02/13/2003 12:00AM

Pattern indicates it's Testify's prime time


Testify, a proven turf sprinter, and Rahy's Secret, a two-turn stakes winner who won going short on grass in his last start, will meet for the first time Saturday night in the $50,000 Sam Houston Turf Sprint, one of five undercard stakes on a program topped by the $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf.

The five-furlong Turf Sprint also drew Proven Cure, who won the local prep for the race for trainer John Locke.

Testify is the class of the field. He won the Turf Sprint in 2001, and last year turned in one of the best races of his career in the Grade 3 Aegon at Churchill Downs in May, which he won by a head over Texas Glitter.

In the Turf Sprint, Testify will be making his second start back from a layoff. In his comeback race last out, he finished second to Proven Cure on Jan. 31.

"He ran good the other day," said Randy Morse, who trains Testify. "It was his first out in a long time, and I think he needed the race. As he's gotten older, his best seems to have come in his second start."

That pattern was true last year, when Testify, now 6, won the Aegon in his second start back from a two-month layoff. In his comeback race that year, he finished fifth in the $85,000 Shakertown at Keeneland.

Morse has given the mount to Roman Chapa, who was tied atop the Sam Houston standings with Terry Stanton heading into the races Thursday.

Rahy's Secret won the Black Gold at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf as a 3-year-old, but had never sprinted on the grass until his last start, when he won a 5 1/2-furlong optional claimer by three-quarters of a length at Fair Grounds on Dec. 28.

Fillies clash in Jersey Village

Distant Valley, who won the Grade 3 Regret at Churchill Downs last June, will have to overcome post 12 to win the $50,000 Jersey Lilly. The 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares also drew Old Money, third last out in the $75,000 Furl Sail at Fair Grounds, and Pleasant State, who won this race last year at 44-1.

Distant Valley made her comeback from a more than two-month layoff in a Fair Grounds money allowance Jan. 4, and finished second. She has worked well since that race for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Frank Lovato Jr. will ride Old Money, one of three horses in the 12-horse field for trainer Michael Stidham.

Lecomte runner-up in Stallion Stakes

Call Me Lefty, who set the pace last out in the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds before being overtaken by Saintly Look and finishing second, returns to racing in restricted company for the $75,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Stallion Stakes.

The 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds drew seven others, but the one to beat is Call Me Lefty, based on his dominant win over similar company two races back in the one-mile division of the Texas Stallion Stakes. He is the speed from the rail under John Jacinto, who has the mount for trainer Tommie Morgan.

Blinkers off for Lady Mallory

Morgan also holds a strong hand in the fillies division of the $75,000 Texas Stallion Stakes, for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, with Lady Mallory. Also in the race is Showmetothevilla, who won her maiden last out in the one-mile division of the Texas Stallion Stakes on Dec. 28.

Lady Mallory, who has run second or third in all but one of her four stakes appearances, will remove blinkers for the Texas Stallion after finishing seventh last out in the $100,000 Tiffany Lass at Fair Grounds on Jan. 26.

"I look for her to run an improved race over her Fair Grounds race," said Morgan. "She was just a little too aggressive going into the first turn, and it took a little bit of her race out of her. We're taking the blinkers off this race to get her to relax."

Morgan has given the mount to Felipe Valdez.

* The forecast for Saturday in Houston calls for possible showers with a high of 69 degrees.

* In conjunction with the Connally, there is a free online handicapping contest at www.shrp.com. Prizes total $2,500.