11/20/2001 12:00AM

Joe Attard, trainer, dead at 68

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TORONTO, Ontario - Joe Attard, a fixture on the Ontario circuit since the early 1970's and the eldest of four training brothers here, died early Tuesday morning at age 68.

Attard, who was suffering from cancer, recently had been admitted to a local hospital. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Attard, born in B'Kara, Malta, emigrated to Canada in the 1950's when he was in his mid-20's and became the first member of Attard family to make his way to the racetrack. He was followed here by brothers Tino and Sid, who joined him in the training profession and remain successful members of the local colony, and Larry, who forged a highly successful career as a jockey before retiring after the 1997 season and becoming a trainer last year.

Joe Attard's son, Steve, is also a trainer here and a daughter, Josie DePaulo, is assistant trainer to her husband, Mike DePaulo. Attard is also survived by two other daughters, Cindy and Michelle, and his wife, Connie.

Attard campaigned several stakes winners over the years, the most recent being My Imperial Slew and Parisianprospector. His earlier stakes winners included Cardel's Ruckus, My Dad Cornelius, Rulers Sceptre, Sweet Blance, and Miss Tressette.

But perhaps his most memorable moment came here in 1981 when Wayover, whom he trained for Jim and "Hoppy" Carnwith and who was ridden by Larry Attard, finished second in the Queen's Plate, beaten a nose by Fiddle Dancer Boy, with eventual 3-year-old champion Frost King a half-length back in third.