Updated on 09/18/2011 12:49AM

Costa Rising pushes winning streak to six


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Costa Rising's star keeps rising. He won his sixth straight race Saturday, when he powered to a two-length win over Chromite Soldier in the $100,000 Louisiana Breeders' Derby at Louisiana Downs.

The race, for 3-year-olds, was one of 13 stakes on the card for Louisiana-breds. Purses for the Louisiana Downs Champions Day program totaled $1.3 million, making the card the richest of the meet.

Costa Rising ($3.60), the first of three winning favorites on the day, broke sharply and stalked the pace set by Sprightly Star. Costa Rising kicked into high gear after tracking six furlongs in 1:12.97 and went on to finish the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.45.

"This was the first time he'd run on this dirt, and we didn't know if he'd take to it," said Charles Castille Jr., who owns Costa Rising. "He took to it."

Costa Rising, who remained undefeated around two turns with the win, began his streak at Evangeline Downs in April. Along the way he won two turf stakes at Louisiana Downs before the Breeders' Derby. Joseph Boxie trains Costa Rising, whose regular rider is Mario Reyes.

Castille said Costa Rising will likely make his next start in a 3-year-old stakes at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 23. The colt will be pointed for either the $75,000 Donnie Wilhite Memorial on turf or the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby. Costa Rising has now won 7 of 11 career starts and $242,748. He is a son of Royal Strand and was bred by Double Dam Farm.

Meche opens card with double

Jockey Donnie Meche won the first two Thoroughbred stakes of the card, guiding Diggy Fresh to a $45.60 upset win in the $100,000 Shiskabob and Margarita Man to victory as second choice in the $100,000 Stardust.

"I'm thankful to win these kind of races," said Meche, who won his first stakes at the meet. "It must be my lucky day."

Diggy Fresh settled in midpack in the Shiskabob, at 1 1/16 miles on turf, as Destined to Star led the field through six furlongs in 1:11.51. Diggy Fresh began his bid midway on the turn for home and caught Spruce's Prince on the wire for a nose win. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back in third to Spritely Walker.

Diggy Fresh covered the distance over firm turf in 1:42.35 and earned $60,000 for the victory, which was his fifth in 12 career starts. Trained by James Hodges for Israel Flores, Diggy Fresh has now earned $144,590.

Margarita Man ($5.80) sat in third early in the Stardust, as Time Taker and Rushton Robber dueled through a half-mile in 45.42 seconds. Margarita Man drew even with the leaders into the stretch and drove home by 1 1/2 lengths over Power Surge. Margarita Man covered the six furlongs for 2-year-olds in 1:12.37.

Trained by Scott Blasi, Margarita Man earned $60,000 for the win, his third from four career starts. He has now earned $113,400.

Also on the card:

* Our Love ($3.60) delivered as the favorite in the $100,000 Matchmaker, in which she stalked Calista Ridge from the inside, then took command of the race in the final turn. Gerard Melancon rode the winner for trainer Jeff Trosclair.

* Cutie Sabrina ($26.20) won her third straight race in the $100,000 Oaks, in which she broke on top and led throughout for a one-length win over Grand Facile. Billy Patin was aboard for trainer Abel Blanchard.

* Tensas Star ($22.20) overtook pacesetter Smitty's Sunshine in the stretch, then held off Hottamolly by a head to capture the $100,000 Victoria. Jose Riquelme rode the winner for trainer Harold Hahn III.

* Meteor Impact ($7) closed for a 2 1/2-length win over Zarb's Dahar in the $100,000 Cajun. Kerwin Clark was aboard for trainer Connie Tassistro.

* Princess Deelite ($7.40) rallied for a 2 1/4-length win over Kristi's Add On in the $100,000 Laurel Lane. Luis Quinonez rode the winner for trainer Troy Young.

* There were five stakes races for Quarter Horses, and the winners were Get It Reb ($7.80) in the first race; Andelay Baby Andalay ($41.20) in the second; Dancing Pana ($20) in the third; Toast to My Mom ($57.60) in the 12th; and favorite Toastin Dash ($5.40) in the 13th.

* Handle on the program Saturday was a meet-best $3,119,029. Last year, a total of $1,611,616 was bet on the same statebred stakes program, which was held in September. The ontrack attendance Saturday was an estimated 9,000, said Mark Midland, vice president of racing operations at Louisiana Downs.