10/27/2009 11:00PM

Stable's season-long slump finally ending


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It took a long, long time for trainer Kevin Attard's stable to heat up this season at Woodbine.

Attard began the meet 4 for 79.

"I didn't know what to do," said Attard. "We'd had 18 seconds, a lot of them very close.

"When you're very cold you start second-guessing yourself, and think you should do something different. But, you've got to stick to the plan. Sooner or later, it's going to come to you."

Attard's time did come, and the stable headed into the current week with 7 wins from its last 12 entrants.

"For the last two weeks, those horses running second have been winning," said Attard. "If there was something I could put my finger on, I'd have been doing it back in April. All I know is it's a lot easier to wake up and come to work in the morning."

Little Red Chris, who started Attard's roll here Oct. 11, is a prime example of the barn's changing fortunes.

A 3-year-old gelding, Little Red Chris had finished second or third in five consecutive starts, with four of those losses coming by less than a length.

"He was beaten by some very good 3-year-olds," said Attard, noting that Tutti Buona Gente, Eagle Poise, and Tierra de Tigre all had come back to win after defeating Little Red Chris.

As the maiden ranks thinned, Little Red Chris found himself in a 1o1/16-mile race which he dominated. On Friday, he comes back in a second-level allowance scheduled for 1o1/8 miles of turf.

Executive Pick, an Ontario-sired 2-year-old filly, also had experienced several near-misses before breaking through in a restricted mile and 70-yard maiden race here Oct. 16.

Executive Pick had finished second in three of her first four starts, including a nose loss under Todd Kabel as the prohibitive choice in her first try around two turns.

"We think she flipped her palate at the head of the lane," said Attard. "Todd said she ran through the stretch on one breath."

Executive Pick was nominated to Saturday's $250,000 Princess Elizabeth, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies, but will not be participating. Instead, Executive Pick will await the $125,000 South Ocean for Ontario-sired fillies at the same distance here Nov. 11.

"She seems to like space in between her races, and I'd rather save her for that spot," said Attard. "I'd rather concentrate on the race where she could maybe win, instead of running hard and maybe not getting much."

One Attard runner who is overdue for some good luck is Fortune or Folly, who has finished second in her only three starts for the trainer, including the Flaming Page Stakes over 1 1/2 miles of turf.

"She's really blossomed since I got her," said Attard, who took over Fortune or Folly for owner James Justiss in late July. "She'll run all day; that's her big ticket."

Fortune or Folly is nominated to the $175,000 Maple Leaf, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares here Nov. 7.

Nicki Knew, a 4-year-old filly who is among eight Knob Hill Stable runners in the Attard fold, also has been blanked in five starts this year but looks to be sitting on a win and is a main-track-only entrant in a second-level optional claiming race here Friday.

Alezzandro, a 5-year-old gelding, has won once in an up-and-down campaign, and Leonnatus Anteas did not make it back to the races and now is standing at stud at Colebrook Farm.

"I went from being a private trainer to a public trainer this year," said Attard, who had trained exclusively for Knob Hill Stable since 2006. "You have to develop stock, and it takes time."

Silent Whisper set for stakes debut

Silent Whisper won her maiden in very encouraging fashion over 1 1/16 miles here Oct. 10, and will be looking to parlay that form into a Princess Elizabeth triumph.

Trained by Mike Keogh, Silent Whisper was making her fifth start in the maiden win. She had been beaten a length as the third-place finisher when stretching out for the first time.

"Ever since we ran her two turns she's been a much better filly," said Keogh. "In her last race, she rated just off it and showed a little pump down the lane."

Silent Whisper breezed five furlongs in 1:02.40 here last Sunday in preparation for her first stakes engagement.

"She's coming into it nice," said Keogh.

Mobil Unit slated for minor surgery

Mobil Unit, who finished third in the Cup and Saucer for Keogh on Oct. 18, had been nominated to the $250,000 Coronation Futurity here Nov. 8, but will not see action again this season.

"If he'd won the Cup and Saucer we might have thought about the Coronation," said Keogh. "But he's already run six times. He's a nice little Ontario-sired horse who's ground out more than $100,000."

Mobil Unit, a homebred gelding by Mobil, instead will be undergoing minor surgery before heading to owner Gustav Schickedanz's base in South Carolina for the winter.

"He's got some debris in both knees," said Keogh. "We'll get it flushed out arthroscopically.

"He'll be a nice horse next year. We should have a lot of fun with him."

Prior to running third in the Cup and Saucer, Mobil Unit had finished fourth in the Grade 2 Summer over one mile of grass and won his maiden at six furlongs in his first start on turf.