09/04/2002 11:00PM

Spa weather made Del Mar Show decision

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Had the 1 1/16-mile Fourstardave gone as scheduled at Saratoga on Aug. 24, Del Mar Show would have been nowhere near Woodbine this Sunday.

But heavy rain forced the Fourstardave off the turf, prompting trainer Bill Mott to look north to the $1 million Atto Mile for Del Mar Show, who races for the Allen Paulson Living Trust.

Mott himself will not be present here Sunday, as he is in the middle of a seven-day suspension resulting from a positive test. His assistant, Leana Willaford, will be the trainer of record for both Del Mar Show and his stablemate Stroll, who goes earlier on the card in the Summer Stakes.

Jerry Bailey, the regular rider of both horses, also is serving a suspension but will be permitted to ride in the two designated stakes here Sunday.

Mott won the inaugural running of the Atto Mile in 1997 with Geri, an 8-1 shot ridden by the late Chris Antley.

But the trainer saddled beaten favorites in two subsequent runnings, with Elusive Quality finishing fourth at 7-5 in 1998 and Garbu running eighth at 7-2 in 1999, both with Bailey riding.

Bailey also was unsuccessful on last year's Atto Mile favorite, Affirmed Success, who dropped a nose decision to local hero Numerous Times at 3-1.

Del Mar Show is likely to be the favorite in Sunday's field of 13.

A 5-year-old horse by Theatrical, Del Mar Show has made one previous appearance over the E.P. Taylor turf course, winning a division of the Grade 3 Connaught Cup over 1 1/16 miles on yielding turf in May 2000. Robbie Davis was riding that day.

Those looking to play against the favorite could take heart in the fact that Del Mar Show has been most effective at 1 1/16 miles, going 5 for 5 at that distance, and has not raced at a mile since winning under second-level allowance terms on Feb. 10, 2001, at Gulfstream.

Out to reverse a trend

Mott in spirit and Bailey in the flesh also will be looking for redemption in the Summer Stakes after their horse, Miesque's Approval, fell a neck short as the odds-on runner-up in last year's edition of the one-mile turf race for 2-year-olds.

King Cugat and Ident also went down to defeat as the favorites when they were sent out by Mott in recent renewals of the Summer.

Heberto Castillo Jr. was aboard King Cugat, who finished second at even-money in 1999, and Robert Landry picked up the mount on Ident, who ran sixth at 3-2 in 1998.

Stroll will take some stopping, however, as the Pulpit colt comes into the Summer off a dominant win at 1 1/16 miles on firm turf at Saratoga that earned him a hefty Beyer Speed Figure of 87.

Shippers galore

The upcoming weekend will be one of the busiest on record on the ship-in front, with five due in for Saturday's two divisions of the Natalma for 2-year-old fillies; three for the Summer; two for Sunday's other supporting feature, the Grade 2 Canadian Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares; and no fewer than eight for the Atto Mile.

The Atto Mile lost one invader when Royal Spy, who had shipped in from Kentucky last week and worked over the course Tuesday, was not entered.

"We're not really certain at this point what happened," said Royal Spy's trainer, Tom Amoss, from his Churchill Downs base Thursday. "But he's not prepared to run in a million-dollar race. He's different today than he was before the work."

Patrick Husbands, Woodbine's leading rider, had been slated to ride Royal Spy and has picked up the mount on Autonomy, who is based in New Jersey with trainer Philip Oliver.

Autonomy became a stakes winner last time out in Monmouth's Battlefield, a 1 1/8-mile race run over soft turf, and will be seeking his fourth straight score in the Atto Mile.

Zone Judge not in picture

One local who will not make the Atto Mile is Zone Judge, an impressive winner of the Play the King here Aug. 17 for owner Winston Penny and trainer Dave Dwyer.

The Grade 3 Play the King, a seven-furlong turf race, is the major local prep for the Atto Mile.

"He's got a bruised foot," said Dwyer, "so we'll have to take a pass. It's very disappointing; he's at the top of his game."

Zone Judge was not among the original nominees for the Atto Mile and would have had to be supplemented at a cost of $50,000.

* Woodbine's Thoroughbred racing community is hosting its second annual corn roast in support of the Ontario Brain Injury Association. The event will take place Monday, from 6 to 10 p.m. For details contact Mike Langlais at (905) 321-0635.

* The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will hold its monthly meeting here Wednesday, at 8 p.m. in the second-floor International Room. Head-table guests will include trainer Mike Mattine, who sent out Santerra to win the Muskoka Stakes here Monday. New members and guests are welcome.