11/15/2004 12:00AM

Wando off to good start as sprinter

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Wando wins the Mt. Sassafras, his second straight win at seven furlongs.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - One for Rose and Wando both displayed their championship form here last Saturday.

While One for Rose was doing her usual thing romping in the Maple Leaf, Wando was continuing in his new direction while scoring impressively in the Mt. Sassafras.

Wando, Canada's Horse of the Year and outstanding 3-year-old male in 2003, won his first stakes since concluding his sweep of the Canadian Triple Crown in the Breeders' here in August 2003.

After making his first three starts on turf this year, Wando missed the entire summer due to illness and disappointed in his first effort this fall, again on the grass.

Wando has now reinvented himself as a sprinter in the mold of his sire, Langfuhr. The Mt. Sassafras was his second start at seven furlongs, his second straight victory, and his second appearance with blinkers.

"I'd worked him one time with blinkers at Palm Meadows last winter and one time here in the summer," said trainer Mike Keogh. "The reason I never put them on him in a race before is I didn't think he'd be rateable going two turns with them."

Keogh said he had no such concerns about Wando sprinting, however, and Wando has rated quite nicely in his outings with the new equipment.

Wando will not see action again this year but will be among a contingent of Keogh runners shipping to Palm Meadows later this month.

"I'll probably start him up at Gulfstream in January," said Keogh. "Hopefully, I'd like to go the same route with him that I went with his father, to the Carter and Met Mile."

Langfuhr wound up his career with victories in the Grade 1 Carter, a seven-furlong race at Aqueduct, and the Met Mile, a Grade 1 race at Belmont. Next year's Carter will be run April 9, and the Met Mile will be run May 30.

Wando is slated to run at Gulfstream, with the Feb. 5 Deputy Minister among his potential opening targets.

One for Rose bests last year

The 1 1/4-mile Maple Leaf was the fourth stakes win of the year for One for Rose, whose 6 1/2-length winning margin topped her 6 1/4-length span in last year's running.

One for Rose has collected $489,832 in eight starts this season, exceeding her earnings in 2003, when she earned $476,377 in her 10-race championship campaign.

A 5-year-old trained by Sid Attard, One for Rose carried 126 pounds, the highest of her career, and was conceding eight or nine pounds to each of her five opponents in the Grade 3 Maple Leaf.

"I was worried about the weight," said Attard.

Attard's concerns didn't last long, however, as One for Rose established an easy lead, just as she had in last year's Maple Leaf.

"I figured she'd be on the lead," said Attard. "Give her a slow pace, and she'll keep going. When I saw the quarter and the half, I knew we were looking good."

One for Rose could wind up her campaign in Aqueduct's Grade 3, $100,000 Ladies Handicap, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares Dec. 18.

In any case, the plan calls for One to Rose to race one more season.

"She's sound," said Attard, who also noted that One for Rose did not debut until late in her 3-year-old season and has made only 22 career starts. One for Rose has won 12 of those outings and finished second and third on another six occasions. The Maple Leaf pushed her career bankroll past $1 million.

Slew's Saga injured after rough trip

Slew's Saga lost at a short price in Saturday afternoon's Coronation Futurity and came out of the race with chips in his front knees.

Slew's Saga, jostled on the first turn, moved into contention along the backstretch, but then tired badly to finish sixth of seven, beaten 22 lengths.

Trainer Bob Tiller said Slew's Saga will undergo surgery in Los Angeles, where he began training this year.

"I expect him to be as good as new," said Tiller.

Slew's Saga scored by 9 3/4 lengths in the Cup and Saucer, a 1 1/16-mile turf race, in his start before the Coronation.

"I think he's a top grass horse, but maybe just an average dirt horse," Tiller said.

Ablo rests up for next season

Ablo, the $40.50 upset winner of the Coronation, was stretching out to 1 1/8 miles after winning his maiden over seven furlongs three weeks earlier.

"This horse has shown me a lot of ability, but he's had sore shins most of the year," said trainer Roger Attfield.

Ablo is scheduled to join Attfield's string at Payson Park next week, when he will get a break before starting a new season in which his obvious goal will be the Queen's Plate.

"I'll bring him back at the beginning of the year and aim him for Keeneland and then to Woodbine," said Attfield.

Locals up for Sovereign Awards

Ontario-based photographers Michael Burns, Michael Burns Jr., and Dave Landry are the finalists for the 2004 Sovereign Award for outstanding photograph.

The Jockey Club of Canada, which conducts the Sovereign Award voting, announced the three finalists in four media categories Monday.

Woodbine Entertainment Group was a finalist in the outstanding film/video/broadcast category.

Paul Wiecek, racing writer for the Winnipeg Free Press, is a finalist in both the newspaper article and feature story categories.

This year's Sovereign Awards ceremony will be held Dec. 17.