10/19/2001 12:00AM

Mr Ross looks sharp as ever coming into Oklahoma Classic


Mr Ross is the boss of the current crop of Oklahoma-breds, and his dominance should be on display Sunday when he goes after his third consecutive win in the Classic Stakes at Remington Park. The $90,000 race is the richest of seven statebred stakes that will make up the ninth annual Oklahoma Classics Day. Together, the restricted races are worth $365,000.

Mr Ross, who with $853,516 in earnings ranks as the third richest accredited Oklahoma-bred in history behind millionaires Slew O Damascus and Clever Trevor, seems to tower over his five rivals in the

1 1/16-mile Classic. He is in the midst of his best season, winning a pair of Grade 3 stakes at Oaklawn Park this spring before finishing second in that track's Grade 1 Oaklawn Handicap. He also finished second in the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park.

Following the Texas Mile, Mr Ross was given a four-month layoff. He returned to action Sept. 14 and won the $75,000 Silver Bullet Centennial Handicap at Remington Park, which pushed his earnings for the current year to $345,900, tops among all accredited Oklahoma-breds in 2001.

"[His season] has been more than we expected going into it," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Mr Ross for his breeder, Don McNeill. "We thought he would be competitive in his races at Oaklawn, [but] to be second in the Handicap was beyond anything we had hoped for. He's gotten better every year."

Voladora, the popular 6-year-old who ranks second behind Mr Ross on this year's Oklahoma-bred earnings list with a bankroll of $177,925, takes on the well-regarded 3-year-old Devout Sinner in the $50,000 Young Stables Distaff.

The mile-and-70-yard race for fillies and mares has drawn eight, with favoritism likely to go to Devout Sinner, who defeated Voladora when the two last met in the seven-furlong Black Mesa Handicap, finishing a respective first and fourth in the Sept. 30 race at Remington Park.

"[Voladora] was in some traffic for most of the race, and the one turn wasn't her lick," said Von Hemel,who has given the mount to Kevin Cogburn. "I'm very happy with the way she's trained up to this race, [so] maybe we can turn the tables on Devout Sinner."

Devout Sinner has won half of her six career starts for owner-trainer Joan Charlton.

In other races, Medium Rare seems poised to turn the tables on defending champ Findaway in this year's $50,000 Lazy E Ranch Sprint. In his last start, Medium Rare was beaten a neck as the favorite against open company in the $30,000 Remington Sprint Handicap.

Pesky Rascal should be sharp for the $50,000 Diamond G Ranch Turf over one-mile after honing his skills sprinting last out for Von Hemel. His chief threat appears to be the Steve Hobby-trained Mahal.

Among juveniles, Mighty Beau should appreciate getting back to racing with statebreds in the $50,000 Daily Oklahoman Sports Page after finishing a close second in a local overnight stakes, while the stakes-placed Here Comes Kari, Bayakoa's Image and Tontitown Lady meet in the $50,000 Lassie.

Valid Sunrise, who has won three races this year against tougher horses for trainer Clinton Stuart, appears to be the one to beat in the $25,000 Starter Handicap.