10/09/2002 11:00PM

Lots to look forward to for Keogh


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Mike Keogh will have plenty to ponder in the next couple of weeks, with Wando preparing to invade Arlington Park for the Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Mobil looking to hold the fort at Woodbine in Saturday's Cup and Saucer.

Wando, who suffered a severe cut on his right hind leg when he won the Grey here last Sunday, went back to the track for the first time Thursday morning.

"We took him out and jogged him a mile and a half," said Keogh. "The incision looks good, but he'll still be on antibiotics for a few days."

Louise McDonald, Wando's regular exercise rider, was aboard Thursday.

"He felt great, he didn't feel off on it at all," said McDonald. "He's sharp, he loves to train."

Meanwhile, Mobil will be one of the leading candidates in the Cup and Saucer, a 1 1/16-mile turf race. And, if all is well, the colt will proceed to the $250,000 Coronation Futurity over 1 1/8 miles on the main track here Nov. 2.

Keogh, the private trainer for owner-breeder Gustav Schickedanz, has plenty on his plate for now, but his thoughts cannot help but stray to next spring. Then, he will enter a new phase of his career and take on outside clients for the first time.

Keogh, 45, earned his spurs here as an assistant to trainer Roger Attfield and has been the private trainer for Schickedanz since going out on his own in 1993. He will continue to train for Schickedanz, who should have about 15 horses here.

"Mr. Schickedanz wants to cut back a little bit," said Keogh. "He still wants me to train for him, but he wants me to go public."

Keogh won with Clever Detector, the first horse he saddled for Schickedanz, here on Aug. 1, 1993.

The outfit has enjoyed some tremendous successes through the subsequent years, with performers such as Langfuhr, a multiple Grade 1 winner and Canadian sprint champion; Kathie's Colleen, winner of the Grade 2 Monmouth Oaks (and dam of Wando); Woodcarver, winner of the Queen's Plate; and Glanmire, also a Canadian champion sprinter.

The outfit's only Breeders' Cup starter was Langfuhr, who finished eighth here in the 1996 Sprint while competing at a distance shorter than his best. Langfuhr is the sire of both Wando and Mobil.

Tough break for the AE's

Not all is rosy in the world of Keogh and Schickedanz as Last Answer, another Langfuhr colt, was entered in the Cup and Saucer but wound up as the last of three also-eligibles when 17 horses were entered.

The Cup and Saucer is an early-closing stakes with the first payment due Feb. 1, 2001, and subsequent payments due this Feb. 1 and Aug. 1. Woodbine rules state that the number of starters for a stakes race can be limited at management's discretion, or the race can be run in divisions.

Highweights generally would be preferred, but since the Cup and Saucer is a scale-weight stakes, horses with the highest lifetime earnings at the time of entry were given preference.

Last Answer was one of four entrants with no earnings. The others were Slash N Bash, who has been well beaten in each of his two outings, and Shoal Water and Colorful Judgement, both first-time starters owned by Sam-Son Farm, which won last year's Cup and Saucer with the debuting filly Atlantic Fury.

A draw among the four was held, with Slash N Bash emerging with the last spot in the field and the others listed in order on the also-eligible list.

The connections of also-eligibles who do not draw in for the race will receive a refund of the $2,500 entry fee but not of earlier payments.

Chris Evans, Woodbine's director of racing and racing secretary, said lane 2 on the turf course will be used for the Cup and Saucer and up to 20 horses could have been accommodated.

There is another variable to the decision, however.

"We'll go with what the jockeys feel is safe," said Evans, who discussed the situation with Irwin Driedger, secretary-manager of the Jockeys Benefit Association of Canada.

That the Cup and Saucer field consisted of inexperienced 2-year-olds led to the decision to limit the field to 14.

As for the option of splitting the race, that was considered but rejected by Woodbine management.

"Is it really warranted to split a major race for the sake of four horses with no earnings?" said Evans. "It's a traditional classic race in Canada. It takes away from the race to split it."

Snake Pit wins maiden in stakes

Snake Pit won his maiden in style with the addition of Lasix here Wednesday night, leading most of the way for a 7 1/4-length win over El Gran Maestro in the $133,125 Frost King Stakes.

Snake Pit pressed longshot Mr Tickety Boo in the early stages of the seven-furlong dash for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds. He assumed command before getting the half-mile in 45.97 seconds, and then drew off and won in 1:25.10. Timeform finished third in the six-horse field.

Jockey Richard Dos Ramos said he had a difficult time getting Snake Pit to the post.

"I probably wouldn't have gotten him to the gate if it wasn't for Albert Trudell, the pony boy," Dos Ramos said. "He did a great job keeping the horse moving, and getting him settled. I had worked him a couple times in the mornings, and found that when you reach for him and pick him up, he gives it to you. When I reached for him and gave him a little tap on the butt, he responded."

Snake Pit returned $4.60 as the favorite, and earned $79,875 for Minshall Farm and trainer Barb Minshall.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink