11/15/2010 5:59PM

Attards bring home weekend's stakes glory

Michael Burns
Stunning Stag, with Gerry Olquin up, wins the Autumn.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - A father and son shared the stakes spotlight here this past weekend as 60-year-old Sid Attard sent out Stunning Stag to capture Saturday's $171,000 Autumn and 29-year-old Paul Attard saddled Anne's Beauty for her victory in Sunday's $150,400 Glorious Song.
Stunning Stag, a 6-year-old gelding, was recording his second stakes score and was the 73rd winner in a stakes race for Sid Attard, who began his career in 1977.

Anne's Beauty, a 2-year-old filly, was making her stakes debut and was the second stakes winner for Paul Attard, who worked as an assistant to his father before hanging out his own shingle in 2002.

Stunning Stag has been campaigning for Sid Attard's wife, Janice, since being claimed for $40,000 from his fifth race, on Nov. 17, 2007. In 21 starts for his current interests, Stunning Stag has won seven times, finished second and third on another 10 occasions including five stakes, and earned $663,193.

Stunning Stag, as an Ontario foal, picked up $18,000 bonus money in addition to the regular $90,000 share of the Grade 3 Autumn to bring his yearly bankroll to $346,020.

"He ran the best race of his life," said Attard, who had watched Stunning Stag rally from seventh place in the field of eight and roll to a convincing 3 3/4-length victory under Gerry Olguin. "Sometimes he has speed in front of him, and he relaxes on his own. When you pull on him, he won't relax."

Stunning Stag, who also scored impressively in the allowance prep for the Autumn at the same 1 1/16 mile distance, is not scheduled to see action again this season.

"There are no races for him," said Attard, who plans to winter Stunning Stag at nearby Goldmart Farm, an outfit for which he also trains horses here.

Owner impressed with trainer

Anne's Beauty, a Kentucky-bred owned by Rob Smithen, was making just her third start and her first since Aug. 27 in the seven-furlong Glorious Song.

"It was a great training job," said Smithen, after watching Anne's Beauty come from off the pace to collar the odds-on invader Nina Fever and then prevail by a head following a long drive under jockey David Clark.

Anne's Beauty debuted here July 31 with a third-place finish over seven furlongs on turf and then won her maiden over 6 1/2 furlongs on Polytrack four weeks later.

Paul Attard had nominated Anne's Beauty to the Grade 3 Natalma, a one-mile turf race here Sept. 16, but elected to wait for a less demanding spot.

"We wanted to give her an easy race, but the allowance race didn't go," said Attard.

Anne's Beauty then was entered in the Grade 3 Mazarine, a 1 1/16-mile race here Oct. 9, and while she made it into the gate, she wound up being a non-starter.

"She went up in the gate, and we had to scratch her," said Attard. "We took our time after that. We schooled her, and schooled her."

Anne's Beauty evidently learned her lessons well, as she came up with what was by far her best career effort in the Glorious Song.

"I thought she'd run well, but I didn't know about the shipper," said Attard. 'I thought it could set up for her. I didn't think she'd be that far back, but I didn't expect fractions that fast, either.
"Everything worked out, and David gave her a great ride."

Anne's Beauty will wind up her campaign on the Glorious Song note and could be headed south in the near future.

"We'll probably send her to Florida, give her a month off, and then put her in light training," said Attard. "She's as good on turf as she is on Polytrack, and I think that's a bonus. I also think she'll handle two turns, no problem."

Two in less-than-perfect shape

Southdale and Big Red Mike both disappointed in the Autumn and came out of the race the worse for wear, according to their respective connections.

Favored at 7-5, Southdale stalked the pace and took the lead in midstretch only to falter and finish sixth, 6 3/4 lengths behind Stunning Stag.

"He's not 100 percent," said trainer Ian Black.

Southdale, a homebred 4-year-old colt who races for Rod Ferguson, had won the Grade 3 Durham Cup at 1 1/8 miles in his start before the Autumn and captured the Grade 3 Eclipse at 1 1/16 miles here this spring.

Big Red Mike, winner of the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial and 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate, had finished a solid second behind Stunning Stag in the Autumn prep but was a distant last-place finisher on Saturday.
"He sliced his pastern, probably in the gate, and he came out of the race with a one-inch laceration in the bulb of his heel," said Nick Gonzalez, who trains the homebred 3-year-old Big Red Mike for owner Dom Romeo. "We treated him right away with antibiotics, and he walked on it [Sunday] morning. We'll keep him here for about a week, and then he should head down to Florida."

Fifty Proof has strong work

Black sent out Fifty Proof to breeze six furlongs in 1:15 here Sunday morning in his last major move before heading to Tokyo for the Nov. 28 Japan Cup.

"It was a good work," said Black, noting that Fifty Proof had finished strongly and galloped out well with his regular rider Justin Stein in the irons.

Fifty Proof heads into the Grade 1 Japan Cup, a $5.87 million race over 1 1/2 miles on turf, off two solid efforts here over the same distance including a close fifth-place finish in the Oct. 16 Canadian International
A 4-year-old Ontario-sired gelding, Fifty Proof races for the partnership of David Willmot's  Kinghaven Farm, John Fielding, and Ben Hutzel.