Updated on 09/18/2011 1:27AM

Stavro heirs will continue farm


The late Steve Stavro always gave his full attention to every business he operated, whether it was his successful Knob Hill grocery chain, his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, or his stable of racehorses.

From his first stakes winner, Bert James in 1985, through the big years of his Canadian Horses of the Year Benburb (1992) and Thornfield (1999), the Knob Hill runners were regularly prominent during the Ontario racing season.

Stavro died this past April and the stable underwent changes - hiring its third different trainer, Kevin Attard, in the last seven years.

But quality runners are still carrying the royal blue and gold satin silks of Stavro, and on Sunday, a colt he purchased last fall at a Kentucky auction, Leonnatus Anteas, will start as one of the favorites in the Coronation Futurity at Woodbine.

Leonnatus Anteas (named for a bodyguard of Alexander the Great) won the prestigious Cup and Saucer Stakes on the grass on Oct. 15. The win was celebrated by Stavro's widow, Sally, and his daughters Elaine, Debra, Constant, and Stephanie.

"We grew up watching our father's expertise for sports and business," said Elaine Stavro. "My dad was a one-man show, he loved his horses so much. We're all a bit new to this, but we want to carry on his


Following the Coronation, one of the first orders of business is for the family to streamline the breeding operation. On Dec. 2 at the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's winter mixed sale, Knob Hill will sell 11 broodmares, 10 foals of 2006, and 3 racing or broodmare prospects. There are also two mares up for auction at the Keeneland November sale.

"We want to be more lean and mean," said Elaine Stavro, a university professor.

The partial dispersal is being handled by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency at Woodbine and Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky.

Among the mares selling at Woodbine is Debra's Victory, one of the first big-name stakes horses for Stavro and one of many successful products of the mating between the owner's late stallion Cool Victor and the mare Bold Debra.

Among the handful of Knob Hill mares that will be bred next year are champion Chopinina, whose Theatrical weanling colt will also be retained by the family, and stakes-class mares Eseni and Bunbeg.

The farm's aging stallions, Iskandar Elakbar and Megas Vukefalos, are living at Norse Ridge Farms in King City, Ontario, awaiting homes.

Leonnatus Anteas, a son of Stormy Atlantic and South Sea Blues, by Cure the Blues, was purchased by Hill 'n' Dale Bloodstock's Donato Lani for Knob Hill for $62,000 at the Keeneland September sale last fall.

Bred by Ted Burnett's Josham Farms in Ontario, Leonnatus Anteas is the third foal of South Sea Blues, who was a two-time winner on the track for Burnett and trainer Mike Mattine.

South Sea Blues is a full sister to turf stakes winner Fast Cure and out of the French stakes-winning mare Alloy, by Pharly. The colt's third dam, Alea, produced Group 1 Sussex Stakes winner Noalcoholic.

Stormy Atlantic, the sire of several Breeders' Cup starters this year, stands in Kentucky at Hill 'n' Dale Farms. His 2006 fee was $20,000.