Just prior to the start of the 2004 racing season at Woodbine, trainer Mike Keogh, who saddled Wando to Triple Crown glory last year, was asked which one of his charges could step up and have a big year at the races.His answer, multiple-stakes winner Mobil, makes his 2004 debut in Saturday's $160,800 Vigil Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine.A son of Langfuhr , Mobil, who captured five added-money features at the Toronto oval in 2003, including the Plate Trial, is bigger and better than ever according to the affable conditioner."I think he was a forgotten horse last year, but he's a bloody good one," said Keogh, of the tough-as-nails and temperamental sort, who had eight top-three stakes placings at a wide-range of distances in 2003."He trained very well by himself on Tuesday (a bullet of :59 3/5, breezing on Woodbine's main track). He took off at the five-eighths pole and took dead aim on another horse that was working a half-mile. I didn't want him going that fast, but when he sees another horse, he wants to go."The bay will get a firm test in his 4-year-old debut, facing a compact, yet distinguished group of rivals in Saturday's Vigil, a seven-furlong event over Woodbine's main track.The five-horse field features Chris's Bad Boy, the Vito Armata trainee who won the Jacques Cartier Stakes in impressive fashion in his 2004 debut. He'll be gunning for his sixth consecutive triumph."I would love to see some early speed in the Vigil, but I don't think that's going to happen," offered Keogh. "I think (Mobil) will run a huge one, but we're just going to let him run his own race."
Keogh certainly wouldn't complain if Mobil duplicated the effort of Wando, who looked sensational in winning his 4-year-old debut at Keeneland on April 18, a 1 1/16-mile turf event."I wouldn't mind that at all," he noted. "Hopefully, we come up with a big effort."$160,800 Vigil Stakes (Can-III), 4 & up, 7 furlongs
PP / Horse / Trainer / Jockey
1 / Anglian Prince / Mort Hardy / Jim McAleney
2 / Awesome Action / Sue Leslie / Robert Landry
3 / Mobil / Mike Keogh / Todd Kabel
4 / Chris's Bad Boy / Vito Armata / Jono Jones
5 / Merlin's Moon / Catherine Day Phillips / Constant Montpellier