05/18/2011 12:47PM

Woodbine: Steve Attard off to solid start


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Steve Attard is off to a solid start at the meeting, having won with five of 26 starters heading into Wednesday night’s program.

On Monday, the 48-year-old Attard will be hoping to celebrate the Victoria Day holiday in grand style when he sends out Kerry Convent for the $125,000 Lady Angela Stakes.

Kerry Convent, owned and bred by Paul O’Brien, started twice in restricted maiden sprints as a 2-year-old, finishing a close third at seven furlongs and then a more remote third at six furlongs.

Returning to action in a 5 1/2-furlong dash here April 22, Kerry Convent stalked the pace and came on for a one-length victory under rider Justin Stein. Her Beyer Speed Figure there, a 72, is the best on the list of Lady Angela nominees.

“She really impressed us,” Attard said. “And she wants to go farther than five-eighths.”

Kerry Convent will get that opportunity in the Lady Angela, which is a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.

Bint also is owned by O’Brien and was nominated to the Lady Angela. But after winning an Ontario-sired maiden $25,000 claiming race in her sophomore bow, Bint instead will go postward in a restricted first-level allowance over seven furlongs Saturday.

After running third for claiming prices of $20,000 and $32,000 in her two starts at 2, Bint rallied gamely to score by a neck under rider Eurico Rosa da Silva.

“She was so impressive, how she went between horses, made her own space,” Attard said.

Attard also relates that the successes of Kerry Convent and Bint came despite the fact that neither horse left Ontario during the winter and did not gear up on the farm.

“They didn’t start training until they shipped in Feb. 15,” said Attard, who has 32 stalls and also has won races this spring with Kid Canuck, Shades of Gold, and Little Miss Tommie.

Kid Canuck, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old gelding owned by John Richter, won a first-level allowance race in his second outing of the season to boost his career earnings to $245,810 from 20 starts.

Shades of Gold finally broke through for his maiden win in his 16th career start but had finished second five times, third four times, and fourth twice. He has banked $124,590.

Little Miss Tommi won the first-ever Ontario-sired maiden claiming race when debuting for $25,000 here April 2 and is entered back in a restricted first-level allowance race Friday.

“I have a bunch of horses who are going to be grinders,” Attard said. “There are no real superstars.”

Silverleo starts season in Marine

Trainer Greg De Gannes had hoped to get Silverleo’s sophomore campaign started here in the May 1 Wando, a 1 1/16-mile overnight stakes for 3-year-olds.

But fate intervened, and Silverleo now will appear for the first time this season in Saturday’s $150,000 Marine at the same distance.

“I thought that was a lovely place for him to start his season,” said De Gannes, who had been looking forward to sending out Silverleo against five rivals in the Wando.

“But he kicked at the pony coming over, and instead kicked himself. The vets thought it was best that he be scratched. But he never broke the skin, there was no swelling, and he trained the next morning.

De Gannes, however, can take consolation in the fact that Silverleo has continued to train well and has caught another short field in the Marine, which attracted six entrants.

“I think he’s fit enough,” said De Gannes, who sent Silverleo to winter in Ocala. “He ran until late in the year, had five weeks off, and was put back in training.”

And while Silverleo’s two wins last year came on the turf course, at seven furlongs and one mile, De Gannes believes the colt is equally at home on Polytrack.

“I think he’s shown he can handle it,” said De Gannes, who sent out Silverleo to finish fifth in the 1 1/16-mile Grey and third in the 1 1/16-mile Display in his last two starts at 2.

“I don’t think he’s surface specific. I think he’ll handle the dirt, too. I’d like to try him on it some time, maybe this summer.”

Southdale eyes rebound in Eclipse

Southdale worked five furlongs under his regular rider Emma-Jayne Wilson in 1:00.20 here Wednesday morning, the fastest of 45 workers at the distance.

“He worked on his own, and I was really happy with it,” said Ian Black, who trains the homebred Southdale for Rod Ferguson. “If he comes out of it well, we’ll go on to the Eclipse. It seems like the obvious thing to do.”

Southdale is the defending champion in the Grade 3, $150,000 Eclipse, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 4-year-olds and up that will be renewed here May 28.

But whereas Southdale was coming into last year’s Eclipse off a sharp allowance score in his seasonal bow, he was virtually eased in this spring’s opener as he finished last of five in the seven-furlong Jacques Cartier.

Southdale tried to stay in touch early that day but started to back up after the opening half went in 43.84 seconds.

“I couldn’t find anything physically wrong with him,” Black said. “Maybe I just didn’t have him fit enough to go a half mile in 44.

“He’s training well. I can’t get him any better than he is right now.”

Landry to head Gomez Foundation

Robert Landry, who announced his retirement from a long and successful riding career this past winter and now is the racing manager for Chiefswood Stable, has been named the new chairman of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Foundation.

Landy will replace Bob Anderson, who died last November.

The objective of the foundation is to provide aid to people involved in racing who, due to circumstances beyond their control, may require financial assistance to help them through difficult times.

The other members of the board, announced Wednesday, are Irwin Driedger, Robbie King, Steve Koch, Sue Leslie, Gunnar Lindberg, and Larry Regan.

Requests for benevolence can be sent to The Avelino Gomez Memorial Doundation, attention Steve Koch, P.O. Box 156, Toronto, Ontario, M9W 5L2.

◗ Jim Mazur will be hosting a one-hour “Handicapping the Preakness” seminar here Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. on the third floor of the grandstand. Attendees will be offered free copies of Mazur’s “Sire Ratings 2011/2012 edition” and “The Preakness Zone.”