06/13/2002 11:00PM

Quiet Resolve needs it firm


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The course condition could play an important role in the outcome of Sunday's Grade 2, 1 1/8-mile King Edward Breeders' Cup Handicap at Woodbine.

If he runs, Quiet Resolve should be favored off his authoritative win here three weeks ago in the Grade 3 Connaught Cup Stakes, in which he relished the extra-firm footing.

But Quiet Resolve abhors soft turf, and there is rain in the forecast for the Toronto area this weekend and ground on the soft side is a possibility Sunday.

Todd Kabel, who has ridden Quiet Resolve often, said the 7-year-old posted one of his better performances last time out.

"His effort in the Connaught is probably his best when I've ridden him, outside of last year's Atto Mile, when I feel he was the best horse in the race," Kabel said. "He was moving as good as when I rode him as a 3-year-old."

Quiet Resolve, who won the 1999 Atto Mile by disqualification, was a close third in last year's Atto after being shut off heading into the turn.

According to Kabel, Quiet Resolve remains in peak form heading into the King Edward, a race he won last year.

"He came back and breezed really well," the rider said.

Mark Frostad trains Quiet Resolve, who is coupled in a Sam-Son Farm entry with Strike Smartly.

Completing the lineup for the $335,700 King Edward are No Comprende, Steady Ruckus, Stage Classic, Proud Man, In Frank's Honor, Allende, and Moon Solitaire. Proud Man and Stage Classic have both performed well over soft ground.

New York invader Proud Man comes off a troubled second-place finish over a yielding surface in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Handicap at Aqueduct. He captured two graded stakes over firm turf last year for trainer Christophe Clement, who won the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes here June 2 with Siringas.

Stage Classic took the Grade 2 Sky Classic Handicap over a yielding course here in October. He comes off a 10th-place finish in the Connaught, and trainer Dave Cotey said Stage Classic made a few strange moves during that race.

"He balked while in tight along the rail, and lost all his momentum," Cotey recalled. "He did it twice, even though nobody touched him."

Moon Solitaire, a 5-year-old trained by Henry Cochran, ships in from Kentucky. He spent his formative years in England, where he was competitive in handicaps, and was beaten a nose in his North American debut, a May 11 allowance at Churchill Downs.

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