11/25/2005 12:00AM

Milestones are in sight for 'Barbeau'


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Barbeau Ruckus will be looking to record his 10th career stakes victory and to boost his bankroll past the $1 million mark when he faces five rivals here in Sunday's $125,000 Sir Barton Stakes.

Barbeau Ruckus, now 6 years old, won the Sir Barton in 2002 and his trainer, Ross Armata, never expected to get another crack at the 1 1/16-mile stakes. That's because the Sir Barton was formerly restricted to Ontario-sired 3-year-old colts and geldings, but its conditions were expanded this year to include Ontario-sired older horses of both sexes.

Armata has been pointing Barbeau Ruckus to the Sir Barton since the gelding finished third in the seven-furlong Overskate here Sept. 21.

Barbeau Ruckus has been judiciously handled throughout his career, starting just 31 times and capitalizing on his eligibility for Ontario-sired and sales stakes. The Sir Barton will be just the fifth appearance this year by Barbeau Ruckus, who opened up his season with a second-place finish in the six-furlong New Providence. Barbeau Ruckus then took both the Steady Growth and Elgin, 1 1/16-mile races that he was winning for the second time in his career, before going down to defeat as the Overskate favorite.

Armata believed the cutback to seven furlongs compromised the chances of Barbeau Ruckus that day.

"Early on, he runs well short," said Armata. "But once you start stretching him out, he's better when he stays going long."

Barbeau Ruckus is the 124-pound highweight in the Sir Barton. Todd Kabel retains the mount.

Arch Hall, a 4-year-old colt trained by Mark Casse, became a stakes winner in last year's Sir Barton. After winning at seven furlongs under second-level allowance terms in his 2005 bow, Arch Hall came back to compete in two Ontario-sired stakes, finishing second in the Overskate and third in the Bunty Lawless over one mile of turf.

Regular rider Patrick Husband will be aboard Arch Hall.

Moonshine Justice, a multiple stakes winner last year, also merits respect here despite the fact he will be going around two turns for the first time. A 3-year-colt trained by Dave Cotey, Moonshine Justice was off for five months after suffering an injury during his seasonal bow, but has regained his best stride after three starts this fall.

Decew Falls, a 3-year-old gelding trained by Mike Keogh, is the other stakes winner in the Sir Barton lineup, having captured the Vice Regent when facing his peers over one mile of turf this summer.