09/02/2002 12:00AM

Woodbine: Kabel steals show

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Mulligan the Great nailed 3-5 favorite Rare Friends on the wire to win the $104,250 Kenora, one of six stakes restricted to graduates of local yearling sales at Woodbine Monday.

It was the first of four stakes scores on the card for jockey Todd Kabel, who had Mulligan the Great reserved off rapid fractions, then closed stoutly in the stretch to complete six furlongs in 1:11.05 seconds.

"We were gaining on Rare Friends, but I wasn't sure if we were going to get there," said Kabel. "We lost a little more ground than I wanted to, because my horse was climbing from the dirt hitting him in the face."

Mulligan the Great, trained by C.C. Hopmans, paid $9.30 to win.

In other races at Woodbine Monday:

* Kabel steered Forever Grand out of traffic at the top of the stretch, and wore down favored Cool N Collective in the final furlong to take the $104,650 Elgin by a neck.

Bob Tiller trains Forever Grand, who got the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:44.80 seconds, while returning $11.30.

* Steady Ruckus ($6.80) won the $106,650 Halton by a length under Jim McAleney for the second year in a row, after wearing down favored Mighty Quinn in the stretch.

Trained by Gil Rowntree, Steady Ruckus ran 1 1/8 miles on the grass in 1:46.25 seconds.

* Small Promises ($11) overhauled 3-5 favorite Mulrainy in mid-stretch to take the $104,450 Algoma, a 1 1/16-mile event for fillies and mares.

Small Promises, trained by Roger Attfield, ran the distance in 1:45.15 seconds with McAleney in tow.

* Santerra ($13.60) collared longshot La Petite Justice in the final strides to win her maiden by a neck in the $105,550 Muskoka, for 2-year-old fillies.

Trainer Mike Mattine gave Kabel a leg up on Santerra, who covered seven furlongs in 1:26.19 seconds.

* Kabel also won aboard Mobil ($7.50), who beat a field of male maiden 2-year-olds in the $105,050 Simcoe.

Mobil, trained by Mike Keogh, ran seven furlongs in 1:25.59 while defeating Timeform by a half-length.