10/20/2003 11:00PM

Refuse to Bend due for big one


ARCADIA, Calif. - At the least, Refuse to Bend is due to run a big race in Saturday's $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

In his last four starts, Refuse to Bend has won two important races, but each win was followed by a loss.

On May 3, Refuse to Bend won the English 2000 Guineas at a mile, but was only 13th in the June 7 English Derby at 1 1/2 miles, a distance trainer Dermot Weld says was too far.

After an eight-week break, Refuse to Bend won the Group 3 Desmond Stakes in Ireland, but followed with a disappointing 11th in the Grade 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp on Sept. 7.

Weld said race tactics worked against Refuse to Bend in the Prix du Moulin.

"It was one of those races that things didn't go right," Weld said. "It was a slow pace that turned into a sprint."

Tuesday, Refuse to Bend jogged on the Santa Anita main track. The prospect of racing on a firm turf course is as much of a concern as the possibility of an outside post position, Weld said.

"That's what you expect when you come here," Weld said of the firm turf. "I think the turf will suit him. Hopefully, he'll be back to the form of the English Guineas. If he gets a good draw, he could run a huge race."

Irish Warrior, who will be a longshot, breezed a half-mile in 52 seconds on Tuesday at Hollywood Park.

Irish Warrior was pre-entered for the Mile at the insistence of jockey Alex Solis, who told co-owner and trainer Wally Dollase that he thought the 5-year-old's late rally could be effective.

Solis rode Irish Warrior to a victory in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on turf on Aug. 31, the horse's first stakes win.

Dollase is not concerned about Irish Warrior's status as a longshot. In the 1990 Mile, Dollase trained Itsallgreektome, who finished second to Royal Academy at 36-1.

"I feel good about the horse and so does Alex," Dollase said. "If they go too fast in front, he will be coming."

Touch of the Blues, the winner of the Atto Mile, will not have a workout this week, trainer Neil Drysdale said.

Touch of the Blues is making his second consecutive appearance in the BC Mile, having finished a troubled 10th last year at Arlington Park. This year, Touch of the Blues has made five starts and has not finished worse than third.

In his most recent start, Touch of the Blues was third after a wide trip in the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 4.

Drysdale thinks that Touch of the Blues gained enough from that race to make a workout unnecessary.

"I don't think he needs it," Drysdale said. "He ran hard at Keeneland."

A field of 14 is expected for the Mile, which drew 17 pre-entrants.

Oasis Dream, the winner of two Group 1 sprints in England this year and a top contender for the Mile, jogged early Tuesday, the first time he has exercised over the turf course.