05/22/2002 11:00PM

Grass could solve Equality puzzle


If at first you don't succeed, try something completely different.

That's what trainer H. Graham Motion plans to do with Equality after his failure facing top-caliber 3-year-olds for the first time in last weekend's Preakness.

never was in contention in the Preakness, finishing last of 13, beaten some 28 lengths. Searching for something positive to say about the experience, Motion said that at least Equality came out of the race still healthy.

"I think he's probably doing better than his trainer is," Motion said. "It was very disappointing that he never seemed to run his race at all. Unless he gets a really tight fast track, he still seems to have a kind of climbing action. I would love to try him on grass."

Actually, running Equality on the turf is something Motion wanted to do as far back as February. He entered Equality in a grass allowance at Gulfstream Park, but when the race was moved to the main track and the colt responded with a 16 1/2-length win, Motion figured he had better postpone the turf experiment.

Now, trying Equality on grass is back on the drawing board. "It's something we have always wanted to do," Motion said. "I might run him back on the grass at Delaware."

Equality's grass debut could come in the $55,000 Gleaming, an overnight stakes at 1 1/16 miles on June 11 at Delaware Park. Beyond that, Delaware offers two other grass stakes restricted to 3-year-olds, the $75,000 Nick Shuk at 1 1/16 miles on July 1 and the Grade 3 Kent, a $250,000 stakes at 1 1/8 miles on July 21.

A very special win for McCarthy

Winning Monday's Nuit D'Amour Stakes aboard Haunted Lass ($5.40) meant something special to jockey Mike McCarthy.

The overnight stakes for 3-year-old fillies is named for a filly who won the Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware in 1979. Nuit D'Amour was trained by Bob Camac, who was shot to death last winter. McCarthy rode many horses for Camac during the 1990's, most prominently Winter Melody, two-time winner of the Obeah Stakes and winner of the 1996 Susan's Girl.

"It's always nice to win a race named after a horse Bob trained," McCarthy said. "I sure would like to see a race a named after him. But it's nice because Bob trained Nuit D'Amour and I won aboard an Allen Iwinksi-trained horse. Those two have been my main clients for a long time."

Coming into Saturday's program, McCarthy ranks second at the meet with 21 winners, three behind Ramon Dominguez. Jeremy Rose, the leading rider last sesaon, is third with 18.

Iwinski is not certain when Haunted Lass will make her next start. As a 2-year-old last season, she won the Everget at Delaware and was second in the Grade 3 Sorority at Monmouth.

Unbeatens meet in Legal Light

A pair of talented, lightly raced, unbeaten colts will meet in Saturday's $75,000 Legal Light Stakes, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds.

Calends has won of his two career starts by a combined margin of 9 1/4 lengths, including a romp in an allowance race at Delaware on May 4 in which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98.

"I think he is the real deal," said trainer Todd Beattie, who is based at Penn National. "His biggest attribute is that he seems extraordinarily focused when we lead him over there at race time. Things come pretty easy for him, but the true telling point is when he hooks up and runs against these better horses."

Running Tide has won his three career starts by a combined margin of nearly 14 lengths. In his 3-year-old debut at Delaware on May 12, he cruised by 4 1/4 lengths and earned an 83 Beyer.