08/13/2008 12:00AM

Boss Lafitte takes on Golden Yank in Prelude


BOSSIER CITY, La. - This year's $100,000 Prelude Stakes, slated for Saturday, has had more prerace drama than the event has seen in several seasons.

The race got a shot in the arm last week when the connections of Golden Yank, second in the Grade 2 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs in his last start and one of the region's top 3-year-olds, committed to the 1 1/16-mile prequel to next month's Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby instead of remaining on the grass for last Saturday's Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park.

Tom Amoss, who nominated three to the Prelude, held his cards much longer, waiting until Wednesday morning at entry time to reveal his intentions.

Each of the three runners Amoss was considering - Liberty Bull, winner of the $600,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park; Boss Lafitte, a stakes winner over grass and synthetic surfaces; and Real Appeal, recent winner of the Alysheba Stakes at Lone Star Park - had the qualifications to be a strong second choice in the wagering behind Golden Yank.

In a bit of a surprise to some, it is with Boss Lafitte that Amoss will seek to take the spoils Saturday. The winner receives not only the $60,000 winner's share of the purse but also an all-fees-paid berth to the Super Derby.

"Yes, this colt has won a stakes on the grass," said Amoss, referring to the $100,000 U.S.A. stakes at Lone Star, "and on the synthetic when the Transylvania at Keeneland was rained off in the spring, but he has also run well over conventional dirt.

"He finished third in one allowance race at Fair Grounds over the winter and won another, so we feel he will do just fine over dirt given the versatility he has displayed thus far."

Amoss's hand may be strengthened a bit by the prospect of a wet forecast, as Boss Lafitte's Fair Grounds victory came over a sloppy strip. Former Louisiana Downs riding champ Gerard Melancon, based this summer at Evangeline Downs, will handle the riding duties on Boss Lafitte, while Quincy Hamilton will be in to ride Golden Yank.

Three stakes part of undercard

Three other stakes events will support the Prelude on Saturday, and each drew strong fields.

The $75,000 Donnie Wilhite at one mile on the grass brings together an overflow field of 13 2-year-old fillies, including one also-eligible, for the last local prep for the $200,000 Happy Ticket on Super Derby Day.

The $75,000 Sunny's Halo for colts and geldings also will be run at a mile on the grass, while the 1 1/16-mile Honeymoon will feature the region's top filly and mare turf performers.