08/16/2004 12:00AM

Moonshine Justice loved the mud

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Dave Cotey said he almost cried when the rains came midway through Sunday's program.

As the trainer and majority owner of Moonshine Justice, the morning-line favorite for the Vandal Stakes after winning the Clarendon here four weeks earlier, Cotey had reason for keeping an eye on the sky.

"He worked in the mud, before the Clarendon," said Cotey, who watched Moonshine Justice drill four furlongs in 50.40 seconds here four days prior to that stakes. "He didn't work worth a damn."

The track was muddy by the time the Vandal was run, but Moonshine Justice, under jockey Todd Kabel, handled the going just fine this time to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths.

With two stakes wins in three starts, Moonshine Justice has banked $202,239 and will be looking to add to that total in the seven-furlong Simcoe, a $125,000 race for 2-year-old colts and geldings, which is one of six yearling sales stakes here Sept. 5.

Moonshine Justice did not actually change hands via the bidding process at the local select yearling sale, but did go through the ring before being bought back for $25,000 by consignor Susan Foreman, and thus is eligible for the stakes.

"I'd looked at him and really liked him," said Cotey. "He's a beautiful, big, correct-looking horse with a long stride. But I didn't bid on him. I'd thought he'd go for more, and I already had bought a whole bunch."

Shortly thereafter, Cotey had second thoughts and struck a deal with Foreman, obtaining Moonshine Justice for $25,000.

"That's the most I'd ever paid for a horse," said Cotey, who certainly isn't complaining.

Krz Ruckus becomes millionaire

Krz Ruckus, 7, has become a millionaire. He earned $79,800 for his game victory here in Saturday's Shepperton to boost his career bankroll to $1,015,275.

Trained throughout his career by Mike DePaulo, Krz Ruckus has won 15 of 36 starts, finishing in the money 25 times. Krz Ruckus has run in 22 stakes races, winning eight and finishing second or third in eight more.

"I was hoping for that kind of performance," said DePaulo, after watching the front-running Krz Ruckus lose the lead in midstrech but battle back to win by a head under Patrick Husbands.

When Ron Guidolin Sr., the breeder and owner of Krz Ruckus, died last year, the gelding was sold and became the property of New Venture Stable. DePaulo manages the syndicate and also is a shareholder.

Krz Ruckus has given the group a good start by winning four of six races this year, including a three-race win streak at Fort Erie, capped by the Canada Day Stakes.

All of those wins came with blinkers on, at five and six furlongs, and DePaulo would have preferred to remove them when Krz Ruckus ran here in the seven-furlong Overskate July 21.

While there is no hard and fast rule, the addition or removal of blinkers following a winning race is allowed by the stewards only under special circumstances.

DePaulo saw no point in requesting such a change for the Overskate and watched Krz Ruckus falter to finish sixth.

"The blinkers didn't help him," said DePaulo, "but seven-eighths may be beyond him, at this point in his career. He does have his aches and pains."

With no local sprint opportunities on the horizon, Krz Ruckus could find himself back at the Fort for the $40,000 Garden City, a six-furlong "in-house" stakes for colts and geldings Aug. 29.

"It might be something we have to do," said DePaulo.

Inish Glora unveils new dimension

It certainly wasn't much of a surprise that Inish Glora, Canada's reigning champion turf filly or mare, won Saturday's $133,250 Victoriana for the second straight year.

What was slightly different was the fact that Inish Glora, who had been running on or very close to the pace through her last two campaigns, had raced about five lengths back in third through the opening stages of the Victoriana before launching a move that carried her to an emphatic victory.

The deviation in style was part of the plan according to Mac Benson, who trains Inish Glora for Bob Costigan.

"We were wanting to run her that way all year," said Benson, "but her races just haven't come up that way. We were hoping there would be some speed in this race."

Benson got his wish, and Todd Kabel, who is 6 for 9 aboard Inish Glora since taking over as her regular rider last year, did the rest.

"I have faith in my riders, riding the race the way it comes up," said Benson. "Todd's been exceptionally good at adapting to things."

Next up for Inish Glora will be the Grade 2, $250,000 Canadian Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares here Sept. 19.

"She seems to be doing well with those kind of gaps between her races," said Benson.

Inish Glora will be looking to use the Canadian, in which she would be the defending champion, as a stepping-stone to the Oct. 24 E.P. Taylor, a Grade 1, $750,000 stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on turf in which she finished a troubled seventh last year.

Judiths Wild Rush okay after defeat

Judiths Wild Rush, Canada's reigning 2-year-old male champion, did not fare well in his appearance on Saturday, finishing a distant ninth in the 1 1/16-mile Larry R. Riviello President's Cup at Philadelphia Park.

"It wasn't a good experience," said Scott Fairlie, who trains Judiths Wild Rush for Harvey Tenenbaum. "He led for five-eighths and then shut right down; he bled badly.

"He's all right, but we'll have to go back to the drawing board."