11/23/2010 12:55PM

Million-dollar mark within Steve Attard's reach


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Steve Attard and Mike DePaulo are brothers-in-law and brothers in arms in the training ranks here at Woodbine Racetrack.

And while both Attard and DePaulo already are moderately satisfied with their results at the 2010 meeting each has one major item on their wish lists for the final two weeks, which began with Wednesday’s program.

Steve Attard, 48, has his sights set on his stable reaching $1 million in purse money.

“Last year was the first year we did it, just at Woodbine,” said Attard. “This year we lost a big outfit, Beclawat, and it would be very important for us to do it again.”

DePaulo, whose barn has won at least one stakes here at the past nine meetings, has been blanked on that front in 13 tries here this season.

“It would be nice to end that drought,” said DePaulo, 46, whose wife and assistant Josie provides the Attard connection.

Attard’s target is well within reach as he heads into Thursday’s program with earnings of $991,624 based on a record line of 20-26-28 from 153 starts and with his only entrant, Sound of Thunder, a contender in the eighth race.

Attard has had just six stakes starters this season and has particularly missed the contributions of Saskawea, a homebred Beclawat Stable mare who earned $822,161 in her 24-start career before retiring last fall at age 5.

The allowance and claiming horses who make up the bulk of the operation have managed to pick up the slack.

“Everybody’s going good,” said Attard. “But we’ve had an unbelievable number of seconds and thirds, with a lot of them by noses and heads.”

Iwillgotothemoon, an Ontario-sired 3-year-old gelding who was a stakes-placed winner of two races for owner Sheldon Pettle, was the most productive runner in the barn with earnings of $134,475.

Attard also took particular delight in the recent success of Spider Rock, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Dennis Morrison and Karen Schmidt who rallied up the rail to score by a neck in a $40,000 claimer here last Friday.

“He comes to run all the time for me,” said Attard, who could start Spider Rock once more at the meeting.

Variable Rate, a Manitoba-bred 3-year-old filly, knocked hard before finally winning her maiden in her eighth career start here Nov. 7

“I like her a lot,” said Attard, who also could send out Variable Rate once more at the meeting.

The trainer also has high hopes for Burmah Star and Kerry Convent, a pair of Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies who performed encouragingly in their only starts to date.

Burmah Star, a $2,000 buy at the preferred session of the local yearling sale, picked up $11,400 for her second-place finish.

Kerry Convent, a homebred owned by Dr. Paul O’Brien, was beaten a neck when third in her opener and also has a potential spot in the last condition book.

Attard client interested in claiming horses

Attard also should be getting new production from a new source as one of his owners, David Clancy of Track West Racing, has elected to try his hand at the claiming game.

I Got This, haltered for $25,000 here Oct. 21, was Attard’s first claim for Clancy and his first in more than three years.

“I wouldn’t mind claiming horses with my own money but I’m terrified to do it with somebody else’s,” said Attard, who has since claimed Sound of Thunder for $12,500 and Field of Clover for $32,000 on Clancy’s behalf.

Attard also haltered She Wants for $16,000 for owner Simone Quattrociocchi and that 3-year-old filly won her first start for her new barn at the $20,000 level here last Friday.

Longer distance of Kingarvie may suit Pender Harbour

DePaulo’s objective could be more difficult but is far from impossible as he plans to send out Pender Harbour for Saturday’s $125,000 Kingarvie Stakes for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds.

Pender Harbour, a $17,000 yearling purchase who races for Alberta-based owners Denny Andrews and Bob Giffin, had traffic problems when rallying to finish fourth in his seven-furlong debut here Oct. 17 and then graduated impressively over the same distance four weeks later.

“He’s a good-looking horse,” said DePaulo. “He acted like he could run, right away.

“I supposed we’d have liked to have run him two turns race before this, but it didn’t happen. I put him in a 1 1/16 mile maiden race but there were 19 entered, and he was excluded.”

DePaulo does believe that Pender Harbour’s pedigree and running style will lend themselves to the 1 1/16 mile distance of the Kingarvie and he is hoping for a big effort in the Kingarvie.

“I think it will be well within his range,” said DePaulo. “If he runs well here, he might head to Florida.”

Different roles for trainers in Florida

Both DePaulo and Attard both will be heading to Florida this winter but in different capacities.

DePaulo has five stalls at Gulfstream Park, where he has competed on numerous occasions, including the past two winters.

“I usually just race some claiming horses, and try and beat the winter,” said DePaulo, who lives in nearby Brampton but has a second home in the Hallandale, Fla., area.

Attard’s horses will be remaining in Ontario but he will be among the guests at the DePaulo residence.

“I’ll be spending three weeks down there,” said Attard. “I’m his hotwalker, at Gulfstream. I work for rent.”

DePaulo put in plenty of claims

DePaulo was active at the claim box in his first full year as a trainer for the Bear Stable of Danny Dion, who also has horses here with Reade Baker.

Cooking School, an Ontario-bred 2-year-old filly, was one of the 11 claims which he made here for Dion at the meeting.

“I like her a lot,” said DePaul, who haltered Cooking School for $62,500 from a fifth-place finish in her debut and sent her out to win her maiden over seven furlongs of turf five weeks later.

In her only subsequent start, Cooking School finished third in the one-mile turf prep for the Natalma, which was won by the undefeated stakes winner Roxy Gap.

DePaulo also is looking forward to racing Mays Treasuretrove, an Ontario-bred 2-year-filly who was a $135,000 Keeneland yearling purchase for owner Ben Hutzel but did not make it to the races.

“We have 20 babies for next year, too,” said DePaulo, who had started 215 horses at the current meeting and compiled a record line of 32-20-27 for earnings of $1,475,622 heading into Wednesday’s card.

“We should be in good shape.”