08/26/2001 11:00PM

Mr. Epperson sprints away from Atto Mile


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Scott Fairlie has been making all the right moves this year with his talented sprinter Mr. Epperson.

So when it came to choosing between Saturday's Play the King and the Sept. 9 Atto Mile, it was no surprise that Fairlie made a logical call.

"I'd thought about it," said Fairlie, referring to the Grade 1 Atto Mile, a $1 million turf race. "But you can't go in both; it was either one or the other."

So Fairlie - who also is a co-owner of Mr. Epperson in partnership with his father, Robert; Brian Brolley, and Ronald Marlow - did not even nominate Mr. Epperson to the Atto Mile, and watched the 6-year-old gelding win the $146,000 Play the King, a seven-furlong turf race that was the second stakes win for both horse and trainer.

Mr. Epperson, who has now earned $686,518, could make his next start in the Grade 3 Highlander, a $150,000, six-furlong race on the main track here Sept. 30.

"It looks like his preference might be turf," said Fairlie, who also sent out a pair of winners here last Friday, "but he's run big races on dirt, too."

Heliotrope, Alea Iacta Est, and Dawson's Legacy, the 2-3-4 finishers in the Play the King, are fringe candidates for the Atto Mile.

Numerous Times, undefeated in five starts, including the Play the King prep, passed on the Saturday feature and worked five furlongs in 59.40 seconds on the main track Sunday morning in preparation for the Atto Mile.

Wake At Noon, scratched from the Play the King, still is on the fence between the Atto Mile and Saturday's Grade 1 Forego, a $250,000 race over 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track at Saratoga.

Meanwhile, Kimberlite Pipe earned a start in the Atto Mile with an impressive victory in a classified allowance over one mile of turf here Friday. Hard Currency, the runner-up there, also is scheduled to swing back in the big race.

Soundtrack, who registered her third straight win over one mile of turf when making her stakes debut in Sunday's Ontario Colleen, should make her next start in the $250,000 Wonder Where here Sept. 29.

Mike Doyle, who trains Soundtrack for Dr. John Storer, is hoping the 3-year-old filly's devastating late kick will be equally effective over the Wonder Where's 1 1/4 miles on the E.P. Taylor turf course.

Soundtrack was the second stakes winner this year for Doyle, who had sent out the 3-year-old filly Chamul to win the Star Shoot here April 7 only to have her fall by the wayside following the June 9 Labatt Woodbine Oaks.

"She's on the farm, getting over colic surgery," said Doyle. "She had 10 feet of intestines taken out of her. We'll get her ready for New Orleans, and bring her back home for the spring."

Chamul, who races for the Doyle's Springfield Stable and Dura Racing, the nom dou course of Bill and Helen Duffy, began her career at the Fair Grounds in February.

Top turf runners loosen up

The Taylor course was open for a rare mini-training session here Sunday and several candidates for upcoming stakes were out for the occasion.

Allende, winner of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy here in July, worked five furlongs in 1:00 and will be seeking his fourth straight score in Saturday's Grade 2 Niagara Breeders' Cup, a $300,000, 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward.

Bristol Pistol, who, like Allende, is owned by the Augustin Stable of George Strawbridge Jr. and trained by Mac Benson, also breezed five furlongs in 1:00.

While she has other options, including Saturday's Flaming Page and the Sept. 9 Canadian, the mare probably will be out to defend her title in the Halton, the 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, which is one of six $100,000 yearling sales stakes here Sept. 3.

Other turf workers Sunday were Wolvspa, who breezed five furlongs in 1:00 in preparation for the Niagara, and Canadian hopefuls Fly for Avie and Diadella. The Grade 2 Canadian is a $200,000, 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

Wolvspa is trained by Warren Wilcox, who sent out a pair of upset winners here over the weekend.

Other current work tabs are peppered with the names of candidates for the 10 stakes scheduled for the upcoming holiday weekend.

Rare Friends, undefeated in two starts for trainer and co-owner Bob Tiller, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 here Monday and is headed for Monday's Simcoe, the seven-furlong sales stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings.

Torrid Affair, trained by Roger Attfield, breezed four furlongs in 48 on the training track Monday in preparation for Sunday's $100,000 Seaway, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares.

Meadow Gem, another undefeated Tiller runner, worked five furlongs in 58.80 Saturday in her Seaway tune-up.

Pete's Fancy, trained by Mike DePaulo, worked six furlongs in 1:12 on the training track Sunday under regular rider Dino Luciani. Her target is Monday's Algoma, the 1 1/16- mile sales stakes for fillies and mares.

Perlong, who will be looking to defend his title in Monday's six-furlong Kenora for 3-year-olds and upward, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 Saturday under Todd Kabel, who has picked up the mount.

Murainy, coming off an impressive graduation for Wings of Erin Farm and trainer Tom O'Keefe, worked six furlongs in 1:13.80 Saturday under apprentice jockey Chantal Sutherland. Sutherland retains the mount for Monday's Muskoka, the seven-furlong sales stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

* Jockey Patrick Husbands served a one-day suspension Sunday and has been fined $1,000 because the stewards ruled that he cut his mount, Robot, on the flank with his whip during the running of the third race here Aug. 19.