06/14/2002 11:00PM

Woodbine: El Ruller all the way


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Favored El Ruller ($3) turned back a serious challenge from outsider Skeet to take the $134,375 Victoria Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths at Woodbine.

El Ruller broke on top and set quick fractions over a sloppy track in the five-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds. Skeet pressed the pace along the rail, but El Ruller drew off in the final furlong, and covered the distance in 58.29 seconds.

"He's a very mature horse," said Ray Sabourin, who rode El Ruller. "He had [Skeet] measured the whole way."

Skeet was 4 1/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Biddy's Lad. Because the five-horse field had just three betting interests, there was no place or show wagering.

* Mountain Orchid ($16.90) led all the way in the supporting feature, the $105,000 Apelia Stakes, a six-furlong race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.