08/16/2001 12:00AM

Familiar rivals back for Atto Mile


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - An impressive list of 51 nominees, including last year's two-three finishers, Arkadian Hero and Affirmed Success, has been unveiled for the fourth running of the $1 million Atto Mile.

Both Arkadian Hero and Affirmed Success are expected back for the 2001 Atto Mile, a Grade 1 turf race for 3-year-olds and up which will be run at Woodbine on Sept. 9.

Arkadian Hero, beaten a nose here last year after dwelling at the start, went on to finish 14th and last in the Breeders' Cup Mile after again experiencing problems at the gate.

A 6-year-old horse trained by Luca Cumani, Arkadian Hero has started three times this year, with his most recent effort a good third in the Group 2 Queen Anne, a straight one-mile race at Ascot on June 19.

Affirmed Success, beaten 1 1/2 lengths when making his first appearance here, later finished fourth, just a half-length behind the winning War Chant, in the BC Mile.

A 7-year-old gelding trained by Rick Schosberg, Affirmed Success is perfect in two starts this year, the most recent a neck score in Belmont's Grade 3 Poker over a mile of grass July 4.

Other American runners eyeing the Atto Mile include Irish Prize, Paga, and Thady Quill, presently based at Del Mar; Brahms, City West, and Forbidden Apple, currently at Saratoga; Union One, trained in Maryland by Michael Dickinson; and Where's Taylor, who is at Arlington Park.

Irish Prize is trained by Neil Drysdale, who won the 1998 edition of this race (then known as the Woodbine Mile) with Labeeb and then sent out Hawkley Hill to finish first the following year only to be disqualified and placed fourth.

A 5-year-old gelding owned by Gainsborough Farm, which also campaigned Labeeb, Irish Prize was scratched from the July 28 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar and is training up to the Atto Mile.

Irish Prize has won four stakes from five starts this year, including successes over a mile of grass in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park on May 28 and the Grade 2 Firecracker BC at Churchill Downs in his last appearance July 4.

Thady Quill is trained by Bobby Frankel, who upset last year's Atto Mile with Riviera.

A 4-year-old colt owned by Gary Seidler, Thady Quill is coming off a win in the Wickerr Handicap, a restricted one-mile turf race at Del Mar on July 27.

Riviera used last year's Wickerr, in which he finished second but was placed first via a disqualification, as his stepping-stone to success here last year.

Woodbine-based runners with designs on the Mile include Kimberlite Pipe, Numerous Times, Red Sea and Wake at Noon.

Quiet Resolve, who inherited the top spot in the 1999 Mile after Hawksley Hill was disqualified, is nominated this year but his career now is geared toward longer turf races, including Saturday's 1 1/4-mile Arlington Million.

Well-traveled Fun to Run returns

A former Woodbine Mile participant will see action here Saturday as Fun to Run, who finished 10th of 11 in 1998, has returned from the south for the 6 1/2- furlong Shepperton Stakes.

An 8-year-old gelding who was bred in Ontario by his original trainer, Jim Day, Fun to Run made the first four starts of his career at Woodbine before being sold privately.

Fun to Run has raced since then for Carlis Pixley, who initially trained the horse for Bob Warnock and now also owns him.

Not only will Fun to Run be making the 83rd start of his career but he has competed at an array of tracks including Blue Ribbon Downs and Remington Park in Oklahoma; Churchill Downs and Keeneland in Kentucky; Delta Downs, Fair Grounds, and Louisiana Downs in Louisiana; Fairmount Park and Hawthorne in Illinois; Hoosier Park in Indiana; Horsemen's Park in Nebraska; Lone Star Park and Sam Houston Race Park in Texas; Oaklawn Park in Arkansas; and Prairie Meadows in Iowa.

Along the way, Fun to Run has won 14 races, finished second 14 times and third 12 times, and banked $415,497.

The Shepperton marks Fun to Run's third trip back to Woodbine as he also finished second, beaten a head, when shipping up for the six-furlong New Providence in May of his 1998 campaign.

A Fleet Dancer ships to Saratoga

A Fleets Dancer breezed five furlongs in 1:03.60 on the training track here Thursday morning and then vanned out for his engagement in Sunday's $300,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap. Regular rider Robert Landry has been given the call by trainer Roger Attfield.

Ten Flat, Attfield's first starter of the 2001 Saratoga meeting, was back in his stall Thursday after finishing second in a six-furlong allowance race the previous day.

* Apprentice jockey Jeff Burningham will serve a suspension of 30 calendar days, starting Saturday, after his appeal was denied by the Ontario Racing Commission at a hearing Wednesday. The stewards had cited Burningham for "riding in an unsafe manner" when aboard Dema Wail, who finished first but was disqualified and placed last, in the ninth race here June 15.