07/12/2001 12:00AM

Sarah enjoys extended Honeymoon


Sarah Lane's Oates, the 7-year-old turf mare who is steadily marching toward $1 million in earnings, will attempt to win the $40,000 Honeymoon Stakes for the third time Saturday at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La.

Sarah Lane's Oates won the one-mile turf race for fillies and mares last year and in 1998. She must defend her title against eight others, including Nanie's Dinner, a winner of two of three turf starts last meet at Louisiana Downs; the Cole Norman-trained duo of Smokin N Jokin and Taffy; and Solo Attack, who seeks her fourth straight win for trainer Robert Schultz.

Sarah Lane's Oates is on a mission to become the first Louisiana-bred mare to earn $1 million. She is $120,144 short of that goal with career earnings of $879,856, and overall ranks third on the all-time leading Louisiana-bred earner list behind Scott's Scoundrel, who earned $1,270,052, and King Roller.

Sarah Lane's Oates has won 21 races in her career. Her longevity is a testament to trainer Andrew Leggio Jr., who has managed to keep the mare competitive in regional stakes every year she has raced, but is quick to deflect all credit to Sarah Lane's Oates.

"She just loves to train," said Leggio. "She looks forward to going to the track in the morning and if she's not out by a certain time she starts kicking the wall. She wants to get out and do her daily thing."

Sarah Lane's Oates, an allowance winner at Lone Star Park two starts ago, seeks her first stakes win of the year in the Honeymoon. In her last start she finished seventh, beaten less than five lengths, in the $200,000 WinStar Distaff, which was held over soft turf May 28. "She was trapped on the rail the whole way around," said Leggio, who has given the mount to E.J. Perrodin

Nanie's Dinner returns to turf Saturday after romping by seven lengths in the $100,000 Allen Bogan Memorial on dirt at Lone Star on June 30. Trained by Larry Robideaux Jr., the filly is 2 for 5 on turf, with both of her wins coming over the turf course at Louisiana Downs. She will be ridden by leading jockey Kirk LeBlanc.

LeBlanc off to fast start

LeBlanc, who won four races last Saturday, including the $40,000 Suthern Accent with Midge Too, has jumped out to a clear lead in the rider standings. Heading into the races Friday, he led David Guillory in the standings, 14-6. Last year, LeBlanc finished second in the standings to Anthony Lovato.

LeBlanc said arriving at the meet early this year has helped him get off to a fast start. "I started working horses here about a week before the opening," said LeBlanc. "It gives you a little advantage, and people know you are here."

* Triple Card, who set a Lone Star track record for six furlongs when he won the $50,000 Carter McGregor in 1:08.06 on May 28, has arrived at Louisiana Downs and is pointing for the $40,000 Airline, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds to be run July 21. Also pointing for the race is Arcadia winner Prince Slew.