09/18/2007 11:00PM

Costa Rising switches to turf

EmailBOSSIER CITY, La. - An impressive array of shippers will join some of the region's best grass horses in the four $200,000 turf races that will support Saturday's Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.

Costa Rising, second in billing behind only Super Derby favorite Grasshopper on the card, heads the field in the Unbridled Stakes. A Louisiana-bred 4-year-old, Costa Rising will return to the grass after posting a 114 Beyer Speed Figure in the Evangeline Mile on Aug. 15 and a 117 in an overnight allowance race on the track's closing night card on Labor Day. His combined margin of victory was almost 30 lengths.

Trained by Glenn Delahoussaye, Costa Rising is a two-time stakes winner on grass, capturing the John Franks Memorial here last year against older foes and the Red Irwin for fellow Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds. Kerwin Clark once again has the mount.

The two stakes for 2-year-olds could possibly have repercussions next month at Monmouth Park with the expansion of the Breeders' Cup program to include a turf race for the juvenile division for the first time.

In the Happy Ticket, for 2-year-old fillies, the favorite could be the Bill Mott-trained Zee Zee, who finished second against males over the Saratoga turf in the With Anticipation Stakes. Cherokee Triangle, second in the Cradle Stakes at River Downs, looks like the favorite in the Sunday Silence.

Trainer Donnie Von Hemel, who won last year's running of the Marie DeBartolo Oaks with Brownie Points, will seek to repeat with Whisper to Me, the winner of the Lyrique Stakes here on Super Derby Prelude Day last month.

A total of 133 horses were entered on the 13-race program that gets under way at noon Central.

Grasshopper arrives safely

Prohibitive Super Derby favorite Grasshopper arrived without incident at 11:20 a.m.Central Wednesday following a flight that originated in New York with a stop in Louisville, Ky., and a short van ride from the Shreveport airport. Joining Grasshopper on the flight were fellow Super Derby entrants Leonnatus Anteas and Past the Point.

Also arriving were 2-year-old fillies Cato Major, Sammy Van Anny, and Zee Zee, who will meet in the Happy Ticket; Gigawatt and Go Between for the Unbridled; and Cherokee Triangle.

Casino Gambler, entered in the Sunday Silence, was due to arrive by van Thursday, the same day that trainerVon Hemel planned to ship a contingent from Lone Star Park that includes Going Ballistic and Strong City for the Super Derby.

Luxury Class returns in allowance feature

For a relatively simple nonwinners-of-three allowance condition, Friday's ninth race should do an excellent job of getting things revved up for Saturday's Super Derby Program.

Luxury Class will make her first start here since winning here debut at 3-5 in July 2006. She will be making her first start since an unplaced effort in the Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park in late March. Now trained by Bret Calhoun, Luxury Class left here last summer following her maiden victory to run in the P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga for her former trainer, Graham Motion. She returned to action in December at Laurel to win an entry-level allowance. Carlos Gonzalez has the mount on Friday.

Limitless, never worse than second in her four-race career and perfect in her two sprint attempts, appears to be the main threat to a successful homecoming for Luxury Class. Jose Riquelme rides for trainer Al Stall Jr.