06/26/2002 11:00PM

'Broadway' with own kind

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Could the move to statebred ranks mean more to a horse?

Lights on Broadway, who last year swept the two richest dirt races offered for horses bred in Texas, will get back to racing with statebreds Saturday when he defends his title in the $125,000 Assault, the richest of six restricted stakes at Lone Star Park that make up the Stars of Texas Day.

Together, the races are worth close to $600,000, and offer a preview of some of the Texas horses most likely to qualify for the inaugural NTRA Great State Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park on Dec. 7.

Lights on Broadway has been close to invincible against statebreds since he won the 2000 running of the $100,000 Star of Texas Stakes at Sam Houston as a 3-year-old. He returned at 4 and won the Assault at Lone Star, then closed out his season with a seven-length-plus romp in the 2001 running of the Star of Texas.

In his two starts this year, Lights on Broadway won the $50,000 Premiere for statebreds at Lone Star on April 4, then ran 10th to Congaree in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 27.

Trainer Bubba Cascio said the horse's last race is a throwout, and he looks forward to the 1 1/16-mile Assault.

"I'll be disappointed if he doesn't run a good race," said Cascio, who trains Lights on Broadway for Joe McDermott and George Slater. "He's coming into the race well. He's training good, he's eating good. He's been real solid." Cascio has given the mount to Cliff Berry.

Ronald Ardoin will ride Rare Cure, a newcomer to the division this year and the horse who poses the biggest threat to Lights on Broadway. Last year at 3, Rare Cure won the $50,000 Prelude Stakes at Louisiana Downs, then defeated older horses in the $75,000 Governor's Cup Handicap at Remington Park. In his most recent start, Rare Cure ran a strong second to Lone Star Park Handicap runner-up Prince Iroquois in an open allowance at Lone Star on June 14.

"He's like his old self right now," said trainer Joe Petalino.

Another to consider is Desert Demon, who gets back to the main track after running fourth on turf last out. "I think he's better on the dirt," said trainer Cole Norman, who claimed the horse three races ago on behalf of owner Ken Murphy with an eye to the Assault.

The field is completed by Logans Leo, Won C C, Desert Darby, and Paco Loco.

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