06/12/2003 11:00PM

'Soul' seeks 1st stakes win


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Perfect Soul, arguably the top turf runner at Woodbine, will seek his first stakes victory in Sunday's Grade 2 King Edward Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Perfect Soul, an Irish-bred son of Sadler's Wells, began to blossom last summer for trainer Roger Attfield, when he won two allowance races and finished a lapped-on second in the Grade 1 Niagara Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Perfect Soul, who is 4 for 9 in his career, closed belatedly to finish fourth in the Grade 1 Canadian International last September. He was subsequently a well-beaten eighth in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Arlington.

Perfect Soul has run two dynamite races this year, both at the King Edward distance of 1 1/8 miles. He won a third-level allowance by five lengths at Keeneland, and was recently a close second in the Grade 2 Dixie Handicap at Pimlico.

"He ran a great race at Keeneland, and ran a good race at Pimlico over a really soft track," Attfield said. "I thought he had [the Dixie] won, but a horse got by him without him seeing him."

Attfield said he got a little ambitious with Perfect Soul when he ran him in the BC Turf.

"We went off half-cocked at the end of last season, which I didn't really want to do," Attfield admitted. "I gave him some time off to regroup, and I think he's back on course for a good season."

Attfield also will saddle Red Sea, who encountered some traffic problems when fourth three weeks ago in the Grade 3 Connaught Cup Stakes. Red Sea won the one-mile Labeeb Stakes over yielding ground here in November.

Attfield said he has every reason to believe that Red Sea is sitting on a big effort. "He's doing very well right now," he stressed. "He's a classy old horse."

Also entered in the $339,600 King Edward are Del Mar Show, Stage Classic, Rhenium, Union Place, Le Cinquieme Essai, Strut the Stage, and Tap the Admiral.

Del Mar Show, based at Belmont with trainer Bill Mott, finished fourth in the Dixie and was a non-threatening 10th here last September in the Grade 1 Atto Mile. Pat Day has the call.

Tap the Admiral, another New York invader, has crossed the wire on top in each of his last three outings, although he was disqualified from first and placed second in the Oct. 25 John Henry Handicap at Arlington. Del Carroll trains.