Cindy's Horse Racing Website Index

Soaring Free wins the 2004 Atto Mile over Perfect Soul and Royal Regalia.

Atto Mile Entries

Date: 9/15/05

On Thursday afternoon, entries were taken and post positions were drawn for the ninth running of the Grade 1 Atto Mile, a major prep for the Breeders' Cup Mile at Belmont Park in October. Nine older horses will enter the gate on Sunday afternoon looking for the winner's share of the $1 million purse, traveling 1 mile around one turn of Woodbine's E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

Guest drawmaster Darrell Fox (center) assists racing secretary Steve Lym (right) and track announcer Dan Loiselle (left) with drawing the numbers.
The honorary drawmaster was Darrell Fox, brother of Canadian icon Terry Fox and the National Director of the Terry Fox Foundation. Since 1981, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $350 million for cancer research and is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Fox's run this weekend. The charity has very low overhead and 87 cents from every dollar raised goes to cancer research. After the draw, Woodbine Entertainment Group and the Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association announced that they will donate 10% of the income from wagering on the Atto Mile to the Terry Fox Foundation, a donation which should top $20,000.

As expected, Fourstardave Handicap winner Leroidesanimeaux was installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite and will break from the rail. The Brazilian-bred goes into the race with a seven-race winning streak and is currently the highest ranked horse among Breeders' Cup Mile contenders. Although he won at Saratoga last out on the front end, trainer Bobby Frankel said, "Yes, he waits on horses a little bit. But he's a very nice horse, very easy to train, good looking horse, does everything right. He definitely doesn't have to be on the front." Frankel opted to race him here instead of in the Kelso at Belmont Park in order to hopefully earn enough money to draw into the Breeders' Cup Mile field.

The second choice at 3-1 is King of Happiness, owned by Gainsborough Farm, who will break just outside the favorite in post 2. Drysdale said, "We anticipated that he was going to be a better horse this year. The race record speaks for itself. He warrants a crack at the Atto Mile. Obviously our competition is going to be tough with Bobby Frankel's horse (Leroidesanimaux) in there." Drysdale and Gainsborough have won the Atto twice already, with Labeeb in 1998 and Touch of the Blues in 2003.

Jockey Robert Landry who will ride Awesome Action and guest drawmaster Darrell Fox head of the Terry Fox Foundation and Terry's younger brother.
The local hope is 6-1 third choice Royal Regalia out of the 5 hole, the Woodbine course record holder at the 1 mile distance who failed to draw in to last year's Breeders' Cup Mile field. Trainer Justin Nixon said, "To be realistic, it's an awfully tough Atto Mile field, maybe the toughest we've had. He could maybe lay a length or 3/4 of a length off the leaders and wear them down late. This horse doesn't have a great explosion or real quick turn of foot, but he can gallop along pretty rapidly. He can sustain a high rate of speed, so maybe we can wear them down instead of blow by them."

Local jockey Robert Landry has his work cut out for him with Awesome Action, a 20-1 outsider coming out of post 6. He said, "He's a closer, so pretty much any post would be okay. A lot more have early foot, so they'll clear him and I'll be able to pick my path, hopefully. There's a lot of things that you aren't able to control. But for my horse to perform his best, I think there's going to have to be a pretty good pace. If not, we'll have go to 'Plan B.' But he's in good order and the best shape he can be in. It's a tough race. If he shows up and runs his best, that's all we can ask for. He's getting better. He's kind of like his rider. The older he gets, the better he gets. I'd like to think that anyway."

Post time will be 5:06 pm ET on Sunday. The race can be seen at simulcast locations across North America, with The Score carrying a special one-hour live telecast across Canada from 4:30 to 5:30 pm ET.

Here are the entries with post positions and morning line odds followed by a brief description and photograph of each. Free past performances are available from Daily Racing Form.

1LeroidesanimauxRobert FrankelJohn Velazquez9-5
2King of HappinessNeil DrysdalePat Valenzuela3-1
3VanderlinAndrew BaldingMartin Dwyer8-1
4A to the ZPaula CapestroTodd Kabel8-1
5Royal RegaliaJustin NixonJono Jones6-1
6Awesome ActionSue LeslieRobert Landry20-1
7Sophia's PrinceJohn LeBlanc, Jr. Simon Husbands20-1
8Le Cinquieme EssaiPaul NielsenSteven Bahen10-1
9MobilMike KeoghPatrick Husbands15-1

Atto Mile info online:

The Atto Mile Trophy

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