10/28/2006 12:00AM

Threats left and right for Marq French


Last week, trainer Donnie Von Hemel was trying to piece together who might be running against his charge, Marq French, in Monday night's $50,000 Osage Hills at Remington Park in Oklahoma City.

"It's going to be a pretty salty race," Von Hemel said of the Osage Hills, a five-furlong turf sprint for Oklahoma-breds, ages 3 and up.

The entries support Von Hemel's assessment. Marq French, winner of the $50,000 Oklahoma Classics Day Sprint, is one of 11 in a field that also drew Mighty Beau, who is a multiple stakes winner of $544,053, and Lumbre, who won the $50,000 Silver Goblin at Remington on Aug. 19.

Adding further depth to the field is April's Lucky Boy, the defending champ in the Osage Hills; Tabletoptornado, an allowance winner at five furlongs on turf at Mountaineer; and recent stakes winners Oklahoma Natural and Blue's Talkin.

Marq French ran one of the best races of his career last out, when he powered to a four-length win in 1:09.60 in the Classics Day Sprint, a six-furlong race for statebreds. He makes a rare start on the grass in the Osage Hills, following three strong turf works.

"He should make the surface switch okay," said Von Hemel.

Tim Doocy has the return call on Marq French, who is owned by Van and Margie French.

Mighty Beau is a chief threat. He is making his second start since July, moves into a statebred spot, and will be removing blinkers. Mighty Beau had added the equipment for his last start and finished 11th in the $114,000 Woodford at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf at Keeneland on Oct. 8.

Mighty Beau, who has earned more than $500,000 on turf, has tactical speed and could track Oklahoma Natural, Lumbre, and Marq French. Mike Dini has given the mount on Mighty Beau to Luis Quinonez, who has returned to Remington full-time after riding at Louisiana Downs.

Oklahoma Natural won a four-furlong allowance at Fair Meadows in Tulsa in his last start, setting the pace throughout. He figures to be prominent, as does Lumbre, who used his speed to win the Silver Goblin.

* Red Rock Creek won his fifth straight race at the meet Friday night, in a turf allowance. Justin Shepherd is the regular rider on the horse, who is trained by Scott Blasi.