Le Cinquieme Essai Holds Off Becrux at Woodbine

(from Woodbine report)
Bill Scott's homebred Le Cinquieme Essai, a former Sovereign Award winner, repulsed a late challenge from Becrux to win the $202,400 Play the King Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine Saturday.

Ridden as usual by Steve Bahen, the 7-year-old gelding had been winless in five starts since July 4 of last year at Fort Erie.

He sat a patient third for most of the seven furlong feature over a 'good' E.P. Taylor Turf Course, as Marco Be Good took the field through a quarter in :23.09 and a half in :46.37.

However, when Bahen cut the chestnut son of Fastness loose mid-stretch, he resolutely gained command, then fended off all comers, finishing a half-length in front of a hard-charging import, the Neil Drysdale-trained Becrux and jockey Brice Blanc. The 27-1 shot Millfleet was a length further back in third.

During his losing streak, Le Cinquieme Essai had come close in four tries while taking on the best on the grounds. He lost decisions in three photo finishes and was beaten only 1 1/4 lengths by Sky Conqueror in the King Edward Breeders' Cup (Can-II) at Woodbine on July 3. He also finished third last year to champion Leroidesanimaux in the Atto Mile (Can-I).

In his latest effort, he was beaten a head by Therecomesatiger in the Sea O'Erin Handicap over one mile on the grass at Arlington Park on Aug. 5.

"This horse is a beautiful horse to ride," said Bahen. "He does whatever you ask him to do. It worked out perfect. When I called on him, he came running."

"When he got back from Chicago, for whatever reason, he just started eating better, doing better, putting on weight. I was pretty happy with the way he breezed the other day," explained winning trainer Paul Nielsen.

He said the $1 million Woodbine Mile (Can-I) Sept. 17, would hopefully be the next start for Le Cinquieme Essai.

Le Cinquieme Essai, the only millionaire in the field of 11, earned $120,000 ($Can) for the victory. He was named Canada's top 3-year-old for 2002, winning the Prince of Wales Stakes.

Sent postward a slight 2-1 choice over Becrux, Le Cinquieme Essai returned $6.70, $2.90, and $2.50--combining with Becrux ($3.30, $2.80) for a $20.70 (3-7) exacta. Millfleet ($7.50) rounded out a trifecta worth $237.10.

Dalavin finished fourth, followed by My Lucky Strike, Vicarage, Awesome Action, Raw Power, Marco Be Good, Sophia's Prince, and Main Executive.

(Chart, Equibase)