11/18/2002 12:00AM

Melancon caps triple on Leo's Last Hurrahy

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HOUSTON - Leo's Last Hurrahy proved he can handle two turns with a powerful 1 1/2-length win over Worker Man and Zydeco Affair in the $150,000 Sam Houston Texan Juvenile on Saturday night at Sam Houston Race Park.

The Juvenile was the lone open-company race on the Texas Champions Day program, which featured nine stakes - eight for Texas-breds - worth a combined $625,000.

Leo's Last Hurrahy, the 4-5 favorite and a Texas-bred, raced well off the pace early, began to pick up steam on the final turn, and closed fast to win the 1 1/16-mile race over a fast track in 1:45.90.

"I had trouble stopping him after the race," said jockey Gerard Melancon, whose win aboard Leo's Last Hurrahy gave him three stakes victories for the night.

Ken Murphy, who owns the colt, said he and trainer Bob Young will consider the $275,000 Great State Challenge Juvenile at Sam Houston on Dec. 7 for Leo's Last Hurrahy. A long-term goal is the $750,000 Louisiana Derby in March, a race won last year by the 2000 Texan Juvenile winner, Fifty Stars.

Leo's Last Hurrahy ($3.60) earned $90,000 for his Texan Juvenile win, which was his first victory around two turns and third in a stakes. His record is now five wins in seven starts and he has earnings of $326,848.

Rare Cure the Star

In the $100,000 Star of Texas Stakes, the richest race of the night for statebreds, Rare Cure ($10.60) won by three-quarters of a length over Crook. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Faxamillion in third.

Rare Cure raced about three lengths behind the leaders early in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, advanced on the final turn, and went on to cover the distance in 1:44.95.

Joe Petalino, who trains Rare Cure for Larry Dyson, said the gelding could make his next start in the Great State Challenge.

Melancon rode Rare Cure.

o Melancon also was aboard Eagle Lake ($3.20), who scored her fourth consecutive victory, controlling the pace throughout in the $50,000 San Jacinto for fillies and mares on turf. It was four lengths back in second to Nanie's Dinner. Eagle Lake is trained by Cole Norman.

o The 3-year-old filly Manzottina ($18.60) beat her elders in the $75,000 Martanza Handicap. She took command of the 1 1/16-mile race at the top of the stretch and won by 3 3/4 lengths over Khazi. Terry Stanton rode Manzottina for trainer Ramon Flores.

o A Steve Asmussen runner won the $50,000 Bara Lass for 2-year-old fillies for the fifth straight year - this time it was Hannah's Royalrock ($6.40). She won by 2 1/4 lengths over Lady Mallory. Hannah's Royalrock was ridden by Glen Murphy.

o Fleeta Dif ($66.40) added blinkers and pulled the biggest upset of the night when she darted clear to a 1 1/2-length win over Bien Sur in the $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes for fillies and mares. Rita Helton rode Fleeta Dif for owner-trainer Tom Warren.

o Catalissa ($6) stalked the leaders early, then rolled past favorite Call Me Lefty late to win the $50,000 Groovy for 2-year-olds by three-quarters of a length. Eddie Martin Jr., rode Catalissa for trainer Michael Stidham.

o Won C C ($18.40) improved his record over the Sam Houston main track to 6 for 10 when he led throughout to win the $50,000 Spirit of Texas Sprint by a length over favorite Solingen. John Jacinto was aboard Won C C for owner-trainer Kamal Sheena.

o Star of Caveat ($13.60) led throughout to win the $50,000 Richard King Handicap by a length over Paco Loco. Jacinto rode Star of Caveat for trainer James Hudson.

o Sam Houston handled $2,901,619 on the card Saturday, while ontrack attendance was 10,822.