07/15/2003 11:00PM

All eyes on Wando, 2-5 on line


FORT ERIE, Ontario - There was no question as to who was the center of attention here Wednesday as Wando and his trainer, Mike Keogh, were all the rage at the ceremonial draw for Sunday's $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes.

Wando has been pegged as Daily Racing Form's 2-5 favorite for the Prince of Wales, a possibly generous evaluation.

Owned and bred by Gustav Schickedanz, Wando drew post 4 in the field of seven entered for the Prince of Wales, a 1 3/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds that is the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Keogh had indicated before the draw that he would be happy if Wando drew post 3 or 4, although he did not believe post position would be particularly significant, considering the field size and starting point.

"It looks like the speed's drawn outside him," noted Keogh, with veiled reference to potential pace threat Shoal Water.

Wando also broke from post 4 en route to his dominating nine-length victory in the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate, the opening leg of the Canadian Triple Crown at Woodbine June 22.

The colt would remain eligible for a $500,000 bonus if he adds the Prince of Wales to his portfolio. The Breeders' Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile turf race at Woodbine Aug. 9, completes the series.

Patrick Husbands, who rode Wando for the first time in the Plate, will be back in the irons here Sunday.

Shoal Water, trained by Mark Frostad, was beaten 13 lengths as the fourth-place finisher in the Plate but was making just his second start of the season and is eligible for improvement.

David Clark takes over aboard Shoal Water, who is DRF's second choice at 5-1. Shoal Water drew post 7, which will allow Clark to monitor Wando in the early going.

Also back to take another crack at Wando will be the Queen's Plate's sixth- through eighth-place finishers, Solihull, Peef, and Arco's Gold.

The likeliest of that trio to improve would appear to be Arco's Gold, who showed plenty of promise when he went undefeated in three outings at 2. He also was making just his second start of the year in the Plate.