02/13/2003 12:00AM

Yasou Stable counts on new generation


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - After a fall meeting with no stakes victories, the highest powered barn in New England, Yasou Stable Trust, is ready to wheel out its top horses, starting Saturday with two fillies in the $35,000 Yankee Fashion Stakes at Suffolk Downs.

Since Suffolk reopened in 1992, Yasou Stable, the family business of trainer Charlie Assimakopolous and his son, John, has been the leading owner for seven of the 11 years on the strength of numerous regional champions.

Now that many of those past champs are successfully breeding, a new generation of runners is showing up in stakes, including Yasou Doc's Angels and Jazz Music, the two 3-year-old fillies in Saturday's sprint.

Yasou Doc's Angels seems destined to find early success at Suffolk considering her breeding. Her sire, Pentelicus, won the 1986 Mayflower Stakes as a 2-year-old. Her dam, Speedland, was a finalist for several New England Turf Writers awards and won the 1992 Yankee Fashion. Yasou Doc's Angels is 2 for 2 in her career.

"Speedland was one of our favorites," said John Assimakopolous. "So far her offspring have looked really nice. This one is already showing loads of talent and all kinds of heart. We're really excited about her and her brothers and sisters."

Jazz Music was a private purchase by the Assimakopolous family and is a full sister to Special Jules, a standout for Yasou last spring.

Jazz Music is also 2 for 2, but her wins have been a bit more visually impressive than Yasou Doc's Angels's.

"They are both very close and it's a great situation to be in," said Assimakopolous. "In the morning, Jazz Music is a little quicker and she's shown a little more natural speed in her two races, but she hasn't been really tested hard yet. They have just slightly different personalities. We could see if one shows speed and the other stalks, but it's so early in their careers, anything could happen on the break. We're just in a very fortunate situation."

Winston Thompson has first call for Yasou and will be aboard Jazz Music, with Jose Bermudez aboard Yasou Doc's Angels. Bermudez rode Yasou Doc's Angels on Jan. 28, substituting for Thompson, and thus made the riding decisions easier.

The speedy Massachusetts-bred Glory Be Good enters the Yankee Fashion having never finished out of the money and with a bullet workout. Trainer Michelle Nydam will add Lasix and blinkers for Glory Be Good's first non-restricted stakes test.

Trainer John Rodriguez will couple Just Janeen and Hot Jelly Jam for the six-furlong Fashion.

Governor against expanded gaming

Proponents of expanded gaming in Massachusetts, including Suffolk Downs and the state's other three parimutuel facilities, were disappointed this week when Gov. Mitt Romney floated a proposal in local newspapers to ban slots and casinos in the state in return for one-time payments from casino operators in neighboring states.

The idea would give assurance to current casino operators of reduced competition and help the state avoid the inevitable downside casino critics say expanded gaming would bring, yet still generate $80 million.

The plan was quickly dismissed by casino operators in neighboring states, but it is the first sign that Romney would like to avoid expanding gaming despite a potential $500 million budget shortfall over the next two fiscal years.

"I thought it was a bad business decision," said Bob O'Malley, Suffolk Downs chief operating officer. "It's not smart to take $80 million one time when the state should be looking at hundreds of millions over time. I don't give it much of a chance. If someone had said that a consortium of casinos had offered $250 million, I'd say uh-oh. But I didn't hear that."