07/25/2002 11:00PM

Mr Ross points for DeBartolo


Mr Ross, one of the best handicap horses in the region, is back in training following a summer layoff and is pointing for the $150,000 DeBartolo Memorial Breeders' Cup Turf at Remington Park in Oklahoma City on Sept. 29.

One of his other major objectives at the meet is the $75,000 Oklahoma Classics Day Classic on Oct. 27, a race he has won the past three years. Remington Park opens Aug. 10.

Mr Ross went on vacation in April. The last two weeks, he has been working at Remington Park.

"He's looking excellent," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Mr Ross for Don McNeill.

In three starts this year, Mr Ross has won two stakes: the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn, and the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park. Overall, he has won 17 races and $1,070,015.

Cross-country cowboy gets new horse

Les Nichols, the Texas trainer who rode on horseback to New York to raise funds for families affected by the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, plans to continue helping those families by conducting benefit trail rides throughout America, and a horse he would like to have join his team for the new mission is Illesam.

Illesam, who last raced in November 1999, is based at trainer Jim Gaston's farm in Louisiana. He is a stakes winner of $265,110, and in 1997 ran second in the Grade 3 Essex and Grade 3 Razorback, both at Oaklawn.

"We've been teaching him to be a riding horse," said Gaston, whose brother, Lance, is a friend of Nichols's.

Bourque moves to Retama

Jockey Curt Bourque, who was the fifth leading rider this summer at Lone Star Park, has shifted his tack to San Antonio for the Retama Park meet that opens Aug. 2. The move to San Antonio is a first for Bourque, who last fall was based at Louisiana Downs.

Among those trainers expected to team with the rider are Amos LaBorde, a former title winner at the track, and James Jones, a former assistant to trainer Frank Brothers.

* Lonely Concorde, who was one of the fastest 2-year-olds at the Lone Star meet, is pointing for a fall campaign, said trainer Jim Gaston. The colt was given some time away from the races to regroup from a hectic spring and summer, when he won two of three starts at Lone Star.

* Doug Vair has rejoined the staff at Retama Park as director of publicity after spending last year working in a similar capacity for the San Bernardino Stampede in California.