09/11/2005 11:00PM

Atto runners crank it up


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - A to the Z and Vanderlin, the two invaders already on the grounds for Sunday's Atto Mile, both breezed five furlongs over Woodbine's E.P. Taylor turf course over the weekend.

As of Monday morning, a field of 11 was in store for the Atto Mile, a Grade 1, $1 million turf race for 3-year-olds and up.

Leroidesanimaux and Artie Schiller, both Grade 1 winners based in New York, are the leading candidates.

A to the Z, who had been based in California with trainer Paula Capestro, checked in last Thursday and had his first feel of the main turf course here Sunday.

While A to the Z was clocked in a moderate 1:05, his new rider, Todd Kabel, was far from discouraged.

"He was looking around on me; he really wasn't focusing for a while," said Kabel, who won last year's Atto Mile on Soaring Free for Sam-Son Farm. "But when he settled down, he gave me the impression he's going to have a beautiful kick. I really like the horse."

A to the Z's best career effort to date came in last November's Grade 1 Citation Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Hollywood Park, when he lost by a half-length to Leroidesanimaux.

Vanderlin, who had been based in England with trainer Andrew Balding, arrived more than three weeks ago and prepped for the Atto Mile in the Grade 2 Play the King Handicap here Aug. 27, winning that seven-furlong grass sprint by a head.

On Saturday, with exercise rider Leanne Masterton aboard, Vanderlin worked five furlongs in 1:02.60.

"He just went easy. I kept him on the bridle," said Masterton. "I stayed right in the middle of the course."

Locally based Le Cinquieme Essai, the Play the King runner-up, also worked on the main turf course Sunday, going four furlongs in 48 seconds under Karen Nielsen, wife and assistant of trainer Paul Nielsen.

Unbeaten Sophia's Prince also works

Sophia's Prince, another locally based candidate for the Atto Mile, worked five furlongs in 1:03.40 on the main track on Saturday under regular rider Simon Husbands.

"That was his easy work," said trainer John LeBlanc, who had also sent out Sophie's Prince in a five-furlong breeze in a bullet 58.40 six days earlier.

Sophia's Prince is perfect in three starts this season, including a track-record performance in the 6 1/2-furlong Shepperton in his last start, on Aug. 7.

"Right now he's done everything we've asked of him, and done everything really nicely," LeBlanc said.

* Leroidesanimaux and Artie Schiller each breezed five furlongs on the turf at Belmont on Sunday. Artie Schiller, trained by Jimmy Jerkens, was clocked in 1:00.19 under jockey Richard Migliore, who has the mount in the Atto Mile, while Leroidesanimaux went in a leisurely 1:03.09.


Atto Mile
Purse: $1 million; 1 mile, turf; Grade 1

A to the ZP. CapestroT. Kabel121
Artie SchillerJ. JerkensR. Migliore121
Awesome ActionS. LeslieR. Landry117
EstevanJ. CarrollIndefinte117
King of HappinessN. DrysdaleP. Valenzuela119
Le Cinquieme EssaiP. NielsenS. Bahen119
LeroidesanimauxB. FrankelJ. Velazquez124
MobilM. KeoghP. Husbands117
Royal RegaliaJ. NixonJ. Jones117
Sophia's PrinceJ. LeBlancS. Husbands117
VanderlinA. BaldingIndefinite121