10/28/2007 11:00PM

Eccentric's reputation rises

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - Eccentric thrust himself into the Sovereign Award picture for Canadian champion male turf horse honors with a determined victory over yielding ground in last Saturday's $100,400 Chief Bearhart Stakes at Woodbine.

Eccentric was running back just two weeks after his troubled outing in the Durham Cup Stakes on the Polytrack, in which he was stuck in traffic on the far turn before closing strongly for second.

"He's a lovely old horse," trainer Roger Attfield said. "He's got so much try in him. He never throws a clunker at you. He loves the turf and the Polytrack. I wasn't worried about the soft turf at all. The only thing he hates is a traditional dirt track."

Eccentric upset Grade 1 winners Sky Conqueror and Jambalaya here in the Grade 2 King Edward Breeders' Cup Stakes on July 2. He never reappeared until the Grade 3 Durham Cup, much to the frustration of the Canadian Hall of Fame trainer.

"He had a blind splint, and has a few other older problems," Attfield said. "I just have to look after and work around his wear and tear."

Attfield said he had some trepidation running Eccentric back on short rest in the 1 1/4-mile Chief Bearhart.

"I wasn't 100 percent sure that I was going to run him," Attfield said. "That was a big race for him last time. He really had to do a whole lot of running the last part. It's a shame he got beat, because I think he could have won."

Attfield said Eccentric could make his next start Nov. 17 in the Grade 3 Autumn Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile route on the Polytrack. A win there would make him a Sovereign contender for the champion older male award.

Attfield captured the 2006 Chief Bearhart with Pellegrino, whom he scratched Saturday in favor of Sunday's Labeeb Stakes, where he finished ninth.

Shilla wins stakes debut impressively

Shilla outran several promising Ontario-bred 2-year-old fillies while taking her stakes debut in Saturday's $150,400 Fanfreluche. With David Clark riding for trainer Nick Gonzalez, Shilla ran six furlongs in 1:09.62, which translated into a big Beyer Speed Figure of 94.

Gonzalez believes Shilla could be a prospect for next year's Canadian Triple Tiara, a series for Canadian-foaled 3-year-old fillies.

"It looks like she can do just about anything," Gonzalez said. "She's a very simple filly to train. She's done everything right. She got into some trouble in her first few starts and learned from those races. I was a little concerned about dropping her back to six furlongs after she had just run seven-eighths, but David was really confident."

Gonzalez said Shilla will make her next start in the Dec. 2 Ontario Lassie, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for Ontario-bred juvenile fillies.

"I want to run her once two turns before the year is over," Gonzalez said. "Then, we'll make out winter plans for her."

Awesome Action ends season with win

Awesome Action, a 7-year-old trained by Sue Leslie, won his third race in six starts this year in Sunday's $102,000 Labeeb. After racing well back in the early going under Robert Landry, he rallied down the center of the turf course to get up in the final strides.

Landry said Awesome Action didn't enjoy the yielding ground.

"He really wasn't comfortable over the surface," Landry said. "He would prefer it a little firmer. He's an old guy, but he's a courageous guy, and he gave me everything he had."

Leslie said Awesome Action is headed for a well-deserved winter vacation in Florida.

"This is his best year," Leslie said. "For some reason, he's found his soul. He's always been a nice horse, and he did get real unlucky in a couple races last year."

Awesome Action is owned by Leslie, Don Meehan, and Curtis and Nancy Joseph. Curtis Joseph, once a National Hockey League all-star goaltender, is unsigned for the current NHL season, but is hoping to hook up with a team, according to Leslie.

Rahy's Attorney gives Landry a sweep

Rahy's Attorney won the final turf race of the meeting in the $127,800 Bunty Lawless, which gave Landry a sweep of Sunday's two stakes events.

Rahy's Attorney, a 3-year-old, defeated older Ontario-sired opposition in the one-mile turf race, giving him his fifth score in nine starts at the meeting. Trainer Ian Black said he plans on putting the gelding away for the year.

"There's not much else for him," Black said. "He's had such a good year."

Starticus shines in maiden win

The lightly raced Starticus could be an up-and-comer on the local scene off his 15-length maiden triumph Oct. 22 at Fort Erie. His time of 1:09.32 earned him a 95 Beyer.

According to trainer Ralph Biamonte, Starticus got heat stroke after his only other outing on the Polytrack here April 29. After regrouping, Biamonte said he decided to look for a confidence-building spot for him, and that maiden special on the dirt at Fort Erie fit the bill.

Biamonte said he hopes to run Starticus back in a first-level allowance before the end of the meeting, which concludes Dec. 9.