11/25/2002 12:00AM

A roller-coaster weekend for Ross


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer John Ross's experiences in the weekend's stakes races at Woodbine capsulized the highs and lows of the racing game.

Saturday, Ross watched Mister Coop, a 3-year-old gelding whom he trains for the R.M.C. Stable of Syd and Richard Cooper, finish a distant last of six as the even-money favorite in the $128,625 Sir Barton.

"When the horse came out of the gate, he overreached himself," said Ross. "He tore a piece of his foot off, and tore his shoe off. I was really disappointed; it was just bad racing luck."

At approximately the same time Sunday, Ross was reveling in the victory of Brattothecore, a 2-year-old filly whom he trains for the Jam Jar Racing Stable of Bud and Jackie Reynolds, in the $160,200 Ontario Lassie.

Brattothecore, purchased for $55,000 by Ross at the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's 2-year-olds in training sale here in May, debuted successfully at five furlongs Oct. 16 and was stretching out to 1 1/16 miles in her second career start.

"Bud and I had talked about it going into this race," said Ross, "and we would have been delighted for her to just get some black type. For her to do what she did today, we're a little overwhelmed."

Brattothecore's score was the fourth stakes of the season for the Jam Jar outfit, which also won a pair with Shaws Creek and one with Tails of the Crypt and has banked a total of $712,399.

"She'll be very exciting as a 3-year-old," said Bud Reynolds. "She's Canadian-bred, and obviously she loves to go long."

Brattothecore soon will be heading south to Ocala, Fla., for a winter with Ross at Classic Mile Farm, with next year's Labatt Woodbine Oaks a long-term target.

"I've never run a filly in the Oaks," said Ross. "Hopefully I can have her ready, and she'll be that kind of horse."

Canasta preps for Kingarvie

Ross, who has won six stakes this season with Wild Whiskey and Arco's Gold joining the Jam Jar success stories, hopes to add to that total here Sunday with Canasta scheduled to contest the Kingarvie.

Canasta, who breezed four furlongs in 50.60 seconds on the main track Monday under jockey Jim McKnight, will be trying two turns for the first time in the Kingarvie, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds which is one of the closing-day co-features.

Season ends on up note for Ruckus

Barbeau Ruckus, who became a stakes winner when he captured the Kingarvie in his last start as a 2-year-old, capped his second campaign in a similar way with a mild upset in the Sir Barton.

An Ontario-sired gelding owned by Jennifer Armata and Thayalan Thavamalar, Barbeau Ruckus had failed to crack the top two in his first eight starts of the season but finished third on no less than five occasions, including two stakes.

"[Saturday], he got the trip - he sat right behind the speed, and it was the first time I've seen him go to the rail," said trainer Ross Armata. "Usually, he has to go five wide."

Armata acknowledges that pointing Barbeau Ruckus to the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate, in which he finished seventh here June 23, probably had an adverse effect on his overall campaign.

"I think we made a mistake with him, trying to rate him," said Armata. "But he had a good year. Every race, he tried.

"Hopefully, next year he'll be even better. I think he can sprint; I'll probably start him out at six furlongs."

No farewell race for A Fleets Dancer

A Fleets Dancer, who had been scheduled to make the last start of his career in Sunday's $125,000 Valedictory Handicap, will not be keeping that date and already has gone to nearby Anson Stud Farm to prepare for his new career.

"He rapped an ankle a little bit the other day," said Roger Attfield, who trained A Fleets Dancer for Cam Allard.

"He's already got his spot at stud. All that business was dealt with, and I wasn't going to run him if he wasn't 100 percent."

A Fleets Dancer, a 7-year-old who was Canada's champion older male of 2001, retires with a record of 12 wins, 24 in-the-money finishes, and earnings of $1,036,649 from 45 starts.

Attfield could still be represented in the Valedictory by Malmaison, a 3-year-old colt whom he trains for Haras Santa Maria de Araras.

Parose fresh and fit for Valedictory

Parose, who was assigned top weight of 118 pounds for the Valedictory, breezed four furlongs in 50 seconds on the training track Monday in preparation for the 1 3/4-mile marathon.

"That's been the plan all along," said Sandy McPherson, who has sent out Parose to win two stakes here this year for owner John Atto, including the 1 1/16-mile Woodbine Slots Cup in his last start.

"He's only run five times at this meet; he's fresh."

Rhodesian Storm, next in the weights at 117 pounds following his impressive win in the 1 1/2-mile allowance prep for the Valedictory, breezed five furlongs on the training track Sunday in 1:04.20.

Defenman, who is Valedictory-bound for owner Mel Lawson and trainer Sid Attard, worked six furlongs in 1:15 on the main track Sunday.

Steady Ruckus, owned by Ed Lang and trained by Gil Rowntree, worked a mile in 1:43.20 on the main track Sunday and is nominated to both the Valedictory and to Saturday's feature, the six-furlong Kennedy Road.

* Krz Ruckus worked four furlongs in a black-letter 48 seconds on the training track Sunday and is on target for the $125,000 Kennedy Road. "I thought he worked pretty good," said Mike DePaulo, who trains Krz Ruckus for Ron Guidolin and Partners. "Hopefully, we'll have him in good shape Saturday."

* Jockey Shane Ellis, who was knocked unconscious during a spill in the 11th race Sunday, was released from Etobicoke General Hospital early Monday morning. Ellis was thrown hard to the track by Dog Gone Hound, who collapsed and rolled over on her prone rider while dying of an apparent heart attack.