06/29/2004 11:00PM

Autrey, 24, a trainer on the rise


With its focus on 2-year-old racing, Lone Star Park unveils a lot of new talent each year. It's also a meet that spotlights young trainers, and one of the brightest to come along this season has been 24-year-old Cody Autrey.

Autrey has won with 10 of 25 starters at the meet, and ranks 12th in the standings at the Dallas-area track behind leader Steve Asmussen.

"We've had a great meet," Autrey said. "It's been super."

It's also been the kind of meet Autrey had been hoping to have after one of his clients, H and H Ranch, sent him to Fair Grounds this winter to claim horses for Lone Star. One of the top prospects to come out of that arrangement is Ghannam, who has won a $40,000 claiming race and a three-other-than allowance during the meet. He is now being pointed for the $40,000 J.R. Straus Memorial at Retama Park on July 23.

Ghannam is one of 10 horses Autrey has in training. He has built his barn through the claim box, and this summer plans to take a trip to Saratoga Race Course to claim a few more horses on behalf of clients. Those horses will be brought back to Lone Star, where Autrey will stable after the close of the race meet on July 11.

"Our plans are to stay here for the next two months, and haul every so often to Louisiana Downs and Retama," he said. "We'll stay here for the Breeders' Cup meet in October, and after that meet, put in for stalls at the Fair Grounds."

Autrey was a longtime assistant to trainer Bubba Cascio before establishing his own stable in the last few years. Among the horses he worked with in Cascio's stable was Lights on Broadway, a past horse of the year in Texas.

Autrey might have his own Texas-bred stakes winner before long in Aledo Pass, who was a close second in the $50,000 Carter McGregor Memorial Stakes in May. Aledo Pass could see Texas-bred stakes company later in the year, said Autrey.

But he wants it to be the right spot. One of Autrey's keys to success this meet has been proper placement of horses. He spots his horses well, and has a good chance to add to his win total Friday night with Celebrate the Sun.

She will start in a $10,000 conditioned claimer for statebreds. Celebrate the Sun has finished second in three starts at the meet, and will add blinkers after waiting on horses in her last start, Autrey said.

"She's sitting on a good effort," Autrey said.