06/02/2003 12:00AM

Kabel has tough call in Plate

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It was Mobil's turn to shine here last Saturday and he made no mistakes, winning the Plate Trial to keep pace with his stablemate Wando on the road to the June 22 Queen's Plate.

Mobil and Wando, both sons of Langfuhr owned and bred by Gustav Schickedanz and trained by Mike Keogh, have split the last four preps on the Plate trail. Wando won the six-furlong Woodstock and 1 1/16-mile Marine and Mobil won the seven-furlong Queenston and 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial.

Todd Kabel, regular rider of both colts, will have a difficult choice to make.

"It's up to him who he rides - he can make the decision," Keogh said. "He knows both of them well."

Kabel does not have to tip his hand until June 19, the day entries for the Plate will be taken. Since Mobil and Wando will not be coupled, thanks to a rule change implemented here last year, Kabel cannot be named on both horses.

And since Mobil and Wando rank as the Plate's top two favorites, some lucky rider will pick up a nice mount.

Mobil's Plate Trial victory was far from routine, as Rock Again had swept past him on the final turn and seemed headed to victory until Mobil fired back to win by 1 1/2 lengths.

"For a second there, it looked like we were beat," Keogh said. "But Todd said he still had some horse under him."

Keogh thinks Mobil could still improve.

"He'll get a lot out of it," said the trainer. "It was only his second start of the year, carrying 126 pounds going a mile and an eighth."

Wando will be picking up seven pounds and stretching out from 1 1/16 miles for the 1 1/4-mile Plate, which will be his fourth start of the year but first in five weeks.

Rock Again, Peef to return for Plate

Rock Again and Peef, the two-three Trial finishers, also are slated to return in the Plate.

Rock Again, owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Malcolm Pierce, was making his stakes debut and finished nine lengths clear of Peef.

"He sure got a lot out of it," Pierce said. "That stood to improve his fitness.

Peef, owned by Arosa Farm and trained by Rita Schnitzler, was making his third start of the year after competing in a pair of first-level allowance sprints.

"He'll improve off that race," Schnitzler said. "That was his first long race of the year, and he was a little anxious early."

Hour of Justice second in return

Hour of Justice, a Kentucky-homebred who was undefeated in two starts last year for Stronach Stable, finished second in her seasonal bow in the six-furlong Start Shoot here April 5.

It was not for lack of trying that trainer Reade Baker waited until last Saturday to run Hour of Justice again. She won the 6 1/2-furlong Alywow, the first turf stakes race of the meet for fillies and mares.

"I'd entered her five or six times, in allowance races, but none of them go," said Baker, who also had entered Hour of Justice in the six-furlong Miss Preakness at Pimlico May 15 but decided against making the trip.

"I'm in the same quandary now, because there's nothing here for 3-year-old fillies, American-bred," he said. "The next thing here for her is the Duchess; that's Aug. 9."

Baker also trains Elusive Thought, whom he had considered running in Saturday's $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies. But, he deemed the filly a very unlikely starter after watching her work five furlongs in 1:01.20 here Monday.

"She didn't finish well enough for me," said Baker.

Elusive Thought won the seven-furlong Fury here May 4 and lost in an allowance sprint two weeks later.

Baker trains a second Oaks candidate in Regal 'n Bold, a winner of two allowance sprints this year, but her status for Saturday's race is undetermined. Her owner, George Farr, said she was more likely to run in the Ballade, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares here June 11.

Too Late Now works for Oaks

Too Late Now, who will be a solid favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Oaks following her impressive score in the Grade 1, 1 1/16-mile Selene here May 19, worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 under regular rider Robert Landry here Sunday.

Other Oaks probables who tuned up Sunday included Seeking the Ring (six furlongs, 1:14.20); Mountain Dawn (one mile, 1:45); Deputy Cures Blues (seven furlongs, 1:29.80); and Kissedbyaprince (seven furlongs, 1:29.60).

Mountain Dawn, who can be difficult at times, worked in company with Quiet Dare but couldn't keep up. Quiet Dare was clocked in 1:42.20 and is hoping to use Sunday's 1 1/8-mile Victoria Park as his stepping-stone to the Queen's Plate.

* Giuseppe "Joe" Sacchetti, a longtime owner on the local circuit, died in a hospital last Saturday at age 57.

A funeral mass will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Jerome's Roman Catholic Church, 8530 Chinguacousy Road, Brampton. Visitation was to be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Ward Funeral Home, 52 Main Street South, Brampton.