07/12/2005 11:00PM

Few willing to face Wild Desert


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Wild Desert, who shipped to Saratoga after winning the Queen's Plate on June 26 at Woodbine, will be looking to add the second jewel in Canada's Triple Crown to his collection when he returns for the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on Sunday.

A field of six was announced for the $500,000 Prince of Wales, a 1 3/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, at a special draw here Wednesday afternoon.

Wild Desert drew post 3 in a race where starting position shouldn't be much of a factor.

Patrick Valenzuela again has the call on Wild Desert, who breezed five furlongs in 1:07.92 over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga on Tuesday.

Bobby Frankel is the trainer of record for Wild Desert, but the colt is scheduled to return to the suspended Richard Dutrow Jr. next month.

The only other returnees from the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate will be fifth-place finisher Ablo, who drew post 4, and sixth-place finisher Granique, who will break from the rail.

The fresh blood for the Prince of Wales will be provided by trainer John Ross, who will send Out From Africa and Stephen's Gift, and Mac Benson, who trains Autumn Slew.

Stephen's Gift, who drew post 5, and Out From Africa, who will begin from No. 6, both shipped down from Woodbine on Wednesday morning.

Stephen's Gift comes into the Prince of Wales off an emphatic victory in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special there July 2 and has a new rider in Steven Bahen.

Out From Africa finished fourth but was placed third via disqualification in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial, his last start, at Woodbine on June 5. Jono Jones has picked up the mount.

Out From Africa made a day trip from Woodbine last Wednesday and worked a mile in 1:43.40 on a muddy strip with the dogs well out and Jones aboard.

Autumn Snow will have local rider Francine Villeneuve in the irons. He is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Charlie Barley, a one-mile turf race at Woodbine on Plate Day, and drew post 2.

Contenders have final workouts

Wednesday morning, Ablo and Granique both had their final major tune-ups at Woodbine.

Ablo, trained by Roger Attfield, breezed four furlongs in 49 seconds on the main track with regular rider Gerry Olguin aboard.

"He worked very well, for him," said Attfield, noting that Ablo was on his own and tends to do more when working in company.

Granique, trained by Alec Fehr, worked five furlongs in 1:03 on the training track under apprentice Corey Fraser, who rode the colt for the first time in the Plate.