03/13/2002 1:00AM

Houghton thinking Chicago summer


Jockey Terry Houghton made a successful visit to Sportsman's Park last Saturday, winning on both of his mounts, including Secret Romeo in the Lost Code Handicap. It was so rewarding for Houghton, the leading rider at Tampa Bay Downs this winter, that he is considering switching his base from Great Lakes Downs to Chicago for all or part of this summer and fall.

"I don't like the way the Great Lakes Downs program is looking this year," said Houghton. "Pretty much the only reason we've stayed there is because of the stakes program, but the first condition book is out, and they've cut purses by writing cheaper races. It's tough to make a living in that situation."

While no plans have been finalized, Houghton said he might ride the final few weeks of the Sportsman's meet, then move on to Hawthorne. If he gets enough business, he might proceed to Arlington. "If things don't work, we can always go back to Great Lakes," he said.

Frank Garoufalis, Houghton's agent, said a decision might be reached in the next week or two.

Secret Romeo came out of the Lost Code Handicap in good order and is under consideration for the Sportsman's Park Breeders' Cup, a one-mile race on March 24.

Hattiesburg has arrived at Sportsman's from trainer Tom Amoss's base in New Orleans and will be the starting highweight in Saturday's $100,000 Cicero Handicap for fillies and mares at six furlongs.