11/29/2007 12:00AM

Heavyweight showdown in Yellow Rose

EmailValid Lil and Wrenice don't just have game, they've got girth, too, and their first-ever meeting in Saturday night's $50,000 Yellow Rose makes the six-furlong stakes for fillies and mares one of the most anticipated races on the $475,000 Texas Champions Day card at Sam Houston Race Park.

The program features eight divisional stakes for Texas-breds, and it is the richest card of the meet. Other top horses set to run include Mystery Classic, who will be seeking his fifth straight stakes win when he starts in the $50,000 Spirit of Texas, and Goosey Moose and Sandburr, who will meet in the $100,000 Star of Texas.

But a good deal of focus will be on the fifth race, when Valid Lil, a 4-year-old who stands 16.1 hands tall and weighs about 1,200 pounds, meets Wrenice, a 3-year-old who is 15.2 and checks in at 1,100 pounds. Aside from their robust physiques, the fillies are fast, with a combined record of 15 wins from 21 career starts for earnings of $526,394.

"It's going to be a horse race," said Randy Mayfield, who trains Wrenice.

Valid Lil could rule as a slight favorite. Unbeaten on dirt in seven main-track starts, she comes into the Yellow Rose off a stalk-and-pounce win in the $50,000 Ada at Remington Park on Oct. 20. The race before, she led throughout to win the $45,000 New Braunfels at Retama Park in what was only the seventh start of a career launched in May.

"She just looks like she's learning how to race," said Bret Calhoun, who trains Valid Lil. "Every race is a little better. Mentally, really, she's become very versatile. She's been on the pace, off the pace. She's been shuffled farther back, come around, come through. She's just turned into a professional racehorse."

Valid Lil will be making her Sam Houston debut Saturday, and worked a bullet 47.60 seconds at the track Nov. 23.

"I think she's coming up to this race as good or better than any of her last several races," said Calhoun. "Obviously, she appeared to like the surface the other morning breezing over it."

Quincy Hamilton has the mount on Valid Lil, who from post 6 could get a nice tracking trip off the rail-drawn Wrenice. The latter is moving back to dirt after finishing a troubled fourth in her turf debut in the $45,000 Selma at Retama. Wrenice stumbled badly at the start, and was bumped and shuffled back in the early stages of the five-furlong race run Oct. 13.

"She had a bad, bad trip," said Mayfield. "Down the lane, she was closing fast. She just ran out of racetrack."

Wrenice is 3 for 3 at Sam Houston and will be ridden by Bobby Walker Jr.

Star of Texas: Goosey Moose on dirt

Goosey Moose will be returning to dirt for the first time since the summer in the 1 1/16-mile Star of Texas, and the move should suit him. The last time he ran on the main track he won the $75,000 Assault at Lone Star Park in July. Since then, Goosey Moose has raced on turf, finishing third in the $100,000 Texas Hall of Fame and the $45,000 No Le Hace, both at Retama.

"He really is a horse that I think is very comparable on either surface," said his trainer, Danny Pish, "but his most impressive race of his career was on the Sam Houston Race Park main track, and it was this very race three years ago."

Goosey Moose, who won the Star of Texas in 2004, will break from posto8 under Hamilton. Sandburr, who won this race a year ago, drew post 2. He will be making his first start since June.

Spirit of Texas: 'Mystery' big favorite

Mystery Classic has established himself as a sprinter to be reckoned with in this part of the country. He has won four stakes in his last four starts, and will be an odds-on favorite in the Spirit of Texas. He won the race last year and drew exceedingly well for this year's renewal, getting post 5 in a field of 6.

* Northern Scene invades from Churchill Downs to defend his title in the $50,000 Richard King at 1 1/8 miles on turf. His chief threat is General Charley, who set a course record last out when he won the Hall of Fame at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Retama.

* Sweet Idea is 5 for 7 on the main track at Sam Houston, and will be making her first start on the surface since March when she defends her title in the $75,000 Martanza.

* In the races for 2-year-olds, Valid Lilly seeks the third stakes win of her career in the $50,000 Bara Lass, and Ferdinand's Flyer is out to back up an eight-length stakes win last out in the $50,000 Groovy.

* Durrymane will be shooting for her second straight stakes win in the $50,000 San Jacinto.