12/07/2006 12:00AM

Badtotheboneandrew in repeat bid


NEW ORLEANS - Badtotheboneandrew, winner of last year's Louisiana Champions Day Classic when it was held at Louisiana Downs, will attempt to capture that $150,000 event again Saturday when he faces 10 rivals in the featured race on Champions Day at Fair Grounds.

The day's 11 stakes races offer a combined $1.1 million in purses, the most Fair Grounds has ever offered on a single program.

The inaugural running of the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint at six furlongs augments this 16th edition of Champions Day.

Badtotheboneandrew will have to turn the tables on the precocious 3-year-old Costa Rising, an impressive gate-to-wire winner last time out in the $99,000 Gold Cup at Delta Downs on Nov. 18. Badtotheboneandrew closed well for second that day but never challenged the winner in an effort trainer Harry Hahn described as a prep race.

"I'm really fortunate I got that race in him at Delta three weeks ago," said Hahn. "He ran a solid second in there. It was just what the doctor ordered. He's fresh, and he's coming up to the race as good as he was last year. Of course, Costa Rising wasn't in there last year."

Costa Rising has done little wrong in his 3-year-old season, racking up $310,626 and compiling a 7-1-1 record in 12 outings. From April to September he won six straight races, four of them stakes. His streak was broken in the Super Derby, when he pressed the pace before fading to fourth. He returned after a freshening in the $169,000 Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs, setting the pace over a "good" course before tiring to sixth.

Also returning from the Gold Cup are Belle City Boy and the 3-year-olds Willtosucceed and Tommy's Turn, who finished third, fourth, and fifth.

Spritely Walker, a versatile 6-year-old son of Skywalker who won the 2003 edition of the Classic, is working well over a surface he clearly relishes. He has a 4-1-1 record in 7 starts at Fair Grounds.

Hahn is hoping that speedsters Capt. Rhon, Mean Butterbean, and Destined to Star will pressure Costa Rising early in the 1 1/8-mile Classic.

"There should be a pretty good pace in there, and Costa Rising drew the 11 hole," said Hahn. "He's never run at the Grounds, and I know my horse has run at the Grounds and won there."