08/17/2004 12:00AM

Mobil returns home


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Mobil was in tough in last Saturday's Grade 1 Arlington Million, facing some of the best turf horses in the world at 1 1/4 miles.

In contention for the first mile under jockey Jono Jones, Mobil finished 8 1/4 lengths back as the ninth-place finisher in the field of 13.

According to Mike Keogh, who trains Mobil but did not make the trip to Chicago, Mobil returned to Woodbine in good order.

"He's fine," said Keogh on Tuesday. "He's turned out this morning."

Keogh is uncertain of the next move for Mobil, but has nominated him to both the Elgin and the Halton, two of the six $125,000 yearling sales stakes that will be run here Sept. 5.

The Elgin is a 1 1/16-mile main-track race for colts and geldings, 3 and up, and the Halton is a 1 1/8-mile turf race open to 3-year-olds and upward of both sexes.

Although Mobil is a homebred, he was a $30,000 buyback at the 2001 select yearling sale here and has already capitalized on his eligibility for the sales stakes.

As a 2-year-old, Mobil won the seven-furlong Simcoe, for colts and geldings. Last year, Mobil was entered in both the Elgin and the Halton and opted for Halton, which he won.

Wando back in training

Mobil's stablemate Wando, Canada's reigning Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old, returned to training last week after missing a month due to problems with mucus in his lungs.

Keogh said Wando probably will not work for "a couple of weeks" and his racing timetable is up in the air.

Wando has raced just three times this year, with his last start a fourth in the Grade 2 King Edward Breeders' Cup over 1 1/8 miles of yielding turf here June 19.

Keogh filly eyes Seaway

Hour of Justice, a talented 4-year-old filly whom Keogh trains for Stronach Stable, could make her next start in the Grade 3, $125,000 Seaway, a seven-furlong main-track race for fillies and mares here Sept. 11.

A Kentucky-bred who was trained last year by Reade Baker, Hour of Justice is perfect in two starts for Keogh this year, having captured the allowance prep for the Royal North Handicap and the Grade 3 Royal North itself.

Both races were run over six furlongs on turf, but Hour of Justice is also proven on the main track, having won both her starts here at 2 and her most recent outing on the surface last July.

Hour of Justice also was nominated to the Aug. 28 Play the King, a Grade 3, $150,000, seven-furlong turf race that is the major local prep for the Sept. 19 Atto Mile.

But Keogh is not thrilled at the prospect of running against Soaring Free, who won last year's Play the King and went on to finish a close second in the Grade 1, $1 million Atto Mile.

Soaring Free, owned by Sam-Son Farm and trained by Mark Frostad, has won three straight races and two consecutive stakes. He won the Grade 3 Highlander over six furlongs on turf here June 27 and the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes over seven furlongs on turf July 24.

Dancin Joey could try turf

The Play the King lineup should include a newcomer to the local stakes ranks in Dancin Joey, a 4-year-old gelding whose career has been interrupted by physical problems.

Trained by Tony Mattine, Dancin Joey would be making his first stakes appearance and his turf debut in the Play the King.

"I think my horse will run on anything," said Mattine, noting that Dancin Joey had trained on turf as a 2-year-old. "He's just that type."

Dancin Joey has won four of nine starts, finishing out of the money just once while banking $186,457. His lone off-the-board effort came Feb. 14 at Gulfstream, when he finished fifth behind subsequent stakes winner I'm the Tiger.

"I didn't really have him ready," said Mattine. "He made a move like he was going to go right by them, but then he just got tired."

Dancin Joey did not return to action until July 8, when he finished second in a third-level allowance here at six furlongs.

In his next and most recent outing, Dancin Joey was a very impressive winner of a classified allowance at seven furlongs.

"He's good right now," said Mattine.

Fraser gets rest after spill

Corey Fraser, who ranked ninth with 32 wins and was the top apprentice rider at the meeting heading into this week's action, is taking a couple of days off after being involved in a spill in the fifth race here last Sunday.

Fraser was unseated when his mount, Wear, clipped heels in the stretch of the one-mile turf race. Lorne Spearman, Fraser's agent, said Fraser emerged from the mishap with a swollen hand.