08/01/2002 11:00PM

No 'Essai' in Breeders'


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Le Cinquieme Essai, the winner of Fort Erie's July 21 Prince of Wales, was one of the leading candidates for next Saturday's $500,000 Breeders' Stakes, but he will not be keeping that date.

Paul Nielsen, who trains Le Cinquieme Essai at Fort Erie for owner Bill Scott, said Le Cinquieme Essai had "spiked a temperature of 103" here Friday morning. Nielsen had brought Le Cinquieme Essai to Woodbine Tuesday to prepare for the $500,000 Breeders', the 1 1/2-mile turf race that is the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

"He's been training well up to this point, shipped in great to Woodbine, but caught a bug," said Nielsen, who speculated that the seeds of the illness might have been planted at Fort Erie, where some of his other horses are sick. "He'll get treated with antibiotics for about five days. We'll check out his white blood cell count, and go from there."

Discoman works

Discoman, who won his maiden over 1 1/4 miles of turf in his last start, worked six furlongs in 1:14.20 under jockey Ray Sabourin on the main track here Friday in preparation for the Breeders'.

Trainer Jim Smith says the Breeders' was on Discoman's dance card from the moment he arrived at the racetrack. "I knew, just to look at him," said Smith, who also knew that Discoman was bred for turf.

"He's a tall, long gangly horse with a big foot. When he came in, he had such a huge stride on him.

"He was just a little bit too big, and backward," added Smith, who did not get Discoman to the races as a 2-year-old. After starting up on the farm in January, Discoman came back to the track March 1 and debuted here May 12, finishing 10th over 1 1/16 miles of slop. But Discoman, a gelding, has been much more effective in three subsequent turf outings, finishing third and fourth before his coming-out party July 13.

"Each race has been better than the previous one," added Smith, who believes the Breeders' distance will be within Discoman's scope. "He goes all day; he doesn't really seem to get tired."

Trainer's appeal successful

Trainer Phil Gracey, who had been facing a suspension of nine months and a fine of $5,000 after one of his horses tested positive for a Class 2 drug here this spring, has successfully appealed his case before the Ontario Racing Commission.

The ORC appeal board, in holding Gracey blameless for the incident, said in its oral decision that the trainer "satisfied us on a balance of probabilities that he took reasonable care in protecting his horse".

The hearing, which wound up last Friday, found that Gracey had administered the medication diazepam (Valium) to the filly, Susan Gracey, approximately 76 hours before the second race here April 7. The ORC appeal board ruled that medication had interacted with omeprazole, an ulcer medication that Susan Gracey also had been receiving, to produce an unforeseeable positive test and that Gracey had been "acting pursuant to the advice of his veterinarian," Dr. Robert McMartin.

Gracey had been barred from the grounds April 25 after the positive test was discovered, under a policy in the Woodbine Entertainment Group's Thoroughbred Rule Book, which mandates an immediate suspension for any trainer whose horse tests positive for a Class 1 or Class 2 drug.

"I'm just glad to get back to work," said Gracey, at the barn here Friday morning. "Being as I'm innocent, it's too bad I spent those months not being able to train my horses."

Lucky Molar goes in Seagram Cup

Lucky Molar, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Richard Englander, had been away for more than a year before his 2002 debut at Mountaineer Park, where he was beaten 15 3/4 lengths as the third-place finisher for a $45,000 tag.

Another 10 weeks passed before Lucky Molar returned to action, sporting a $32,000 tag in his local bow and first start for trainer Mike Wright Jr. But it didn't take long for Lucky Molar to make an impression, as he rallied from off a quick pace to score by four lengths.

Lucky Molar's 1:42.33 clocking for the 1 1/16 miles earned him a lifetime-best Beyer Speed Figure of 106, the highest awarded at Woodbine this season. The performance has earned him a crack at the Seagram Cup, the 1 1/16 mile stakes feature here Sunday.

Wright himself admitted to some surprise over the talent shown by Lucky Molar.

"I wouldn't say I knew - I ran him for $32,000," said Wright, who added that he had entered Lucky Molar for $25,000 in a race that failed to fill the previous week in an attempt to make the horse eligible for the Claiming Crown series at Philadelphia Park Aug. 31.

"He'd always trained good, since I had him," added Wright. "And I figured he'd win, but not like that."

Little could have been extracted from his past performances that would have foretold Lucky Molar's astonishing effort.

Lucky Molar did boast some back-class, having placed in three statebred stakes in California before being claimed for $40,000 by Englander at Hollywood Park in December 2000.

But Lucky Molar, a gelding, arrived here a winner of just 3 of 49 starts and remains eligible for a first-level allowance. His best previous Beyer, a 97, was earned on turf at Santa Anita on Jan. 31, 1999.

Does it all spell bounce, or will Lucky Molar come right back in the Seagram?

"We figured we'd give him a shot," said Wright. "The owner thinks he can bounce and still win."