06/21/2005 11:00PM

Long or short, it doesn't matter to versatile Charming Socialite

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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - In the last year, Charming Socialite has built a reputation as one of the best Texas-bred sprinters in training. But last weekend, he opened up a whole new world of options for himself, when he won a two-turn overnight stakes at Lone Star Park.

The race drew a nice group of Texas-breds, including multiple stakes winners Goosey Moose and Agrivating General. Because of the win, Charming Socialite is now under consideration for the $125,000 Assault Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for Texas-breds on July 9.

Charming Socialite went into the overnight stakes, the Gold Nugget, on the heels of a second-place finish in the $50,000 Carter McGregor at six furlongs at Lone Star.

"We'd been running seconds and thirds in those other sprint races, and I just wanted to see if he could do it," trainer Bill Pettit said of the two turns. "I thought he could because he's pretty versatile. You can pretty well put him wherever you want to."

Charming Socialite stalked the early pace and then rallied for a one-length win.

"He broke his maiden going a mile," said Pettit. "I really didn't think he would ever be a sprinter. [But] his works got faster, and I thought, 'We'll just try and sprint him one time.' "

The decision proved key, as Charming Socialite won three sprint stakes last year, including the $100,000 Alysheba Breeders' Cup over Grade 2 winner Bwana Charlie. The success propelled him up the ladder among Texas-breds, and on Saturday night, the Texas Thoroughbred Association will honor Charming Socialite as champion 3-year-old Texas-bred of 2004.

The award, and honors to other divisions, will be given out during the TTA's annual awards banquet in Marble Falls. The keynote speaker is trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Pettit, who owns Charming Socialite in partnership with Paul Sutton, said he plans to attend Saturday.

Charming Socialite now has numerous options for the rest of the year.

"I think now, it doesn't make much difference where you put him," said Pettit. "His mother broke her maiden going a mile and she could go either way."

Pettit purchased Fobbys Socialte, the dam of Charming Socialite, for about $500, and through Sutton secured a reduced breeding fee to Sunny's Halo for the mare. The result was Charming Socialite.

Surgery goes well for Laborde

Trainer Amos Laborde underwent surgery for cancer on Tuesday and should be back at his Lone Star barn before long, said Randy Isaac, who has served as his assistant since the 1970's.

"Everything went good," said Isaac.

Laborde said Monday he expected to spend five to seven days in the hospital following surgery, then would return to Lone Star. He had surgery at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston.

Laborde trains High Strike Zone, a top regional handicap horse who is pointing for the $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial at Lone Star on July 17. Earlier this meet, he won the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile.

Muse wins handicapping contest

David Muse of Benbrook, Texas, won the Lone Star qualifying tournament for the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship when his final bankroll of $236.50 edged runner-up Brad Gray of DeSoto, Texas, by $2.30. There were 179 players in the two-day competition that ended Sunday.

Mike Mayo of Richardson, Texas, finished third, and he will join Muse and Gray in the Championship in Las Vegas in January. Muse earned $5,000 for his win at Lone Star.

* Smooth Bid, who was third last out in the $200,000 Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes, will return to the overnight ranks Friday night in the seventh race, a conditioned allowance at 1 1/16 miles on turf. Earlier in the meet, Smooth Bid was a close second in the $75,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge. Trainer Steve Asmussen has given the mount to Roman Chapa.