09/10/2004 12:00AM

No Europeans for Atto Mile


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Barring any last-minute changes of heart, there will be no European presence in the Grade 1 Atto Mile here next Sunday.

Nine Europeans were nominated to the Atto Mile, a $1 million turf race for 3-year-olds and upward that is one of the highlights of the Woodbine meeting.

But the connections of Passing Glance, who had been scheduled to arrive from England on Saturday, sent their regrets Friday morning, and then Aidan O'Brien, who had three nominees, let it be known that he would not be participating.

That leaves a prospective field of eight for the Atto Mile, with four U.S. invaders and four locally based runners.

Peace Rules, Millennium Dragon, Kathir, and Christine's Outlaw are the visitors, while Soaring Free, Perfect Soul, Slew Valley, and Royal Regalia will represent the home team.

Horses based in the United States have captured five of the seven previous runnings of the Atto Mile and would have racked up a sixth had Hawksley Hill not been disqualified in 1999.

Quiet Resolve, who was moved up to the top spot that year, and Numerous Times won the Atto Mile for local connections.

Slew Valley: Unsung but dangerous

Soaring Free and Perfect Soul, the two-three finishers in last year's Atto Mile, both figure to attract plenty of attention through the next week. Slew Valley is unlikely to be the subject of much fanfare, but that doesn't mean he can't be heard from on race day.

"He's going great," said Reade Baker, who trains Slew Valley for Jim Hindman and Alan Burkhard. "I think he's coming up to the race super. He's got a wonderful long run; he's perfectly suited to this racetrack."

When Slew Valley, a 7-year-old, was sent north to Baker this spring with an eye on the Woodbine turf stakes program, he had been competitive in top company but had never won a stakes race.

That changed promptly, as Slew Valley captured the Grade 3 Connaught Cup at 1 1/16 miles on May 30 and the Grade 2 King Edward Gold Cup at 1 1/8 miles on June 19 under a new rider, Jim McAleney.

But in his last start, the Grade 2 Chinese Cultural Centre at 1 3/8 miles on July 25, Slew Valley was unable to mount a serious challenge and finished sixth.

"I decided right then he could use a little break," said Baker, who elected to give Slew Valley a couple of weeks off and then train him up to the Atto Mile. "He hadn't had a break in a long time."

The Atto Mile will be Slew Valley's first start in eight weeks, equaling the gap between his appearance in Tokyo for last fall's Japan Cup and his re-emergence at Gulfstream this winter.

The $1.5 million Canadian International, a Grade 1 turf race here at 1 1/2 miles, will be run Oct. 24, five weeks after the Atto Mile, and if all goes well, Slew Valley will be back in that lineup.

Slew Valley ran in both races in 2001, finishing a close fifth in the Atto Mile but ending 10th in the International just three weeks later.

Raylene to try turf in Canadian

Raylene, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred who joined Baker here this summer, is slated to make her turf debut here in next Sunday's Canadian Handicap. Will she like the grass?

"I have no idea," said Baker. "I'll take her over and give her a shot."

The Grade 2, $250,000 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares, and the Grade 2 Summer, a one-mile turf race for 2-year-olds, are the supporting stakes on Atto Mile Day.

Formerly based in Alberta, Raylene finished third behind Winning Chance and One for Rose in the July 18 Belle Mahone, her first start for Baker.

Raylene then won a classified allowance at 1 1/16 miles and was slated to contest the Canadian prep at 1 1/16 miles on turf here Aug. 28.

Baker elected to scratch Raylene from that spot, however, and entered her in a money allowance race the following afternoon.

"I had the dirt option, and anything looked better than running against Hour of Justice," said Baker, referring to the talented Stronach Stable filly whom he trained last year. Hour of Justice recorded her third straight victory in the Canadian prep.

In the Aug. 29 race, at 1 1/16 miles in the slop, Raylene chased the talented Brass in Pocket and finished second.

"She ran into a mare who caught her track, and there was no other speed in the race," said Baker.

Inish Glora has mile workout

Inish Glora, who won last year's Canadian, had her final major tune-up for this year's renewal on Friday morning.

Working over a good main track, Inish Glora was clocked in 1:42.60 for a mile under regular rider Todd Kabel.

"It was a good enough work to suit me," said trainer Mac Benson. "She might have a little blowout next week, to sharpen her up a little bit."

Inish Glora, a 6-year-old who is Canada's reigning champion turf mare, has won three of her four starts this year, including the Grade 3 Nassau at 1 1/16 miles here June 5 and the 1 1/16-mile Victoriana in her last appearance, on Aug. 14.