06/05/2002 11:00PM

Nowhere to go but up for Streakin Rob


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Streakin Rob certainly didn't get to strut his stuff here in last Saturday's Plate Trial, ending a distant 10th in the field of 11.

But Jim Day, who trains Streakin Rob for Rob Cudney and Allan Kent, will wheel the gelding right back in Saturday's Victoria Park in an effort to right his course to the June 23 Queen's Plate.

"The plan was for him to have a couple of starts - decent races - then go forward to the Queen's Plate," said Day.

"But we've got to revamp our plan, after that last debacle. He ended up not getting much out of it - he never really got to run, in any part of the race."

Day, concerned about the headstrong tendencies that Streakin Rob had displayed as a 2-year-old, had instructed jockey Mickey Walls to take the horse well off the pace in his seasonal bow.

The plan worked fairly well that day, as the gelding closed off very fast fractions to finish sixth, beaten just 4 1/2 lengths, in the seven-furlong Queenston. But in the Plate Trial, at 1 1/8 miles, Streakin Rob rebelled at such handling.

"I wanted him severely off the pace, come hell or high water," said Day. "We couldn't get that really accomplished last year. He was always getting his own way."

Walls, following Day's blueprint, immediately throttled back Streakin Rob to last place.

"The poor old jock did what I told him, but Streakin Rob didn't accept the proposal very well," said Day. "He was going to go right over top of everybody. It was just a mess, a catastrophe."

And as the race progressed, Streakin Rob's situation went from bad to worse.

"Down the backstretch he got annoyed, and started to bolt," said Day. "It was like he was saying 'I'm going home, back to the barn.' "

The good news is that Streakin Rob can use the Victoria Park to regroup.

"He'll have to run a little freer," said Day. "With a happier running style, I think he'll be fine."

Setup for Tails of the Crypt?

Also looking to take a giant step toward the Plate in the Victoria Park will be Forever Grand, Cree Power, and Barbeau Ruckus.

Forever Grand, undefeated in three outings this year, is highly regarded but will be making his first start beyond seven furlongs and his stakes debut.

"There's no excuses for him," said Bob Tiller, who trains Forever Grand and is a co-owner in partnership with Frank DiGiulio. "If he can get the distance, he'll be in the Plate. I like his chances."

Forever Grand has shown an inclination to run on the lead, which also has been the preferred style of Victoria Park entrants Cree Power and Mulligan the Great.

With Streakin Rob a possible addition to that mix, the race could set up for Tails of the Crypt, who looms the probable favorite.

Tails of the Crypt, a Kentucky-bred, is owned by the Jam Jar Racing Stable of Bud and Jackie Reynolds and trained by John Ross, the connections of Plate Trial winner Shaws Creek.

Tails of the Crypt, winner of the 1 1/16-mile Display here last fall, also ended the runner-up at that distance in this year's Tampa Bay Derby and the Grade 2 Marine, which was his last start here.

Bell has three to strike in Oaks

Trainer David Bell will send out 30 percent of the field for Saturday's Labatt Woodbine Oaks, with Tacky Affair, Silver Nithi, and Halo Alfaari racing as an entry in the 1 1/8-mile feature.

"It's not that I'm running three of them because I think it's an easy spot," said Bell. "But there's only one Oaks; you take your best shot at it, then regroup if you have to."

Tacky Affair, owned by Mike and Nick Nosowenko, is the most accomplished of the trio, having won two of six starts and never finishing worse than third.

But the filly has not raced beyond seven furlongs, the distance at which she finished third behind leading Oaks contenders Gonetofarr and Ginger Gold in her last start May 5.

"The distance is a question mark, obviously," said Bell, "but I think she's got a good shot at getting it.

"I thought about running her in the Selene," said Bell, referring to the 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies here May 20, "but it looked too tough, and it didn't make a lot of sense to keep drilling her.

"We're hoping we can get her back off the pace, and we should be able too. She usually relaxes; she's never really been a rank filly."

Silver Nithi, owned by Dick and Jo Ellen Shaw, enters the Oaks with three 1 1/16-mile races under her belt, the most recent being her maiden victory here May 11.

"I'm not really worried about her getting the distance," said Bell. "She's got moderate speed, but not blazing speed. She should sit just off it.

Halo Alfaari, a daughter of Alfaari who is owned by Bell in partnership with Willy Hauer, ran third in the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie here last fall but is coming off a distant fourth-place finish in a recent first-level allowance try at the distance.

"She'll get the trip," said Bell. "I just don't know if she'll get it fast enough. She looks like she'll need some fractions to run at."

Mighty Quinn gets it done

Favored Mighty Quinn ($4.60) surrendered the lead to Dillinger in midstretch before coming back on in the final strides to post a narrow win in Wednesday's $129,875 Bold Ruckus Stakes at Woodbine.

Mighty Quinn pressed front-running Grimer in the six-furlong turf dash and took the lead at the head of the stretch. Dillinger loomed boldly in the drive and had a slim lead at the eighth pole, but gave way late and finished a head back. Akbar was another 1 3/4 lengths back in third in the six-horse field of Ontario-sired 3-year-olds. The final time, over yielding ground, was 1:12.

Mighty Quinn, ridden by Ray Sabourin and trained by Malcolm Pierce, earned $77,925 for Windways Farm and Quinn Stable.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink