03/29/2002 1:00AM

French clerk strike on hold for now


Sunday's meeting at Longchamp, featuring the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt, has been saved as French parimutuel clerks have withdrawn their threat of a strike that day.

But Saturday's meeting at Saint-Cloud, canceled on Thursday, will not be run, and future meetings remain under threat until a wage agreement between the clerks and France Galop can be hammered out in a negotiating session on Wednesday.

The Prix de Courcelles and the Prix Lord Seymour, listed races originally scheduled for Thursday's canceled meeting at Longchamp, will now be run on Sunday's 10-race card.

The Harcourt, a 1 1/4-mile contest for 4-year-olds and up, is headed by Foundation Spirit. Trained by Francois Doumen, Foundation Spirit beat subsequent Group 3 Prix Exbury winner Jomana in the listed Grand Prix des Alpes-Maritime at Cagnes-sur-Mer on Feb. 24 following an astounding 25-length romp in an allowance at the same track. Sensible and Execute should challenge for the runner-up spot.

An early prep for the French Derby, the Prix de Courcelles has drawn just four runners. Maillol, 2 for 2 this year, is the choice over Thompson Rouge, a maiden winner in his lone start in Italy last year.