Mobil Starts Queen Plate Quest in Queenston

(from track report)
Mobil, the Queen's Plate Winterbook third choice, makes his 2003 debut in the $150,000-added Queenston Stakes, Saturday at Woodbine.

He once referred to Mobil as a "goofy and tough" horse, but when it comes to the 3-year-old bay, veteran conditioner Mike Keogh has a never-ending supply of praise.

"I liked him from the first time I saw him," said Keogh, of the solidly built son of Langfuhr, who has bankrolled over $300,000 from six lifetime starts. "He's a versatile horse and he's shown he can win in different ways and on different surfaces."

Rider Todd Kabel, in the irons for all but one of Mobil's races, is equally complimentary.

"He's improving every time he runs," said Kabel, currently second in the Woodbine rider standings. "He's a big, versatile colt."

After finishing sixth and fourth, respectively, in his first two starts, the Ontario-bred captured the Simcoe Stakes, the start of a three-race win streak, culminating with a victory in the Cup & Saucer Stakes in mid-October, a race contested over Woodbine's E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

"I had trouble with him fighting 'shins' before he raced," noted Keogh, of a common condition found in young horses. "He wasn't at the top of his game in his first two starts."

Aside from the Queenston offering an opportunity to get into the thick of the Queen's Plate chase, Mobil will also have a chance for redemption of sorts, after a heartbreaking result in his final race of 2002.

In one of the most dramatic races of the Woodbine Thoroughbred meet last year, Mobil and Arco's Gold (Queen's Plate Winterbook second selection) hooked up in a compelling duel to the wire. Kabel, aboard Mobil, inadvertantly hit Arco's Gold with his whip in deep stretch and although the race finished in a dead heat, Mobil was subsequently disqualified and placed second.

Still, Keogh, who also trains Queen's Plate-eligible Wando, has great faith in Mobil, hoping his season will be defined by a victory in the "gallop for the guineas" on June 22 at Woodbine.

"Todd really likes him and has great things to say and I'm very pleased with the way he (Mobil) performs," said Keogh, who had $777,559 in earnings in 2002. "He's training very well and is in good order."

$150,000-added Queenston Stakes, 3-year-old Canadian breds, 7 furlongs
PP / Horse / Trainer / Jockey
1 / Mr. Believable / Norm McKnight / Gerry Olguin
2 / Shipman / Mike Depaulo / Dino Luciani
3 / Awesome Action / Sue Leslie / Robert Landry
4 / Mobil / Mike Keogh / Todd Kabel
5 / Quiet Dare / MacDonald Benson / David Clark