could sit off it."

With Wilson riding Barracuda Boy, Corey Fraser takes over aboard Just Rushing. Fraser rode Just Rushing to a neck victory in a second-level allowance race at 7 1/2 furlongs on the inner track in August, which marked the third win of Just Rushing's streak.

"I like him on this horse," said Attard. "He rode him once, and gave him a hell of a good ride."

Most recently, Just Rushing earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98 after leading throughout the Labeeb to score by eight lengths.

Although Attard said he believes it may be necessary for Just Rushing to relax, he said he isn't about to let Barracuda Boy have things his own way on the front end.

"If we have to go with him, we'll go," said Attard. "This horse is not going to let him get away."

Three others to keep an eye on

The Woodbine Slots Cup is much more than a two-horse race. Also in the lineup are the Roger Attfield-trained stakes winners Eccentric and Pellegrino and the Western Canadian sensation True Metropolitan.

Eccentric and Pellegrino both had four-furlong breezes over the main track here Wednesday morning, with Eccentric going in 49 seconds under jockey David Clark and Pellegrino going in 49.60 under exercise rider Suzanne Lorimer.

"They both went very nicely, I thought," said Attfield. "I was very happy with them, and I was quite happy with the racetrack."

Clark, who rode Eccentric to a third-place finish in his local debut Oct. 8, regains the mount Saturday.

Eccentric, a 5-year-old gelding, comes into the Slots Cup off a win under Eddie Castro in the Grade 3 Fayette at 1 1/8 miles on Keeneland's Polytrack on Oct. 28.

Jim McAleney returns aboard Pellegrino, who won the 1 1/4-mile Chief Bearhart in his last start here Oct. 28.

High Volt Jolt takes easier option

High Volt Jolt, also owned by the Tuccis and trained by Attard, was nominated to the Woodbine Slots Cup but has opted for a less demanding spot here. He will compete with a $62,500 claiming tag in Friday's $66,800 feature, a seven-furlong race that includes a second-level allowance clause.

A 6-year-old gelding, High Volt Jolt won in the same class going a mile and 70 yards last time out. He will break from the outside post in the field of 11 and be ridden by Constant Montpellier.

Glorious Song candidates work

Lady Digby and Bear Bullet Too, both of whom are candidates for Sunday's $125,000 Glorious Song, breezed five furlongs here Wednesday.

Lady Digby went in 1:01, equaling the best of 39 works at the distance, and Bear Bullet Too went in 1:01.80.

"They were both excellent works," said Reade Baker, who trains both Lady Digby and Bear Bullet Too and has a third Glorious Song probable in Bear Now.

The Glorious Song, a seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies, will share top billing on Sunday with the $125,000 Kennedy Road, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward.