11/11/2003 1:00AM

Excessivepleasure heavy chalk in derby


Excessivepleasure will be a heavy favorite to win Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Oklahoma Derby, one of 16 stakes to be run this weekend in Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana.

Sam Houston Race Park in Houston will card nine stakes worth $650,000 on Saturday night during its annual Texas Champions Day program, while four statebred stakes worth $275,000 will be decided on Friday and Saturday night at Delta Downs in Vinton, La.

Remington Park will card two other stakes in addition to the Oklahoma Derby, which is the richest race of the meet.

Excessivepleasure, who comes into the Oklahoma Derby on the heels of a smashing win in the Grade 3, $400,000 Indiana Derby, was set to fly in from his Hollywood Park base on Wednesday morning, said his trainer, Doug O'Neill.

Jon Court has the mount on Excessivepleasure, who worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 last Sunday in preparation for the 1 1/8-mile derby.

"He's doing super," O'Neill said.

Other probables include Kool Humor, tentatively set to van in from Houston on Thursday; the Kentucky-based Comic Truth, who was to ship in early Wednesday; and Morning Merry and Grayglen, who have already arrived at Remington. Entries will be drawn Thursday.

Officials scout out sites for Laredo track

Officials from Sam Houston, which has an agreement to manage a proposed track in Laredo, Texas, went searching for locations to build the facility last week. The period to request a parimutuel license in the Laredo market opens Dec. 1.

"We have identified a couple of properties down there," said Bob Bork, president of Sam Houston. "We are working very closely with the Asmussen family."

The Asmussens - Keith and Marilyn Asmussen, parents of former champion jockey Cash Asmussen and trainer Steve Asmussen - are among the investors in the track. The family has a training center in Laredo, and the market is a good one for racing, Bork said.

"It's definitely the fastest-growing city in Texas, and one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States," he said. "It's growing so rapidly it's incredible. And not only that, there's a huge population right across the border in Mexico."

Joe Six Pack headed to Delta Jackpot

Joe Six Pack, who remained undefeated with his win in the $100,000 Jean Lafitte at Delta on Saturday night, will make his next start in the track's $1 million Delta Jackpot for 2-year-olds on Dec. 5, said his trainer, Cole Norman.

The Norman-trained Mass Media, who had been under consideration for the Jackpot following a 22-length allowance win earlier this year, is getting some time off and will return as a 3-year-old.

Joe Six Pack - who, like Mass Media, races for Gary and Mary West - was one of two stakes winners Norman saddled at Delta last weekend. The trainer also won the $75,000 Chargedup-sycamore with Wacky Patty, who is being pointed for the $250,000 Delta Princess for 2-year-old fillies on Dec. 5.

Norman also won a stakes at Louisiana Downs on Saturday, when Electrode captured the $40,000 Island Whirl. The horse will start next in either the $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap at Fair Grounds on Nov. 27 or the $50,000 Marshland at Delta Downs on Dec. 5.

Norman, who won his sixth Louisiana Downs title Sunday, said he plans to start more horses at Fair Grounds this meet than he has in the past. His stable, however, will continue to be based in northern Louisiana until his operation moves to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., on Dec. 1.

Norman also keeps a string of 20 horses at Delta and will be active at Sam Houston on Saturday night. He plans to start Eagle Lake in either the $75,000 Martanza or the $50,000 San Jacinto; Fitzroyal in the $50,000 Spirit of Texas; Evans in the $50,000 Groovy; Royal Pet in the $50,000 Bara Lass; and Lauren Lynn in the $50,000 Yellow Rose.

Distinctive Code to sprint at Fair Grounds

Distinctive Code made short work of her rivals in the $40,000 Majorette at Louisiana Downs on Sunday and will start next at Fair Grounds. Trainer Larry Robideaux is looking at the track's sprint stakes series for fillies and mares, including the $60,000 Leggio Memorial on turf on Jan. 18.

"She ran a perfect race the other day," Robideaux said. "I'm glad she's in my barn and not anybody else's."

Asmussen all-time leader at Sam Houston

Steve Asmussen became the all-time winningest trainer at Sam Houston last Saturday night when he won three races on the card.

Asmussen has now won 247 races at the track, eclipsing the mark of 245 held by Amos Laborde. Asmussen is also the all-time win leader at Lone Star Park near Dallas.

Matz sets mark for female rider at Remington

Nena Matz set a Remington record for wins in a calendar year by a female jockey on Friday night when she won four races, for a total of 74. She surpassed the mark of 73 set by Cindy Noll in 1997. Matz's record came with Chidester Rules, who is trained by her husband, Zach Armstrong.

* Jim Byers will be back in the announcer's booth at Remington on Thursday night to finish out the meet for Don Stevens, who has accepted an announcer position at Delta. Byers was the first announcer at Remington, and now hosts a sports radio talk show.