09/18/2005 11:00PM

'Leroi' makes mark in Atto annals

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Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Leroidesanimaux, John Velazquez up, cools down after the Atto Mile.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - As quietly as he had arrived here at Woodbine last Friday morning, Leroidesanimaux was long gone on the road back to Belmont by the time the sun rose on Monday.

But despite the brevity of his stay, Leroidesanimaux is certain to leave a lasting impression - for simply destroying his opposition here in Sunday's Grade 1, $1,001,600 .

"The Atto Mile is such a prestigious race, I've been watching it for a number of years," said Brian Lynch, the Woodbine-based assistant to Leroidesanimaux's trainer, Bobby Frankel. "But, I've never seen a horse win like that."

That's because no other horse ever has. Leroidesanimaux's winning margin of 7 3/4 lengths was almost double that of the cumulative total of the margins in the first eight winners of the Atto Mile.

Geri's 1 1/2-length victory in the inaugural Atto Mile had been the most decisive to date, and four runnings were decided by heads and noses.

"That was the easiest I've ever seen him win," said Frankel, praising Leroidesanimaux at the post-race press conference here. "He usually doesn't draw away. He was really strong today."

Any speculation that Leroidesanimaux might be hindered by the going, which was upgraded to "yielding" for the Atto Mile after being listed as "soft" earlier in the day, was quickly dispelled as the favorite took control of the race under jockey John Velazquez.

And Frankel, who at various points had considered racing Leroidesanimaux in Belmont's Oct. 2 Kelso or Keeneland's Oct. 8 Shadwell Turf Mile, had reason beyond the obvious financial benefits to be happy with his ultimate choice.

"That's one thing we got out of this race," said Frankel. "We know he can handle soft turf. It's a good thing he did run on it, in case it rains for the Breeders' Cup."

Leroidesanimaux will have to be supplemented for the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Mile, at a cost of $135,000, but that's unlikely to keep him in the barn on the big day, Oct. 29 at Belmont.

Although no Atto Mile winner has gone on to win the Breeders' Cup Mile, Touch of the Blues (2003) and Geri (1997) finished second, and Good Journey (2002) and Labeeb (1998) were third.

It will certainly be no surprise if Leroidesanimaux, with eight consecutive victories and a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 114 in the Atto, turns out to be the first horse to complete that double.

Frankel shall return

Frankel plans to be back at Woodbine with King's Drama for the Oct. 23 Canadian International, the Grade 1, 1 1/2-mile turf race that offers a record purse of $2 million this season.

King's Drama, a 5-year-old gelding, won the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga in August and then finished second to defending Breeders' Cup Turf champion Better Talk Now in the Grade 1 Man o' War at Belmont.

Frankel, who won last year's Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes with Commercante, also hopes to be represented in this year's $1 million running of the 1 1/4-mile filly-and-mare turf race on Canadian International Day.

"I've got some good fillies," said Frankel. "I might find one."

Woodbine runners hold their own

There were plenty of shippers for the Canadian and Summer, the Grade 2 supporting features to the Atto Mile here Sunday, but the invaders went home with little to show for their efforts.

Classic Stamp, trained by Darwin Banach, won the Canadian for the second consecutive year, with locally based Ambitious Cat, Mona Rose, and Noble Stella completing the superfecta this time.

Natalie Beach, finishing fifth, had the best result of the three out-of-towners in the nine-horse field.

Classic Stamp is the first career stakes winner for Banach and for her rider, Emma Wilson, the apprentice who leads all riders at Woodbine in races won.

"I can't use that word 'unlucky' again," said Banach, who had sent out Classic Stamp to finish second twice in three outings after taking over as her trainer this summer.

The condition of the turf, rated "soft" for the Canadian, was not a particular concern, according to Banach.

"The biggest thing with her is she's just been doing so good lately," said Banach. "I thought if Emma kept her in contention, where she had a chance to run them down, she could. She did exactly that."

Classic Stamp will aim next for the E.P. Taylor, in which she finished a close third last year.

Locals run one-two in Summer

Bear's Kid, an Alberta transplant making his second start here for trainer Reade Baker, and Badge of Truth, based here with trainer Malcolm Pierce, ran one-two in the seven-horse field for the Summer.

Bear's Kid finished second in the Sept. 1 Summer prep at seven furlong over yielding turf about two weeks after joining Baker's barn.

"He'd had a long van ride from out West, and he bled that day," said Baker. "He was going with Lasix this time, and I expected big things."

Wedding Singer, running third, did the best in the Summer among four invaders from south of the border, while Santiago Star, who had shipped over from England, was a late scratch following a minor race-day mishap.

"He just gave himself a little knock," said trainer Andrew Balding, adding that Santiago Star will remain at Woodbine and might run in a first-level allowance race at one mile on turf Oct. 2.

Bear's Kid, a Kentucky-bred, is scheduled to make his next start here in the Grade 3, $250,000 Grey Breeders' Cup Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile dirt race here Oct. 10.