04/06/2004 11:00PM

'Judge' looks fresh and strong

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CALGARY, Alberta - Judge Ruckus, second to the top Alberta 3-year-old Taiaslew in the President's Handicap here last May, heads a field of nine in a nonwinners-of-two allowance Friday.

The four-furlong dash goes as the eighth of nine races on the holiday program, which begins at 1 p.m.

Judge Ruckus posted his best Beyer Speed Figure in the President's, which was contested over a "slow" surface, and tailed off in subsequent efforts. Trainer Dale Saunders was high on Judge Ruckus last spring, and it is possible the gelding knocked himself out chasing Taiaslew, the eventual Alberta Derby winner, that afternoon. He returns as a fresh horse with strong works on his tab and catches a group he can handle on his best effort.

Quincy Welch, whose seven wins on the first three days of the meet vaulted him into the early lead in the standings, breaks Judge Ruckus from post 7.

* Welch was moved up for one of his victories last Sunday after the unofficial winner, Parytime, was disqualified and placed last for interference away from the starting gate. Welch's late charge for second aboard Kissthissky was rewarded following the inquiry, giving him victory No. 7 and a lead of three over Richard Hamel and Desmond Bryan. Perry Winters received a three-day suspension for his ride aboard Parytime.

Ron Blinston, who was unseated after his mount, Lettuce Besplendid, fell after running up on heels behind Parytime, was not seriously hurt and fulfilled the remainder of his obligations for the day.