10/15/2002 11:00PM

Sam-Son on Cup sidelines this year

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad have been represented in the Breeders' Cup for the past six years, with Chief Bearhart carrying the baton from 1996 through 1998, and Quiet Resolve taking over for the next three editions.

But that streak will come to an end at Arlington next Saturday, as Dancethruthedawn has been retired after emerging from her final prep for the Distaff with an ankle injury and Strut the Stage is heading back to Woodbine for the Oct. 27 Sky Classic Handicap.

Strut the Stage, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old, started out this season with back-to-back scores, including the Grade 2 Dixie over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Pimlico.

But the colt failed to connect in five subsequent outings and, following his fourth-place finish in the Oct. 6 Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile, tentative plans for the Breeders' Cup Mile were abandoned.

The 1 1/2-mile Turf had been ruled out earlier, as Strut the Stage had been considered slightly suspect at the distance with the expected level of competition

"He ran a super race in the Shadwell," said Frostad. "He was running on end; a mile is just a little too short for him.

As for the Breeders' Cup Mile, Frostad said, "He'd maybe have had a shot, if it came up really soft. But it looked like the Sky Classic would be a lot better spot for him to finish off the year."

The Grade 2 Sky Classic, worth $250,000, will go over 1 3/8 miles on turf.

Full of Wonder, winner of the Grade 1 Niagara over 1 1/2 miles on turf here Aug. 31 but a distant last of eight over the same distance on yielding going in the Grade 1 Canadian International Sept. 29, also could represent Sam-Son in the Sky Classic.

Back to the home front

Strut the Stage will be returning from Keeneland along with Sam-Son stablemates Quiet Resolve, Whiletheiron'shot, and Soaring Free, who also are scheduled to see action in the closing weeks here.

Quiet Resolve had been under consideration for the Shadwell Mile but opted for a classified allowance race at Keeneland last Friday, in which he prevailed as the choice over 1 1/16 miles on soft ground.

"It was a perfect condition for him," said Frostad, noting that Quiet Resolve was making his first appearance in an allowance race since April 2000.

Quiet Resolve's target here is the $100,000 Labeeb, an overnight stakes over a mile on turf Nov. 3.

Whiletheiron'shot, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly, won a seven-furlong nonwinners-of-two-other-than at Keeneland last Saturday. Her next pressing engagement will be the Grade 3, $150,000 Bessarabian, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares here Nov. 17.

Precautionary X-rays paid off

Tammy Samuel-Balaz, owner of Sam-Son, said Frostad had sensed that something was amiss with Dancethruthedawn following her fourth-place finish in the Oct. 6 Spinster.

"She had run so brilliantly before, and was training so well toward the Spinster," said Samuel-Balaz. "She didn't really run to what Mark had expected.

"So even though she wasn't showing any signs, he had her thoroughly checked out before going on to the Breeders' Cup."

Examinations revealed that Dancethruthedawn had suffered a non-displaced hairline fracture in her right ankle.

"We're so relieved to have found it," said Samuel-Balaz. "It could have been a disaster.

"We sure wanted her to have her shot at the Breeders' Cup, but it was going to be her last race, anyway. She's so important to us for the future. Going into next year, she didn't need to do any more than she already has done."

Dancethruthedawn will need 30 days of stall rest before being moved. She will be bred next spring, probably to A.P. Indy.

Perfect Soul guns for Cup

Perfect Soul worked six furlongs in 1:13.40 on a firm training track turf course under exercise rider Paul O' Sullivan here Wednesday and will be looking to crack the lineup in either the Breeders' Cup Turf or Mile.

"It was a good, solid work," said Roger Attfield, who trains Perfect Soul for owner-breeder Charles Fipke. "He probably could have done with a little company. He was looking around more than he normally does."

Perfect Soul, an Irish-bred 4-year-old colt by Sadler's Wells, has started just five times in a career that began here this June and is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Canadian International.

Before that, Perfect Soul had finished second when he made his stakes debut in the Niagara.

If a trip to the Breeders' Cup does not materialize, then Perfect Soul would go in the Sky Classic.

Hard Currency goes for the money

Trainer Barbara Minshall ended a stakes drought last week, when her promising 2-year-old Snake Pit won the Frost King.

Minshall has three live runners on Friday's nine-race card, including a fresh Hard Currency, who will meet five opponents in the feature, a $100,000 optional claimer on turf.

Hard Currency ran just five times last year, when he posted a win and two seconds and banked $71,686. The highlights of that campaign included a victory over $80,000 optional claimers going a mile on the grass and a second-place finish to classy Kimberlite Pipe in a classified allowance.

Hard Currency has made just one start this year, on Sept. 14, but it was a good one. Coming off a one-year layoff, he finished second on the main track in a seven-furlong allowance won by Dream Launcher, who captured the Grade 3 Durham Cup Stakes in his next appearance.

Richard Dos Ramos has the mount on Hard Currency and will also ride Minshall's other starters on the card - Get Up and Go in the sixth and Devil's Scripture in the ninth.

Rounding out the field for the seven-furlong headliner are Riddell's Creek, Line of Defense, Gone Fishin, Academic, and Montezuma's Gold.

Gone Fishin will garner support because of the company he has been keeping. Claimed for $50,000 by trainer Mike Doyle in March at Fair Grounds, Gone Fishin ran third here Aug. 17 in the seven-furlong Play the King Handicap. In his last start he finished sixth in the 5 1/2-furlong Nureyev Stakes at Keeneland.

Montezuma's Gold ended a string of second-place finishes when he was placed first via disqualification in a July 6 optional claimer. He was second to Play the King winner Zone Judge in his next-to-last start, and is coming off a win in an $80,000 optional claimer.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink