10/11/2001 11:00PM

Sarah Lane's Oates, Midge Too top Breeders' Festival females


Sarah Lane's Oates, who is approaching $1 million in earnings, and Midge Too, who in her last start upset Hallowed Dreams, are the standouts in their races Sunday during the second half of the fourth annual Breeders' Festival at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La. The festival is a two-day series of eight statebred stakes worth a cumulative $360,000.

The female divisions of the races to be decided Sunday are the $60,000 Walmac Farm Matchmaker at 1 1/16 miles on turf, which goes as the first race on the card; the $60,000 Louisiana Breeders' Oaks for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; the $35,000 Victoria for fillies and mares at six furlongs; and the $35,000 Laurel Lane for 2-year-olds at six furlongs. As with the male divisions on Saturday, the stakes are all restricted to horses bred in Louisiana.

Sarah Lane's Oates, a 7-year-old career winner of 21 races and $885,296, is the class of the Matchmaker. She has won two of the last four runnings of the race, and comes into this year's renewal refreshed following a two-month vacation. "We gave her some time because the weather got kind of hot around here, and it was taking its toll," said Andrew Leggio, who trains Sarah Lane's Oates for Dr. Glen Warren. "I think the little rest did her good."

Sarah Lane's Oates, who in her last start finished fourth as the favorite against males in a statebred turf allowance Aug. 11, is to be ridden by E.J. Perrodin.

Victoria: Midge Too seeks repeat

Midge Too, who rushed past Hallowed Dreams in the final furlong of her last start, the $50,000 Monique Rene Handicap on Aug. 26, defends her title in the Victoria. A 5-year-old earner of $392,733, Midge Too has won four of eight starts this year, and with maturity seems to be more focused than before on racing, said trainer Jerry Cart.

"In the past she would have trouble running by the crowd; she would get distracted quite a bit," said Cart, who has given the mount to leading rider Kirk LeBlanc. "She's probably doing better now than she's ever done."

Oaks: Wild Squaw back on dirt

Wild Squaw, who is cross-entered in the Matchmaker, will be the one to beat if she runs in the Oaks. In her last start she finished second in the $50,000 DeBartolo after contesting the pace over a tiring turf course. She would be returning to the surface of her last win, the main track, if she goes in the Oaks. At the top of her game right now with two wins and two seconds in her last four starts, Wild Squaw is trained by Cole Norman.

Also in good form right now is Autobesarah, whose strong closing kick will make her a late threat in the Oaks.

Laurel Lane: Taylor's Queen leads

In the Laurel Lane, Taylor's Queen, who won the $102,000 Jean Lafitte Futurity over male rivals in April, meets a number of fillies who won their last starts by open lengths. In her most recent start, Taylor's Queen finished third to local divisional leader Dancing Dreams in the $70,000 Princess Futurity on Sept. 30. It was her first race following a more than five month layoff, and she figures to be sharper Sunday. Trainer Dale Angelle has given the mount to Brian Hernandez.