10/05/2003 11:00PM

Texas Hall-of-Fame ceremony like a Proctor family reunion


SELMA, Texas - The late trainer Willard Proctor would have been proud. His wife, Margaret, 84, and all five of his children turned out for his induction into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame on Saturday night at Retama Park.

Proctor was one of six enshrined in the Hall's fifth class. A native of Texas, he trained horses for 60 years, from 1938 until his death in 1998.

Among the 58 stakes winners Proctor saddled were Convenience, Gallant Romeo, and Lovlier Linda.

Today, two of his sons are active in racing. Hap Proctor manages the Glen Hill Farm of Leonard Lavin, a longtime patron of Willard Proctor, and Tom Proctor trains for Glen Hill. Both were making their first visit to Retama.

"This got to be a family reunion tonight," said George Proctor, another son.

George Proctor is a novelist and professor at the University of Texas. Also in attendance were Willard Proctor's daughters, Barbara Bomar and Mary Jo Holloway.

George Proctor said his father said he pursued a career in racing at 14, when he ran away from his home in Sweetwater, Texas, to be a jockey. Proctor later turned to training when he grew too tall to ride, and saddled his first winner, Odessa Boy, at Fair Grounds in 1938.

His career took him to Southern California, where he ranked as one of the circuit's most respected horsemen. Among his major wins there were the Grade 1 Santa Margarita, with Lovlier Linda, and the 1972 and 1973 Vanity Handicaps, with the Lavin-owned Convenience.

Big meet for Locke

Trainer John Locke won his second $100,000 stakes of the Retama meet on Saturday night when 40-1 longshot Fly Slama Jama wired the field in the Texas Hall of Fame Stakes. Earlier, Locke won the $100,000 La Senorita with Topango, and finished second in the $100,000 Ketel One El Joven with Oncearoundtwice.

Topango and Oncearoundtwice, who are both 2, are being pointed for turf stakes at Keeneland near the end of October.

Locke said the next race for Fly Slama Jama will be determined by his owner, Hubert Bell, Jr., but a possible spot is the $50,000 Richard King Handicap for statebreds during the Texas Champions Day card at Sam Houston on Nov. 15.

Perez escapes injury

Apprentice Salvador Perez, who was thrown from his mount, Harwood, Jr., in the $35,000 Tejas Stakes on Saturday night, escaped serious injuries in the mishap, which took place going into the stretch of the five-furlong turf race. He emerged with just a cut on his head, said his agent, Toby Cathey.

Perez was treated at a local hospital and released the same night. He was to work horses on Tuesday morning, and is scheduled to ride at Retama on Wednesday night, said Cathey.

One of Perez's mounts is Won Ton Win, who will take on five other fillies and mares in the ninth, an entry level allowance at one-mile on turf. Other contenders in the feature include Chantre and Jade Air, who finished a respective second at third at this level in their last start, Sept. 17.

Won Ton Win won a non-winners-of-two-lifetime claimer on turf in her last start. Perez was aboard. He is the leading apprentice at Retama.

Asmussen eyes sixth Bara Lass

Sago, unbeaten in three starts after a strong effort in the $125,000 fillies division of the Texas Stallion Stakes on Saturday, will make her next start in the $50,000 Bara Lass at Sam Houston on Nov. 15, according to her trainer, Steve Asmussen.

Asmussen trained the last five winners of the Bara Lass, a seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies bred in Texas. Sago races for Heiligbrodt Racing Stable.

* During a live auction held before the races Saturday, approximately $10,000 was raised for construction of a permanent Texas Hall of Fame museum at Retama.

Perhaps the most interesting item in the live auction was a framed photo of president George W. Bush attending the opening of Retama in 1995 when he was the governor of Texas. The piece, which included a signed win ticket by Bush, brought $1,350 from Joe Strauss Jr., the chairman of Retama.

Strauss announced that the design firm of Van Sickle and Rolleri has been selected to further the development and construction of a Texas Hall. One of the firm's past projects is the Ford Presidential Museum.