Updated on 09/17/2011 10:58AM

Link Wando with longshots


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Wando, an overpowering winner of the June 22 Queen's Plate at Woodbine, will likely be the shortest-priced favorite in the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie since Alydeed was upset in 1992.

Alydeed was a shocking second to Benburb over a muddy track in the Prince of Wales, in which he was bet down to an astounding 1-20 after rolling to an 11 1 /2-length victory in the Plate.

Favorites have prevailed in four of the last 10 runnings of the Prince of Wales, second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Only one bonafide longshot won during that time, Gandria, who scored at 13-1 while upsetting Woodcarver in 1999. Woodcarver had the same connections as Wando - owner Gustav Schickedanz and trainer Mike Keogh.

Constant Montpellier, formerly a leading rider at Fort Erie, has won two of the last four editions of the Prince of Wales - aboard Gandria and in 2001 with Win City. He also finished second in 1997 on C.C. on Ice.

Three Plate winners have won the Prince of Wales in the last 10 years - Peteski, Archers Bay, and Scatter the Gold. The only Plate winner who didn't run in the Prince of Wales during that time was 1997 victor Awesome Again.

Fort Erie is known as a track that often favors outside closers, but only two late runners have won the Prince of Wales since 1993. Five stalkers were victorious during that time, while three front-runners got the job done.

The presence of Wando, who looks unstoppable, makes this year's Prince of Wales an unattractive betting race. A cold exacta, linking him with the second choice, Shoal Water, who was fourth in the Plate, isn't very appealing, since it would yield a skimpy price.

The best way to play the race might be to use Wando on top of several longshots, including Arco's Gold, who was jostled around early in the Plate and ended up eighth. He could be geared up for a peak effort in just his third start of the year, and that Montpellier is his rider is a plus.

Arco's Gold could assume a stalking position in the 1 3/16-mile race. That style helped him go undefeated in three starts at 2. One of those wins came in the nine-furlong Coronation Futurity, in which he finished in a dead heat with Mobil, who was disqualified.

"He's doing all right," said John Ross, who trains Arco's Gold. "I sharpened him up a little bit by working him out of the gate the other day. He got bumped on both sides a few strides out of the gate in the Plate, and never did get a very comfortable spot. He was never happy in any part of the race."

Sonofawac, who has the home track advantage, is another outsider who could factor into the exotics. Trained by Layne Giliforte, Sonofawac was a distant fourth behind Mobil in the Plate Trial Stakes. He skipped the Plate, and is coming off a second-place finish to Battlements here in the six-furlong Afleet Stakes.

Le Cinquieme Essai, who pulled off a mild upset in winning last year's Prince of Wales, was also based at Fort Erie. He was voted the Sovereign Award as champion 3-year-old at year's end.

Handicapping contest next month

The third annual Woodbine Thoroughbred Handicapping Challenge will take place Aug. 23-24.

The entry fee is $250, and each entrant must make 10 mythical $2 win bets on each of day of the contest. Cards from Woodbine, Fort Erie, and Saratoga will be used.

The contest will be worth $56,250, if all 225 spots are filled. The first three finishers on the first day will divvy up $5,000, with the remaining $51,250 to be distributed to the top 10 overall finishers. First prize is $23,062.50.

If the contest isn't sold out by Aug. 10, contestants may purchase an additional entry.

The top four finishers will earn a place in the 2003 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas.