05/10/2006 11:00PM

'Ruckus' returns in sprint


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The accomplished veteran Barbeau Ruckus will meet upstart Main Executive and six other Ontario-sired runners Saturday at Woodbine in the six-furlong, $125,000 New Providence Stakes.

Barbeau Ruckus has won 11 of 32 starts, including nine stakes, all under the guidance of trainer Ross Armata. He was moved to the barn of trainer George Newland over the winter, and is making his seasonal debut in a familiar spot.

Barbeau Ruckus won his first start of 2004 in the New Providence. Coming off a 10-month absence, he was a troubled second in the race last year before going on to take the Elgin and Steady Growth stakes, both at 1 1/16 miles.

Barbeau Ruckus worked a half-mile in 49 seconds over the training track on Monday under Patrick Husbands, who will ride him for the first time Saturday.

"Patrick just wanted to get a feel for him," Newland said.

A victory would put Barbeau Ruckus over the $1 million mark in earnings. Newland said the race could set up for him, since Barbeau Ruckus is usually an off-the-pace threat when sprinting.

"There's lots of speed, and he's going to be closing," Newland said. "He's like a tube of toothpaste. Just when you think it's finished, there's always a last squeeze in it."

Main Executive, a speedy 4-year-old trained by Radlie Loney, is starting in a stakes for the first time.

Main Executive won 4 of 5 outings last year, including three allowances. In his seasonal debut, he faded to third after dueling on the lead with Chris's Bad Boy, but then rebounded with a victory over $62,500 optional claimers, for which he got a career-high 95 Beyer Figure.

Even though Main Executive has won all his races on the front end, Loney said the gelding doesn't need the lead, unlike his full sister Blonde Executive, Canada's champion sprinter in 2004.

"He can sit back if someone outsprints him the first part," Loney said. "He can be rated. Blonde Executive was crazy about going to the front and staying there."

Loney said he's pleased with the way Main Executive has come up to the race, and is optimistic about his chances.

Among the others entered are Sophia's Prince, Woodbine's 6 1/2-furlong track-record holder; the once-beaten Verne's Baby, recently second to Main Executive; and multiple stakes winners Moonshine Justice and Dave the Knave.