10/02/2008 11:00PM

Le Cinquieme Essai, champ of '03, retired


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Le Cinquieme Essai, a 9-year-old gelding who earned $1,424,605 in a career that spanned eight seasons and 33 starts, has been retired.

The decision was made after Le Cinquieme Essai, making his third start of the season, finished last of four in an open allowance race over one mile on turf here last Sunday.

"He came out of his race okay," said Paul Nielsen, who trains Le Cinquieme Essai for his owner and breeder, Bill Scott. "He's just lost a step or two, so we're going to call it a day. It's sad when it happens, but you know it's coming."

Le Cinquieme Essai won 12 races and finished in the money a total of 23 times.

His biggest victory was Fort Erie's $500,000 Prince of Wales, a 1 3/16-mile dirt race that earned him a Sovereign Award in the 3-year-old male category back in 2003.

But nine of Le Cinquieme Essai's wins and more than $1 million of his bankroll came on the turf, where his successes included the Grade 3 Connaught Cup in 2003 and back-to-back runnings of the Grade 2 Play the King beginning in 2006.

"It's been a great ride," said Nielsen. "We've all been so lucky to be associated with him. It's hard to think about him not being with us all the time."

Whether based at Fort Erie, Florida's Payson Park, or here at Woodbine, Le Cinquieme Essai has been a constant in the life of Nielsen and his wife and assistant, Karen.

"Karen will have him for now," said Nielsen. "He'll be turned out for a little while, then retired as a riding horse or maybe a jumper."

Scott, who lives in Alberta, is commissioning a full-sized bronze statue of Le Cinquieme Essai with his rider, Steve Bahen, who was aboard for the gelding's last 20 starts beginning in 2004.

"I've sent him all the measurements," said Nielsen.

Sutherland bound for small screen

Jockey Chantal Sutherland, who has been enjoying a very solid campaign here, will be moving her tack to California following Sunday's program but expects to be back at Woodbine next spring.

Sutherland, who rode 16 winners of $694,894 from 112 mounts at Santa Anita last winter, plans to begin riding in California right away and stay on over the winter.

Her purpose is two-fold, however, as Sutherland also has contracted to appear in a reality television show entitled "Jockeys."

Sutherland said the series will appear on the Discovery Channel next winter, and a handful of California riders, including Mike Smith and Alex Solis, also are involved.

"It was just an opportunity I couldn't pass up," said Sutherland. "I hate to leave. I'm very grateful for the business I've had here this year."

Sutherland will not be a complete stranger to Woodbine this fall, as she plans to return for next Saturday's Carotene and possibly for other assignments.

"I'll be keeping in close touch with my agent, John Bell," said Sutherland. "I should be back now and again, for stakes."

Heading into Friday's card, Sutherland ranked third in races won with 83, fourth in money won with more than $4.2 million, and third in stakes victories with 10.

Two start California trip

Fatal Bullet and Bear Now, both headed for the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita, vanned out for Louisville on Friday morning and were to fly on to Los Angeles on Saturday.

"They galloped this morning. They're doing great," said trainer Reade Baker on Friday.

Fatal Bullet, winner of three straight sprint stakes, including the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Sprint last Saturday, is headed for the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 25, while Bear Now, who scored in the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Distaff, is bound for the Ladies' Classic on Oct. 24.

Eurico da Silva has the mount on both Baker runners, who were accompanied to California by groom Wendy Dadswell and exercise rider Cassie Garcea.

Baker had been torn between sending Fatal Bullet and Bear Now well in advance or on top of their races.

"Curlin went, so I decided we should go," said Baker.

Arrival from Assiniboia

Monsoon Rain, a winner at Assiniboia Downs of his last six starts, checked into Woodbine on Thursday with an eye toward next Saturday's Grade 3 $150,000 Durham Cup for 3-year-olds and upward

A 6-year-old Kentucky-bred trained by Martin Drexler for owner Larry Carter, Monsoon Rain capped his Winnipeg win streak with an 11 1/4-length score in the closing-day Gold Cup on Sept. 21.

Monsoon Rain earned a career high Beyer Speed Figure of 105 in the Gold Cup, which was run over the same 1 1/8-mile distance as the Durham Cup.

Stakes postponed to midweek

The Mt. Sassafras, a $100,000 overnight stakes that was offered for Sunday's program, was carried over to Wednesday after failing to attract the minimum five entrants.

The Mt. Sassafras, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds and upward, was inaugurated in 2004.

Track seeks same schedule for 2009

Woodbine has made its 2009 dates submission to the Ontario Racing Commission, again applying for 167 days of Thoroughbred racing. The application seeks a format identical to this year's, with the meeting beginning on a Saturday, April 4, and ending on a Sunday, Dec. 6.

The regular schedule would include Fridays through Sundays until the first week of June, when Wednesdays and Thursdays would be added.

Holiday Monday racing would be conducted on May 18, Aug. 3, Sept. 7, and Oct. 12. Thursdays would be dark in the weeks preceding the last three dates.

Post times would remain at 1:10 p.m. for all days excepting Wednesdays, with its 6:45 first post.

* The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will hold its regular monthly meeting here on Wednesday, beginning at 3 p.m. on the third floor of the Champions area.