05/02/2002 12:00AM

Ross has one-two punch


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer John Ross holds a strong hand at Woodbine Saturday, when he sends out the uncoupled duo of Wild Whiskey and Shaws Creek in the $168,150 Queenston Stakes.

Streakin Rob, the winter-book favorite for the Queen's Plate, will make his 2002 debut in the seven-furlong dash for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, which is a prep for the June 23 Plate.

Wild Whiskey ran the fastest race by a 3-year-old during the first month of the meeting when he captured the six-furlong Woodstock Stakes April 20. He out-footed favored Rare Friends for the early lead and never looked back, winning by 8 3/4 lengths and earning a 100 Beyer Figure.

Wild Whiskey also displayed brilliant speed when second in his first start of the year in the Achievement Handicap. He led for a half-mile before giving way to Rare Friends.

"He ran a great race in the Woodstock," said Ross. "He's matured and has become more seasoned. He knows what the game is all about now."

Ross is somewhat apprehensive about running Wild Whiskey on Saturday because the race is just two weeks after the Woodstock.

"I'm going to wait and see how his body language is before I decide," Ross said. "If he keeps doing well, I'll probably run him."

Shaws Creek, victorious in the Clarendon Stakes at 2, was a fast-closing third under new rider Jake Barton in the Achievement, his first start of the year.

Shaws Creek raced on or near the front end in all four of his 2-year-old starts, a style Ross has tried to change this year because of the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Plate.

"I told Jake Barton that I wanted this horse to learn to come from behind," the trainer said. "If he learns to sit back and relax a little and then go on, he should get 1 1/4 miles. He has the right pedigree and disposition."

Streakin Rob was to have launched his campaign last Sunday in a two-turn allowance, but the race was scrapped along with the last half of the card because of poor track conditions.

Streakin Rob, who won the Coronation Futurity in October, worked five-eighths in 1:01.80 over a muddy track Tuesday for trainer Jim Day, who wasn't totally pleased with the move.

"He breezed faster than we had planned," Day said. "He's an aggressive horse by nature."

Completing the lineup are Fuzzy Star, Anglian Prince, Chandra Prakash, Lake of Bays, Embattle, Rare Friends, and Molly's Wisdom.

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