Updated on 09/17/2011 11:00AM

Second place up for grabs


FORT ERIE, Ontario - What more can you say about Wando, who will be the prohibitive favorite to win the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes here Sunday?

Wando pretty much said it all himself at Woodbine on June 22 when he dominated his opposition in the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate, taking charge early and scoring by nine lengths over 11 rivals in the opening leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Trainer Mike Keogh doesn't have much to add concerning the colt's obviously excellent chances of adding the second leg of the Triple to his portfolio in the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales.

"He's training as good as he was going into the Plate," said Keogh, who trains Wando for owner-breeder Gustav Schickedanz. "Everything's perfect - knock on wood."

Wando's rider Patrick Husbands picked up the mount in the Plate after Todd Kabel, regular rider of both Wando and his stablemate Mobil, opted to ride Mobil. Husbands is more verbose about Wando's Prince of Wales prospects.

Husbands said that when he breezed Wando for the first time, before the Plate, "he just worked normal, like a nice horse."

"When I worked him the other morning for this race, I had a whole different horse."

Considering that most recent drill consisted of six furlongs in 1:11.40, Wando's opponents could be fighting an uphill battle here.

But six intrepid Canadian-bred 3-year-olds will be looking to dethrone Wando in the showpiece of the Fort Erie meeting, which headlines a 10-race card that includes supporting features the Benburb and Border stakes.

The final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes, will be run over 1 1/2 miles on turf at Woodbine on Aug. 9 and a sweep of the series by Wando would be worth $550,000 in bonus money for Schickedanz, including a $50,000 award as breeder of the colt.

Mobil, the Plate runner-up, was not about to risk spoiling Wando's shot at those spoils, and Rock Again, the third-place Queen's Plate finisher, has been sidelined by injury.

That leaves Shoal Water, beaten 13 lengths as the fourth-place finisher in just his second start of the year in the Plate, as the most logical candidate to complete the exactor. He is trained by Mark Frostad.

Arco's Gold, undefeated in three starts at 2, also was making just his second start of the year when he finished eighth in the Plate, and a wake-up effort is not out of the question. He is owned by Alex and Steven DiIorio and trained by John Ross.

But there is little evidence to suggest that Solihull and Peef, who were sixth and seventh in the Plate, can come up with dramatic turnarounds here, and Gavro, a maiden whose best form has come on turf, is an even more unlikely candidate.

But there is an interesting newcomer in the Prince of Wales. Sonofawac, based here with the meeting's leading trainer, Layne Giliforte, was beaten 14 1/2 lengths when he finished fourth behind Mobil in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial, but he came back to finish a solid second in Woodbine's six-furlong Afleet the day before the Queen's Plate.

"I think it's impossible to beat Wando," said Giliforte. "You can't beat what you can't catch."

Sonofawac is the only Prince of Wales contestant with a race over the track, having won his maiden at six furlongs here last October, and Giliforte is banking on the home field advantage.

"If the Prince of Wales was at Woodbine, we wouldn't be going," he said. "He's been here since he was 2, and he's always worked real well here.

"I'm going to handicap the race as if Wando's not even in it, and try to find the best way we can run to finish second."


Prince of Wales

Purse: $500,000, 1 3/16 miles

1PeefR. Sabourin20-1
2Arco's GoldC. Montpellier6-1
3GavroS. Bahen30-1
4WandoP. Husbands2-5
5SonofawacC. Clark12-1
6SolihullD. Luciani15-1
7Shoal WaterD. Clark5-1

* All starters carry 126 pounds

* Odds by Bill Tallon