05/23/2001 12:00AM

Mr Ross sticks to gallops


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Mr Ross, who could start as second choice in the wagering behind Dixie Dot Com in the $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on Monday, is training for the race "Monarchos-style," said trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

Mr Ross will not have a major workout leading into Lone Star Park Handicap, the main event on a seven-stakes card.

"We're going with the Monarchos method," said Von Hemel, referring to the lighter training regimen used to prepare Monarchos for his victory in the Kentucky Derby.

Mr Ross has had his most successful but most demanding campaign this year. In five starts he has won two graded stakes - the Grade 3 Essex and Grade 3 Razorback at Oaklawn Park - and finished second in two others: the Grade 1 Oaklawn Park Handicap and Grade 3 Texas Mile.

As a result of the tough schedule, Von Hemel has adjusted Mr Ross's training for the Lone Star Park Handicap, the goal being to bring a refreshed horse into the 1 1/16-mile race. "He's run awful hard, and I thought his gallops would be enough," said Von Hemel. "He's got plenty in the tank."

Von Hemel has used two-minute mile drills to keep Mr Ross sharp since his last start, when he ran second, beaten 6 1/2 lengths, by Dixie Dot Com, in the Texas Mile on April 28. He said the horse, a 6-year-old winner of $807,615, will be ridden by Don Pettinger.

The Lone Star Park Handicap picked up a new player Wednesday, Jorrocks, said assistant racing secretary Jeanette Hughes. In his last start Jorrocks won the $50,000 San Carlos Handicap at Bay Meadows for trainer Bob Hess Sr. Von Hemel said he will also consider running Custer.

Sarah Lane's Oates nearing $1M

Sarah Lane's Oates, a winner of 21 races and $879,855, would come within $145 of her goal of becoming a millionaire if she were to win the $200,000 WinStar Distaff on Monday. "We'd be just pocket change short if she were fortunate enough to win this race," said her trainer, Andrew Leggio, Jr.

Becoming a millionaire has been the long-term goal for Sarah Lane's Oates. "We want her to be the first Louisiana-bred to make a million," said Leggio, who trains Sarah Lane's Oates for Dr. Glen Warren.

Sarah Lane's Oates, a 7-year-old, faces a stout field in the WinStar, but she is coming into this race in top form. "She's about as good as she's ever been in her life," said Leggio. "She's like wine. She gets better with age."

Hughes said the WinStar picked up a new starter, Penny's Gold, on Wednesday. Penny's Gold has won her last three starts, including the Grade 3 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. Another new name under consideration for the race is Iftiraas, who has won her last two, including the Grade 3 Churchill Distaff

Turf Mile.

* A contentious group of turf runners, including Desert Darby, Sky Colony, Howell's Poet, and Piranhurt, meet in the featured ninth race Friday night, a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer worth $33,000.