11/29/2001 12:00AM

Lights on Broadway seeking second Star


The sprint-to-route angle works like magic for Lights on Broadway.

Trainer C.W. "Bubba" Cascio has used the formula to win two of the three richest Texas-bred stakes offered in the last year with the colt, who is set to defend his title in the $100,000 Star of Texas Stakes on Saturday night at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston.

The 1 1/16-mile race is one of eight statebred stakes that will make up the ninth annual Texas Champions Day card, which also features the open-company $150,000 Texan Juvenile. Together, the nine stakes are worth $625,000.

Special post for the first race is 5 p.m. Central.

Lights on Broadway has put together an exceptional season since he wired the field in last year's Star of Texas. This summer, Cascio taught the colt to rate, and one race after Lights on Broadway mastered that lesson by winning a six-furlong allowance, he captured the state's richest offering for Texas-breds, the $150,000 Assault Stakes at Lone Star Park near Dallas.

In his most recent start, Lights on Broadway finished second, beaten 1 3/4 lengths by stakes-winning sprinter Incredible Bulk, in a six-furlong allowance at Sam Houston. "That was an exceptionally fast race and we just ran out of ground," Cascio said of that Oct. 20 allowance, which went in 1:10.60. "He was getting to the winner pretty quickly.

"I'm really pleased with how he's training," added Cascio. "He's coming into this race as good as I've ever had him come into one." Steve Bourque has the mount for owners Joe McDermott and George Slater.

Captain Countdown, the chief threat to Lights on Broadway, has not raced since winning the $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial Handicap over open company July 15. He has been working steadily for his return, which comes over one of his favorite tracks. Trainer Steve Asmussen has given the mount to jockey Glen Murphy.

Martanza: Coastalota back

Coastalota, who finished second to top Texas-bred female Nanie's Dinner in the $100,000 Allen Bogan Memorial in June, won't have to deal with that opponent when she makes her comeback from a six-week layoff in the $75,000 Martanza Handicap.

A one-mile race for statebred fillies and mares, the Martanza has drawn six others, including Crook's Angel, who returns to racing on the track over which she has posted her most wins; Madison Grace, a full sister to past Star of Texas winner Heza Fast Tab; and Fair Grounds invader Flewsy.

Coastalota worked a bullet five furlongs in her final prep for her comeback. "She ran real hard this summer, and we decided to send her home for a while," said trainer Randy Mayfield. The break, Mayfield said, "has picked her head up." Bobby Walker Jr., has the mount for owner Hubert Southard.

Bara Lass: Miss Ritz is richest

Miss Ritz, a two-time stakes winner, rates as the highest earner in the $50,000 Bara Lass, a six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies that goes as the first stakes on the card Saturday.

In her last start, Miss Ritz rolled to an impressive five-length win in the $65,000 Friendship Stakes at Louisiana Downs. Earlier this season, she won the $100,000 Silver Spur Stakes at Lone Star. Casey Lambert has the mount for trainer Bob Young.

Yellow Rose: Miss Photogenic rates

Miss Photogenic, a winner of six races in eight starts this year, headlines the $50,000 Yellow Rose, which matches fillies and mares at six furlongs.

In her last start, Miss Photogenic showed a new dimension by winning from off the pace, a running style that could serve her well with her chief threat, the fast Secret Spender, breaking to her inside.

Murphy has the mount on Miss Photogenic for trainer Brent Davidson.

Groovy: Front Nine the speedster

Front Nine, who has won three of his last four starts by a combined 40 lengths, is the speed from the rail in the $50,000 Groovy, a six-furlong race for 2-year-old colts and geldings.

After winning his maiden by double digits, Front Nine captured the $25,000 Riverside at Retama Park by more than 15 lengths, then returned to romp by seven lengths in the $73,000 Friendship Stakes last out at Louisiana Downs. Cathleen Garner has the mount for trainer Tommie Morgan.

San Jacinto: 'Babe' back with locals

Minneapolis Babe returns to the statebred ranks in search of her third consecutive win in the $50,000 San Jacinto, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

Trained by Amos Laborde, Minneapolis Babe romped by 5 1/2 lengths in the Fiesta Mile at Retama Park on Oct. 6, then returned in her last start to win an open company allowance. She is to be ridden by Allen Dupuy.

Spirit of Texas: A homecoming

Beverly Greedy makes a rare visit to his home state for the $50,000 Spirit of Texas, a six-furlong sprint that has also drawn Superpave, who makes his first start following a year layoff, and the sharp St. Martin's Cloak.

A specialist at the distance, Beverly Greedy gets back to racing on the main track after finishing a close fifth in a turf sprint last out at Churchill Downs. David Nuesch rides for trainer Lynn Whiting.