07/07/2002 11:00PM

Roussel's fine stat: A winner for every loser

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CHICAGO - The Louie Roussel stable is split between younger sales purchases and older reclamation projects. At Arlington, the stable is split down the middle in another way - through Sunday, Roussel was even up at this meet with seven wins and seven losses, a gaudy 50 percent strike rate.

Both kinds of Roussel horses showed up here last week, when the stable won three times. On Wednesday, it was Zarb's Magic, an aging graded stakes winner whom Roussel rescued from severe decline a year and a half ago. Two weekend wins came with younger horses, City Fear, a first-level allowance victor on Saturday, and Awesome Here, a maiden winner Sunday.

On Wednesday, Final Strike runs in a second-level allowance, the feature on Arlington's nine-race card. One of Roussel's seven Arlington winners, Final Strike will vie for favoritism with Old Mizzou and Double M Express.

Final Strike is one of the projects. He started with trainer Neil Howard, but after showing little in maiden-allowance company, Howard and owner Will Farish decided to let someone else deal with Final Strike's infirmities, dropping Final Strike into a $25,000 maiden-claiming race where he romped by six lengths.

But Final Strike is just the sort of horse - well bred and troubled - that Roussel will take a chance on. It's worked so far. Roussel gave Final Strike a rest, treated him for ulcers, and worked to increase his general well being, then brought him back to the races in mid-April. Twice he was second in first-level allowance races before breaking through here June 16.

"He should run a big race back again," said Roussel's assistant, Lara Van Daren. "He's a very tough keeper, and it's hard to keep enough weight on him. If you do too much with him in his training, he'll do less."

While Roussel has been rolling, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer also has picked up steam and now has 13 wins at the meet. Old Mizzou, who has yet to start on this circuit, may be favored to increase that total Wednesday, assuming that bettors give weight to his connections and the good northern California form showing from his last period of regular racing.

Double M Express beat Final Strike by almost three lengths at Hawthorne earlier this year, and was a closing fourth June 19 in a one-mile race at this class level. Double M Express should benefit from a return two-turn racing Wednesday.

Galic Boy triumphs despite layoff

Seven-year-old Galic Boy returned from a five-month layoff to win the $46,950 Bowl Game, an overnight turf stakes Sunday at Arlington. Galic Boy, a Grade 3 winner last year, beat Just Like Jimmy by a length for his 11th win in 34 career starts.

Trainer Mickey Goldfine has spent a lot of time around Galic Boy, and he seems to know exactly how to prepare the horse for strong races after layoffs.

"This is a special horse to me," Goldfine said Monday morning. "I've worked with him a long time. He's helped me a lot, and I guess I've helped him a lot."

One thing Goldfine has learned about Galic Boy is that the horse's best distance is between eight and nine furlongs. That rules out the upcoming Arlington Handicap, which is run at 10 furlongs, and leaves the Sept. 29 Sea O'Erin, at one mile, as Galic Boy's next major goal. Goldfine said Galic Boy might next start in another overnight stakes here in mid-August.

Schu loves Private Son's near victory

To trainer Sally Schu, there was nothing bittersweet about Private Son losing Saturday's Stars and Stripes Handicap by a neck. Of course, a win would have been sweeter. But Schu, who never has won a stakes, was beaming after the Stars and Stripes. She had taken a big shot with Private Son, a lightly raced colt who remains eligible for a third-level allowance, and had been dead right about his ability.

"You gotta love it," Schu said after unsaddling Private Son. "He hadn't run in six weeks and he was going 12 furlongs."

Saturday was a hot day, and Private Son ran a hard race, but Private Son, Schu said, didn't even appear tired Saturday night. "He was going crazy in his stall," said Schu. "So far, he looks great."

If Private Son continues to flourish, he will run next July 27 in the Arlington Handicap.

* Jockey Shane Laviolette appears to have escaped serious injury in a spill here Sunday. Laviolette was thrown from Let's Dance Nance shortly after the start of the fourth race and was stepped on by trailing horses. The worst blow came to his stomach, but after being taken to the hospital Laviolette was released Sunday when tests and X-rays revealed no serious injuries. Laviolette's agent, Justin Cassity, said Laviolette planned to ride Wednesday.