06/07/2001 11:00PM

King Edward Breeders' Cup highlights Sunday card


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Phil England and Malcolm Pierce are not trainers whom you would expect to run back a stakes horse on two weeks' notice.

But they will both be doing just that here in Sunday's King Edward Breeders' Cup, as England sends out Lodge Hill and Pierce saddles Silver Axe for the 1 1/8-mile turf race.

Lodge Hill is coming off a second-place finish in the second division of the Connaught Cup, a 1 1/16-mile turf race here May 26. Silver Axe finished third in the opening split of the Connaught.

A 4-year-old owned by Eugene and Laura Melnyk and R Bristow Farm, Lodge Hill was based in New York last year with trainer Todd Pletcher and shipped in to win the Breeders' Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Now stabled here with England, Lodge Hill opened his 2001 campaign with a distant last-place finish on the main track in an allowance race.

"He worked so good on dirt," said England. "We thought maybe we'd find something good out. As it was, he didn't run an inch and got nothing out of the race."

Lodge Hill obviously appreciated getting back to the grass in the Connaught, in which he was beaten 2 1/2 lengths by odds-on invader Del Mar Show.

"I didn't like the idea of just two weeks between races, especially at the beginning of the year," said England. "But I didn't want to be left one race behind all the way.

"He ran a big race, so we're going to go Sunday. It's six weeks till the next one."

Pierce also cited the gap between stakes for the older turf division, with the July 22 Hong Kong Trophy the next test, as a reason for swinging back with Silver Axe in the King Edward.

Silver Axe, a 4-year-old owned by Stronach Stables Inc., spent his first two campaigns with trainer Vladmir Cerin in Southern California, where he placed in two Grade 3 turf stakes.

"He was injured last July and recovered at Ocala; they legged him up there for this season," said Pierce. "I got him the first week of April and ran him pretty quickly on dirt. It was a good warm-up race."

Silver Axe finished second in an allowance race over seven furlongs in that local debut in April, his first start in six weeks. He finished behind impressive newcomer Red Sea and local stalwart River Boat in the Connaught.

"I think my horse should improve from his last race," said Pierce, "and a little more ground won't hurt him.

"Usually I'm not one to run a horse back in two weeks, but he seems to have bounced out of that race in pretty good order. I'm pretty happy with him."

The King Edward will air live in a one-hour telecast beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern on Sportsnet National.

New job for Kevin Attard

Kevin Attard, who has spent the last four years here as assistant to his father, Tino, has accepted a new position at Adena Springs North, the Aurora, Ontario, farm of Stronach Stables Inc.

"It's a great facility," said the 25-year-old Attard, whose main responsibility will be the outfit's 2-year-olds.

"We'll kind of rotate them around. We'll ship them in, give them their final tune-ups at the track, and stay there and run.

"They've just started coming in. I'm expecting to have about 25."

Attard has the full support of his father regarding the career move.

"I told him myself to take it and go," said Tino Attard. "But we're going to miss him here; he's been a good help to us."

Mysterious Affair set for Ballade

Mysterious Affair will be seeking her third stakes win of the season in the $100,000 Ballade here Wednesday evening.

"Everything's good," said Mort Hardy, owner-trainer-breeder of Mysterious Affair, who worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 Wednesday.

The Ballade, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares, will be featured on Woodbine Post Time, which will air on Sportsnet Ontario in a 90-minute telecast beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Catch the Ring Matron top weight

Catch the Ring, Canada's 3-year-old filly champion last year, has been assigned high weight of 122 pounds for next Saturday's $100,000 Ontario Matron Handicap.

Owned by Sam-Son Farm and trained by Mark Frostad, Catch the Ring won the 1 1/16-mile Matron prep in her local 2001 debut.

Sam-Son has another solid candidate for the 1 1/16-mile Matron in Mountain Angel, a

4-year-old who was a very impressive winner here May 20 while making her first start in more than 11 months. She has been weighted at 117 for the Matron.

o Next Sunday's feature, the $100,000 Victoria, will be the first 2-year-old stakes of the meeting. Mark Casse trains 12 of the 32 nominees for the five-furlong Victoria. Ten of the Casse juveniles are owned by Mockingbird Farm.

o The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will hold its monthly meeting Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the International Room on Woodbine's second floor. Nonmembers are invited to attend free of charge.