07/26/2004 12:00AM

Refuse to Bend heads Sussex


The European road to the Breeders' Cup Mile gets under way in earnest at Goodwood on Wednesday with the 145th running of the Group 1, $550,000 Sussex Stakes.

The Sussex has drawn a field of 11, led by Godolphin's razor-sharp Refuse to Bend. Returning to form when he won the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over Ascot's straight mile on June 15, Refuse to Bend stepped up to 1 1/4 miles to take the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes last time out on July 3.

He will be severely tested by this year's 2000 Guineas champ, Haafhd, and by Soviet Song, a 4-year-old filly who followed her neck loss to Refuse to Bend in the Queen Anne with a victory over the previously undefeated Attraction in the one-mile, Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on July 6.

But they must all beware of Le Vie dei Colori, who is 5 for 6 lifetime going a mile and can upset the Sussex at a price that could be as high as 20-1.