10/11/2006 11:00PM

Nice matchup in Hall of Fame


Northern Scene and Dreamsandvisions are two of the top Texas-breds in training, and in their lone meeting they finished a half-length apart in a turf stakes in May. Saturday night, they should be just as difficult to separate in the $100,000 Texas Hall of Fame Stakes at Retama Park near San Antonio.

Both horses come into the 1 1/16-mile turf race off rare defeats. Both have had strong final works, and both have vanned in from Louisiana Downs. It was there that the two first met, with Northern Scene edging Dreamsandvisions in the $50,000 Barksdale.

Saturday, they take on stakes winners Charming Socialite, Goosey Moose, and Senor Amigo. The depth of the field makes the Hall of Fame a worthy headliner on the meet’s richest card when six restricted stakes worth $470,000 will be held. Before the program, Texas horsemen Hilmer and Faye Schmidt and Jerry Windham and the late politician Robert Johnson Jr. will be inducted into the Texas Racing Hall of Fame.

Northern Scene nearly broke Retama’s course record for a mile and a sixteenth on turf last year, when he won the Hall of Fame in 1:40.80. He comes into this year’s running off a fourth-place finish in the $70,000 Sport City, a mile and a sixteenth race at Louisiana Downs that went in a course-record time of 1:40.

“He just ran even all the way around,” said Morris Nicks, who trains Northern Scene. “He’s sharp now. I was real pleased with his breeze Sunday. Real pleased.”

Dreamsandvisions has won two stakes this year, the $75,000 Assault for statebreds at Lone Star and the $150,000 Evangeline Mile. In his last start, he was 10th in the $200,000 Louisiana Downs Breeders’ Cup. He did not scope clean after the race, said his trainer, Steven Duke.

“He had some sort of virus,” he said. “His blood count was real haywire. I’ve worked him since then, and of course, I wouldn’t be going if I didn’t believe he was 100 percent. We scoped him Sunday, and ran his blood [Tuesday], and so as far as I can tell, everything’s back to normal.”

Northern Scene has tactical speed and should be prominent under Lonnie Meche. In the later stages, the greatest threat could be from closer Dreamsandvisions, who will be ridden by Luis Quinonez.

Star 2-year-old Wrenice ready for Stallion Stakes

Wrenice turned in arguably the most impressive performance by a 2-year-old in Texas this year, when she won a Retama allowance by 17 lengths and earned a Beyer Figure of 95. She will make her first start since the race in the $125,000 fillies division of the Texas Stallion Stakes. The six-furlong stakes has a field of 12.

Wrenice won her maiden in the 5 1/2-furlong division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Lone Star Park on July 8. She was then freshened for six weeks, won the Retama allowance, and by design has had six weeks between starts heading into the Texas Stallion Stakes on Saturday.

“My opinion is, she’s fit, she’s rested up, she’s ready to go,” said Randy Mayfield, who trains Wrenice. “She came out of the race in top shape, and she’s worked awesome.”

Wrenice should be prominent from the rail under Bobby Walker Jr.

* Mary’s Gray Boy, who in May won his maiden over Great Hunter – who last week won the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland – takes on Holy Mission in the $125,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Stallion Stakes.

* Mystery Classic will be shooting for his fifth straight win when he starts in the $40,000 Watson MacManus.

* Open Meadows makes her turf debut against the undefeated Madame Menehune in the $40,000 Selma.

* Sheza Lucky Son’so heads the $40,000 Fiesta Mile.