07/01/2002 12:00AM

Krz Ruckus rounding into form for Overskate


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Krz Ruckus was notching his fourth win in his fourth start of the year when he romped home here in last year's edition of the Overskate Stakes.

And while Krz Ruckus heads into Wednesday's running of the seven-furlong Overskate without a win in just two starts this year, trainer Mike DePaulo believes Krz Ruckus is sitting on a big effort.

Krz Ruckus, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Ron Guidolin in partnership with his sons, Ron Jr. and David, wound up his 2001 campaign with a fourth-place finish here in the Dec. 1 Kennedy Road and came back to the track at the beginning of February.

But Krz Ruckus did not come along as quickly as DePaulo expected. And when he did make it to the post, on May 19, he finished third behind fellow Overskate entrant Sambuca on Ice and the talented mare Mysterious Affair in the six-furlong New Providence.

"Maybe he needed a little more time off than we gave him," said DePaulo. "I thought I had him pretty ready the first time he ran, but he hooked up with Mysterious Affair and came up a little empty."

Less than two weeks later, Krz Ruckus ran in a six-furlong turf allowance that was the prep for the Nearctic Handicap.

"I ran him back a little quick; I'd never done that before," said DePaulo.

Krz Ruckus finished fifth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths.

"I thought he ran pretty well," said DePaulo. "Now we've given him some time, and he's had a couple of good works. I expect a good race from him."

Questing Knight Wales-bound

DePaulo also is preparing to jump into the Canadian Triple Crown fray with Questing Knight, who is bound for the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie July 21.

The series opened with the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate here June 23 and will conclude with the Breeders' over 1 1/2 miles of turf here Aug. 10.

Questing Knight, a gelding owned by Overheath Stable, is heading to the Wales off back-to-back scores here over 1 1/16 miles, winning his maiden June 2 and his first allowance condition June 19.

"He's been going really good," said DePaulo.

Questing Knight breezed five furlongs in a leisurely 1:03.80 on the training track here Sunday.

Questing Knight, seventh in his only start at 2, opened his current campaign with a second-place finish at five furlongs here March 23 but then ran fourth at six furlongs four weeks later.

"It was about that time we had to decide whether to nominate him to the Plate," said DePaulo. "I thought you'd probably need at least two mile and a sixteenth races before you go a mile and a quarter.

That requirement now having been met, DePaulo believes Questing Knight is ready to take the step up.

"The nice thing about him is he's very ratable," said DePaulo. "He's not a need-to-lead horse; you can push the button, take your foot off the gas, then push the button again."

Classic Ingrid prefers turf

DePaulo believes he has another stakes prospect in Classic Ingrid, a filly who is new to his barn this year.

An Ontario-sired 4-year-old owned by Stan Stefanski, Classic Ingrid finished third in the La Prevoyante over one mile of grass here last year.

Classic Ingrid made her first start for DePaulo in a six-furlong race on the main track here May 24, finishing last of seven. But she rebounded with a 6 1/4-length win in a first-level allowance at a mile on turf here June 20, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 90.

"She's a completely different horse on grass," said DePaulo. "We'll be looking to run her in another Ontario-sired allowance race, then come back in the Victoriana."

The $125,000 Victoriana, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares, will be run here Aug. 5.

Frankiefourfingers fast firster

Frankiefourfingers finished furiously to snatch the first prize here in Saturday's Clarendon, which was his first lifetime start.

The Clarendon was the first Woodbine stakes win for Frankiefourfingers's part-owner and trainer Edward Freeman.

Freeman and his partners - Elliot Kohn (Goldie Stable) and Weila Ye (50 Stable) - had purchased Frankiefourfingers, an Ontario-bred son of Elusive Quality, for $17,000 as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton July sale with the express purpose of pinhooking the colt.

That plan was put into effect when Frankiefourfingers was entered in the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's 2-year-olds in training sale here May 16.

"I thought if he breezed well, we'd get $70,000 for him," said Freeman.

But Freeman had second thoughts after Frankiefourfingers, breezing for the first time, blazed three furlongs in 34.80 seconds the day prior to the sale. So Frankiefourfingers was bought back for $135,000, as his owners spurned a bid of $130,000.

"I took him to Fort Erie," said Freeman, who has about a dozen horses there. "He got sick on me from the sale, which usually happens."

But Freeman forged onward, getting a pair of solid gate works into Frankiefourfingers before entering him in the Clarendon.

"I knew he was fast enough," said Freeman. "I just wanted to make sure he was fit enough. He has the best brain of any horse I've ever been around; he's just fantastic."

Freeman also stressed that Frankiefourfingers's feat has ramifications far beyond the financial.

"Everybody gets wrapped up into statistics and everything," he said. "But the joy of this, for me, is to do it with friends, with people you've trained for and have been partners with for 12 years."

* Chantal Sutherland recorded her first four-win day Saturday, and added a single win Sunday to strengthen her hold on second place in the jockey standings. Sutherland, who is a shoe-in to repeat as the Sovereign Award-winning apprentice, loses her "bug" Aug. 2.