10/16/2006 12:00AM

First Cavalry gets relief after Sapling flop


Stakes winner First Cavalry fits beautifully in Wednesday's third race at Woodbine, a first-level allowance for 2-year-olds.

First Cavalry showed speed before fading to fifth in three consecutive maiden special weight events earlier in the meeting. He was shipped to trainer Martin Drexler's Assiniboia Downs barn in August to contest the $40,000 Winnipeg Futurity, in which he led throughout to score his first victory, beating two next-start winners in the process. First Cavalry finished six furlongs in 1:11.20 and earned a 76 Beyer Speed Figure.

Most recently, in the Grade 3 Sapling Stakes at Monmouth, First Cavalry got cooked in a speed duel and finished last in a seven-horse field. Air Lord, the fourth-place finisher, came back to win a stakes at Delaware Park.

"He ended up on a rail which was pretty dead that day," Drexler said. "He was on the inside of a four-horse duel, and I think he got intimidated by the whole thing."

Drexler is taking the blinkers off First Cavalry on Wednesday, with the hope that First Cavalry will relax early in the seven-furlong dash, in which he will break from post 9.

"He's been one-dimensional, and I would love to see him track something, just to see if he'll do it," Drexler said. "We have been training him to come from off of it. He's been passing horses in the mornings. I like the post, and I think the outside here is good now."

Justin Stein, who was aboard when First Cavalry worked a half-mile in 50.20 seconds on the Polytrack on Oct. 8, has the mount.

Other contenders in the third include Civil Code, Carysfort Light, and the Mark Casse-trained entry of Break Even and Captain Cugat.

Civil Code won his debut in a five-furlong maiden special on the inner track Aug. 13. He resurfaced Oct. 1 in a six-furlong allowance, in which he finished a fading third and earned a 76 Beyer.

Trainer Don MacRae has put Civil Code on Lasix for this engagement.

Carysfort Light won his maiden second time out, on July 30, and was a close second after a wide journey in the restricted Vandal Stakes in August. Leonnatus Anteas, the Vandal winner, returned to capture Sunday's $251,200 Cup and Saucer Stakes.

Break Even never challenged and finished ninth on grass in his debut Aug. 19, but he made his next start on Polytrack and won a mile-and-70-yard maiden special Sept. 24.

Captain Cugat prevailed as the favorite in his lone appearance, a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special Sept. 10.