10/22/2001 12:00AM

Shickedanz, Keough hit at last


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It was a long time coming, but trainer Mike Keogh and owner/breeder Gustav Schickedanz got on the 2001 Woodbine stakes scoreboard last Saturday when Starbeau upset the Bunty Lawless with a front-running score.

The barn had registered its first stakes win of the season when Ring of Flowers captured the Miss Moneypenny at Fort Erie on Sept. 3.

Starbeau, a 3-year-old colt by Barbeau, showed little in two starts here last year and returned to Keogh this spring after wintering in Maryland with assistant trainer Holly Robinson.

While he had won his maiden and finished a good second in allowance company this summer, Starbeau entered the Bunty Lawless as a nonwinner-of-two coming off a dismal 11th-place finish and was sent off at 48-1 under Patrick Husbands.

Keogh maintains that he was not overly surprised at Starbeau's success, and believes the horse would have won the Vice Regent Stakes here in August had he not encountered severe traffic problems during the stretch run.

"We did head him towards this race," said the trainer. "All his best races have been on the lead or close to it. His last race, he kind of got bogged up in behind horses and didn't really run his race.

"I thought I'd put him on the lead in this race. That's why I put the blinkers on him, to try and sharpen his speed a bit more."

With the turf season winding down, Starbeau is unlikely to see action here again this season. But Keogh hopes to take Starbeau - along with recent maiden winner Wild Strike, Ring of Flowers, and several others - to Tampa Bay Downs.

A Tampa campaign would be a first for Keogh, who generally spends the off-season in South Carolina with the Schickedanz stock. Assistant trainer Serge LeBlanc would fill in for Keogh there this winter.

Miss Noire full of run

Miss Noire recorded her second stakes victory, which also was the second of the season for trainer Emile Allain, here in Sunday's six-furlong Fanfreluche.

"I thought she'd run big," said Allain, after watching Miss Noire prevail in a commanding performance. "She has enough talent. She's a very eager filly - a little too eager sometimes. We've had to work at keeping her down this year."

An Ontario-bred owned by Harlequin Ranches, Miss Noire won her maiden her first time out and took the seven-furlong Muskoka here Sept. 3 before finishing second to the talented Platel in her Fanfreluche tune-up. Her only disappointing effort came in her second start, a distant sixth-place finish in the Ontario Debutante.

"She bled in that race, but I don't know if that's the real reason," said Allain. "Maybe she just had an off day."

Miss Noire could swing back in the $100,000 Glorious Song, a seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies here Nov. 11, or await the $135,000 Ontario Lassie, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies here Nov. 25, before heading to Allain's Quebec farm for the winter.

Devil Valentine delivers for Platts

Devil Valentine proved to be worth the wait, giving trainer Fenton Platts his first stakes win here Sunday in the Deputy Minister, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

The race had been slated to go last Wednesday evening but was rescheduled when that card was canceled because of high winds.

Devil Valentine, a 3-year-old gelding owned by Gerry and Sandra Gibbs, had been a leading Queen's Plate hopeful following a brief, productive juvenile campaign but went to the sidelines in late May with a severe case of stomach ulcers.

When he returned to the track in July, Devil Valentine was transferred to Platts and now has won twice and finished second twice in five starts for his new outfit.

"He's on top of his game right now," said Platts. "He's getting stronger and better."

Devil Valentine's next stakes target is the $125,000 Sir Barton, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old colts and geldings here Nov. 24.

Platts also trains Devil Valentine's full brother, an unraced 2-year-old colt named Dancing at Midnite.

"I really like him," said the trainer. "I think he's going to be a nice horse."

Bell has pair of stakes runners

Trainer David Bell, who saddled a pair of 2-year-old winners here Sunday, will see stakes action at Keeneland this week.

Bell will saddle On the Game for Wednesday's McConnell Springs Stakes and Lush Soldier for Thursday's Green River. Both On the Game and Lush Soldier are owned by John Franks.

Accompanying the Bell duo was Strait From Texas - owned by James Michael and trained by Paul Buttigieg - who also will start in the $100,000 Green River over 1 1/16 miles of turf. Regular rider Mickey Walls has the mount on Lush Soldier, while Jon Court will pilot Strait From Texas.

Lush Soldier and Strait from Texas finished 1-2 in a division of the Natalma, a one-mile turf stakes here last month.

* Atlantic Fury, who defeated males in the Cup and Saucer for Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad here last time out, shipped to Keeneland the other week and also is probable for the Green River.