09/17/2002 11:00PM

Lucky Molar seeks fourth straight win

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - A rejuvenated Lucky Molar has taken a big bite out of the local competition since shipping in from the United States, and should be favored to win his fourth race in a row, an $80,000 optional claimer at Woodbine on Friday.

Lucky Molar spent the early portion of this decade in Southern California, and was claimed by his current owner, Richard Englander for $40,000 at Hollywood in December of 2000. He was on hiatus for a year heading into his May 4 race against $50,000 claimers at Mountaineer Park, in which he finished a distant third.

Lucky Molar subsequently was sent to trainer Mike Wright Jr., and is unbeaten in three Woodbine starts. He earned a whopping 106 Beyer Speed Figure while defeating $32,000 claimers on July 14, and then doubled up three weeks later, winning the Seagram Cup Stakes by a neck over Canada's reigning horse of the year, Win City.

"He's a really neat horse," said jockey Chantal Sutherland, after riding Lucky Molar in the 1 1/16-mile Seagram Cup. "I'm glad I rode him last time, to get a feel for what he's like. He really opened up his stride on the backstretch, and was eating up the ground."

Lucky Molar tested his turf prowess last time out, in an optional claimer. Sent off at a generous 3-1 because of his 1-for-28 record on the sod, he rallied from fifth to win going away, earning a 96 Beyer in the process.

Sutherland retains the mount on Lucky Molar, a 7-year-old California-bred gelding by Wheatly Hall, a son of Norcliffe.

Rounding out the field for the 1 1/16-mile event will be Culloden, Defenman, Brushing Bully, and Grand End Sweep.

Brushing Bully returned from an extended layoff to capture a 1 1/8-mile race at this level on Aug. 22, for which he was awarded a 90 Beyer. A son of Broad Brush, he finished third in each of the first two legs of the 2001 Canadian Triple Crown, the Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes, when trained by Tino Attard.

Brushing Bully was turned over to trainer Roger Attfield this year, and could be construed as a bounce candidate in this spot.

Defenman, trained by Sid Attard, has won two straight against $50,000 and $62,500 opposition, earning an 89 Beyer on each occasion.

Grand End Sweep is coming off a two-month vacation, and figures to be no more than a minor player, while Culloden is over the top.

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