09/27/2006 11:00PM

Zee Oh Six chases third Classic victory


Zee Oh Six has been a fixture on the Oklahoma Classics Day program at Remington Park since 2002, when he won the featured Classic in his first start in the series. Saturday night, Zee Oh Six will be making his fifth appearance in the Classic, which at $100,000 is the richest of seven divisional Oklahoma-bred stakes on the card. Together, the restricted stakes are worth a Classics Day-record $400,000.

Zee Oh Six is the star of the show. He has won the Classic one other time, in 2005, and with a win this year would tie the record of three Classic wins set by Mr Ross. A 7-year-old, Zee Oh Six has thrived on a regimen that calls for most of his days being spent about 30 miles from Remington, at Red Earth Training Center.

"He just relaxes better out there," said Joe Lucas, who trains Zee Oh Six. "Just getting him in a more relaxed mode in his training, I think that attributes to the longevity you're seeing with him. He's more relaxed out there and a little easier on himself. I think that's a big part of why he's running at the level that he's running at, at the age that he's running at. I think he's as good or better this year than he was last year."

Zee Oh Six won last year's Classic by 3 1/4 lengths, one start after winning an open company allowance. He has followed the same pattern into this year's Classic, capturing a money allowance by 1 1/4 lengths in his last start Sept. 8.

"He ran a bang-up race," said Lucas. "It was a good bunch of horses. There were several stakes winners and one graded winner in that race."

Zee Oh Six drew the rail for Saturday and looks like the controlling speed under Cliff Berry. His chief rival in the seven-horse field is Motion Approved.

Turf: Repeat for Notable Okie?

Notable Okie is making his fifth appearance on Classics Day, and his second appearance in the $50,000 Turf. He won the one-mile grass race last year and is seeking his third Classics Day win overall; his other score came in the 2002 Juvenile. Notable Okie faced open company in his most recent start Sept. 12.

"His last out was a three-other-than/optional claiming $50,000, which is a pretty consistently tough bunch," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Notable Okie. "He ran a real nice race that day. He won by a half-length, and he should be tough this time."

Von Hemel has given the mount to Don Pettinger.

Sprint: Pair for Von Hemel

Marq French, who has excellent speed, and Explosive Okie, a winner of his last two starts, give Von Hemel a strong hand in the $50,000 Sprint. Marq French, third last out in the $40,000 Silver Goblin, is a multiple allowance winner over open company. He fired a bullet in his final prep here Aug. 19.

"He had a real nice work," said Von Hemel. "He went in 47 and change breezing and just looks like he's coming into this in good shape."

Tim Doocy has the mount on Marq French.

Distaff: Jazzy Okie goes for 3-peat

Jazzy Okie can pick up her third straight stakes win in the $50,000 Distaff, to be run at a mile and 70 yards. A 3-year-old filly, Jazzy Okie has defeated older rivals in her last two starts and will meet her elders again Saturday. Trainer Kelly Von Hemel has given the mount to Pettinger.

o D Fine Okie, who has won three allowances over open company this year, gets the chance to race with Oklahoma-breds for the first time in 2006 in the $50,000 Filly and Mare Turf.

o Duh Nutts, a 12 1/2-length debut winner, is the one to beat in the $50,000 Juvenile. In the fillies division, the $50,000 Lassie, the probable favorite is Midsummer Magic, who won her debut by 5 1/4 lengths.