02/19/2004 1:00AM

Sam Houston: Asmussen's tough pair


Term Sheet and Desert Darby, who are both trained by Steve Asmussen, are difficult to separate in the $40,000 Jersey Village at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday night. But bettors will have to. The horses are uncoupled, with Term Sheet being owned by Ackerley Brothers Farm and Desert Darby racing for Ken Quirk.

Term Sheet won the Jersey Village, a 1 1/16-mile race for Texas-breds, last year. He must defend his title against a field that includes Record Assembly, who finished in a dead heat for first with Desert Darby in the $100,000 Star of Texas in November, and multiple stakes winner Leo's Last Hurrahy, winner of the $35,000 Kingwood at Sam Houston in December.

Term Sheet finished second to Zee Oh Six last out in the $40,000 Sam Houston Sprint Handicap, and that seven-furlong race should have him sharp for the return to racing around two turns. It is the same path he took to last year's Jersey Village, when he won that race one start before the Jersey Village.

Asmussen has given the mount to Ted Gondron.

Jeremy Beasley, who has had considerable success with Asmussen this meet at Sam Houston, has the mount on Desert Darby. In his last start, the horse was second in a turf allowance against open company, and will move back to dirt Saturday.