08/26/2004 11:00PM

Krz Ruckus horse for course

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FORT ERIE, Ontario - Crack sprinter Krz Ruckus, who reached millionaire status capturing Woodbine's $133,000 Shepperton Stakes on Aug. 14, headlines Sunday's $40,000 Garden City, an in-house stakes for horses who have started three times at the current Fort Erie meet.

Sporting a 4 for 4 record at Fort Erie, the Woodbine-based Krz Ruckus will face four rivals in the six-furlong Garden City.

Krz Ruckus made his first run at the Fort in 2002, capturing the Blazing Seven Stakes. His second local start was a victory May 10 in an optional claimer.

Krz Ruckus began his 2004 season at Woodbine on opening day, May 2, finishing fourth in an allowance. At that point he had been winless since his score in the $108,000 Briartic on Woodbine's opening day in 2003.

"I was pretty disappointed when he got beat," said Mike DePaulo, Krz Ruckus's trainer and co-owner, of the May 2 loss. "We were happy to have him still hanging in there at the age of 7 but I thought we might be in trouble. We had Fort Erie as an option."

Krz Ruckus has won three races here this meet. The highlight was the $100,000 Canada Day Stakes, when he turned back Barbeau Ruckus and Mulligan the Great, two of Woodbine's best sprinters.

Jockey Dino Luciani will be reunited with Krz Ruckus, who has post 3. Pat Husbands was aboard Krz Ruckus in his last start.

Rundle, trained by Myckie Neubauer, is expected to provide the stiffest opposition, especially if the track comes up sloppy or muddy.

In his last start here Aug. 13, on a sloppy track, Rundle glided to a 3 3/4-length win in an optional claimer in which Lucky Tec, another Garden City entrant, finished third. Four of Rundle's five career wins have been accomplished on off tracks.

"In all the years we trained, I don't think we've had a horse that prefers the slop like Rundle does," said Neubauer's partner, Carl Norris.

Brian Bochinski, in the thick of the jockey race here, will ride Rundle, who drew the outside post.

Major Zee, an 11-year-old, is 3 for 4 this season, including the $52,000 Parnitha, a five-furlong turf race here on July 25. Trainer Mark Fournier isn't too enthusiastic about pitting Major Zee, a speed horse, against Krz Ruckus.

"There's no short turf races for him and I couldn't find any other [suitable] race for him," said Fournier.

Lucky Tec won two in-house stakes - the Expedite Plus and the Niagara Falls - early in the season but has failed in his last four attempts. Lucky Tec's trainer, Daryl Ezra, points out that there is a lot of speed in Sunday's race, which gives his off-the-pace runner a chance.