11/06/2006 1:00AM

Sovereign likely for Leonnatus Anteas


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Leonnatus Anteas is known as "Big Red" around trainer Kevin Attard's barn, and he certainly became more worthy of that moniker after his championship performance in Sunday's $294,765 Coronation Futurity.

Leonnatus Anteas defeated a

quality field in the nine-furlong event for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds. He held off the promising A.P. Indy colt Marchfield in the stretch to prevail in a modest clocking of 1:55.97, over a Polytrack surface that yielded an inordinate amount of kickback last week. For winning the lone route race of the day, he received a 75 Beyer Figure.

Leonnatus Anteas won his debut in the Vandal Stakes in August over the inner dirt track, which is normally used for harness racing. That other "Big Red" - Secretariat - won his final race over the same oval in the 1973 Canadian International, when it was a turf course.

Leonnatus Anteas also captured the 1 1/16-mile Cup and Saucer Stakes on the grass on Oct. 15, following a two-month layoff.

"He's a very intelligent horse," said Attard. "For a colt, his head's on really straight. He's really mature for his age. He looks the part of a racehorse. When you look at him, you can tell he's kind of special."

Attard said Monday morning that Leonnatus Anteas is headed to the farm and is through for the year. He denied rumors that the colt is unsound.

"There's nothing wrong with the horse," Attard said.

Barilko, an unbeaten sprinter with three stakes scores to his credit, looked like a shoo-in to land the Sovereign Award as Canadian champion 2-year-old in the summer, until Leonnatus Anteas came along. Consistent route types with Queen's Plate potential, such as Leonnatus Anteas, traditionally have fared much better in the Sovereign Award voting than dyed-in-the-wool sprinters like Barilko, who was shelved for the year after his Swynford Stakes victory Sept. 16.

Midnight Shadow out with knee chips

Midnight Shadow, a major contender for the Sovereign Award as this year's champion 2-year-old filly, underwent knee surgery last Wednesday and is through for the season.

Midnight Shadow won 4 of 7 starts this year, including three restricted stakes. In her last start, the Oct. 28 Fanfreluche Stakes, she was a fading fourth as the favorite.

"They took a chip out of each knee," said trainer Bob Tiller. "The prognosis is fairly good. She chipped both knees in [the Fanfreluche]. She was perfect going into it."

Tiller said his barn has been hit hard by injuries this fall.

"We've had quite a few injuries lately, everything from tendons to chip fractures," Tiller said. "It's part of the game. We had problems on the inner track last summer, and we've had problems on [the Polytrack], too. We've had five major injuries in the last three weeks."

Shot Gun Ela points for Bessarabian

Trainer Ross Armata thought he might have been reaching a little high when he entered Shot Gun Ela in last Saturday's $173,700 Ontario Fashion Stakes, but she responded with a front-running win over Count to Three. Hide and Chic, the 4-5 favorite, was a weary sixth in the 13-horse field of fillies and mares.

"Count to Three and Hide and Chic looked mighty," Armata admitted, but he still felt Shot Gun Ela had a chance. "She had been training really good, and she seems to like the Polytrack. She tries so hard every race, and we were hoping for the best."

Armata said Shot Gun Ela could make her next start in the $150,000 Bessarabian Stakes at seven furlongs here Nov. 26.

"We'll probably nominate her to the Bessarabian," Armata said. "She can go seven-eighths, but I don't know if she's at her best at seven-eighths. She's on a roll right now, and she's in good order."

Shot Gun Ela was ridden by Brazilian native Eurico Rosa Da Silva, who also won last year's Ontario Fashion, aboard 9-1 shot Colonial Surprise.

Two drill for Woodbine Slots Cup

Barracuda Boy and True Metropolitan both drilled five-eighths in 1:02.20 on the Polytrack last Saturday in preparation for the Nov. 18 Woodbine Slots Cup Stakes.

Barracuda Boy capped a five-race win streak when he took the Grade 3 Durham Cup Stakes on Oct. 14, and will likely be the one to beat in the Grade 3 Slots Cup. True Metropolitan has won each of his last four starts in stakes at Hastings and Northlands Park. He was recently shipped here to trainer Lorne Richards, who said he was content with the work.

"He just needed a trip over this track," Richards said. "He's a big horse, who seems to have settled in good. He's run some pretty decent races, but he's had a long campaign. He went back and forth from Vancouver to Alberta four times, which is about a 14-hour van ride each way."

* The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will hold its next meeting this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Champions Room at Woodbine.