11/18/2004 12:00AM

Mr. Jester puts on blinkers


Mr. Jester will add blinkers when he returns to stakes competition Sunday in the $150,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park. He is one of seven probables for the 1 1/8-mile race, led by Quintons Gold Rush and Cryptograph.

Mr. Jester won three stakes at 2, including the $1 million Delta Jackpot. He has been racing in the allowance ranks of late, and defeated older horses on Oct. 8. In his most recent start, he was second in an allowance Oct. 24.

"The other day he wouldn't go through a hole," said Steve Wren, who trains Mr. Jester. "You could have driven a Mack truck through it, but for some reason he didn't want to go and that's not like him."

Wren decided to change things, and worked Mr. Jester in blinkers Nov. 12. The result was a sparkling five-furlong move in a bullet 59.60 seconds at Louisiana Downs.

Gamblin back in with peers

Gamblin, the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Derby winner who was sixth last out in an allowance at Keeneland, won't make an equipment change for the Oklahoma Derby. That move will be reserved for his trainer, Niall O'Callaghan.

"It's blinkers on the trainer," joked O'Callaghan. "They're to make me read the condition book a little better; to stay away from the older horses."

Gamblin, for a lack of suitable options, faced older horses in his last start Oct. 21, and O'Callaghan is thrilled to get him back with 3-year-olds in the Oklahoma Derby, the last two-turn dirt stakes of the season for 3-year-olds.

"I think it was a good idea of Remington Park to put it in the fall," O'Callaghan said. "Past mid-October there's no straight 3-year-old [routes] on the dirt."

O'Callaghan also said a bobble at the start did not help the front-running Gamblin in his last start.

The trainer also noted he came out of the allowance with a little bit of a lung infection. All is well now, as the horse has vanned in from Kentucky and arrived early Thursday.

Jamie Theriot has the mount.