12/03/2001 1:00AM

Woodbine: Queensgate stuns odds-on choice


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Queensgate upset 2-5 favorite A Fleets Dancer for his first stakes victory in the $110,400 Valedictory Handicap at Woodbine.

Queensgate, second to A Fleets Dancer in the 2000 Valedictory, raced well off the early pace in the 1 3/4-mile marathon for 3-year-olds and up. A Fleets Dancer stalked front-running Ruff Tuff Stuff, and joined him on the lead through six furlongs in 1:14.08.

Jockey Gerry Olguin rushed Queensgate up along the rail on the backstretch, and Queensgate hooked up with A Fleets Dancer on the far turn. The pair raced as a team until the eighth pole, when Queensgate began to edge away. He prevailed by three lengths in 2:57.37.

Winning Skier closed to finish another eight lengths back in third in the eight-horse field. New York invader Le Beaucet was fourth.

"I wanted to lay closer than I was," said Olguin. "I felt like I had lots of horse [on the backstretch], and I was just trying to surprise everybody. It worked out great."

Queensgate ($20.30) earned $66,240 for owner Carmen Attard and trainer Tino Attard.

* Barbeau Ruckus won the other stakes on the closing day card, the $130,625 Kingarvie for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds.

Barbeau Ruckus ($10.90) assumed command midway on the backstretch of the 1 1/16-mile race, and held off bids from Bravely and favored Streakin Rob to score by three-quarters of a length over Bravely.

Trainer Ross Armata gave Dino Luciani a leg up on Barbeau Ruckus, who banked $78,375 in his first stakes triumph.