07/16/2005 11:00PM

Ablo upsets Prince of Wales Stakes

Michael Burns
Ablo holds off Autumn Snow by a neck to win the Grade 1, $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, at Fort Erie on Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Ablo, who had finished fifth in the June 26 Queen's Plate at Woodbine, rebounded in a big way here Sunday by taking the $500,000 in front-running fashion.

Autumn Snow, making his first start in a main-track stakes, pressed Ablo throughout the 1 3/16 mile Prince of Wales but came up just a neck short with Wild Desert, the winner of the 1 1/4 mile Queen's Plate, another three-quarters of a length back in third.

Ablo was giving trainer Roger Attfield a record fifth score in the Prince of Wales and completed a perfect day for his regular rider, Gerry Olguin.

Riding at Fort Erie for the first time this year, Olguin was 3-for-3 and also took the supporting feature, the $100,000 Ernie Samuel Memorial, with Spanish Decree.

The Prince of Wales, which follows the Queen's Plate as the second jewel in Canada's Triple Crown, was supposed to be a piece of cake for Wild Desert, who was sent off as the 3-10 choice under returning rider Pat Valenzuela.

Wild Desert, who had arrived at Fort Erie on Saturday, took a rather unorthodox approach to the Prince of Wales, breezing two furlongs in :25.20 over the sloppy surface on the morning of the race.

The track still was rated "sloppy" at Prince of Wales post time and Attfield was not disappointed.

"I thought it would help him get the distance," said Attfield. "And, he certainly enjoyed it. He's just a trying horse."

Olguin also had nothing but praise for Ablo, whom he also had guided to an upset win in the 1 1/8 mile Coronation Futurity at Woodbine last fall.

"He broke real sharp, and nobody seemed to be going, so I let him run," said Olguin. "He was all heart; he kept digging in; he wouldn't let anybody get by him."

Ablo got his opening quarter in :24.52, the half in :48.13, six furlongs in 1:11.76, and a mile in 1:36.78 before finishing in 1:56.90.

For Valenzuela, Wild Desert's defeat was a function of the Prince of Wales pace.

"He ran his race, basically," said Valenzuela. "The horses in front of him just weren't stopping. He closed ground, but he couldn't get to them at the finish. Another four jumps and he would have had them."

Ablo returned $18.90 as the 8-1 third choice and combined with Autumn Snow, who was ridden for the first time by local heroine Francine Villeneuve, for a $171.30 exactor. The triactor returned $235.60.

Out From Africa, Stephen's Gift and Granique completed the order of finish.

Ablo, an Ontario-bred colt who is owned by Attfield in partnership with Bill Werner and Mickey Canino, picked up $300,000 to bring his career bankroll to $566,602.

* Spanish Decree ($9.90), who races for her owner, trainer and breeder Frank Huarte, rallied to capture the Ernie Samuel Memorial by two lengths. The 1 1/16 mile race for Canadian-bred fillies and mares originally was scheduled for turf but was switched to the main track.

Tamara, the 6-5 choice, was second with Miss Filibuster third in the field of six.