Updated on 09/16/2011 7:26AM

Atto may have a horse for his race


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It would be fitting for owner John Atto to have an entrant in the race he sponsors.

And while the Sept. 8 Atto Mile currently is little more than a speck on the horizon, In Frank's Honor will take the opening step on his possible path to that Grade 1 feature when he makes his local bow for trainer Sandy McPherson in Saturday's Connaught Cup at Woodbine.

In Frank's Honor was claimed for $62,500 from his last start at Gulfstream on March 2, which was a winning effort over 1 1/16 miles of firm turf.

Although 6 years old, In Frank's Honor was making just the 27th start in a career which has seen him compete at 12 different racetracks, including every major venue in New York, California, Kentucky, and Florida.

"When I saw him in the entries I said to John, 'Why not take a shot with this horse?' " said McPherson. "The two best races on his chart were one-turn miles.

"The Atto Mile was a consideration - John would like to have a horse in the race, obviously. But if he's not going to be competitive, we wouldn't go in there."

The efforts that particularly caught McPherson's eye came over one mile of turf at Belmont in 2001.

On June 8 of that year, In Frank's Honor won a classified allowance while earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 104.

In his next appearance, on July 4, the horse rallied to be beaten a neck by Affirmed Success in the Grade 3 Poker, improving his lifetime-best Beyer to 108.

"In his first start after that, Affirmed Success was beaten a nose in the Atto Mile," noted McPherson.

In Frank's Honor had turned in other impressive efforts earlier in his career, including a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby as a 3-year-old.

"We claim lots of these kinds of horses with back class," said McPherson, who also was impressed by In Frank's Honor's consistency. "And he looks like a horse who should really like this turf course.

"He looks like the type of turf horse that you can place where you want, and he'll give you that acceleration. Plus he likes firm turf, and we get lots of that in the summer."

Parose aims for Dominion Day

Parose, an 8-year-old who was claimed for $62,500 by Atto and McPherson here last December, is pointing for the $200,000 Dominion Day Handicap on July 1.

After running three times at Gulfstream, where he recorded a pair of seconds and one third, Parose was a smart winner of a classified allowance race in his local seasonal bow here April 27.

That race was billed as the prep for the May 11 Eclipse, a race to which Parose was not nominated.

"I try to run him once a month," said McPherson. "He's an old horse - I don't like to do that much with him, and he doesn't have to run that much to be effective."

Wicklow Highlands gets a rest

McPherson also reports that Wicklow Highlands, who was a game winner of the classified allowance prep for the Vigil but then finished last of eight in the Vigil itself, is getting some time off.

"He's going to have six weeks, at the farm," said the trainer.

Wicklow Highlands, a 6-year-old, was claimed for $50,000 by McPherson and Atto here last July.

The horse went on to finish second, beaten three-quarters of a length by eventual Canadian Horse of the Year, Win City, in November's Autumn Handicap and won for $50,000 at Gulfstream last winter before his victorious return.

Pick six bonus on weekend cards

Woodbine will be offering a guaranteed $25,000 pick six jackpot on the live Thoroughbred cards Saturday and Sunday, and again on both days the following weekend.

The bonus payout is available to HorsePlayer Interactive members who place winning pick six wagers through their accounts, either by phone or in person.

"In the event that there is a 6-of-6 payoff, we will recalculate the price manually and determine what the payoff would have been had there been at least $25,000 in the pool," said Steve Mitchell, vice president, wagering operations, for Woodbine.

"Then, we will put a top-up payment in those customers' accounts who made the wager and had the winner through them."

In the past, Woodbine has proposed "seeding" the pick six, to ensure a guaranteed minimum pool through normal parimutuel channels, but has been unable to obtain regulatory approval.

Phantom Light won't make Plate

Queen's Plate nominee Phantom Light worked four furlongs in 46.80 seconds on the training track here Thursday morning, sharing the bullet with his workmate, the 3-year-old filly Smart Choice.

Phantom Light, owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Roger Attfield, started just twice at 2, finishing second over 1 1/16 miles in his finale here Nov. 10, but missed some training time after arriving here from Keeneland this spring.

"He's very doubtful for the Plate," said Attfield, who did not nominate Phantom Light to the June 1 Plate Trial but did nominate the colt to the June 8 Victoria Park, the 1 1/8-mile race which is the last stakes stop on the road to the June 23 Plate. "We're just running out of time."

* Apprentice jockey Chantal Sutherland will be serving a three-day suspension Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday after the stewards ruled she had come out with her mount, Swinging Janie Gal, and interfered with Search for Blue in the ninth race here last Monday. Swinging Janie Gal was disqualified and placed second.

Wray Lawrence, trainer of Swinging Janie Gal, has appealed the stewards' decision on behalf of himself and owner Bruno Schickedanz. The case will go before the Thoroughbred Industry Appeal Board at its next session.