10/25/2001 11:00PM

Old South familiar territory for Sarah Lane's Oates


Talk about longevity. Sarah Lane's Oates, a 7-year-old turf specialist who has won 21 races and $885,296, will make her fifth appearance in the Old South Handicap at Louisiana Downs, in Bossier City, La., on Sunday. Sarah Lane's Oates has won two runnings of the 1 1/16-mile turf race, which this year is worth $25,000.

Seven other fillies and mares will take on the highweighted Sarah Lane's Oates, including defending champ Due to Win. Trainer Cole Norman sends out the entry of Wild Squaw and Mysia Jo. Going into the races Friday, Norman was four victories shy of breaking Frank Brothers's 1987 record for wins in a meet at Louisiana Downs.

Sarah Lane's Oates was to make her comeback from a brief layoff in the Walmac Farm Matchmaker on Oct. 14, but rain altered her plans. "They took it off the turf, and we decided to scratch," said Andrew Leggio Jr., who trains Sarah Lane's Oates for Glen Warren. "We're looking forward to good weather Sunday. There's no rain predicted."

Leggio gave Sarah Lane's Oates a month away from the races after she finished fourth as the favorite in a turf allowance Aug. 11. "I think it did her good," he said of the down time. "She put a few pounds on, and looks superb. I think she's on top of her game."

Sarah Lane's Oates, who tends to run a strong race following a layoff, will be ridden by E.J. Perrodin.

Her chief threat is Wild Squaw, who has more tactical speed than Sarah Lane's Oates.

* Mr. Mallard is the one to beat in the $218,080 Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders' Association Futurity, also on Sunday.