08/05/2007 11:00PM

Leonnatus Anteas returns as a winner


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - While Canadian-bred 3-year-olds were featured in the Breeders' Stakes here Sunday, the horse who could ultimately be seen as the best in the division saw action earlier on the program.

Leonnatus Anteas, trained by Kevin Attard, was making his second start of the season and defeated a solid group of older rivals in a third-level optional $80,000 claimer over seven furlongs on turf.

"I definitely think he's by far the best 3-year-old in Canada, by far," said Attard, who also sent out Alezzandro to finish sixth as the favorite in the Breeders'. "He's had an interrupted campaign so far. It's nice to see him back to his winning ways."

Canada's champion 2-year-old male when undefeated in three appearances, all in stakes, Leonnatus Anteas battled physical problems over the winter and did not make his seasonal bow until June 3.

Leonnatus Anteas finished second, beaten a nose, in that seven-furlong opener while competing under the same conditions as Sunday's race, and was slated to return three weeks later in the Queen's Plate.

The colt developed an infected pastern, however, and spent Queen's Plate weekend in the University of Guelph's veterinary clinic.

"He's been dying to do something; he was getting kind of edgy," Attard said. "He was geared to running in the Plate, and his plans were put on hold, but try telling him that. Six weeks was a long time to wait.

"I thought Sunday's race was a good starting point."

The $150,000 Ontario Derby, an open 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds on Sept. 30, would be the only remaining opportunity here for Leonnatus Anteas against his own age group.

In the meantime, Attard will be keeping a serious eye on Saratoga's Grade 3, $100,000 Saranac, a 1 3/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds Sept. 2.

"I don't think the 1 3/16 miles would be a problem for him," said Attard, adding that he also has nominated Leonnatus Anteas to the Gradeo2, $500,000 Super Derby, a 1o1/8-mile race at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 22.

Loney finishes 1-2 in Shepperton

Trainer Radlie Loney had a big day here Sunday as he sent out Main Executive and Cool Selection for a one-two finish in the $126,200 Shepperton, a 6 1/2-furlong stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward.

Loney's other two starters on the card, As Expected and San Geminiano, both finished second.

The 5-year-old Main Executive and the 8-year-old Cool Selection are half-brothers. Their dam, Dream Smartly, also produced Blonde Executive, a 6-year-old mare who retired to the breeding shed as a multiple stakes winner and Canada's champion sprinter of 2004.

Main Executive, also a multiple stakes winner, was the runner-up in the Sovereign Award sprint voting last year.

"I thought they would run one-two in the Shepperton," said Loney, who is the private trainer for Bruno Brothers Farm. "But I would have been happier if the older horse had beat his young brother or they'd finished in a dead heat."

Cool Selection, who returned to Loney's barn this spring and began his campaign at the $12,500 claiming level, now has started in back-to-back stakes and was beaten by just a neck in the Shepperton.

"He must have decided his sister and brother had a good life and that he wanted to share in the good times," Loney said.

The $125,000 Overskate, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward here Sept. 19, is the next Ontario-sired stakes on the schedule, and Loney probably will be looking for interim spots for his sprinting tag team.

Gonzalez runners take bulk of purse

The math worked for trainer Nick Gonzalez here in last Saturday's Nandi as he sent out one-third of the field and took home 70 percent of the $126,600 purse.

Executrix earned the $75,000 winner's share in the six-furlong dash for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies, while Do It Anyway picked up third money of $13,750, and Executive Decision took home the guaranteed starter fee of $400 after ending sixth.

Owned and bred by Tucci Stable, Executrix was making her third stakes appearance.

"I really thought she was our best chance because she had the most experience," said Gonzalez, who was thrilled when Executrix drew the No. 8 post. "I knew she was going to get an unpressured trip, and we wanted to see if we could rate her."

Jockey Ray Sabourin played his part as Executrix had a perfect stalking trip, rallying for a half-length victory.

The win gives Gonzalez confidence in sending Executrix on to the $125,000 Muskoka, a seven-furlong yearling sales stakes for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies here Sept. 3.

Executrix went through the ring at the select sale but her $20,000 reserve was not met.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez was equally proud of Do It Anyway, a member of his Fort Erie division who had never stepped on Polytrack.

"We brought her right back here, and put her right back in her same stall," Gonzalez said. "She was a perfect little lady over there. She looks like she's got a nice future, too. She will be able to go farther."