04/16/2003 11:00PM

Wando should be ready now


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Queen's Plate winter-book favorite Wando unexpectedly lost to Gulfstream shipper Majestic Wisdom when he returned from a layoff March 30 in the restricted Achievement Handicap.

Saturday at Woodbine in the Woodstock Stakes, an open six-furlong race worth $135,875, Wando will have to deal with another talented Gulfstream invader in Mazengah.

Wando was bet to 1-5 in the six-furlong Achievement, in which he had an ideal stalking trip near a lively pace. He hit the front at the top of the stretch and looked like a winner, but failed to hold off Majestic Wisdom and was beaten a neck while earning a career high Beyer Speed Figure of 94.

Despite the loss, trainer Mike Keogh said he was happy with Wando's Achievement effort.

"He got tired like I thought he would," Keogh said. "He wasn't quite cranked up for it, mainly due to the bad weather we'd had and the bad [track] surfaces, which I didn't feel safe working him over. I thought he tried hard, but I think he pulled himself up when he made the lead so soon. The other horse had more momentum, and we gave eight pounds to him."

Wando worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 April 10.

"He worked very well," Keogh said. "I worked him in behind Lake of Bays. He went by Lake of Bays, who came back with a [bullet] work on Tuesday."

Keogh feels Wando's diminished appetite since he shipped here from his winter base in South Carolina is cause for some concern.

"The only thing that has bothered me is that he isn't eating quite as well as he was in South Carolina," Keogh said. "A lot of times that happens once they get racing fit - they don't eat as much. I've pulled bloods on him, and everything is fine. His last work is telling me I should run him."

Mazengah showed little in his only start as a 2-year-old, but was a different horse when he returned from a layoff at Gulfstream Feb. 15, running second to future stakes winner Quick Draw. He received a 90 Beyer when second in his next outing, and then won three weeks ago in another six-furlong maiden special weight race, earning a 93 Beyer.

Trainer Roger Attfield, who has won the Woodstock three times, thinks highly of Mazengah, a son of Canadian Oaks winner Capdiva.

"His last race was very impressive," Attfield said. "He's a very nice horse. I'm looking forward to seeing him go two turns."