04/10/2002 12:00AM

Maker's Mile attracts class acts


LEXINGTON, Ky. - If the quality of a race can be fairly gauged by the trainers with horses in it, the Maker's Mark Mile is top-shelf indeed.

Bobby Frankel and Neil Drysdale have sent horses from the West. Bill Mott and Jim Bond have horses stopping by on their way from Florida to New York. Mark Frostad and Dallas Stewart are represented by recent arrivals from the Fair Grounds.

Throw in Ken McPeek, who has the current Kentucky Derby favorite in Harlan's Holiday, and Bill Perry, who won the Maker's Mark last year, and the result is nothing less than a horsemen's honor roll.

Appropriately, the field of 10 older turf horses assembled for the 14th running of the $200,000 Maker's Mark reflects the same degree of excellence. Thady Quill, with Eddie Delahoussaye in from California to ride for Frankel, could rule a slight choice in what shapes up as a very well-matched group.

Thady Quill, owned by Susan Magnier and Gary Seidler, disappointed in his only start this year, the March 2 Kilroe Handicap at Santa Anita. But before that, Thady Quill, now a 5-year-old horse by Nureyev, ended 2001 with genuine promise, winning three straight races before running a sharp second in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile.

His competition in the Grade 2, one-mile turf race could come from almost anywhere.

Even the Score, trained by Stewart, led a terrific field into deep stretch in the recent Explosive Bid and should present a race-long threat Friday under Pat Day.

Baptize, a 4-year-old colt making his debut for Bond after being transferred from Mott's care, will be making his first start since last September. He had a terrific year in 2001, winning the Transylvania, Arlington Classic, and Hall of Fame Stakes and earning nearly $370,000.

Boastful, a rapidly improving 4-year-old trained by Mott, comes off two straight wins in Florida, the last being by disqualification in the Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup.

Quiet Resolve, easily the leading earner in the field with a $2 million bankroll for Frostad, makes his first start since having been badly beaten last fall in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

The Maker's Mark dates to 1989, when Yankee Affair won for trainer Henry Carroll. Notable winners since then include Opening Verse (1991), Tejano Run (1996), Soviet Line (1999), and North East Bound (2001). North East Bound was trained by Perry, who will saddle One Eyed Joker this year.

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