09/24/2002 11:00PM

Fairmount track report


COLLINSVILLE, Ill. - With Fairmount's Illinois Stakes Day coming up on Tuesday, several horses have been getting in their final tune-ups for the competition.

Among the most intriguing of these is Wright on Houston.

As a 2-year-old last year on the inaugural Illinois Stakes Day card, Wright on Houston went wire to wire in the Marluel's Troy Stakes. He had been disappointing this season until a few weeks ago, when he won a nonwinners-of-three-lifetime allowance easily.

Last Saturday he won again against older rivals despite bearing out on the turn, forcing regular jockey Micheal Durham to use a corrective right-handed whip to keep him from bolting.

Wright on Houston, bred, owned, and trained by Charles Walker Jr., is quick out of the gate and will be on the early lead in the Tex's Zing Stakes.

* Tired of a jockey's day-to-day grind of exercising horses and battling weight, 38-year-old Lindell Wells decided to take some time away from the track this year and work with his brothers, Duane and John, on their training center in southern Illinois. Wells recently decided to begin riding again, however.

"It's amazing what a little vacation can do for you," Wells said with a chuckle.

* Leading trainer Ralph Martinez decided to give apprentice Jesse Wheat Jr. an opportunity this season, and Wheat has done so well he has now become Martinez's go-to man.

On Tuesday afternoon, Wheat and Martinez combined to win four races for owner Lou O'Brien. They teamed up to win the second with Eagle Reigns ($4.40). Back-to-back wins came in the fourth and fifth with Baits 'Em ($5.20) and Clang Bang ($8), then won the 10th and final race with I Take the Cinco ($10) to complete the best day of Wheat's career

Martinez had another highlight this week when he sent out 7-year-old Glit for his 10th career win in Saturday's 10th. A speedy and consistent claimer who gives his best each time, Glit at one point had won 15 of 20 races covering the 2000-01 seasons, with jockey Marcial Campos aboard for all.