05/02/2004 11:00PM

Mobil earns shot at Met Mile in Vigil victory


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Mobil figured to be at a disadvantage heading into Saturday's seven-furlong Vigil Handicap.

Mobil was making his first start of the year, and although he was 2 for 2 at the distance, it certainly is not his best. He also was facing a razor-sharp Chris's Bad Boy, the 1-2 choice, who had won the six-furlong Jacques Cartier here two weeks earlier and appeared to be the lone speed in the field of five.

But when the dust cleared Mobil was a going-away winner under Todd Kabel, in an effort that earned him a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 102.

"I can't say I was really surprised," said Mike Keogh, who trains Mobil for owner-breeder Gustav Schickedanz. "I knew he'd be coming after that horse; I just wasn't sure whether he could catch him in time."

Mobil was a multiple stakes winner on both dirt and turf last year, and that versatility gives Keogh plenty of options for the colt's 4-year-old campaign.

"I sometimes think he's better on turf," said Keogh, "but he sure ran great Saturday."

Buoyed by the victory, Keogh and Schickedanz now plan to send Mobil to Belmont for the May 31 Met Mile, a Grade 1 race that offers a purse of $750,000.

Wando points toward Dixie

The Met Mile had at one time been under consideration for Wando, Mobil's stablemate, who was Canada's horse of the year and champion 3-year-old last year.

But Wando, who opened his 2004 campaign with a smart score in a 1 1/16-mile turf allowance at Keeneland, will be sticking to the grass for the time being. He is slated to make his next appearance in the Grade 2, $200,000 Dixie over 1 1/8 miles on May 15, Preakness Day.

Six Sexy Sisters retired at age 3

While Wando will be looking to go on to greater glory, there will be no such opportunity for Six Sexy Sisters, his 3-year-old full sister, who has been retired.

"She had a little bit of heat in the bottom part of her right knee Sunday morning," said Keogh, who had been pointing Six Sexy Sisters for the $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks here June 13.

"She's not unsound, but the vets say it possibly could become a breakdown. She's going to be a lovely broodmare."

Six Sexy Sisters, trained by Keogh and owned by Schickedanz, was perfect in two starts at 2, winning her maiden over a mile and 70 yards and the Ontario Lassie over 1 1/16 miles. In her only outing this year, she finished last of five in a Keeneland allowance. She will head to the breeding shed with earnings of $141,646.

Queenston cast tunes up

A handful of Canadian-bred 3-year-old colts had their final major tune-ups last weekend for Saturday's $150,000 Queenston.

The Queenston, at seven furlongs, is the next stakes stop on the road to the $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race here June 27.

A Bit O'Gold and Winter Whiskey, both trained by Catherine Day Phillips, worked on the main track Saturday morning and will be making their 3-year-old bows in the Queenston.

Jono Jones was aboard both geldings, guiding A Bit O'Gold through five furlongs in 1:01 and Winter Whiskey to a 47.40-second clocking for four furlongs.

"I was very happy with them both," said Day Phillips. A Bit O'Gold worked on his own, while Winter Whiskey went with maiden stablemate Storm Capsule, who was clocked in 47.20.

Jones, who has ridden the horses in all of their starts, will stick with A Bit O'Gold in the Queenston, with Jim McKnight picking up the mount on Winter Whiskey.

Night Sky reloads for 2004 debut

Night Sky, winner of both of his starts last year, including the seven-furlong Sunny's Halo, worked six furlongs in 1:14.20 under exercise rider Mickey Walls on a muddy training track Sunday.

"The nice part of it was he went his last quarter in 24 flat," said Danny Vella, who trains Night Sky for Stronach Stable.

Night Sky also will be making his first appearance of the year in the Queenston, but not by design. The colt was entered in the Woodstock, but was a late scratch after experiencing some problems in the paddock.

"He was just feeling good," said Vella. "He backed up, and lost his balance - he slipped, and fell sideways on his shoulder. It was bad enough [that] you wouldn't want to run him."

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk works fast

Trainer Bob Tiller had two Queenston candidates work on the main track Saturday, with Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk drilling five furlongs in a bullet 58.80 and Twisted Wit getting the same distance in 59.40 in a separate move.

Regular rider Dino Luciani was aboard Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk, who ran his career record to 2 for 2 when taking the six-furlong Woodstock in his 2004 debut here May 1.

Twisted Wit, who will be making his first start of the year in the Queenston, was ridden by regular rider David Clark.