04/10/2002 11:00PM

Trainer: Ignore El Prado Essence's last

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - El Prado Essence didn't attract much attention in her 2002 debut here in the La Voyageuse, finishing fourth behind the invader Madame Roar.

But Audre Cappuccitti, who trains El Prado Essence, believes that race served its purpose, and she expects El Prado Essence to make her presence felt in Saturday's featured Whimsical Stakes.

El Prado Essence, a 5-year-old mare who had her best year in 2001, had spent a non-eventful winter at Addison-Hall Farms in nearby Aurora.

"She was just turned out there," said Cappuccitti, who did not bring El Prado Essence into the track until mid-February and had planned to bring her up to the Whimsical on works alone.

That program changed, however, when Cappuccitti realized that the five-furlong La Voyageuse was coming up with a short field.

"She was in good order," said Cappuccitti, who also owns El Prado Essence in partnership with her husband, Gordon. "Rather than breeze her again, I decided I was going to put her in there."

Cappuccitti admits she did not expect El Prado Essence to be blown away by Madame Roar, who won by six lengths, and is not nominated to the Whimsical.

"That filly had wicked speed," she said. "She just ran a hole in the wind."

But Cappuccitti was pleased with the performance of El Prado Essence, who was beaten 1 3/4 lengths for the runner-up spot and a neck for third in what should stand as a good tightener.

"It just wasn't her distance," said Cappuccitti. "Six furlongs will be better for her."

Dream Launcher gearing up

Cappuccitti is looking forward to the return of Dream Launcher, a 4-year-old gelding who won the 1 1/8-mile Victoria Park here last June, but underwent ankle surgery the following month and was through for the season.

"I'm really babying him a lot, because of the surgery," she said. "I haven't picked anything for him yet, but I'd like to run him relatively soon; maybe next month."

Retired Deputy Inxs looking good

Deputy Inxs, a Cappuccitti runner who was retired last August, is thriving at his Addison-Hall home.

"If you could see him today, you'd think he's a million-dollar horse," she said. "His back is as straight as a die, and he's muscled all over. He's 11 years old, and he looks like a 4-year-old."

While Cappuccitti is tempted, she currently has no plans for a Deputy Inxs comeback.

"He misses the track," she said. "I know that, for sure."

Changeintheweather aiming for Marine here

Trainer David Bell, who spent the winter at Gulfstream Park and stopped over at Keeneland with four horses, has been settling back in at Woodbine this week.

Bell had stayed home the past couple of off-seasons and one of the main reasons for his return south was Changeintheweather - the horse, not the climate.

A Kentucky-bred 3-year-old owned by Josephine Abercrombie's Pin Oak Stable, Changeintheweather finished a distant seventh in last Saturday's Illinois Derby at Sportsman's Park, eliminating himself from any consideration for the Kentucky Derby.

"He just didn't deal with the tight turns and the speed-favoring racetrack," said Bell, who sent out Changeintheweather to win the Grade 1 Grey at 1 1/16 miles here last fall.

Changeintheweather, who returned to Keeneland after the Illinois Derby, should be back at Woodbine in late April. His immediate target here will be the May 18 Marine, a Grade 3 race worth $150,000.

In the meantime, Bell will be sending out a promising pair of Canadian-bred 3-year-olds in separate seven-furlong races on Saturday's card.

Affirmed Feeling and Adjalah, the third and fourth-place finishers here in last October's 1 1/8 mile Coronation Futurity for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds, are embarking on campaigns which could lead them to the $1 million Queen's Plate here June 23.

A homebred owned by Ivan Dalos, Affirmed Feeling is entered in the fifth race, a maiden special. The colt wintered at Classic Mile Farm in Ocala, Florida.

Adjalah, a homebred owned by Les Pereira's Beclawat Stable, is entered in the fourth race, a first-level allowance. The colt, who also finished fourth in the Grey, spent the first part his winter at Ocala's Plumley Farm and then was sent down to Gulfstream, where he worked well.

Kiss a Native's next race on hold

Bell also had been looking forward to the return of Kiss a Native, but that plan has been put on hold indefinitely after the gelding recently had a chip removed from an ankle.

Kiss a Native, who was Canada's champion 3-year-old in 2000, had undergone surgery for a fractured cannon-bone at the conclusion of that campaign and did not make it back to the races until last August.

Following the Woodbine meeting, Kiss a Native was sent back to his original trainer, Bill White, in Florida, and ran well in three main-track starts there before finishing up the track when shipped to Louisiana for the New Orleans Handicap.

Kiss a Native then went back to the Franks farm in Florida and was being freshened pending his return to Bell when the problem was discovered.

Ginger Gold works toward May debut

Ginger Gold, Canada's champion 2-year-old filly last year, worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 on the main track here Thursday under jockey Patrick Husbands, who has been subbing on her for the injured Richard Dos Ramos.

Sid Attard, who trains Ginger Gold for owner Mel Lawson's Jim Dandy Stable, said the filly is on target to make her 2002 bow in the seven-furlong Fury Stakes here May 5.