11/24/2005 1:00AM

Fair Grounds: Zarb's Dahar dominates

Lou Hodges Jr.
Zarb's Dahar, Gerard Melancon up, wins the $75,000 Thanksgiving Breeders' Cup Handicap Thursday at the Fair Grounds meet at Harrah's Louisiana Downs.

Zarb's Dahar ran his local record to a remarkable 10 for 11 by easily beating four rivals in the .

Rodeo's Castle finished second followed by Premier Performer in the traditional Fair Grounds holiday feature, this year held at Louisiana Downs. Morning-line favorite Orphan Brigade and starting highweight The Niner Account were scratched.

Zarb's Dahar and rider Gerard Melancon were content to stalk early leader Inalako while three wide through an opening quarter in 22.13 seconds. Zarb's Dahar moved closer late on the turn after a half-mile in a moderate 45.23. Challenging on the outside, along with the runner-up, turning for home, Zarb's Dahar left little doubt down the stretch that he is king of the locally based sprinters by drawing out by 5 1/4 lengths.

Trained by James Hodges, the 5-year-old Zarb's Dahar ($4) has now won 11 of 23 career starts and earned slightly more than $326,000 for owner Foxwood Plantation. He covered the six furlongs in 1:10.07 over a fast track.