12/06/2007 12:00AM

Prince of Wales triumph tops Attard's year

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Kevin Attard had a successful season last year in his new role as private trainer for the Knob Hill Stable and the estate of Steve Stavro. He sent out 10 winners, including three-time stakes winner and champion 2-year-old male Leonnatus Anteas, and earned $780,000 in purses.

And while that may seem to be a tough act to follow, Attard built on that success this year as stakes winners Alezzandro, Leonnatus Anteas, and Siwa spearheaded a year in which horses he trains won 14 races and almost $1.3 million heading into Thursday's program.

"We had a very decent campaign," said Attard, from his off-season headquarters at Payson Park, Fla. "I was quite happy with it."

Attard's biggest win of the year came with Alezzandro in the $500,000 Prince of Wales at Fort Erie, a 1 3/16-mile race that is the second leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

In the first leg, the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate, Alezzandro nearly led throughout but came up a half-length short of winning in only his third career start. He was unraced at 2.

"It was one of those races you're so close to winning," said Attard. "You thought you had it, and all of a sudden it's taken away from you and your horse ends up running a good second.

"I guess eventually I'll be able to look back and say it was a great experience, but it's still a hard pill to swallow right now."

Attard suffered another setback when Leonnatus Anteas, whose progress was delayed over the winter, was entered in the Queen's Plate with only one 2007 start under his belt. He then was scratched due to an infected pastern.

"It was a little disappointing to see his season get interrupted," said Attard. "I think that he would have had a good shot to be a Canadian Triple Crown winner."

Leonnatus Anteas did not make his second start of the season until Aug. 5, and went on to finish fourth in the Grade 2 Super Derby south of the border. He then faced older horses at Woodbine and won the Grade 3 Durham Cup and ran second in the Grade 3 Autumn Stakes.

"Since he got back to the races, he's shown that he's one of the better horses based at Woodbine," said Attard. "I'm very proud of that."

Leonnatus Anteas eyes Donn

Leonnatus Anteas and Alezzandro, who are among the three finalists for Sovereign Award consideration in the 3-year-old male category, are now stabled in Florida.

Leonnatus Anteas, who arrived at Payson Park last Saturday, was taken out of training following the Nov. 17 Autumn.

"We gave him a break," said Attard. "We're going to start gearing him up now; he might be under tack by this weekend."

Attard is eyeing the Grade 1, $500,000 Donn Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 2, as a possible target for Leonnatus Anteas.

"We'll see how far we can get, and if he seems to be ready to go and it looks like we're going to have a chance at it then we'll give him a shot," said Attard.

Alezzandro, who completed the Canadian Triple Crown series with a sixth-place finish in the Breeders' at 1 1/2 miles on the turf, took a breather, then closed out his campaign running second behind longshot Artie Hot in the 1 1/8-mile Ontario Derby on Sept. 30. He's on the farm at Ocala, Fla.

"He hasn't trained since the Ontario Derby - he's had a couple of months off," said Attard. "If anything, I'd probably like to run him in a two-other-than at the end of Gulfstream and see where that brings us."

The Attard-trained Siwa, a 3-year-old filly, won the six-furlong Zadracarta and the one-mile La Prevoyante in front-running fashion on the turf course here.

"She might be useful on a tighter-turned turf course down here, even maybe going two turns with her speed," said Attard.

Siwa, who also is in Ocala, has been out of training since finishing third in the Carotene, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies on Oct. 6.

Nicki Knew on the mend

Attard also is looking forward to the return of Nicki Knew, a 2-year-old filly who won a seven-furlong maiden race in her second career start, then suffered a saucer fracture that ended her campaign.

"We drilled some holes in her cannon bone, to speed up the healing process," said Attard. "She's in Ocala. She'll probably start swimming next week and be back at Payson the first of the year.

"I'm high on her. I think she's going to be a very nice horse. She's my [Woodbine] Oaks candidate."

Krz Exec goes last to first

Krz Exec ($32.70) nailed 19-1 shot Tip Toe Annie on the wire to win the $151,600 Ontario Lassie Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on Wednesday night at Woodbine.

Jerry Baird rode Krz Exec for trainer Mike DePaulo in the 1 1/16-mile event, which was originally scheduled for last Sunday. That card was canceled because of inclement weather.

Roses 'n' Wine led through honest fractions of 24.66 and 48.58 seconds, while being pressed by Lady d'Wildcat. Krz Exec raced in an early stalking position before dropping back to last midway on the backstretch.

Krz Exec and Tip Toe Annie both began to close around the three-eighths pole. Tip Toe Annie rallied inside and hit the front at the sixteenth pole, but Krz Exec got up to win by a head after closing five wide.

Salomea was third, and Six Pack Sammy, the 1-2 favorite, was seventh in the nine-horse field of Ontario-breds.

"[Krz Exec] broke real fast and was a little on the muscle at the beginning," said Baird. "I tried to get her settled, and she settled nicely. It seemed like everybody wanted to go 'shootin' ducks,' so I let them. We made a nice run, and she knows how to win."

It was the second consecutive stakes victory for Krz Exec, who covered the distance in 1:46.19 and earned $90,000.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink