09/08/2005 11:00PM

Atto isn't only game in town


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Most of the scuttlebutt this week will center on next Sunday's Grade 1, $1 million Atto Mile on turf for 3-year-olds and upward.

But the Canadian Handicap and the Summer, a pair of Grade 2 turf stakes on the Atto Mile undercard, would stand as features in their own right.

The Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile race worth $300,000, is the division's major local stepping-stone to the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile turf race worth a record $1 million on Oct. 23.

Classic Stamp, who won last year's Canadian and was third in the E.P. Taylor, will be looking to defend her title and record her first win of the season. Owned and bred by Bill Sorokolit, Classic Stamp hasn't had much go her way in five starts this year and comes off a nose loss in the 1 1/16-mile Canadian prep.

Other locally based fillies and mares eyeing the Canadian include Ambitious Cat, the winner of the Canadian prep; Noble Stella, who upset the Grade 3 Dance Smartly; Black Rock Road, who took last year's Carotene and was third in the Canadian prep; and Mona Rose, who won the Dance Smartly last year and will be making her first start for trainer Steve Attard.

Julie Bell, Woodbine's stakes coordinator, said Spotlight, Shaconage, Natalie Beach, and Dynamia all are serious Canadian Handicap candidates based south of the border.

Spotlight finished fourth last time out in the Grade 3 Matchmaker, a 1 1/8-mile turf race at Monmouth Park on Aug. 7 in which Classic Stamp finished sixth and Noble Stella last of 10.

Christophe Clement, who trains Spotlight, won the 2002 running of the Canadian with Calista.

Shaconage ended an 11-race losing streak when she romped in the Ellis Park Breeders' Cup Turf over 1 1/16 miles on Aug. 20. Trained by Mitch Shirota, Shaconage shipped to Woodbine and won the Ontario Colleen over one mile on turf here in 2003.

Natalie Beach last raced July 16, finishing third in the Robert G. Dick Breeders' Cup Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf at Delaware Park. Her trainer is James Toner.

Dynamia was unplaced when favored in the West Virginia Senate President's in her last start at Mountaineer Park on Aug. 14. Her trainer is Michael Dickinson.

Top two in prep back for Summer

Seaside Retreat and Bear's Kid, the one-two finishers in the seven-furlong turf prep here Sept. 1, are among the leading local candidates for the $250,000 Summer.

Bell's tentative list for the Summer also includes four invaders, including a trio of last-out maiden turf winners in New York.

Baur Au Lac, who won his only start over six furlongs at Belmont on July 2, and Wedding Singer, who won over 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga on Aug. 26, both are trained by Todd Pletcher.

Loushe, trained by Michael Brice, won over six furlongs at Belmont on July 23.

The most intriguing foreign prospect for the Summer, however, is Santiago Star, who is based in England with trainer Andrew Balding. An Irish-bred, Santiago Star has raced five times, winning his maiden over seven furlongs on good turf at Newmarket and most recently finishing third over a mile on soft going at Sandown Park.

Balding has had success in North American races this year, winning the Wonder Where with Silver Highlight, finishing second in the Royal North with Saint Etienne, and upsetting the Grade 3 Play the King on Aug. 27 with Vanderlin.

The Play the King, a seven-furlong turf handicap, is the major local prep for the Atto Mile.

Vanderlin, who will run in the Atto, was scheduled to work over the E.P. Taylor turf course here Saturday under his regular exercise rider, Leanne Masterton.

A to the Z, the only other Atto Mile invader currently on the grounds, is scheduled to work over the E.P. Taylor course Sunday under Todd Kabel, who has picked up the mount.

Kabel won last year's Atto Mile aboard Soaring Free.

Leroidesanimaux to run in Atto Mile

The Woodbine media office reported Friday that Leroidesanimaux, winner of his last six starts, including a pair of Grade 1 stakes in California, was scheduled to arrive here Wednesday for the Atto Mile.

Trainer Bobby Frankel said he has given the mount to John Velazquez, who rode Leroidesanimaux to victory last out in the Grade 2 Fourstardave at Saratoga on Aug. 27.

'Ladies Night' theme of meeting

The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will be holding its monthly meeting here Wednesday, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the second-floor International Room.

The theme of the meeting will be "Ladies Night," and Vicki Pappas, chairperson of the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society and former stakes coordinator for Woodbine, will be the mistress of ceremonies.

Other head table guests expected include trainers Bev Buck, Debbie England, and Rita Schnitzler; jockey Jill Scharfstein; and handicapper, writer, and oddsmaker Jennifer Morrison.

New members and guests are welcome.