07/09/2004 12:00AM

Forever Grand or Barbeau Ruckus?


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Two Woodbine-based 5-year-old geldings, Barbeau Ruckus and Forever Grand, headline the $75,000 H.J. Addison Jr. at Fort Erie on Sunday.

Both are looking for a second score in the 1 1/16-mile stakes, which is restricted to colts and geldings who were offered at one of Woodbine's open yearling or 2-year-olds in training sales. Only four runners are entered.

Barbeau Ruckus won last year's Addison; Forever Grand won it in 2002.

Barbeau Ruckus and Forever Grand each won four stakes last year. Barbeau Ruckus's stakes victories were all at 1 1/16 miles, while Forever Grand's were at six or 6 1/2 furlongs.

Forever Grand, trained by Bob Tiller, was the runner-up last year in the voting for Canadian champion older horse or gelding. He missed the honor by a single point.

But Forever Grand did not resemble a champion at Woodbine on opening day, April 17, when he finished fifth in the $135,000 Jacques Cartier Stakes, losing by more than eight lengths.

Forever Grand ran his next two races with a claiming tag. On May 28 he was offered for $62,500 and on June 9 for $80,000. He won both six-furlong races, the second with a strong last-to-first charge.

"He's in good order right now," said Tiller who co-owns Forever Grand with Frank DiGiulio Jr. "He should be tough. He's got a lot of back class."

Barbeau Ruckus started the year with a surprise score at six furlongs in the $134,000 New Providence at Woodbine May 15. He finished fourth at odds-on in his next start, the $129,000 Steady Growth at 1 1/16 miles on June 12.

Barbeau Ruckus signaled a return to form July 1, when he lost by a nose to Krz Ruckus here in the six-furlong, $100,000 Canada Day Stakes.

Nowyouseeit, who was second in the Addison last year, and Domascas Consort, who was a maiden winner just last month, complete the field.

John Simms, who won the inaugural running of the $100,000 Daryl Wells Sr. Memorial with Roman Romance here July 4, will saddle Nowyouseeit.

Agosti believes in Roche

Heading into this week's action, Tom Agosti, is the Fort's leading trainer, with 17 wins. Eight of them are were with apprentice rider Jennie Roche aboard. And she rode those eight winners from only 17 of Agnosti's starters.

"She can ride," said Agosti. "She's doing an excellent job. I like her because she's patient. She doesn't panic. She's won most of the races coming from off the pace. It's not like she steers them to the front and they go on."

Roche, 23, is a native of Manitoba. She had been a groom at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg for four years before she rode her first race there last August. She finished the meet with four wins from 39 starts.

Roche moved to Fort Erie this spring after making a connection with top jockey agent Ian Watson. Roche goes into Saturday's card with 21 wins in 109 starts at the meet.

"You can't beat getting five pounds off of everything," said Agosti. "I have a lot of 3-year-olds that go in with light weight. She gets the job done.

"She is winning at close to 20 percent. You don't see many bug riders winning at that clip."