06/08/2001 11:00PM

3-horse entry tough


FORT ERIE, Ont. - The $60,000 added Adena Springs Matchmaker Stakes on Tuesday starts Fort Erie's 2001 17-race stakes schedule. It's the second running of the event, which is sponsored by Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Farm.

A five-furlong race on the turf, it has drawn a full field of fillies and mares. Besides the purse money, the top three finishers will receive a free stud service from one of three Adena Springs stallions - Alphabet Soup (1996 Breeders' Cup Classic winner), Gold Case, or Foxtrail.

Heading the 10-horse field is owner-trainer Audre Cappuccitti's three-horse entry of El Prado Essence, who has drawn the services of Woodbine's top rider, Pat Husbands; Danzig Silver; and Bucquista. Danzig Silver, who won the race last year, will have Jonathan Jones in the saddle, while Bucquista will be ridden by Na Somsanith.

If the turf is less than firm, Cappuccitti will scratch El Prado Essence. "She's a really nice filly. She got to the track late last year," said the trainer. "She was out with a fractured shoulder. She's just had two starts this year."

Cappuccitti said that El Prado Essence would have won the May 13 Hendrie Stakes "if I could have found a race for her before it. She only lost to Mysterious Affair by three-quarters of a length."

Mysterious Affair has won two stakes at Woodbine this spring. Danzig Silver was second in her last start to Prado Star, who has won three races in a row, in a $100,000 optional claiming race. In third place, 2 1/2 lengths back, was Poetically, last year's Canadian champion 2-year-old filly.

Pete's Fancy, trained by Mike DePaulo, should give the entry the most trouble. A 6-year-old mare, she will be making her first start of the year. The richest runner in the race, she boasts nine victories.

Everything, trained by Matt Mattine, was third in last year's Matchmaker. Fort Erie's leading rider, Martin Ramirez will be in the irons.