10/14/2002 12:00AM

Kabeeb upstages her stablemates

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It wasn't particularly surprising to see Roger Attfield, who fielded a three-horse entry that was the odds-on choice, in the winner's circle following Sunday's Princess Elizabeth Stakes.

But not even the trainer himself would have predicted that Kabeeb, a maiden after four starts who would have been a double-digit price if she had been running on her own, would be the one to get the job done while entrymates Clair de Lune and Speak Out wound up fourth and fifth in the field of eight.

"I thought Clair de Lune was very strong in there," said Attfield, who had watched that filly win her maiden in impressive fashion here Sept. 26 while Kabeeb struggled home almost 12 lengths back in fifth. "But she just didn't run her race."

Kabeeb, in fact, had been the low filly on the totem pole in Attfield's Princess Elizabeth deliberations, because of her maiden status and the fact he believed her pedigree leaned toward turf.

"I was thinking of not running her, but she's been training very, very well, and we'd made all the payments, so I thought we might as well leave them all in," said Attfield, who also is a co-owner of Kabeeb.

Attfield also had been encouraged by Kabeeb's stakes debut, as she closed well to finish third in the seven-furlong Muskoka here Sept. 2, and was inclined to downplay her latest disappointing effort.

"I realized that she'd got knocked sideways a little bit, and I think might have had the wind knocked out of her," said Attfield. "So, we sort of used that as maybe an excuse."

Kabeeb now will be pointed for the $150,000 Ontario Lassie, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies here Nov. 24.

Small Promises stretches out for win

Attfield also had cause to celebrate here last Saturday after Small Promises, a 4-year-old filly he owns in partnership with Kinghaven Farm, recorded her third straight victory in the allowance prep for the Nov. 2 Maple Leaf Stakes.

Small Promises was trying 1 1/8 miles for the first time and now is undefeated in three career starts around two turns, having won the 1 1/16-mile Algoma here Sept. 2 and the 1 1/16-mile Harry Hindmarsh at Fort Erie Sept. 24. Both of those stakes were restricted to products of local yearling sales.

"She's just getting better and better," said Attfield. "We thought we'd try her at a mile and an eighth, and she did that well enough that I will definitely give her a chance at a mile and a quarter in the Maple Leaf."

Attfield acknowledges that while stretching out certainly has helped Small Promises to reach a new level, there is another factor.

"She had a bad quarter crack earlier on in the year," said Attfield. "It's more or less a combination now of going the two turns and being 100 percent right."

A victory in the $175,000 Maple Leaf, which offers Grade 3 status, would be a big boost for Small Promises in the filly/mare Sovereign Award deliberations.

Mobile a dual stakes winner

While Wando has been the center of attention in trainer Mike Keogh's shed row recently, his stablemate Mobil was the horse of the hour after recording his third straight victory, all under regular rider Todd Kabel, here in Saturday's $250,000 Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles on yielding turf.

Mobil, like Wando, is a 2-year-old colt by Langfuhr who races for owner-breeder Gustav Schickedanz. Both now are double stakes winners, with Wando having won the Vandal and Grey and Mobil the Simcoe and Cup and Saucer.

And while Wando should be heading for Arlington and the Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Mobil will run in the $250,000 Coronation Futurity, a 1 1/8-mile dirt race for Canadian-breds here Nov. 2.

"Todd said he'll get a mile and an eighth no problem," said Keogh. "And he said he's better on dirt. He was swapping his leads about down the backside on Saturday."

Mobil was trying turf for the second time in the Cup and Saucer, having finished sixth when debuting over 6 1/2 furlongs of the E.P. Taylor course here July 27.

"I was nursing his shins. Turf's a little bit easier on them," said Keogh. "I think he wasn't 100 percent for his first race, or his second race.

"After his second race, his shins settled down a little bit, and I was able to drill him."

That second race, a fourth-place finish here Aug. 8, was the last time Mobil lost.

Wando gallops lights-out

Wando, who seems to be fully recovered from a cut hind leg that he suffered in the Grey, was out for a training spin early Monday under exercise rider Louise McDonald.

But what should have been a routine gallop became somewhat eventful when the lights suddenly went out.

"I was letting him sort of follow the rail," said Keogh. "When the lights go out, they're not too sure of themselves. He was very good, though."

The mechanical mishap was the second to strike Keogh, Schickedanz, and company in recent days.

On Saturday, the winning party was stranded in the antiquated Woodbine Club elevator for more than an hour while en route to the post-race Cup and Saucer celebrations.

Strong work for Chopinina

Chopinina, runner-up in the Atto Mile in her last start here Sept. 8, worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 on the main track here Monday and has been pre-entered in both the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf and Breeders' Cup Mile at Arlington Oct. 26.

Jockey Emile Ramsammy, who has the call for the Breeders' Cup, was in the irons as Chopinina tracked two stablemates before finishing strongly.

"I was very impressed," said Alec Fehr, who trains Chopinina for the Knob Hill Stable of Steve Stavro. "She's relaxing more than she did before the Atto Mile, which is what we've been trying to get her to do."

* Gavro, the Knob Hill runner who has been based in New York with trainer Nick Zito and finished third in the Cup and Saucer, emerged from the race with a chip in his ankle and will undergo surgery before spending the winter at Windfields Farm in Oshawa, Ontario.