06/28/2004 11:00PM

Give edge to locally perfect pair


FORT ERIE, Ontario - A horses for courses angle might be the way to go here in Thursday's $100,000 Canada Day, a six-furlong stakes for Canadian-bred older horses at Fort Erie.

Four Woodbine-based runners make up the field on the special holiday program. Two of them, Barbeau Ruckus and Krz Ruckus, sport glowing records at the Fort.

Barbeau Ruckus is 2 for 2 here, winning back-to-back stakes last summer in the $75,000 H. Addison Jr. and the $78,000 Cool Reception, both at 1 1/16 miles.

Krz Ruckus is undefeated in three starts at the Fort, two of them this year. In his last, an allowance at five furlongs June 12, he pulled away from Rare Friends, Canadian champion 2-year-old of 2001, after dueling to midstretch.

"[Krz Ruckus] ran great against Rare Friends," said trainer Mike DePaulo. "I was surprised when he beat us on opening weekend [at Woodbine]. But my horse was on the inside, where it was kind of deep and greasy."

Krz Ruckus rebounded from the loss and won an optional claimer here eight days later. Behind him in third was Lucky Tec, who has since won two in-house stakes at the Fort.

Barbeau Ruckus will be making his third start of the year. He scored at 14-1 in his season debut, taking Woodbine's $134,000 New Providence Stakes on

May 15. Rallying along the rail, Barbeau Ruckus, a noted two-turn runner, won the six-furlong New Providence by a neck, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 100.

The crack sprinter Mulligan the Great, who was making his seasonal debut that day, faded to fifth at 6-5 after leading to midstretch.

Mulligan the Great is returning to action in the Canada Day, his first visit to the Fort.

"He came out of his first race with a temperature," said trainer Cliff Hopmans. "He also had a great big pus pocket in his right front foot, and his blood was out of whack for the next three weeks."

Hopmans said Mulligan the Great missed about 12 days of training.

"We've been really aggressive with his training since then," said Hopmans, who had hoped to run Mulligan the Great in a seven-furlong allowance race at Woodbine but had to change direction when that race failed to fill. "This race had a short field, so we jumped in," said the trainer.

Olympian, who has won two of his three starts this year, all against claimers, completes the field.

Jockey Griffith reaches milestone

Chris Griffith notched his 1,000th Fort Erie victory Monday afternoon. He was aboard Wild and Risque ($15.60).

Griffith, 34, who has also ridden at Woodbine, Maryland, and in his native Barbados, scored the 1,000th victory of his career two years ago.

* Vividly, a candidate for Sunday's $250,000 Labatt Bison City Stakes, breezed four furlongs in 47.60 seconds here Tuesday morning. The workout ranked first of 27 at the distance. The 1 1/16-mile Bison City is the second leg of Canada's Triple Tiara for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.