09/26/2001 12:00AM

Lawless prep for 'Ruckus'


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Steady Ruckus, winner of last year's Bunty Lawless Stakes, will prep for another crack at that race in Thursday's allowance feature at Woodbine, a seven-furlong turf dash.

Steady Ruckus, a chestnut gelding by Bold Ruckus, won his first stakes in the 2000 Bunty Lawless, a one-mile grass race restricted to Ontario-sired runners. He battled up front through rapid fractions in that race, and won in a gutsy performance over Impeachable Sin and River Boat.

Steady Ruckus showed he can handle the main track surface, too, winning his second start this year - an $80,000 optional claimer. His next race was a third-place finish behind Krz Ruckus on the main track in the seven-furlong Overskate Stakes.

Trainer Gil Rowntree moved Steady Ruckus back on the grass for a July 15 money allowance, in which he finished second, beaten a head. He dusted $100,000 optional claimers in his next-to-last race, and then won the restricted Halton Stakes on the turf his last time out.

Steady Ruckus is shortening up from 1 1/8 miles to seven furlongs in Thursday's prep for the Oct. 20 Bunty Lawless. Regular rider Jim McAleney has the call.

Facing Steady Ruckus will be Sun Tzu, Speed Gun, Hoptuit Bud, Alea Iacta Est, Val de Dash, Frank's Selection, Doug's Legacy, and Run Lil Tooch.

Trainer Steve Owens sends out the uncoupled duo of Speed Gun and Val de Dash.

The aptly named Speed Gun won the Grade 2 Summer Stakes last fall, but he failed to win again until his fifth start this year, a $100,000 claimer for 3-year-olds on Aug. 30. He ran second after dueling up front over a course that favored speed against older $80,000 opponents two weeks ago.

Val de Dash has won two of three races in 2001 on dirt and turf, and was second most recently in a stakes at Mountaineer Park.

Fort Erie-based Frank's Selection is a versatile runner with a shot at a share. He won an optional claimer that was taken off the grass here Aug. 22, and has crossed the wire on top in four of his eight starts on the E.P. Taylor turf course. Robert Griem trains.

Alea Iacta Est was a bang-up third in the Grade 3 Play the King Handicap on Aug. 25, but has been a bust in his two subsequent races, which came on the main track, one of them the Grade 1 Atto Mile.