07/17/2002 12:00AM

Rematch at a mile

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EDMONTON, Alberta - The first three finishers from the June 28 Wild Rose Handicap meet up again in the $40,000 John Patrick Handicap, a mile event for older fillies at Northlands Park on Friday.

Little Lolitta will be out to rebound after a disappointing performance in her last start. An Alberta-bred mare who was the 3-year-old filly of the year in 2001 she looked to be in perfect position tucked in behind the early speed of Grooms Derby in the Wild Rose. When Viva Ruckus and Slewability made their move at the quarter pole, jockey Perry Winters coaxed Little Lolitta to fire with them, but she ran out of gas in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint and finished a disappointing third for trainer Don Gilkyson.

The morning line favorite is Slewability, a stablemate of Little Lolitta who is also looking to get back to her winning ways after finishing second in the Wild Rose. After stalking through the first half-mile, jockey Perry Winters was forced to go four wide through the final turn and gained steadily on Viva Ruckus down the lane but fell just short.

Viva Ruckus comes into the race off five straight wins, including her strong performance in the Wild Rose Stake. In her first start in a stakes this year, jockey Real Simard guided her to a perfect trip as she held off Slewability down the stretch. Trained by Ron Grieves, Viva Ruckus has not tried running a mile this year.

Another entrant who should get a serious look is Tecate, who is coming off an impressive win on June 22. The 6-year-old Tecate is back on the track that has been home to the much of her success over the years, with five of her 11 lifetime victories here.

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