09/23/2004 12:00AM

Mareina tries to crack stakes level


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Mike Mareina has been a going concern here since relocating from the Texas-Louisiana circuit in the spring of 2003, particularly on the 2-year-old front.

And while Mareina has yet to saddle a stakes winner here, that could well change in Saturday's $136,000 Swynford, as he has What's Up Dude and Olympia Fields on call for the seven-furlong feature.

"I'm going to enter both of them and take a look," said Mareina, who trains both horses for Kuehne Racing.

What's Up Dude, a Kentucky-bred, is considered definite for the Swynford. Olympia Fields may sit out the Swynford in favor of the $125,000 Bull Page, a six-furlong stakes for Ontario-sired colts and geldings here Oct. 9.

What's Up Dude, a $35,000 yearling purchase in Texas, was an impressive winner at first asking over six furlongs here July 24. In his only other outing, the 6 1/2-furlong Silver Deputy here Sept. 6, What's Up Dude finished a closing third

behind previous stakes winner Wholelottabourbon and The Finagler, who is among his opponents in the Swynford.

"He made up four or five lengths down the lane, and he was just gawking and playing all the way," said Mareina. "He never even tried.

"He'll come back with blinkers on, and they should make a huge difference. He'll be more focused."

What's Up Dude had blinkers on when he worked a sharp four furlongs in 47.40 seconds here Sept. 15. He also will have a new rider, Patrick Husbands, on Saturday.

"I think he'll be pretty solid for this race," said Mareina. "And he has future potential, other than just sprinting."

If all goes according to plan, What's Up Dude will get the chance to stretch his legs in the Grade 2, $250,000 Grey Breeders' Cup Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race here Oct. 11.

Olympia Fields knocking at door

Olympia Fields, an Alydeed colt who was a $51,000 purchase at the local select yearling sale, finished second at five furlongs first time out and then graduated impressively at 5 1/2 furlongs.

In his next and most recent start, the seven-furlong Simcoe on the yearling sales stakes program, Olympia Fields was beaten just a neck as the runner-up to Moonshine Justice, who earned his third straight stakes win.

"I think he'll be really useful," Mareina said of Olympia Fields. "He's really coming along nicely. He rose to the occasion every time."

Regular rider Emile Ramsammy has been named on Olympia Fields for the Swynford.

Long race on grass suits Sauvage

Sauvage, who won a listed stakes in Europe before being purchased privately by owner Bill Diamant this summer, could be the wild card in Saturday's Flaming Page, the $109,000 supporting feature for fillies and mares at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Bred in France, Sauvage started seven times there for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. She was acquired by Diamant through an agent after winning a listed stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf in late May.

"I was looking for a grass-racing filly who would go long," said Diamant. "I'm very happy with her. She's training well."

In her first start for Diamant and trainer Phil Gracey, Sauvage faced fellow 3-year-old fillies here in the one-mile turf prep for the Ontario Colleen Handicap and finished an even fifth.

"We just wanted to see if we could back her down to a mile," said Diamant. "It was more of a trial.

"The Flaming Page would be more in her bailiwick, going long on grass. We'd love to stay with 3-year-olds, but it starts to get a little thin this time of year."

Last year Diamant purchased Vaganova, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly who had raced in France for Rouget, and watched her win her maiden impressively in her first start here, on July 27, 2003. She has not run since, however.

Wando breezes toward comeback

Wando continued on his road back to the races here Thursday morning, breezing five furlongs in 1:01.20 on the fast main track in company with stablemate Last Answer.

Regular rider Patrick Husbands was aboard Wando, while Last Answer had exercise rider Robin Platts in the irons and was clocked in 1:01.60.

Wando, a 4-year-old colt, was Canada's champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year for owner-breeder Gustav Schickedanz and trainer Mike Keogh. Wando has not seen action since June 19; he first was sidelined by a blood disorder, and later by a respiratory problem.

Last Answer, a long-winded 4-year-old gelding, could run in the Grade 2, $250,000 Sky Classic Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on turf here Oct. 3.

The Sky Classic attracted just 21 nominees, including five from Sam-Son Farm.