03/22/2003 1:00AM

Lone speed Quest Star upsets


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Quest Star was left as the lone speed after Serial Bride was scratched during the post parade for Saturday's $200,000 at Gulfstream Park. Both he and jockey Edgar Prado made the most of the opportunity, leading throughout to post a 1 3/4-length victory over 3-5 favorite Man From Wicklow in the Grade 2 turf race.

Quest Star covered 1 1/2 miles in 2:04.35 seconds over a firm course and paid $11.80 as the second choice in the scratch-reduced field of nine older turf specialists.

Quest Star broke alertly and Prado immediately put the son of Broad Brush on the lead along the hedge. The pair set relatively slow fractions of 24.98 seconds, 50.05, and 1:15.15 while maintaining a clear advantage over Mr. Livingston. Prado asked for more entering the stretch, and Quest Star responded to repel a bid from Whata Brainstorm and opened a 2 1/2-length lead approaching the eighth pole. Quest Star then had plenty in reserve to withstand a belated rally from Man From Wicklow.

Man From Wicklow, who was an easy winner of the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap in his previous start, dropped more than a half dozen lengths off the early pace, raced wide throughout, and finished willingly to be second best. Reduit rallied from last to finish third, then was vanned off after the finish with a possible tendon injury.

"When I looked at the Daily Racing Form there didn't appear to be much speed in the race and Edgar kind of had the same idea," said Elliott Walden, who trains Quest Star for Mansell Stable. "He's an improving horse and we were fortunate to be out there by ourself."

Rick Violette, who owns and trains Man From Wicklow, said he thought the late scratch of Serial Bride could have had an impact on the outcome of the Pan American.

"The scratch hurt us because I think Serial Bride would have been a factor with the pace," Violette said. "But my horse was also very dull today. He was always off the bit and never gave Jerry [Bailey] any help. Maybe it was the heat and humidity or maybe he was just having an off day. He never got in position and you've really got to be much the best to win when you're wide going three turns."