05/28/2007 12:00AM

Eccentric helps barn hit double


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Roger Attfield had considered running both Eccentric and Palladio in the Grade 3 Eclipse on May 21 at Woodbine.

But Attfield entered only Palladio in the Eclipse, a 1 1/16-mile race on Polytrack, saving Eccentric for another day.

"He'd been training and looking superb, but I'd been having a bit of a problem with his blood," said Attfield. "Plus, I thought Palladio could win that race, and I really didn't want to run them against each other."

Attfield was spot on with Palladio, who won the Eclipse after stalking the pace. And he was doubly rewarded when Eccentric, benefiting from a similar trip, won Sunday's Grade 3 Connaught Cup at 1 1/16 miles on a turf course that had gone from good to yielding after an afternoon rainstorm.

"This horse can run on turf or on Polytrack," said Attfield. "When we had all that rain, I thought it would help him. I knew he'd like a bit of give in the ground. I think that's why he likes Polytrack."

Eccentric joined the Attfield barn last summer after establishing a reputation in Europe as a Polytrack specialist. But he had also won two stakes going 1 1/4 miles on good turf.

"He rates so well; he's got a great turn of foot," said Attfield. "He's a pretty versatile horse. I wouldn't know what his ideal distance is, honestly."

Palladio is heading for the Grade 3, $200,000 Dominion Day at 1 1/4 miles at Woodbine on July 1, and Eccentric should stay on turf and run the next day in the Grade 2, $300,000 King Edward at 1 1/8 miles.

"There wouldn't be any reason not to run him there," said Attfield, "unless we had a really dry time and the turf became very firm."

You Will Love Me's team celebrates

There was plenty of love going around at Woodbine on Saturday as trainer Earl Barnett, jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva, and owner and breeder Bill Jones celebrated the victory of You Will Love Me in the $125,000 Lady Angela.

You Will Love Me, the first stakes winner for Jones, could have wound up in other hands if she had not gone through the 2006 select yearling sale here without meeting her $12,000 reserve.

"We had some hock work done on her, and we brought her in around August last year," said Barnett. "When I got her, she was such a classy, easy horse to train. She's just a happy little filly. She has never shown any resistance to anything."

You Will Love Me debuted in an open six-furlong maiden special race here Nov. 3, but after breaking from the inside post in a 12-horse field she never got into contention and finished well back in 10th place.

"She got left a bit and wouldn't run into the Poly kickback," said Barnett. "We were pretty disappointed, but we just thought we would have to forget that."

Just over two weeks later, You Will Love Me returned in a seven-furlong Ontario-sired maiden special, and she broke well and won by 5 3/4 lengths.

After wintering in Ontario, You Will Love Me returned to Woodbine at the end of February.

In her season debut, a seven-furlong Ontario-sired first-level allowance, You Will Love Me dueled throughout and lost by a neck to the more seasoned Boldly Seductive, who came back to finish third in the Lady Angela.

"She did fight," said Barnett, "but my problem there was thinking I may have knocked her out. But her two breezes since that race were in hand, and both very solid. She showed me all her muscles were not sore, that she was a very supple horse."

The only question that remained concerned tactics, as Barnett and da Silva were well aware that the Lady Angela was shaping up as a race filled with speed.

Barnett and da Silva prepped You Will Love Me by having her sit behind a pair of workmates and then run around them at the wire during her latest workout.

That lesson worked nicely in the Lady Angela, as da Silva wound up stalking the pace while in the clear and You Will Love Me did the rest.

Leonnatus Anteas iffy for Plate Trial

Time may be running out on Leonnatus Anteas in his quest for the June 24 Queen's Plate, but his trainer, Kevin Attard, still refuses to wave the white flag.

Leonnatus Anteas, Canada's champion 2-year-old last year for the estate of Steve Stavro and Knob Hill Stable, is nominated to Saturday's 1o1/8-mile Plate Trial.

The Plate Trial, which is run three weeks before the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate, would be the first start since last November for Leonnatus Anteas.

"We still haven't decided," said Attard, who watched Leonnatus Anteas breeze six furlongs in 1:11.60 here Sunday.

Attard plans to have one definite Plate Trial representative for the Stavro outfit - Alezzandro, who was an impressive winner of a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special in his debut here May 13.

High Act also running out of time

Time also has become the enemy of High Act, who breezed five furlongs in 1:01 here Saturday.

"I just don't know if I can get him ready enough for the Plate Trial, after the time I lost with him," said Brian Lynch, who trains High Act for Stronach Stable. "He worked well, but I could tell by the way he's galloping out he's lost a bit of fitness."

High Act had a setback here this spring and has not started since March 3.

Markdale works for Plate Trial

Markdale had his major Plate Trial tune-up Saturday, working six furlongs in 1:12 under his new rider, Todd Kabel.

Skipped Bail, a 4-year-old stablemate, served as Markdale's target and was clocked in 1:13.40.

"Markdale left the pole about five lengths off him and ran by him," said Eric Coatrieux, who trains Markdale for Chiefswood Stable.

Markdale has started only three times, and ran second in the seven-furlong Queenston here May 5.