05/05/2004 11:00PM

Plenty of possibilities in Queenston


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Questions abound regarding Saturday's $166,350 Queenston Stakes, a prep for the June 27 Queen's Plate at Woodbine.

Will Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk bounce off his impressive score two weeks ago in the Woodstock Stakes? Are Twisted Wit's gate problems behind him? How will A Bit O'Gold, a Queen's Plate winter-book favorite, fare in his first start of the year? Can Gold Gunner rebound off a poor performance at Keeneland? How will turf specialist Mr. J.T.L. handle the main track?

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk, who is unbeaten, won his debut with an eye-catching wide rally in November. He ran another corker off the winter layoff in the six-furlong Woodstock, in which he closed along a dead rail to prevail in 1:09.60, a time that earned him a Beyer Figure of 96.

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk worked five-eighths over the main track in a bullet 58.80 seconds last Saturday under jockey Dino Luciani. Trainer Bob Tiller says he expects another strong showing from Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk in the seven-furlong Queenston.

"He worked awfully good," Tiller said. "I thought it was too fast, because he was by himself, but the track was extremely fast that morning. I just wanted to get an easy five-eighths into him, but Dino said he was doing it all on his own. He came out of the work good."

Tiller also trains Twisted Wit, a double stakes winner at 2. Twisted Wit finished sixth last time out after missing the break in the Nov. 1 Coronation Futurity.

"He's in good order, but I wish I had a race into him," Tiller said. "We've worked with him in the gate and in the paddock, and I believe that we've gotten somewhere, but the day of the race will be the real test."

A Bit O'Gold captured the nine-furlong Coronation in a determined effort and has been absent since finishing far back in the Nov. 15 Display Stakes. His trainer, Catherine Day Phillips, will also saddle stakes winner Winter Whiskey, another comebacker who wintered in Florida.

"[A Bit O'Gold] is doing very well," said Day Phillips. "Winter Whiskey isn't as fit, because he missed a breeze or two."

Gold Gunner scored her first win in a quick maiden special at Gulfstream, but was beaten 28 lengths in a subsequent allowance at Keeneland. Trainer Kevin Attard said Gold Gunner's last race is a throwout.

"He got slammed leaving the gate and backed up after a horse bounced off him on the turn," Attard said. "We're going to experiment with a set of blinkers on him for this race."

Completing the field of Canadian-bred 3-year-olds are Night Sky and Rockin' Again.