05/15/2003 12:00AM

Wando, Quiet Dare clash in Marine


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Queen's Plate prospects Wando and Quiet Dare will meet going 1 1/16 miles at Woodbine Saturday in the Grade 3 Marine Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Wando, one of the leading Canadian-bred 2-year-olds of 2002, has made both of his starts at six furlongs this year. He finished a neck behind longshot Majestic Wisdom second, in the Achievement Handicap, and then won the open Woodstock Stakes, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 98.

Wando captured the 1 1/16-mile Grey BC Stakes with a stretch rally in October before running against the grain of an inside-speed bias when he finished 12th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Trainer Mike Keogh is optimistic that Wando will handle the distance Saturday.

"If he runs back to his Grey, he'll be awfully tough," Keogh said. "A lot of times, 2-year-olds will run huge the first time they go two turns, but sometimes they don't run back to it the next time. The way he's been working, I think he'll get the distance."

Keogh was pleased with the way Wando drilled three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.20 last Monday. "He worked really well," Keogh said. "He worked in behind another horse until the eighth pole and then went on by him."

Quiet Dare, an easy winner of the Sunny's Halo Stakes in November, closed inside to end up second behind Wando's stablemate Mobil two weeks ago in the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes.

David Clark didn't ride Quiet Dare aggressively in the stretch in the Queenston, but his trainer, Mac Benson, felt the horse got a lot out of the race.

"He doesn't have as much seasoning as I would have liked to see him have, but he got a good bit of it from the Queenston," Benson said. "He was in behind horses, and then made a run along the rail."

Benson believes that Quiet Dare, a son of Quiet American, has a license to handle a route of ground.

"He has a great temperament," Benson said. "He's a long, gangly horse, and he relaxes easily in a race. I'm going to add a shadow roll to his equipment, which might get him to drop his head a little bit, and it will deflect a little dirt."

Also entered in the $163,800 Marine were Arco's Gold, Strizzi, El Ruller, and Illusive Force, a Hastings Park ship-in.

* The Preakness Stakes from Pimlico will be simulcast Saturday.