07/29/2008 11:00PM

Eight stakes draw 75 La.-breds


BOSSIER CITY, La. - The stage has been set for Saturday's Louisiana Downs Champions Day as 75 statebreds were entered Wednesday afternoon for the eight stakes worth a collective $750,000. The 11-race program gets under way at 1:25 p.m. Central.

The Heiligbrodt Racing-owned entry of Gaston, third in the D.S. "Shine" Young recently at Evangeline Downs, and recent maiden winner Cajun Thunder should dominate the wagering in the $75,000 Stardust Stakes, which kicks off the card. They will face Break Up, fourth in the Shine with a spirited rally.

Superior Storm, trained by Richard Jackson, will be the heavy favorite in the $100,000 Louisiana Breeders' Oaks off the strength of her perfect six-race record against Louisiana-breds.

Ide Like a Double has been almost as dominant in the 3-year-old colt and gelding division, having won his last three stakes tries against Louisiana-breds. He will square off against seven foes in the $100,000 Louisiana Breeders' Derby.

The $100,000 Matchmaker at 1 1/16 miles on the grass promises to be one of the most hotly contested races of the afternoon. Tortuga Flats could rule as the favorite off her near-perfect 7-1-0 record from eight races over the local turf course. She will take on nine foes, including defending Matchmaker champ Raspberry Wine as well as fellow stakes winners Tensas Yucatan, Mi Isabella, and Leestown Light.

Sammie Sam, entered in the Matchmaker for the main track only, is more likely to be seen in the six-furlong $100,000 Victoria for filly-mare sprinters. A 5-year-old Autocracy mare, Sammie Sam most recently won the James "Archie" Sebastien over the Evangeline dirt last month.

Shutupanddance, a perfect 2 for 2 for trainer Stanley Roberts, including the filly division of the Shine, will take on nine rivals in the $75,000 Laurel Lane. Her opposition will include Reckon, second in the Shine, and Run Don't Stroll, the runner-up in the open Princess Stakes here.

The largest field of the afternoon comes in the $100,000 Cajun Stakes, where a field of 12 will go six furlongs. Killing Me may be the public's choice off the strength of his front-running score in the Junius Delahoussaye at Evangeline on July 4. Others include the popular Zarb's Dahar, a 13-time winner locally, and Tortuga Straits, a multiple stakes winner who finished second to Killing Me in the Delahoussaye.

In the afternoon's final stakes, the $100,000 Shiskabob at 1 1/16 miles on the grass, Desert Wheat returns to the course over which he won the John Franks Memorial Stakes in May.