Updated on 09/15/2011 1:04PM

'Ruckus' chasing elusive top honor


EDMONTON, Alberta - With his handicap star Rancour already in line for year-end laurels, trainer Ernie Keller will send out 8-year-old Timely Ruckus to lay claim to another championship Saturday at Northlands Park in the $40,000 Red Diamond Express.

Timely Ruckus, packing 124 pounds, including his regular pilot, Stephan Heiler, takes a winning streak of three into this 6 1/2-furlong sprint. The Red Diamond Express is one of seven stakes races on Alberta Fall Classic Day, which showcases the Alberta breeding industry.

Keller's chief concern lies in the fact that there may be no more races here this season for Timely Ruckus, a Bold Executive gelding bred by Elaine Macpherson.

"It is a shame that many horsemen have to take the shoes off their top performers so early," said Keller, noting that the Oct. 13 Canadian Juvenile is the only remaining stakes on the schedule.

"I hope that there will be an allowance written for these horses. I would even run him in a mile race."

Hailed as Alberta's champion sprinter the past three years, Timely Ruckus also has won an allowance at a mile this year, and has captured the 1 1/16-mile Count Lathum as a 3-year-old. With a second straight win in the Red Diamond Express, he would also earn consideration for Alberta horse of the year honors, an achievement that has eluded him despite impressive credentials in the past.

In 1998 he was the provincial champion in three categories - older horse, sprinter, and Alberta-bred. But horse of the year honors went to A Fleets Dancer, winner of three derbies in Western Canada.

Timely Ruckus will be conceding 12 pounds to Timboruck, another 8-year-old veteran, who won this event on two occasions and was the circuit's champion sprinter in 1997.

The others in the field are Acid Rain, C D Ruckus, Derby Duke, Red Exit, and Robnroy.