09/26/2007 11:00PM

Zee Oh Six goes for fourth Classic

EmailZee Oh Six has never failed to show up on Oklahoma Classics Day at Remington Park. He has won the Classic three times, and will set a record Saturday night if he snags a fourth in a field that includes the mare D Fine Okie.

The $100,000 Classic is one of eight divisional stakes to be run during the 15th annual Oklahoma Classics Day. Purses for the races, restricted to eligible Oklahoma-breds, total a series-record $500,000. The card is one of the richest of the meet, and this year the program has been expanded with the addition of the $60,000 Filly and Mare Sprint.

Zee Oh Six, 8, has been a constant in the Classic since 2003, when he won the 1 1/16-mile race fresh off a maiden score. He returned a year later to finish second in the Classic to George Taylor. Zee Oh Six then took the 2005 and 2006 runnings of the race, giving him three Classic wins to tie the record set by retired millionaire Mr Ross.

"We mark this day on our calendar each year and shoot for it," said Joe Lucas, who trains Zee Oh Six for John and Barbara Smicklas. "I try to have him cranked up and ready to go for this day."

Zee Oh Six is moving back to the statebred ranks after finishing a good third in an optional claiming route Sept. 8. Jonesboro won the race and is also set to run Saturday, in Chicago in the Grade 2, $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup. As for Zee Oh Six, he worked a smart five furlongs in 59.41 seconds in his final prep for the Classic.

"He's trained well up into this race," said Lucas. "I was very pleased with this last race. Even though we didn't win, it was one of his better races. He came out of it in good shape, and he's full of himself right now."

D Fine Okie, who is a multiple stakes winner, is moving back to dirt after finishing second by a head in the $50,000 Ricks Memorial on turf at Remington on Sept. 3. In that race, D Fine Okie, who tends to stalk the pace, closed from eighth.

"She got a little further back that day, for whatever reason," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains D Fine Okie for Richter Family Trust.

D Fine Okie will break from post 5 under Don Pettinger. Cliff Berry rides Zee Oh Six.

Past winners in for Von Hemel

Von Hemel won three Classics Day stakes last year, and all three winners are back. In addition to D Fine Okie, who captured the Filly and Mare Turf, he will send out Marq French to defend his title in the $60,000 Sprint, and Notable Okie to do the same in the $60,000 Turf. They are among seven starters Von Hemel has in the stakes Saturday.

"It's an important day for us," he said. "We've got a lot of Oklahoma-breds, a lot of clients who breed and raise Oklahoma-breds."

Von Hemel's first stakes starter, Cryptographer, will come in the third race, the $50,000 Juvenile.

"He's a half-brother to April's Lucky Boy," Von Hemel said, referencing a multiple stakes winner.

One race later, Von Hemel will send out Marq French and Explosive Okie in the Sprint. Earlier in the meet, Marq French won the $50,000 Silver Goblin against Oklahoma-breds. He will be ridden by Tim Doocy.

"He's up on the pace usually," Von Hemel said of Marq French.

Explosive Okie worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.20 in preparation for his first start since May.

Notable Okie and Daring Child will both be top contenders for Von Hemel in the Turf. Notable Okie was fifth in an optional claimer last out in his first start since November. The race was a competitive one, with the third-place finisher, Brego, returning in his next out to capture the $150,000 DeBartolo Memorial at Remington. Daring Child won his last start, which came at Remington.

After running D Fine Okie in the Classic in the sixth, Von Hemel's final stakes starter will be Midsummer Magic in the $60,000 Distaff. She must beat the Kenny Smith-trained Alidoon, a winner of her last four races.

* Yo Fanci and Yo Ceeya, who are full sisters, will start in back-to-back stakes. Yo Fanci goes in the new Filly and Mare Sprint, while Yo Ceeya will be a top choice in the $50,000 Lassie.

* Beata and Rosemaui are top contenders in the $60,000 Filly and Mare Turf.