06/28/2007 12:00AM

Costa Rising goes for 11th straight win vs. statebreds


Costa Rising has won his last 10 starts against Louisiana-breds, and puts that gaudy record on the line in Saturday night's $100,000 Pola Benoit Memorial Stakes. The Benoit tops the Louisiana Legends Night undercard, which is headlined by the two divisions of the Shine Young Futurity.

Glenn Delahoussaye has taken over the training of Costa Rising, who will be making his first start since having a bone chip removed earlier in the year. A 4-year-old son of Royal Strand, he won his only start in 2007, the Louisiana Premier Championship at Delta Downs in early February, by five lengths. The resulting 99 Beyer Speed Figure matched his previous career best, which he earned winning the Louisiana Classic on Champions Day at Fair Grounds in his final start of 2006.

A winner of over $540,000 in his 16-race career, Costa Rising has been training as if he intends to pick up right where he left off. He shows a solid string of works, including a 1:12.40 six-furlong breeze two weeks ago and a half-mile gate work of 47.80 seconds last Friday. Delahoussaye has given the call to Kerwin Clark, who will ride Costa Rising for the first time.

Costa Rising's main obstacle in the Benoit appears to be the stakes winner Diggy Fresh. Trained by James Hodges, Diggy Fresh is coming off a second-place performance in the John Franks Memorial over the Louisiana Downs turf course May 12. The 6-year-old Indian Charlie gelding will be ridden by Donnie Meche.

In other races on the card:

o The $100,000 Archie Sebastien Memorial for fillies and mares at 1o1/16 miles appears to be Raspberry Wine's to win or lose. Trained by Al Stall Jr., she is riding a four-race win streak, all in stakes company. She won the Seven Stars Stakes on the Louisiana Downs turf in her last start May 12. Clark will ride.

* St. Zarb, who has been labeled this year's Costa Rising by some on the strength of a 5-for-6 record in 2006, will rule a prohibitive favorite in the $75,000 B. B. "Sixty" Rayburn Stakes for 3-year-olds. The Cyril Hicks trainee comes off a convincing 5 3/4-length win against older foes over the Louisiana Downs main track on June 1. He also has won the Free Spirit's Joy Stakes at Louisiana Downs and the Crescent City Derby at Fair Grounds. Carlos Gonzalez will again be in the saddle.

* A winner of four stakes races since being claimed by trainer Pat Mouton for owner Maggi Moss last fall, Cort's P. B. rates as the one to beat in the $100,000 Junius Delahoussaye Memorial Sprint. The 7-year-old Cort's P. B. will be seeking to complete a grand slam of sorts by winning at all four of the state's tracks this year. E.J. Perrodin rides.

* The evening's most competitive race appears to be the $75,000 Buddy Abadie for 3-year-old fillies at a mile. Ahead of Her Time, trained by Jerry Hardin, is unbeaten in three career starts, including the Fantasia Stakes in her only start this year. She will take on nine rivals, including Mi Isabella, who won both the Sarah Lane's Oates Stakes and the Crescent City Oaks at Fair Grounds earlier this year.

o Indigo Girl, the winner of the Tellike Stakes in impressive front-running fashion here on May 19, appears ready to add to her solid

5-for-9 local record in the $100,000 Pierre LeBlanc Memorial Ladies Sprint. She is yet another live mount for Clark.