06/05/2001 11:00PM

'Rowdy' set to capture elusive win

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Rowdy Ruckus, fresh off one of the better performances of his career, is among a field of nine in Friday's contentious Woodbine feature, a $62,500 optional claimer for 3-year-olds and up. Also in the 1 1/16-mile race is Thatsthebottomline, a Canadian-bred 3-year-old who is eligible to the $1 million Queen's Plate on June 24.

Rowdy Ruckus struggled through 2000 without a win, but did manage to finish third behind One Way Love and No Foul Play in the restricted Steady Growth Stakes. He was laid up from early July until April 22 of this year, when he finished fourth in a strong $80,000 claiming race won by Krz Ruckus.

Rowdy Ruckus was never in the hunt while running wide in a seven-furlong dash two starts back, but he nearly ended his winless drought most recently in a $50,000 claimer. He went four wide on the clubhouse turn in that 1 1/16-mile race, dueled three wide on the lead until early stretch, and faded a little to end up second. The 88 Beyer Figure he earned on a sloppy track in that race is the highest of his career.

Na Somsanith, who rode the last time Rowdy Ruckus won, nearly two years ago, has the call for trainer David Bell. Rowdy Ruckus will compete with a $62,500 tag.

Completing the lineup for Friday's headliner are Oro de Tejano with David Clark up; Defenman, Patrick Husbands; Fast Nite, Richard Dos Ramos; Prory, Steven Bahen; Sky Chariot, Todd Kabel; Attawapiskat, Gary Boulanger; and Gallop'n Gold, Emile Ramsammy.

Thatsthebottomline, trained by Robert Martin, closed belatedly after a troubled start in his debut, at seven furlongs, on April 8, and upset Lucky Scarab when he captured a 1 1/16-mile maiden special a month later.

Most recently, in a preliminary allowance for 3-year-olds, Thatsthebottomline raced well off a very fast pace before rallying four wide for a three-length tally. His slow clocking of 1:49 for the 1 1/16 miles translated into a 63 Beyer. Ray Sabourin, who rode Thatsthebottomline in his three previous races, is aboard again Friday.

Prory, a classy 9-year-old, could be favored if enough bettors excuse his poor recent showing against $80,000 foes in the slop, a surface he abhors.