02/01/2007 12:00AM

Bean boys ready for Premier Night



The owner Evelyn Benoit, who races as Brittlyn Stables, was according to her trainer Victor Arceneaux dealing with some butter beans in her kitchen one day when her roving mind struck upon a name: Mean Butterbean. There are no accounts of other Louisiana-bred equines poking fun at the 5-year-old bay gelding, especially since Mean Butterbean is the only Louisiana-bred of late to strike fear into Costa Rising, the pro tem leader of the Louisiana-bred older horse division.

Mean Butterbean lost by a head to Costa Rising in the Champions Day Classic on Dec. 9 at Fair Grounds, and gets another crack at him Saturday night in the $200,000 Premier Night Championship, the crowning event among six statebred-restricted stakes on a 10-race, $1 million card for Louisiana-breds.

Ms. Benoit so loved the lyricism of Mean Butterbean's name that the next year, when her mare X Strawdnair produced another foal by the $2,500 stallion My Friend Max, she called this one Brother Bean. He also can run. The race before the Championship, Brother Bean can win his first stakes in the $100,000 Sprint, but only if he can beat the sharp Cort's P.B. Besides the Bean brothers, Arceneaux has the good filly Anything But Quiet in the $125,000 Starlet. Cort's P.B.'s trainer Pat Mouton has horses for five of the night's 10 races.

Joseph Stanley Boxie has just one horse for the entire Delta card, but with Costa Rising, one might be enough. Owned by Charles Castille, Costa Rising has been virtually untouchable in Louisiana-bred races - he's won eight in a row in such company - and clearly has thrived under the care of the little-known Boxie, who won three races in 2006 with horses not named Costa Rising. Costa Rising hasn't raced since Champions Day at Fair Grounds, but Boxie said after that game win that he wanted to give his horse a break. Costa Rising was entered in a Fair Grounds turf race last month, but was scratched with a minor hock problem.

"We gave him a few days off, and as of right now, it is not affecting him at all," Boxie said.

Costa Rising is 1 for 1 at Delta - meaning he's handled night racing and Delta's small track - and seems to hold his form regardless of venue. Still, there's the sense that Mean Butterbean is a comer. Arceneaux only recently switched the horse to two-turn racing, and he came back after Champions Day to easily win the $40,000 Lookout at Delta.

The field also includes stakes winner Badtotheboneandrew and Perfect Harmony, an impressive open-allowance race winner last out at Fair Grounds.