10/20/2002 11:00PM

Miss Crissy putting it all together


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Two veteran trainers took turns in the stakes spotlight here last weekend: Emile Allain sent out Miss Crissy to capture Sunday's Fanfreluche and Gil Rowntree was victorious in Saturday's Bunty Lawless with Steady Ruckus.

Allain, who celebrated his 72nd birthday this past summer, trains Miss Crissy for the Harlequin Ranches of Dick Bonnycastle.

Rowntree, 68 years old, and a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame since 1997, trains Steady Ruckus for owner Ed Lang.

Miss Crissy, a $50,000 purchase at the local select sale, came to the track this spring but did not debut until early August.

"At the beginning, she was kind of difficult to deal with," said Allain. "But when she started breezing, she latched onto it right away.

"She did everything so easy; she never put any effort in it at all."

Miss Crissy finished sixth in her 5 1/2-furlong debut, but then won her maiden impressively over five furlongs before making her stakes debut in the seven-furlong Muskoka.

Although she faltered to finish seventh in the Muskoka, she was beaten only 5 1/4 lengths, and Allain was far from discouraged.

"She got caught on the rail and was under pressure," said Allain. "She was still on the lead at the eighth pole. She might have been a bit short for seven-eighths."

Miss Crissy certainly handled seven furlongs in her next outing, when she defeated Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies by 2 3/4 lengths in the Victorian Queen under regular rider Steven Bahen.

And the way she won the Fanfreluche over fellow Canadian-breds leads Bahen to believe she could go farther.

"She's starting to learn to relax a little bit," said Bahen. "For her first couple of races, she was kind of speed-oriented. When you call on her, she comes running now."

Allain also believes Miss Crissy has the potential to handle two turns, "if she really learns to relax."

Although Miss Crissy is nominated to the 1 1/16-mile South Ocean, a $125,000 race for Ontario-sired fillies on Oct. 30, Allain plans to put her away for the season.

"This was her swan song," said Allain of the Fanfreluche win. "We'll give her a chance to mature, and freshen up for next year."

Sunday's Fanfreluche win was Allain's second Fanfreluche in a row for Harlequin Ranches. Miss Noire won the 2001 renewal and wound up as one of the three finalists in the Sovereign Award voting for her division.

But Miss Noire has found the going tougher this season, with her only Ontario win coming at Fort Erie. She relocated to Assiniboia Downs where she closed out her campaign with a victory in the $52,000 Matron Breeders' Cup for trainer Tom Dodds.

"She was just a notch below the top-quality fillies here," said Allain, "and she was out of conditions."

Allain also is pleased with the progress of Sir Sashay, a 2-year-old colt who finished fourth for Harlequin in his only outing.

"He ran a really good race," said Allain. "He's a promising young fellow."

Rowntree and Steady Ruckus

Steady Ruckus, a 6-year-old Ontario-bred gelding, won the Bunty Lawless for the second time Saturday. It was his third try in the Lawless, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward.

"It's already surprised me that he's gone by his 5-year-old season and he's still getting better," said Rowntree. "He's never been as consistent or run as hard as he has this year."

Steady Ruckus was capturing his third stakes of the year, having won the off-the-turf Ontario Jockey Club over seven furlongs and the Halton over 1 1/8 miles of firm turf.

But he came into the Bunty Lawless after finishing last of five in the seven-furlong prep, which came off the turf.

"That was a drying-out racetrack," said Rowntree. "It's probably the one kind he can't handle."

Still, Rowntree admitted to some trepidation about the going here Saturday, which was rated soft

Steady Ruckus won the 2000 edition of the Bunty Lawless on firm turf, but ran sixth last fall over "good" grass.

"It's not the kind of turf he really likes," said Rowntree. "He's just a good horse. He loves what he's doing; he always tries."

Steady Ruckus is scheduled to see action here in the $100,000 Labeeb, a one-mile overnight stakes scheduled for Nov. 3, the meeting's last day of turf racing.

"That will probably be his last start of the year," said Rowntree. "We might as well take a run at it."

* The Bunty Lawless also was another feather in the cap of jockey Jim McAleney, who was winning his ninth stakes race of the year. Eight of those stakes wins have come here at Woodbine, where the red-hot McAleney was fifth in the local standings with 85 winners heading into this week's action.

Casse 2-year-olds work

Trainer Mark Casse sent out his two top 2-year-olds to work over the main track Sunday, with Added Edge running six furlongs in 1:14 and Gigawatt breezing five furlongs in 1:02.20. Jockey Patrick Husbands was aboard both colts.

Added Edge, who is undefeated in three starts, broke off about five lengths behind David's Expectation, a stakes-placed 3-year-old stablemate.

"Added Edge came to him at the quarter pole and outfinished him," said Casse.

A Kentucky-bred owned by Team Valor and Robert Wilson, Added Edge will make his next start in Aqueduct's $100,000 Nashua, a Grade 3 race over one mile on Nov. 2.

Gigawatt, second to the Breeders' Cup-bound Wando in the Oct. 6 Grey Stakes, is aiming for the $125,000 Display, an open race over 1 1/16 miles here Nov. 16.