11/29/2002 12:00AM

Skamper looks strong at two turns


Some win streaks will come to an end Sunday in the $75,000 MEC Mile for 2-year-olds at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. Eight last-race winners are in the 12-horse field, and four of them have won their last two starts, including Skamper.

Skamper invades from Kentucky, where he dead-heated for the win in a one-mile entry-level allowance at Churchill Downs on Nov. 9. Before that race, he won his maiden at a mile at Arlington on Sept. 28.

"He's been showing improvement with each start," said Eric Reed, who trains Skamper for a partnership that includes Oklahoma City resident Tommie Lewis. "Last time, he ran a full second faster than his previous start."

Reed has been eager to get Skamper back racing around two turns. The last time the colt ran a route race, he finished a distant fifth to Lone Star Sky in the $200,000 Cradle Stakes.

"A rock hit him in the eye on that day," said Reed. "It took a week for the eye to clear up."

It took another three months for Skamper to get a second shot at two turns, which should suit the big colt, who is by Skip Away.

"I think he wants to run all day long," said Reed.

Jason Lumpkins, who recently moved his tack to Kentucky from northern California, has worked Skamper and will ride the colt Sunday.

Others in the MEC who have won their last two starts are Notable Okie, winner of the $50,000 Oklahoma Classics Juvenile; Mercer's Cool Cat, winner of the $40,000 Ohio Freshman at Beulah; and Unokie, who is undefeated in his two starts, both for trainer C.R. Trout.

All pose threats to Skamper, as does the promising Shawklit Man. He was prominent throughout when he posted a nose win in a seven-furlong maiden race at Keeneland in his only start, and since that Nov. 10 race has worked well for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Shawklit Man is a half-brother to both Grade 3 winner Mr. Shawklit and Her She Shawklit, who was Grade 1-placed and is dam of $400,000-earner Crafty Shaw. Shawklit Man is to be ridden by Donnie Meche.

Don Pettinger has the mount on Notable Okie, who has won his last two starts by a combined 10 lengths. In the Oklahoma Classics Juvenile, he settled behind the leaders early, then drove home in the slop for a four-length win. A son of Editor's Note, he is trained by local leader Donnie Von Hemel.

Cliff Berry, who leads the local rider standings, has the mount on the promising Mav Cat for trainer Kari Craddock.