06/30/2006 12:00AM

Ruckus already in peak condition

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BOSSIER CITY, La. - Sunday's fireworks display at Louisiana Downs is not scheduled to begin until 10 p.m., but the pyrotechnics promise to start a little earlier in the allowance feature, which has an evenly matched field of 11 horses. The first-level allowance will be run at a mile on turf and goes as the ninth of 10 races.

Ruckus, who has finished first or second in 6 of his 8 local starts on turf, could rule a slight favorite off a 4 1/4-length win here in his last start. Trained by Al Stall Jr. for Arthur Hancock III, Ruckus will be making just his third start of the year but already appears to be in midseason form. He will be ridden once again by Jose Riquelme.

County Event also merits consideration. He is winless in two starts on turf, but showed promise on the surface in his turf debut in March 2005, when he was fourth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths, in a first-level allowance. Trained by Ralph Montet, County Event ships up from Evangeline Downs, where he won a $20,000 claimer for nonwinners of two in his last start. Regular rider Wilfredo Lozano Jr. has the call.

Must Be He comes off a half-length defeat in his last race, which had the same conditions as Sunday's race. Must Be He is a four-time winner and has made excellent progress up the class ladder since being claimed by trainer David Morris at Oaklawn in February. Morris has given the return call to Belen Quinonez.

Wild Buck is one of many longshots in Sunday's feature. He is coming off a 15 1/2-length defeat in a seven-furlong claiming race over the main track, but was third and second in two previous starts. He appears to be the speed of the race, and early speed has fared well over the turf here since the meeting began in May. Donnie Meche will ride.

New 'bad beat' exacta wager

If you have ever been split in an exacta wager by a longshot, Louisiana Downs has a bet in the works for you.

The Bad Beat Jackpot Exacta was approved by the Louisiana State Racing Commission in its meeting last Friday. The wager will award a separate jackpot pool to bettors holding exacta tickets with the first- and third-place finishers when a horse that pays at least $40 to place finishes second.

The separate jackpot pool will come from an additional 3 percent that will be withheld from the standard exacta pool. The jackpot pool will continue to build until a horse that pays at least $40 to place finishes second. The exacta on the first two finishers will be paid out as usual.

Programming the tote system for the new bet is expected to take a couple of weeks, and the new wager is expected to debut in July.