07/16/2003 11:00PM

Added Edge returns in prep

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Saturday's Bold Venture Handicap at Woodbine may seem an unusual spot for the return of Added Edge, who was Canada's champion 2-year-old and a horse of the year finalist after going undefeated in four 2002 outings.

Added Edge, owned by Team Valor Stable and Robert Wilson and trained by Mark Casse, will be facing most of Ontario's top older sprinters while making his first start since Jan. 18 in the 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture.

The colt suffered his first loss when he finished last of 13 in Gulfstream's Grade 3 Holy Bull, and he came out of that race with a chip fracture in his right knee.

But with allowance races open to multiple stakes winners being scarce here, Casse found the Bold Venture suited Added Edge's proposed schedule.

"I'm just looking for the kind of race he can move forward from," said Casse in his office here Thursday morning. "His main goal is the King's Bishop."

The King's Bishop, which offers Grade 1 status and a purse of $200,000, is a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds at Saratoga on Aug. 23.

Casse stresses, however, that he expects Added Edge to run well Saturday.

"He's trained hard - I'm not expecting him to be short," said Casse.

"I think he's good enough. I know it's a tall order, but I don't think it's an impossible mountain for him to climb. I feel pretty confident."

Hopmans has stalker threat

One rival who could make the going particularly tough for Added Edge in the $138,500 Bold Venture is Mulligan the Great, who is trained by Cliff Hopmans.

Mulligan the Great, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Charles Simmons, is coming off a front-running score here in the July 2 Overskate, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward.

"I thought his last race was an awesome performance," said Hopmans. "I gained a tremendous amount of respect for him that night. This horse is very, very talented.

"My only concern is coming back this soon after such a huge effort, but he came out of the race in very good order."

Hopmans said seven furlongs is Mulligan the Great's best distance, because he can get the lead and still be relaxed. Going six or the 6 1/2 furlongs of the Bold Venture, Hopmans said, "you always seem to have somebody trying to steal it on the front end."

Mulligan the Great could find himself the beneficiary of a stalking trip here Saturday, particularly if Wild Whiskey and Rare Friends hook up on the front end. Hopmans was happy when his charge drew outside that pair, in post 6.

"He's a little uncomfortable in tight quarters, with horses pressing him outside," said Hopmans.

Dawn Watcher goes for a stakes

Also Saturday, the Hopmans-trained Dawn Watcher will seek his first stakes win in the $109,000 Ontario Jockey Club, a seven-furlong turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds and upward.

An Ontario-bred 5-year-old owned by D. Morgan Firestone, Dawn Watcher also was nominated to the Bold Venture, but Hopmans believes the gelding is at his best at the OJC distance.

"Seven furlongs in his perfect trip, dirt or turf," said Hopmans, noting that Dawn Watcher had finished second in the OJC when the race was taken off the turf last year.

Dawn Watcher has seen action just twice this year, finishing second to multiple stakes winner Dream Launcher in an open seven-furlong allowance race here May 16 and then checking in third behind a loose-on-the-lead Wild Whiskey (who is in the Bold Venture lineup) in a classified allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs June 22.

"He's sitting on a huge race," said Hopmans.

Cruising Executive scores on short rest

Cruising Executive ($33.30) mowed down all the fading speed to record her first stakes victory here Wednesday in the $131,000 Passing Mood, a seven-furlong turf event for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.

Cruising Executive raced well off a four-way pace battle under David Clark and commenced her rally on the turn. After helping to set quick fractions, favored Miss Crissy emerged with a clear lead at the eighth pole but was overhauled in deep stretch by Cruising Executive, who won by a length in 1:25.04.

Bold Artic Ice closed from last in the seven-horse field to finish another 3 1/2 lengths back in third.

Cruising Executive was running back just a week after winning her maiden over Bold Artic Ice, an uncharacteristic move for her conservative trainer, Phil England.

"I wasn't going to run her back so soon," England said, noting that owner Bill Sorokolit was keen on the idea.

"She ate up. I gave her two days off, and then galloped her back, and she was as good as ever. I was looking for a reason not to run her, and she didn't give me any. We just took a shot."

Cruising Executive earned $78,600.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink