07/05/2004 12:00AM

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Sam Houston Race Park set an attendance record Sunday night when 25,142 patrons turned out for Quarter Horse racing and fireworks. The previous record of 24,136 was set during the corresponding program a year ago. . . . Steve Asmussen became the first trainer to win 500 races at Lone Star Park on Saturday night when Star of Caveat won the first race. Asmussen leads the current standings at the track, which opened in 1997, and is also the leading trainer by victories in North America this year. . . . Emirates Airlines, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has signed on with the Victoria Racing Club as principal sponsor of the Melbourne Cup for the next seven years. Prize money for this year's Nov. 2 running of that two-mile Group 1 handicap will be raised to $3.55 million.