02/21/2002 12:00AM

Morluc classiest by far


Morluc, one of the most accomplished turf sprinters in the nation, will launch his 2002 campaign Saturday night at Sam Houston Race Park in the $50,000 Sam Houston Turf Sprint Cup. The five-furlong race is one three turf stakes on the program, which is highlighted by the $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf.

Morluc has not raced since he finished second, beaten a nose by Falvelon, in the Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin Racecourse on Dec. 16. It was the second time he has just missed in the race, and his trainer, Randy Morse, said one of his main objectives for Morluc this season is to return for a third Hong Kong Sprint.

Morluc towers over his eight rivals in class, with career earnings of $859,603. He also has been working sharply for his comeback. "He seems to be doing good," said Morse, who has given the mount to Robby Albarado.

Last year, Morse and Albarado teamed to win the Sprint Cup with Testify.

Boots on Sunday finished third in that race, and trainer Danny Pish is looking for him to improve his position this year. In his most recent start, Boots on Sunday set the pace and finished second, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 105, in the $50,000 King Cotton at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 2. He is to be ridden by Roman Chapa.

Speedster vs. closer

The $50,000 Jersey Village Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares, has drawn a quality front-runner in Silent Emotion and a powerful closer in defending champ Euryanthe. The race, which drew 12, also includes the developing Zamba Canuta, a Frank Brothers trainee who could fire a peak race in her third start back from a layoff, and the multiple stakes-placed Mysia Jo.

Silent Emotion, a winner of 6 of 12 starts, has had success from Saratoga to Kentucky Downs. She appears to be the controlling speed, and is well drawn from post 5.

In her most recent start, she returned from a layoff of more than two months and finished fourth, beaten two lengths by Histoire Sainte, in the $75,000 Sixty Sails Handicap at Fair Grounds, which was run over a good turf course.

Silent Emotion figures to move forward in her second start of the year, and her advantage is speed.

Euryanthe must negotiate a full field when she launches her late bid. Euryanthe, however, figures to take a big step forward off her fifth-place finish last out in the $75,000 Furl Sail Handicap at Fair Grounds, which was rained off the turf and held on a sloppy track. That was Euryanthe's lone career start on the main track.

Jockey Donnie Meche will ride Euryanthe for trainer Steve Asmussen, while Albarado has the mount on Silent Emotion for trainer Charles Simon.

More ground for Sly Kona

Sly Kona, who closed for third as the favorite in last month's $30,000 Bayou City at Sam Houston, gets an additional furlong to work with in the $30,000 Katy Stakes, a seven-furlong sprint for statebreds that has drawn nine 3-year-old fillies, including Bayou City winner Truly Sunlit.

In her race before the Bayou City, Sly Kona won the $50,000 Bara Lass Stakes over top Texas-bred filly Miss Ritz at Sam Houston on Dec. 1. She shows a nice pair of works in preparation for the Katy, and should move forward in her second start of the year. Meche rides for Asmussen.

Truly Sunlit was an impressive winner of the Bayou City, closing from far back to post a length win over French Lass. She is another who might benefit from the added ground in the Katy. Trainer Bret Thomas has given the mount to Sidney LeJeune.

* Leading jockey Glen Murphy's status for Saturday night is unknown after the rider bruised ribs in a spill at the track Wednesday night. He was injured when his mount, Royal Sea Hero, fell in the third race. He is named to ride in three of the four stakes Saturday.

* Sam Houston is conducting a $2,000 handicapping contest on its four Saturday night stakes at its website, www.shrp.com.