Debuting Leonnatus Anteas Wins Vandal S.

(from Woodbine report)
Leonnatus Anteas, a first-time starter, pulled an upset for Knob Hill Stable and the estate of Steve Stavro in Sunday's $150,000 Vandal Stakes for 2-year-old Canadian breds at Woodbine.

It's the first stakes win for the barn since Stavro - a longtime Thoroughbred owner-breeder, sports team owner, and grocery magnate - died on April 24.

"That's for sure," said winning trainer Kevin Attard, when asked if he thought Stavro was cheering for the horse. "He gave me a great opportunity. I wish I had the chance to get to know him better than I did. I'd like to thank the Stavro family for trusting in me and giving me the vote of confidence. Hopefully, we'll continue to do well."

Attard, 30, took over training the Knob Hill string over the winter and has saddled six winners for them at Woodbine this year.

Stavro was announced as an inductee to Canada's Horse Racing Hall of Fame in May. The ceremony will take place on Aug. 24.

Leonnatus Anteas used a strong late kick after being last of six at the top of the stretch to edge fellow late closer Carysfort Light by a head. Spread the News, the odds-on favorite, was third, beaten a half-length.

The running time was :59.86 for five furlongs over a "fast" inner dirt track course.

Leonnatus Anteas, a chestnut son of Stormy Atlantic , had been training well, but the betting public felt the Vandal was too ambitious a race to run a first-time starter.

The Ontario-bred proved best, though, after a very-wide trip under Jono Jones.

"He was so wide, but there wasn't much I could do other than to keep on going, so I did - and he gutted it out," Jones said. "Kevin told me to just steer him around. He's a very nice horse."

Leonnatus Anteas, a $62,000 (U.S.) 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase, collected $90,000 (Can.) for the victory.

He paid $17.70, $7.60, $3.50 across the board and combined with Carysfort Light ($13.40, $5.10) for a $172.90 exacta. Spread the News ($2.20) wrapped up the $474.40 trifecta.

(Chart, Equibase)