09/09/2003 11:00PM

Soaring Free anything but 'Quiet'


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Soaring Free will be looking to become the second Atto Mile winner for Mark Frostad and Sam-Son Farm on Sunday.

On form there is little resemblance between Soaring Free and his successful predecessor, Quiet Resolve, besides the fact they both will have contested the Atto Mile as 4-year-old geldings. Quiet Resolve actually finished second in the 1999 Atto Mile, beaten a head, but was declared the winner when Hawksley Hill was disqualified.

But while the Atto Mile marked the stakes debut for Quiet Resolve, who was making just his seventh career appearance, Soaring Free comes into Sunday's edition as a relatively seasoned veteran of 11 starts and will be seeking his fourth consecutive stakes win.

Another important distinction for those who fancy Sam-Son's chances is that while Quiet Resolve returned $91.10 as part of an entry, the prospective payoff for Soaring Free will be far less.

During his first two campaigns, Soaring Free showed flashes of above-average ability but was not living up to expectations. But Soaring Free's life changed for the better, at least racing-wise, when he was gelded after his final start of 2002.

"He's always been a nice horse," said Frostad. "He was just very immature, and backwards. He's much more mature now."

Indeed, Soaring Free has been the consummate professional this year, winning his first two starts, both on the main track, and then taking to the turf with a vengeance to extend his win streak to five - and perhaps counting.

In his first race on grass, the six-furlong Nearctic here June 22, Soaring Free sat marginally off the pace for the opening quarter-mile before coming on to take a lead he never relinquished.

The script has been much the same for his two subsequent turf stakes scores, the restricted Ontario Jockey Club and the Grade 3 Play the King, both at seven furlongs.

In the Atto Mile, however, Soaring Free will be facing his most difficult assignment to date.

"We'll see if he can step up to it, face all the big boys and go the extra distance," Frostad said. "It will be interesting."

Frostad is not overly concerned about the distance part of the equation.

"It shouldn't be a problem," the trainer said. "He did the seven-eighths pretty easily. But you never really know until you do it."

English shipper Hold to Ransom in Canadian

The Atto Mile failed to attract any European invaders, but the field for one of its supporting features, the Grade 2 Canadian Handicap, includes the English shipper Hold to Ransom.

A Kentucky-bred 3-year-old owned by Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum and trained by Edward Dunlop, Hold to Ransom checked in last Friday along with assistant trainer Tracy Johnson and exercise rider Julie Lingham.

"She's nice and relaxed," Johnson said. "She's in good form."

Hold to Ransom, who will be ridden by Gary Stevens, is coming into the Canadian off a seventh-place finish, beaten 3 3/4 lengths, in the Group 2 Falmouth Stakes over a mile of good ground at Newmarket on July 9.

Finishing fifth there, beaten three lengths, was Buy the Sport, who made her next start at Belmont last Saturday and was a 48-1 upsetter in the Grade 1 Gazelle over 1 1/8 miles on dirt.

In her start before the Falmouth, on June 21, Hold to Ransom was a five-length winner over a mile on firm turf in the listed Sandringham Stakes at Ascot.

"She's run a couple of average races," Lingham said, "but she was impressive at Ascot."

While Hold to Ransom will be heading home after the Canadian, she could earn a return trip for the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes with a good performance Sunday.

Last year, Dunlop sent over Fraulein, the upset winner of the $750,000 E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

Cayman Sunset competed in the Canadian and E.P. Taylor for Dunlop in 2001, finishing third in the Canadian but last of 13 when her saddle slipped in the Taylor. She remained at Woodbine between those races.

Impressive 2-year-olds go head to head

A pair of promising 2-year-old fillies, Blonde Executive and On the Qt, are among five entrants here in Friday's fourth race, a $61,600 first-level allowance sprint over six furlongs.

Blonde Executive, owned by Bruno Brothers Farm and trained by Radlie Loney, is coming off a romping 7 3/4-length maiden win at Friday's distance. The runner-up there, My Vintage Port, came back to capture the Muskoka, a yearling sales stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

On the Qt won at first asking for trainer Reade Baker, who also co-owns the filly in partnership with his wife, Janis Maine. Dream About, the runner-up in that five-furlong race, graduated impressively in her next outing.

Blonde Executive is eligible for the $125,000 Victorian Queen, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies here Oct. 1. On the Qt is pointing for the $150,000 Fanfreluche, a six-furlong race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies here Oct. 26.