10/13/2004 12:00AM

Chapa right at home at Lone Star


Jockey Roman Chapa's momentum from Retama Park has carried over to Lone Star Park, where he leads the standings two weeks into the fall Breeders' Cup meet, which runs through Oct. 31.

Chapa won the Retama title by 19 wins over his nearest rival, and during the meet won at least one race a card for the first 21 nights. He has come out just as strongly at Lone Star, where he has won eight races in seven days, including the $100,000 Middleground Breeders' Cup for his longtime patron trainer Danny Pish.

Chapa decided to return to Texas this fall after putting together competitive meets at Oaklawn Park, where he finished third in the standings, and Louisiana Downs, where he rode regularly a year ago and occasionally in 2004.

The decision to return to a smaller track like Retama, where Chapa has won multiple titles, was not an indicator of trouble getting mounts on bigger circuits, said Pish.

"Him coming home was looked at as a homecoming and not a humbling," said Pish. "He came home because he wanted to."

"I was born and raised one hour from Retama, in Charlotte, Texas," said Chapa. "My plans were to come home. It's comfortable being around family and friends."

The kinship did him good. Chapa closed out the Retama meet by winning both divisions of the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes, and one of his mounts, Leaving on My Mind, helped him get off to a rousing start at Lone Star when he won the Middleground on opening weekend.

"I've always been a fan of Roman, a fan of his riding," said Pish. "He's got a very strategic mind, and he can think on his feet."

Chapa said that next year he plans to return to Oaklawn, where in his first season he made an impression on local horsemen. He is also eagerly awaiting the return of Spin Jazz Baby, a talented 2-year-old filly on turf who is getting some time off for the winter months, said Pish.

"She's a real classy filly," said Chapa. "She doesn't get excited for anything. She's good-natured."

Leaving on My Mind, meanwhile, is a candidate for the $50,000 Mocha Express Stakes on Stars of Texas Day at Lone Star on Oct. 23.

Major League headed to Keeneland

Major League, who was an impressive winner of the $100,000 Harrah's Juvenile on the Super Derby undercard last month at Louisiana Downs, will make his next start in the $100,000 Bourbon County at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Keeneland on Oct. 29.

"I want to run him one more time on turf, then switch to dirt with him," said Paul Murphy, who trains Major League. "I've never run him on the dirt, but he works really good on it."

Major League is a large horse, which is why Murphy decided to wait until he matured more before starting him on dirt.

"He's probably as nice a 2-year-old as I've seen looks-wise," he said. "He looks like a 3-year-old already."

Major League is a son of Magic Cat, and he races for Major League Partnership.

Petalino gears up for Lone Star

Trainer Joe Petalino won stakes at Louisiana Downs and Lone Star on the same weekend this past summer, and he has made plans with the two horses who accomplished the feat. Rare Cure will start next in the $100,000 Assault for Texas-breds at Lone Star on Oct. 23, while Sea Dub will race on the Breeders' Cup undercard on Oct. 30 in the $100,000 Texas Turf Stakes.

In his last start, Rare Cure won the $100,000 Hall of Fame Stakes on turf at Retama. He will be moving back to dirt for the Assault. Rare Cure won the $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial on dirt at Lone Star in July.

Perrodin on turf at Louisiana Downs

Jockey E.J. Perrodin, who won two of the three turf races on the Super Derby undercard at Louisiana Downs last month, will ride probable favorite Think Jazz in the seventh race Friday at Louisiana Downs. A conditional claimer, the about one-mile turf race drew a full field, and it is restricted to horses bred in Louisiana.

Think Jazz moved back to turf three starts ago, and at the same time teamed with Perrodin. He finished second or third in each of those races. Think Jazz is trained by James Garroutte.

Cat's Cat drops in class at Lone Star

Cat's Cat, who in her last start faced Aud and Janeian in the $100,000 Yellow Rose Breeders' Cup, returns to the allowance ranks for the first time since March in the ninth race Friday night at Lone Star. She will face a competitive field in the one-mile race, which carries an optional claiming price of $50,000.

Others in the field are Storm Breaking, a daughter of Storm Cat trained by Donnie Von Hemel.

Ted Gondron will ride Cat's Cat, who is a stakes winner, for trainer Michael Stidham.

* Special post for the Louisiana Breeders' Festival at Louisiana Downs on Oct. 23 has been set for 12:30 p.m. Central. There will be 13 races carded, eight for Thoroughbreds and five for Quarter Horses.

* There will be Quarter Horse trial races at Louisiana Downs on Oct. 27, a Wednesday.