07/11/2009 12:00AM

Prince of Wales seems a three-for-all

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Michael Burns
Eye of the Leopard, winner of the Queen's Plate, will face the second- and third-place finishers from that race in the Prince of Wales.

FORT ERIE, Ontario - A neck and a head separated Eye of the Leopard, Mr. Foricos Two U, and Milwaukee Appeal in Woodbine's 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate on June 21. The three will meet again here Sunday in the $500,000 Prince of Wales, the 1 3/16-mile second leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

The Prince of Wales will be run as the eighth race on a 10-race Fort Erie card that also includes the $50,000 Daryl Wells Sr. Memorial and the $50,000 Ernie Samuel Memorial.

The Prince of Wales will be contested on dirt, a surface none of the six entrants has raced over. The Queen's Plate was run on Polytrack, and the finale of the Triple Crown, the Breeders' Stakes, is a 1 1/2-mile turf race at Woodbine on Aug. 2.

Eye of the Leopard, a Sam-Son Farm homebred who is trained by Mark Frostad, could be a slight choice off his success in the Queen's Plate. The Plate was just the fourth start for Eye of the Leopard, who had been unplaced in his debut at Keeneland but then won his maiden at Woodbine over 1 1/16 miles on May 10 and the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial there May 31.

"Obviously, he's had a lot of racing pretty quickly," said Frostad. "He's the tightest he's ever been now. I think he's going into this race very well."

Eye of the Leopard trained on the dirt while stabled at Fair Grounds this winter and tuned up for the Prince of Wales with a six-furlong breeze in 1:12 over Woodbine's one-mile dirt training track last Sunday.

"It was the fastest he's ever worked three-quarters," said Frostad. "He galloped out very well and bounced right out of it.'

Eurico Rosa Da Silva retains the mount on Eye of the Leopard, who should be able to keep tabs on possible pace rivals Mr. Foricos Two U and Milwaukee Appeal from post 5.

Frostad, who has won the Prince of Wales with Scatter the Gold (2000), Cryptocloser (1997), and Bruce's Mill (1994), will send Eye of the Leopard on the approximately 1 3/4-hour ride to these unfamiliar environs early Sunday morning.

"It's something I've always done, and I've never had a problem with it," said Frostad of the raceday travel.

Catherine Day Phillips, trainer of Queen's Plate runner-up Mr. Foricos Two U, is taking a different approach, as she vanned the gelding to Fort Erie on Friday.

"He'll gallop around the track and school in the paddock on Saturday," said Day Phillips, who followed a similar blueprint when she sent out A Bit O'Gold to win the 2004 Prince of Wales and Bravely to run second in 2002.

Mr. Foricos Two U was coming off an impressive win in a restricted

second-level allowance over 1 1/16 miles and was a pace presence throughout before coming up just short in the Queen's Plate.

"I think he's matured a little more since the Plate," said Day Phillips, who sent out Mr. Foricos Two U for a five-furlong drill of 1:01.80 over Woodbine's training track last Saturday. "All the activity of the Plate got him a bit excited. He's been back to the gate a few times, and to the paddock, to get him a little more experienced. I think he's ready for a big performance."

Mike Smith, who piloted Mr. Foricos Two U for the first time in the Queen's Plate, will return from California for the mount.

Milwaukee Appeal won the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks and came back two weeks later to just miss in the Queen's Plate after encountering traffic problems.

Trainer Scott Fairlie shipped her to Fort Erie last Saturday evening.

"She's settled in good," said Fairlie, who is journeying down from Woodbine daily to supervise his prized pupil. "The surface here is different than Woodbine's training track, and I thought it would be a good idea to have her here."

Fairlie, who believes that Milwaukee Appeal experienced enough trouble in the Queen's Plate to cost her the win, is pleased with the way she handled the situation.

"She came out of the race good," said Fairlie. "It didn't seem like it fazed her.

"Ideally, you'd like to have more time, but the only difference between me and the boys now is that I only had two weeks going into the Plate."

Stewart Elliott, who journeyed north from his Monmouth Park base to ride Milwaukee Appeal in both the Oaks and the Plate, will be on hand for the Prince of Wales.

Flip for the Coin and Keino West, the fifth- and sixth-place finishers in the Queen's Plate, and Gallant, coming off a maiden win over 1 1/8 miles at Woodbine, all would have to step it up seriously to make their presences felt in this Prince of Wales.