07/18/2006 11:00PM

'Costa' can make it five straight


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Costa Rising, already a stakes winner on the grass against older company this season, should rule a prohibitive favorite in Friday's $75,000 A.L. Erwin Stakes at Louisiana Downs. He will square off against seven other Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds if the race remains on the grass. Cut Off Time has been entered for the main track only.

Trained by Joseph Boxie, has won four straight races, including the $50,000 John Franks Memorial Stakes on opening day here in early May, his only attempt on the grass. Most recently, Costa Rising won the $75,000 B. B. Rayburn Stakes at Evangeline Downs on Louisiana Legends Night on July 1. Unlike his previous victories, in which Costa Rising set all the pace, the Rayburn victory came from a stalking position. Mario Reyes makes the journey up from his Evangeline home base to ride.

There is plenty of early speed in the Erwin, and that could set the stage for a successful stakes debut for . A Pulling Punches gelding, Bodacious Bob most recently won his first start on turf in an entry-level allowance July 9, when he rallied strongly from off a quick pace and kicked clear to win by 3 1/4 lengths. One start before, Bodacious Bob rallied to score a neck victory over maiden special weight company June 16. With a fast pace scenario likely Friday, jockey Cody Meche and Bodacious Bob will be in position to pick up at least some of the pieces down the stretch.

also has just one start on the grass. In that race, a first-level allowance test May 12, Chromite Soldier circled five wide and finished second, one length behind Power Band, who returns in the Erwin. Chromite Soldier has made two starts on dirt since then, winning a first-level allowance and finishing fourth in the Rayburn. Jeff Burningham will ride.

Power Band has been busy since winning the May 12 turf allowance, finishing fifth in a $30,000 optional claimer May 27 and second against allowance company June 18. Both starts were on the dirt. Trainer Kelly Broussard has given the call to Tracy Hebert, who is closing in on career win 3,000.