07/10/2001 11:00PM

Asmussen has plans for Nat's Big Party


Trainer Steve Asmussen looks for Nat's Big Party, who edged Candid Glen in the $100,000 Independence Breeders' Cup at Louisiana Downs on July 4, to be a factor in several regional turf stakes during the second half of the year. His main objective this meet is the $100,000 Louisiana Downs Handicap on Sept. 22.

Nat's Big Party's win in the Independence was a preview of the meet Asmussen hopes to have at Louisiana Downs. Asmussen, who will have 50 horses stabled at the Bossier City, La., track after Lone Star Park near Dallas closes Sunday, expects to improve upon his meet from a year ago, when he ranked second in the standings to Cole Norman, 86 wins to 27.

"Last year we won 27 races, and we look to add to that considerably," said Asmussen, the leading trainer at Lone Star. "I hadn't been to [Louisiana Downs] in quite some time last year, and I brought some of the wrong horses for the meet. This year, we've got horses with conditions that will suit Louisiana Downs."

The turf course at Louisiana Downs seems to suit Nat's Big Party. He won a stretch battle with Candid Glen in the Independence, capping an impressive three-race run in which he also won an allowance at Lone Star and finished third in the Dallas Turf Cup.

Asmussen said Nat's Big Party likes the turf courses at Louisiana Downs and Lone Star, both of which are not as lush as some other courses.

Asmussen, who trains Nat's Big Party for the nation's leading owner, Richard Englander, said the horse could start next in the $50,000 Retama Turf Cup at Retama Park on Aug. 11, and then will point to the DeBartolo Memorial on Sept. 3 at Remington Park in Oklahoma City.

Asmussen's next Louisiana Downs stakes starter could be Codes Preshisone in the $40,000 Dixie Miss Stakes on July 28.

Asmussen said his main stable riders during the Louisiana Downs meet will be Buck Harris and Glen Murphy, who are currently finishing out the meet at Lone Star.

David rich in 2-year-olds

Trainer Sam David Jr. has a nice crop of 2-year-olds this season, with several of them pointing for regional stakes. Last weekend at Louisiana Downs he unveiled The Mother Load, a full sister to Astas Foxy Lady, a Grade 2 winner of $335,032. The Mother Load overcame trouble to post a 1 1/2-length win in a maiden special weight race July 5.

"She broke her maiden very impressive for a first-time starter coming out of the 1-hole," said David. "She got squeezed down on the rail and overcame that and went on to win pretty good."

David said The Mother Load would be pointed for upcoming state-bred stakes at Louisiana Downs.

Another promising 2-year-old trained by David is Halo of Hearts, who won a maiden race by 9 3/4-lengths last weekend at Lone Star.