08/31/2002 12:00AM

Steady Ruckus eyes repeat

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Steady Ruckus makes his fourth appearance in the Halton on Monday and seeks his second consecutive score in the 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward. The $106,650 Halton is one of six sales stakes on Monday that are restricted to horses who went through the ring as yearlings at the local Canadian-bred sales.

Owned by Ed Lang, Steady Ruckus finished eighth in his first Halton, second to Bristol Pistol in the 2000 Halton, and turned the tables on that since-retired mare last year.

"We've been looking forward to this race since last year and the year before," said Gil Rowntree, who trains Steady Ruckus.

"He's pretty well the same as he has been all along. He's a nice horse to be around. He has a nice disposition, he's sound, and he's honest."

Steady Ruckus enters the Halton off a third-place finish, beaten two lengths, over 1 1/8 miles on grass in the Aug. 17 With Approval.

"He was laying in a little bit down the lane," said Rowntree. "That probably made the difference between second and third.

"Other than that, he didn't have any excuses. It wasn't like he got killed off chasing the pace - the pace was pretty slow. But he came out of the race good, and the competition won't be as tough [Monday]."

Just who Steady Ruckus will face will depend on some last-minute juggling, as Mighty Quinn and Dawn Watcher both have been cross-entered in the Halton and the Elgin, a 1 1/16-mile dirt race for colts and geldings.

Mighty Quinn has run well on both dirt and turf, but is unproven around two turns on either surface. On turf, he is undefeated in two starts, in stakes at six furlongs and one mile.

Mighty Quinn's trainer, Malcolm Pierce, seemed to be leaning toward the Halton, which is run around one turn.

"I still don't think he's a turf horse, but the competition will be right," he said.

Elgin Stakes

The $106,650 Elgin has attracted a solid field, including Cool N Collective, Anglian Prince, and Forever Grand.

Cool N Collective, owned by Earle Mack, won the 2000 Elgin when trained here at 3 by Reade Baker. Now he is trained by Monmouth-based Dennis Manning.

Lightly raced over the past two years, Cool N Collective is in good form and could prove too hot for the younger contenders to handle.

Anglian Prince, winner of the Grade 3 Marine at 1 1/16 miles in mid-May, went on to compete in all three legs of the Canadian Triple Crown. The gelding finished second in the Queen's Plate, third in the Prince of Wales, and seventh in his turf debut in the Breeders'.

Forever Grand finished third in the Plate and fifth in the Wales before disappointing when trying the grass for the first time here in the one-mile Vice Regent.

Bold N' Fancy, the defending champion in the Elgin, will be a longshot Monday.

Algoma Stakes

Duchess Stakes winner Mulrainy should be razor-sharp for the $104,450 Algoma, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares.

Blinkers on seemed to make a world of difference for Mulrainy on Aug. 10, when she met some talented United States shippers at seven furlongs in the Grade 3 Duchess. Sent off at 15-1, she fought with favored For Rubies on the front end and won by a comfortable margin.

Mulainy's trainer, Tom O'Keefe, said he noticed an immediate difference when he worked her with blinkers before to the Duchess.

"She was leaving there running in her [previous] races," he said, "but then she'd get into a relaxed mode. When it was time to pick it up, the riders would have a tough time getting her motivated. I thought that by putting the blinkers on, she'd stay focused the whole way."

Mulrainy was beaten only a neck when she ran third two starts back, in the 1 1/16-mile Wilderness Song Stakes.

Devastating could lead the way in the Algoma, with Mulrainy in close pursuit. Trained by Robbie King Jr., Devastating pressed the pace along the rail on the backstretch before folding abruptly last Sunday in the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap at Saratoga. She won her two previous starts here, both seven-furlong stakes.

Muskoka Stakes

Mountain Dawn will be favored in the $105,550 Muskoka, a seven-furlong dash for 2-year-old fillies.

Mountain Dawn beat future stakes winner Boldest of All, who had to bypass this race because of illness, when she graduated at five furlongs in her second start. She closed along the rail most recently in the July 7 Shady Well Stakes, ending up a head behind Appleby Gardens in second in the 5 1/2-furlong race.

Trainer Mac Benson believes the added distance won't be a problem for Mountain Dawn, because of the way she trains and runs.

"She likes to stay within striking distance of the leaders," he said, "and when you ask her, she kicks in."

Rhiannon's Wish and Santerra, both maidens, finished third and fourth in the Shady Well.

Rhiannon's Wish has worked well in the interim for trainer Josie Carroll, and should be a pace threat. Santerra is coming off a third-place finish behind Boldest of All in the six-furlong Nandi Stakes, and gets Lasix for the first time.

Simcoe Stakes

Reinvigorate is the lone winner in the seven-furlong, $105,050 Simcoe, for male 2-year-olds.

Reinvigorate won his debut in early June by a wide margin, but has been absent since finishing fourth over a sloppy track in the June 15 Victoria Stakes. Mark Casse trains.

Mobil was fourth in his second start, behind the well-regarded Added Edge and Snake Pit, who went on to finish second to Wando in the Vandal Stakes.

Sarataga shipper Sircharlesschnabel is another maiden with a big shot. Trained by Phil Serpe, he finished fifth after running greenly in his opener, and is coming off a troubled third-place finish in a quick six-furlong maiden special.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink