06/13/2007 11:00PM

Ceasers March taking drop


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Ceasers March takes what should be a brief break from stakes company on Saturday as he heads up a deep statebred third-level allowance feature at Louisiana Downs. The seven-furlong race drew a full field of 12 and carries a $31,000 purse.

Last seen finishing second as the odds-on favorite in the $50,000 Free Spirit's Joy Stakes to St. Zarb here on May 12, Ceasers March is on a course to face that same rival in a rematch either at Evangeline Downs for Louisiana Legends Night on Juneo30 or Louisiana Downs Champions Day on July 21. St. Zarb has completed his preparations for the expected showdown, winning impressively in open company here two weeks ago.

Before his start in the Free Spirit's Joy, Ceasers March contributed to a heated pace battle in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs on April 28. A Leestown gelding, he eventually staged a steady retreat down the stretch to finish eighth. Before that, the talented 3-year-old was 2 for 3 at Fair Grounds over the winter, winning his maiden and entry-level allowance races by a combined 20-plus lengths. Each of those victories came at the expense of fellow Louisiana-breds. Carlos Gonzalez is slated to ride on Saturday.

The presence of an abundant amount of other early speed in Saturday's headliner will not make Ceasers March's task an easy one, nor will his No. 11 post. Mysterious Merlin, who has not been headed in winning his two starts by more than 12 lengths, will break from post 3, and Ovie, an impressive front-running winner in an entry-level allowance here on June 2, will break from post 4. John Jacinto has been given the call on Mysterious Merlin, while Donnie Meche will be on board Ovie for trainer Andy Leggio.

Timely Sweep ran to his price as the 8-5 favorite in his last start, winning in allowance company at Evangeline Downs on May 11. A Time Bandit colt, he is trained by Alonzo Howard and has yet to finish worse than third in his seven career starts, mostly forcing the early pace. He will be ridden by Todd Dupuis.

With such a lively pace scenario almost a guarantee, Good and Tight's late running style offers an interesting longshot alternative to his shorter-priced, speed-biased foes. Trained by Byron Crook, Good and Tight has won twice at Saturday's distance, staging a rally from well back each time. Crook has given the call to Jeff Burningham.