08/14/2007 11:00PM

Full field for Prelude, with no standout


BOSSIER CITY, La. - A deep group of 12 3-year-olds passed the entry box Wednesday for Saturday's $100,000 Prelude Stakes at Louisiana Downs. In addition to the winner's share of the purse money, the spoils also include an automatic berth in next month's Super Derby. The second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers in the Prelude will also be nominated to the Super Derby if their connections have not already done so.

Also on Saturday's expanded 11-race program are four turf races worth $75,000 each. The Sunny's Halo for 2-year-old colts and geldings, the Donnie Wilhite Memorial for 2-year-old fillies, the Lyrique for 3-year-old fillies, and the Concern Handicap for 3-year-olds and upward will serve as the final local preps for the four $200,000 turf races on the Super Derby undercard.

Unlike in many previous editions of the Prelude, this year's version lacks a clear-cut favorite. Several of the 3-year-olds appear to still be developing, but there is no shortage of stakes experience in the large field. Cajun Conquest, I Spy Wolfie, Beta Capo, Greeley's Conquest, and Gentleman Chester have all won a stakes this year. Others, such as the promising Point Gold and the Steve Asmussen-trained Forty Acres, have been racing in allowance races and are poised to try bigger and better things.

In the Sunny's Halo, Pantara Phantom makes his first start on the grass. A Stormy Atlantic colt trained by Pat Mouton, Pantara Phantom won his maiden at first asking, then captured the Stardust Stakes against Louisiana-breds in his most recent start. His opposition Saturday includes Poni Colanda, Moody Jones, and Justaclown, who each won a maiden race over the Lone Star Park turf earlier in the summer.

American Prize appears to be the one to beat in the Donnie Wilhite off a game win in the Silver Spur Breeders' Cup at Lone Star on July 28. The Pure Prize filly won her debut over the Polytrack at Arlington before running second here in the Princess Stakes in mid-July.

The Lyrique will feature Lone Star Oaks winner Alice Belle as well as recent turf winner Hotlantic. Wine Diva will make her local return after two recent races at Monmouth Park.

Middleweight, the winner of this year's Barksdale Handicap, and Northern Scene, victorious in last season's Barksdale, will share high weight in the Concern at 118 pounds.