02/17/2005 12:00AM

Leaving on My Mind gets going at Sam Houston

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Leaving on My Mind tore up the track last year by winning four stakes, with two of his most impressive wins coming at one mile. He will make his 3-year-old debut Saturday night at a mile in the $125,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park.

The stakes, which is restricted to the offspring of nominated stallions, is one of two on the card, with the $125,000 fillies division being led by Timber Jones and Tuned In for leading trainer Steve Asmussen.

Leaving on My Mind will be making his first start since Dec. 4, when he finished seventh in the $1 million Delta Jackpot. He won 5 of 13 starts last year and $299,873, a record that earned him the title of Texas-bred of the year from the Texas Thoroughbred Association.

"We gave him a little freshening after that long 2-year-old campaign," said trainer Danny Pish. "The month off should have recharged his batteries."

Leaving on My Mind shows four works for his return, his latest a four-furlong move in 49.60 seconds, the second-fastest move of seven at the distance at Sam Houston on Feb. 15.

"We've worked him pretty leisurely, but his most recent was a little sharper," said Pish. "He had a nice work, galloped out good, and is ready to roll. I think we've got a good shot."

Leaving on My Mind will break from post 8 in the field of eight, and Pish said he will leave the racing riding strategy from the wide post to jockey Roman Chapa.

"[Leaving on My Mind] should allow Roman to do whatever is necessary for the best race," said Pish, noting the colt is versatile.

Threats include Truly Native, who can be closer to the pace than he was last time, when he finished fourth and was placed second in the $50,000 Turfway Park Prevue on Jan. 8, and Dixie Meister, who was fourth in an allowance race at Oaklawn on Jan. 22.

In the fillies division, Timber Jones and Tuned In, a half-sister to stakes winner Charlie's Beau, are uncoupled. Both will be making their first start around two turns. The chief threat is Magic Uno, who has two-turn experience and was second against open company in a recent Sam Houston allowance.