07/18/2004 11:00PM

Krz Ruckus goes for $1 million


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Krz Ruckus, one of the more durable sprinters in recent Woodbine history, will try to win the seven-furlong Overskate Stakes for the third time on Wednesday.

Krz Ruckus will exceed the $1 million mark in earnings if he wins the $133,000 race for Ontario-sired runners. Krz Ruckus, a 7-year-old, has captured three consecutive races at Fort Erie heading into the Overskate, a race he won in 2001 and 2002.

Trainer Mike DePaulo said he was disappointed when Krz Ruckus only managed a fourth-place finish in his season opener, a five-furlong allowance here over a sloppy track. So DePaulo set his sights a little lower and mapped out an easier campaign for the gelding.

Of Krz Ruckus's first race of the year, DePaulo said: "He was down on the inside, and wasn't beaten very far, but I thought he could have won. When he didn't, I thought he didn't come back as the kind of horse he once was. We wanted to run him three times at Fort Erie, to make him eligible for their in-house stakes."

Most recently, in the Canada Day Stakes, Krz Ruckus beat favored Barbeau Ruckus by a nose after surrendering the lead briefly in deep stretch. He was ridden by Neil Poznansky rather than regular jockey Dino Luciani.

"He showed his heart that day," DePaulo said. "It was pretty close to a dead heat. He didn't break as good as he usually does, and it was the first time Dino hadn't ridden him. The other horse might have gotten a head in front at the sixteenth pole, but he fought back on to win by a nose, and then galloped out well."

Krz Ruckus had a four-pound advantage over Barbeau Ruckus in the six-furlong Canada Day. Krz Ruckus will have an even bigger edge on Wednesday, when he carries 119 pounds, compared to Barbeau Ruckus's top weight of 126 pounds. Krz Ruckus gets in with a relatively light impost, because he hasn't won a stakes worth $75,000 to the winner in 2003-2004.

Barbeau Ruckus took the six-furlong New Providence Stakes in his seasonal debut, while receiving a lifetime best Beyer Speed Figure of 100. He went on to finish fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Steady Growth, another Ontario sire stakes, before rebounding in the Canada Day.

Trainer Ross Armata said Barbeau Ruckus came out of his subpar performance in the Steady Growth with a virus.

"We scoped him after the race, and he had some mucus," Armata said. "That's why he ran poorly."