10/12/2002 11:00PM

Desert Darby takes Texas Hall of Fame


SELMA, Texas - Trainer Steve Asmussen brought a stable to Retama Park this year for the first time since 1995 because of the opportunities for Texas-breds, and on Saturday night he won one of the biggest races of the meet for statebreds when Desert Darby drove to a one-length win over Rare Cure in the $100,000 Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Stakes.

The race was one of seven restricted stakes on the card, which complemented the inductions of Charles Graham, Joe Cassel, C.W. "Bubba" Cascio, Tommy Oliphant, Staunch Avenger and Easy Jet into the Texas Racing Hall.

Desert Darby($11.60) was prominent throughout the mile and a sixteenth turf race, tracking pacesetter Nanie's Dinner through a half in 47.46 seconds. He launched his bid on the final turn under jockey Corey Lanerie, took the lead in upper stretch, and went on to cover the distance over firm footing in 1:42.48.

The Hall of Fame was the second major Texas-bred stakes win this year for Desert Darby. He also won the $125,000 Assault Stakes on dirt at Lone Star Park in June. Desert Darby earned $60,000 for his win Saturday night, which improved his record to six wins from 20 starts and earnings of $253,140 for owner Ken Quirk.

D C Storm finished third in the Hall of Fame, while favorite Paco Loco was trapped on the rail throughout and finshed seventh.

Favorites win Stallion Stakes

Leo's Last Hurrahy swept past the leaders in the stretch for a one-length win over Call Me Lefty in the $125,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Stallion Stakes for 2-year-olds. It was another four lengths back in third to Screen Pass.

Leo's Last Hurrahy covered six furlongs over a fast track in 1:10.58. Gerard Melancon was aboard the colt for owner Ken Murphy and trainer Bob Young.

In the $125,000 fillies division of the Texas Stallion, Parting became a stakes winner when she drove to an authoratative two and a half length win over 60-1 longshot Lady Mallory. It was another two and a quarter lengths back in third to Hay Allison.

Parting($3.40) was with the pace down the backside, went four wide around the final turn, and took the lead at about the quarter pole. She went on to cover six furlongs in 1:10.93. Guy Smith rode Parting for owner Preston Stables and trainer Cindy Navarre.

Triple for Auburn Express and Norman

Owner Auburn Express and trainer Cole Norman won three stakes on the undercard: the $30,000 Selma with Bonus Bid($10.60); the $30,000 Longhorn Handicap with Fitzroyal($5); and the $30,000 Fiesta Mile with Eagle Lake($3.40).

Bonus Bid emerged from midpack with an explosive move to run down leaders Miss Ritz and Fleeta Dif by two lengths in the Selma. She covered the about five furlongs on turf for 3-year-old fillies in 56.44 seconds under Lanerie.

In the Longhorn, Fitzroyal was trapped on the rail at the quarter pole, but found room in the stretch to win the six-furlong race by a length and three quarters over Term Sheet in 1:10.06. Boots On Sunday, a top Texas-bred sprinter, was scratched from the Longhorn.

Fitzroyal was ridden by Gerard Melancon, who also was aboard Eagle Lake in the Fiesta Mile. Eagle Lake wired her filly and mare rivals in the turf race by five lengths, covering the distance in 1:34.83. It was her third straight win.

* Son Of A Lue($13.80) changed running styles and closed from off the pace to win the $30,000 Tejas by a half-length over Sharpenupjoe. The winner covered the about five furlong turf race for 3-year-olds in 56.57 seconds. Roman Chapa rode Son Of A Lue for owner Lonnie Bates and trainer Danny Pish.

* Handle on the 10-race card Saturday night was $1,464,366. Attendance ontrack was 3,724.