07/18/2002 11:00PM

Asmussen bringing string to Retama meet


Steve Asmussen, the nation's leading trainer in wins, will have a string of horses based at Retama Park near San Antonio this fall for the first time since 1995. The 51-night meet opens Aug. 2.

Asmussen won the Retama training title in 1995, which was the first year of operation at the track. For the upcoming meet, he plans to have 36 horses on the grounds. In addition to the Texas string, Asmussen maintains divisions at Arlington, Saratoga, and Louisiana Downs.

Opportunities for Texas-breds led Asmussen to send at stable to Retama.

"I have a number of statebreds, and I want to keep them in state," said Asmussen, who last Sunday won his fourth consecutive trainers title at Lone Star Park near Dallas.

Desert Darby, trained by Asmussen, established himself as one of the top Texas-breds in training June 29, when he won the $125,000 Assault Stakes for statebreds at Lone Star following an 11-month layoff. His next major goal is the $100,000 Texas Hall of Fame Stakes on turf at Retama Park on Oct. 12.

"He might run once before then," said Asmussen.

Among other top horses Asmussen has pointing for Retama stakes is Nat's Big Party, who will defend his title in the $50,000 Retama Turf Cup on Aug. 10.

Fasig-Tipton catalogs 416; no select session

Fasig Tipton Texas has cataloged 416 yearlings for its upcoming sale Aug. 26-27 at Lone Star Park, and because the offerings are consistently strong, the sale will not feature a select session for the first time since 1998.

"The format this year will be different in that there will be no selected session," said Tim Boyce, director of sales for Fasig-Tipton Texas. "The quality is such through and through that we just don't need it. I think for our sale here, we're sitting with the best book we've ever had."

First-crop stallion Mazel Trick, who had a colt sell for a session-topping $535,000 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky last Wednesday, is one of a number of young stallions represented at the Texas sale. Others include Silver Charm, Skip Away, Favorite Trick, Grand Slam, Indian Charlie, and Frisk Me Now.

Roger Daly Horses will have the largest consignment for the sale. Others outfits include Lane's End Texas, Highclere Sales, Michael and Julia O'Quinn, Kathryn Earley Thoroughbreds, and Millennium Farms.

Fasig-Tipton Texas puts on the yearling sale in conjunction with the Texas Thoroughbred Association. Catalogs are due out by Aug. 1.

New Oaks on Classics Day

The newly created $50,000 Oaks, a 7 1/2-furlong turf race for fillies and mares bred in Oklahoma, will replace the $30,000 Starter Handicap on the Oklahoma Classics Day program at Remington Park on Oct. 27.

Classics Day is a card of seven stakes for eligible Oklahoma-breds worth a total of $375,000.

The other races this year are the $50,000 Juvenile for 2-year-olds; the $50,000 Lassie for 2-year-old fillies; the $50,000 Sprint; the $50,000 Distaff for fillies and mares at a mile and 70 yards on the main track; the $50,000 Turf; and the $75,000 Classic at a mile and a sixteenth.

Two turns possible for Boots on Sunday

Trainer Danny Pish is toying with the idea of sending Boots on Sunday, who was beaten a nose last out in the $150,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap, two turns sometime this fall. "I would love to race this horse a mile," Pish said.

The two-turn test would likely come in an allowance race, he added. For the time being, Pish is preparing Boots on Sunday to defend his title in the $30,000 J.R. Straus Memorial at Retama Park on Aug. 2. Following that race, he will be pointed to the $100,000 Arlington Sprint on Aug. 24.

Boots on Sunday, who raced around two turns early in his career - winning one of two starts - has earned $397,965.

* The addition of slots at Delta Downs in Vinton, La., helped Boyd Gaming report a $31 million increase in second quarter net revenues over last year. The company, which owns Delta and 11 other casino entertainment facilities, reported that second quarter revenues at Delta Downs were $34 million. Overall, second quarter net revenues for Boyd were $312 million. The company acquired Delta in May 2001.