08/18/2001 12:00AM

Woodbine: Hopeful Moment rallies

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Hopeful Moment benefited from a hotly contested pace battle to capture the $131,125 Shepperton Stakes at Woodbine Saturday.

Hopeful Moment stalked favored Krz Ruckus and Saratoga shipper Trailthefox, who dueled through fractions of 21.94 and 44.08 seconds in the 6 1/2-furlong dash for Ontario-sired runners. He blew by the leaders at the eighth pole and coasted home by 4 1/2 lengths in a quick 1:15.85.

"Things worked out great today," said Slade Callaghan, who rode Hopeful Moment. "My horse tried hard all the way, came running down the lane, and made it look easy."

Krz Ruckus, the 126-pound highweight, saw his five-race win streak end in the race, but he held off Trailthefox by a neck to finish second. Casino Prince and Fun to Run completed the order of finish.

It was the first stakes victory for both Hopeful Moment and his trainer, John LeBlanc Jr. He returned $8.30 and earned $78,675 for Racing 2000 and partners. There was no show wagering.