Atto Mile: Win City Still on Fence

Trainer Robert Tiller says a decision on whether Win City, Canada's reigning Horse of the Year, will run in the $1-million Atto Mile (gr. IT) on Sept. 8 has not been made.

The Frank DiGiulio colorbearer has never run on grass through a 17-race career, which includes six stakes wins, but has trained well in preparation for his first try over the turf.

"We're going to take a few days to make a decision on the Atto Mile," Tiller said. "It'll be made in the next couple of days."

The bay Slew City Slew 4-year-old is winless in seven 2002 starts.

Trainer Dave Dwyer reports Winston Penny's Play the King Stakes winner, Zone Judge, has suffered a bruised foot and his status for the Atto Mile is indefinite.

"Right now, it's up in the air because he bruised his foot," Dwyer said. "It's day to day, we'll see what happens. It's not really a serious bruise and we still have another week to think about it."

Not having been originally nominated to the Atto Mile, the 4-year-old son of Judge T C would have to be supplemented to the race for $50,000 on Sept. 5. The dark bay has five wins, three on turf, in 14 career starts.

Knob Hill Stable's stakes-placed filly, Chopinina, is scheduled to run in the Atto Mile. Trainer Alec Fehr says his Lear Fan 4-year-old is in good form (two-for-two in 2002) and deserves a chance to hook with the big boys on the turf.

"We're looking to go in there," Fehr says. "We've got a fresh horse, the lemon hasn't been squeezed on this filly yet. She's run two very nice races for me without being asked to run. She's been doing spectacularly and she runs well fresh (hasn't run since June). We'll be a longshot, but I'm excited about her."

The grey Ontario-bred would become only the third filly to run in the Atto Mile (Honest Lady was seventh and Heliotrope was eighth in 2000, a renewal won by Riviera).

Two American invaders have already made their way to Woodbine in preparation for the race. Two-time grade II winner Good Journey arrived on the morning of Aug. 28 along with Niagara Stakes contender, Sumati, for trainer Wally Dollase. The California-based runners are housed in Barn 22 on the Woodbine backstretch.

Royal Spy, accompanied by Seaway Stakes contender Hattiesburg, arrived at Woodbine on the morning Aug. 29 morning in preparation for the Mile. The Kentucky-based horses are housed in Woodbine's Barn 14.

Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltender and Olympic Gold Medallist, Ed Belfour, will be the official drawmaster at the Atto Mile post position draw in Woodbine's east-end trackside tent on Thursday. Belfour, who also has a Stanley Cup ring with the Dallas Stars, was recently signed by the Leafs to be their number one goaltender for the 2002-2003 season.