09/07/2001 12:00AM

Quiet Resolve can do it again


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - For a horse bidding to become the Atto Mile's first two-time winner, besides being locally based and Canada's reigning horse of the year, Quiet Resolve certainly isn't getting much respect.

Quiet Resolve, now 6, was making his stakes debut when part of a Sam-Son Farm entry sent off at 44-1 in the 1999 Atto Mile, but he wound up taking home the top prize being placed first upon Hawksley Hill's disqualification.

And while he won't be anywhere near that 44-1 price Sunday, Quiet Resolve still figures to go off at double-digit odds on his home turf at Woodbine.

The fact that Quiet Resolve has been focusing on longer races and is coming off a dismal 12th-place finish over 1 1/4 miles of yielding turf in the Arlington Million, may make him a tough sell in this deep and talented Atto Mile lineup.

Trainer Mark Frostad, however, believes Quiet Resolve despised the going in his last start and will handle the cutback in distance here on firmer footing.

"He's a pretty versatile horse," said Frostad. "Everybody was shocked when we went in the Breeders' Cup Turf with him last year; he was 41-1 there."

Quiet Resolve, who entered the 1 1/2-mile Breeders' Cup Turf off a third-place finish in the Keeneland Turf Mile, was beaten a half-length after looking like a winner in deep stretch.

"He's getting on now," said Frostad, "but he's capable of running a big race. I think there's an awful lot of speed in the race Sunday. That could work to our advantage."

Minshall, Hard Currency take a shot

Trainer Barbara Minshall also has been down the Atto Mile road before, saddling Kiridashi to a seventh-place finish here in 1998 and fifth the following season.

But she is back this year with a Minshall Farm runner of a different stripe as Hard Currency, a 5-year-old, will be making only his 11th career start and his first in a turf stakes.

"It's so hard to compare them," said Minshall. "Kiridashi never had an unsound day in his life, but with this horse it's been one thing after another - nothing really career-threatening, just things you've got to stop on him for.

"I thought early in his 3-year-old year that he was the best Queen's Plate prospect I had, but he had to have surgery on his knee. If they're going to have any chance, after knee surgery, you have to give them lots of time."

Hard Currency, a half-brother to Canada's 1996 horse of the year Mt. Sassafras and a full brother to the talented turf filly One Emotion, did not debut until Oct. 9, 1999, and was an impressive winner of his second start. He returned the following May, but then was on the shelf until late September before returning to win back-to-back allowance races.

"Right after he won his last race, he had colic surgery," Minshall said.

The sailing has been relatively smooth this year for Hard Currency, who has started four times and is coming off two solid efforts in his first two turf races.

"I've had this race in the back of my mind since the beginning of the year," said Minshall. "He's a good horse, with a good pedigree.

"It took a while to get him on turf, out of circumstance, but I thought he was coming around and it would be the right time to take a shot, if everything's right.

"He's getting better every race, and I sure don't think he's reached the end of his improvement. There's a ton of speed in the race, and he's very tractable."

Wake at Noon in Mile off little rest

Speaking of speed raises the topic of Wake at Noon, a surprise entrant in the Atto Mile, after running in Saratoga's 6 1/2-furlong Forego just last Saturday.

Wake at Noon, owned by Bruno Schickedanz and trained by Abraham Katryan, dueled through a blazing pace there, and while he outlasted the other speed, had to settle for fourth-place money.

"It's a bit close," said Katryan, referring to the eight days between starts, "but he's so lightly raced that it really shouldn't affect him that much."

Wake at Noon has run five times this year, and Atto Mile will be his first race on turf. But he has worked well on the training track turf course here. "He should be sharp, coming off that last race. He'll go to the lead; that's the plan," Katryan said.