12/08/2005 12:00AM

Classy pair tries to avoid late fatigue in Ladies

Louis Hodges Jr.
The Beter Man Can, coming off a career-best 98 Beyer, prefers races no longer than one mile.

BOSSIER CITY, La. - The Beter Man Can and Destiny Calls are the class of Saturday's $100,000 Ladies, but both will be racing a bit beyond their optimum distance in the 1 1/16-mile race.

The Ladies, restricted to fillies and mares bred in Louisiana, is one of 10 stakes on the $1 million Louisiana Champions Day program at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs.

biggest career win came at one mile in the $100,000 Tiffany Lass at Fair Grounds in January. She won by a neck, and in her most recent start was a 7 1/4-length winner of a seven-furlong allowance on Nov. 17.

"I think probably seven-eighths to a mile is her best distance," said Patrick Mouton, who trains The Beter Man Can.

Ditto for , who has won three stakes at one mile, with her other career stakes win coming at six furlongs.

"She's about a miler. Seven-eighths, a mile, is about her thing," said Bryan Krantz, the breeder of Destiny Calls, who races for Krantz's wife, Vickie.

But in the statebred ranks, both horses figure to carry their speed a long way. Destiny Calls, a winner of $499,150, was second to Happy Ticket in last year's Ladies, and in her most recent out was second in the $80,000 Victoria during the Breeders' Festival at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 17. Robby Albarado has the mount for trainer Al Stall Jr.

The Beter Man Can earned a career-best Beyer Figure of 98 last out when she romped in an allowance race at Louisiana Downs. The number is the highest career figure of any of the entrants in the Ladies.

"She's a trouper," Mouton said. "She loves to go out there and campaign, and she dares a horse to hook her. If you're going to look at her eye to eye, you better have your running shoes on."

The Beter Man Can races for Stan Seelig and will be ridden by E.J. Perrodin.

Sprint: Zarb's Dahar seeks No. 11

Zarb's Dahar will be going for his 11th straight win over the main track at Louisiana Downs when he starts as the odds-on favorite in the $100,000 Sprint. In his last out, he won the $75,000 Thanksgiving Handicap at the track and earned a career-best Beyer Figure of 106.

The race came at the same six-furlong distance he will travel in the Sprint.

Zarb's Dahar is 10 for 11 at Louisiana Downs and has won every start he has made at the track since May 2004. All of his wins have come for trainer James Hodges.

"You really appreciate getting a horse like this," said Hodges. "I really don't know how to describe it. Basically, it's just the horse. He's a good horse."

Zarb's Dahar will be racing with a bar shoe on his left hind foot in the Sprint to protect a quarter crack. An old injury, it flared up recently. He also wore a bar shoe for the Thanksgiving Handicap.

"If you had to have a quarter crack, the back is the best because you don't have as much pressure," said Hodges.

Gerard Melancon has the mount on Zarb's Dahar for Foxwood Plantation.

Turf: Four straight for Spruce's Prince?

Spruce's Prince will be looking for his fourth straight win when he starts in the $100,000 Turf. His biggest competition is Mr. Sulu, who has won two previous runnings of the Turf, including last year's edition over Spruce's Prince.

But since then, Spruce's Prince has stepped up his game. He won the $100,000 Shiskabob over Witt Ante at Louisiana Downs in September; the $40,000 No Le Hace over open company at Retama in October; and a deep turf allowance for statebreds at Louisiana Downs in his last start Nov. 20.

"We've run against Mr. Sulu a couple of times and he's outrun us, but he's outrun us in New Orleans - at Fair Grounds - and New Orleans is a different turf course," said Gerald Romero, who trains Spruce's Prince. "It's soft, and this horse would rather have a firmer course. So, I'm sure it's going to be a very good race. He's doing as good as a horse can do."

Spruce's Prince looked outstanding heading out for his final work last Sunday. He will be ridden by Roman Chapa.

* Nob Hill Deelite, a son of leading Louisiana sire Afternoon Deelites, will meet multiple stakes winner Voodoo Gold in the $100,000 Juvenile. Nob Hill Deelite is a half-brother to Early Goer, a past winner of the Juvenile.

* Tortuga Flats will be looking for her second straight stakes win when she takes on Sixteen Grand in the $100,000 Lassie.

* Sanctuary's Omooni is the class of the $50,000 Starter.