05/13/2003 11:00PM

Young jockeys winning in bunches


WINNIPEG, Man. - The bugs are hot at Assiniboia Downs.

Shannon Beauregard, a 10-pound apprentice from Montreal, and Jason Leacock, a five-pound apprentice from Barbados, both shot up in the jockey standings here after the second weekend of the meet, winning four and three races, respectively.

Beauregard, who rides first call for trainer Caesar DeMarni, rode DeMarni's impressive winner Beetrap ($17.30) in last Friday's fourth race and followed up that performance with Say Grace Jo First ($23.50) in the sixth race for trainer Jim McDonald.

On Saturday, Beauregard won the sixth race aboard Shy Philly ($6.70) for trainer Mel Davis, and on Sunday she guided DeMarni's Sweet Lad ($9) to victory in the fifth race.

Beauregard started riding when she was 12 and began exercising racehorses in Saskatoon four years ago. Now 21, she rode last year in Grand Prairie and Lethbridge, Alberta, before venturing to Hastings Park in Vancouver to take out her jockey's license.

"It's awesome," said Beauregard, who weighs 104 pounds. "I'm getting on 10 to 12 horses every morning for a lot of different trainers. I'm having a blast."

Leacock scored a hat trick Sunday, winning the second race aboard Ally Scats ($9) for trainer Ardell Sayler, the fourth aboard Red Sundown ($7.90) for trainer Terry Wedge, and the eighth, again for Sayler, with Atwinkleinhereye ($22). He also finished second in the race Beauregard won with Say Grace Jo First, setting up the biggest triactor of the meeting at $6,476.10.

Leacock grew up next to a stud farm in Barbados and groomed horses as a youngster. He learned to ride at the age of 11, rode in his first race at 16, and won about 30 races in Barbados before arriving in 2002 at Assiniboia Downs, where he won 14 more.

Leacock was on retainer with champion trainer Bill Marshall in Barbados, and worked regularly with three-time Barbados Gold Cup winner Blast the Storm.

Beauregard and Leacock aren't far off the lead in the jockey standings.

After the first four days, new arrival Travis Hightower and veteran Juan Crawford top the standings with seven wins apiece, and Tim Gardiner and Beauregard are next, with four wins each.

Sayler is off to the hottest start among trainers, winning 5 of 12 starts to top the standings by one win over Gary Danelson.

Chad Torevell has three wins followed by a group with two wins apiece - Clayton Gray, Bill Smith Mel Davis, DeMarni, and Ron Gray.