03/20/2003 12:00AM

Keogh could hold pairof aces for Queen's Plate


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Mike Keogh has been down the Queen's Plate trail before, both in his days as an assistant to trainer Roger Attfield and as private trainer for owner-breeder Gustav Schickedanz.

Keogh trains Wando and Mobil, neither of whom has run a race yet this year. But Keogh has to be happy with his two top prospects for the $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds that is just three months away.

Both Wando and Mobil are homebred sons of Langfuhr owned by Schickedanz, for whom Keogh continues to train as he embarks on his first campaign with a public stable.

Wando won the six-furlong Vandal and the Grade 2, 1 1/16-mile Grey here last year before finishing 12th of 13 from a very unfavorable post 12 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Arlington.

Mobil won the seven-furlong Simcoe and the Cup and Saucer, a 1 1/16-mile turf race. He also was disqualified and placed second after finishing in a dead heat for win here in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity.

Both Wando and Mobil were finalists in the Sovereign Award voting for Canada's champion juvenile male, an award won by Kentucky-bred Added Edge.

"They both look good; they wintered very well," said Keogh, who spent the off-season with Wando and Mobil at Schickedanz's farm near Aiken, S.C.

"They had all of December off; they were turned out. They started galloping in January, and I started to let them run along a bit in February."

The training set-up there is not traditional, explained Keogh. Horses work over a five-furlong straightaway which runs up a fairly steep hill.

"All in all, I didn't miss too many days on it," Keogh said. "But it's kind of a hard place to gauge where you are with a horse. It's not the same as training on a racetrack - you can get more out of a horse on a racetrack."

Wando and Mobil checked back into Woodbine March 10 and had their first timed workouts of the season here last Saturday, Wando clocked in 47.40 seconds and Mobil in 48.80 seconds in separate four-furlong drills over a fast training track.

Both horses are nominated to the March 30 Achievement Handicap, a six-furlong race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds that is the first local prep on the road to the June 22 Queen's Plate, but Wando is the more likely participant.

Keogh underscored that probability by sending out Wando for another breeze here Wednesday. The colt went five furlongs on the fast main track in a leisurely 1:04.20 under Todd Kabel, who has picked up the mount for the Achievement.

Mobil probably will await the seven-furlong Queenston here May 3.

"I'd sort of like to keep them separated," Keogh said, "but it's going to be hard as we go along."

While Keogh is confident Mobil will not be fazed by the increasing distances of the preps on the Plate trail, he is less certain of Wando's range.

"I'm going to try him, and see how far we get with him," Keogh said. "I know he ran a big one in the Grey, but that can happen the first time you run a 2-year-old two turns.

"My own guess is he's going to be the same as his father, a one-turn miler."

Langfuhr, who raced for Keogh and Schickedanz, finished sixth in the 1995 Queen's Plate but went on to win three Grade 1 stakes races in New York, including the Met Mile.