10/20/2004 11:00PM

Happy Ticket blue-plate special


BOSSIER CITY, La. - It's all Cajun cooking Saturday afternoon at Harrah's Louisiana Downs. A menu of 13 races restricted to Louisiana-breds will be offered in the annual Louisiana Breeders' Festival with a total of $750,000 in purse money at stake.

First post will be moved up from the usual 2:05 p.m. Central to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Happy Ticket, already a two-time stakes winner here this meeting, puts her perfect four-race career mark on the line in the Louisiana Breeders' Oaks at 1 1/16 miles.

She faces 11 rivals and will be making her first start at two turns on dirt. Last seen on the turf, Happy Ticket won the Seneca Stakes for Louisiana-bred fillies on Sept. 18, setting all the pace. A daughter of Anet, she is owned by her breeder, Stewart Madison, and is trained by Andy Leggio. Leading rider Lonnie Meche, aboard for all of Happy Ticket's previous victories, will again be in the saddle.

In the wide-open Shiskabob Stakes, at 1 1/16 miles on the grass, a full field of 14 will line up. White Star, Witt Ante, Meteor Impact, and Walk in the Snow will vie for the role of favorite. Meteor Impact could be a slight choice off a string of runner-up performances that include the Evangeline Mile and the local Ark-La-Tex Handicap. Connie Tassistro trains Meteor Impact for Charlene Thorson, and E. J. Perrodin will ride.

Fourteen horses also will line up in the Stardust Stakes for 2-year-olds at six furlongs. Crawfish King rates as the one to beat off the strength of a sharp seven-length win against open company in the Pioneer Stakes earlier in the meeting.

A son of Just a Cat purchased for $130,000 at the Texas sale at Lone Star in March, Crawfish King has not started since July 10, however, and recent winners J.D.'s Blue Bayou and St Roch might prove difficult for him to put away.

Destiny Calls, unbeatable in the spring at Fair Grounds and Delta Downs with four wins in a row, will make her first start since winning the Red Camelia Stakes in March. Trained by Gary Palmisano and owned by Vickie Krantz, Destiny Calls has won 7 of her 10 starts and more than $280,000. Meche will ride.

The Laurel Lane Stakes will feature an evenly matched field of 2-year-olds fillies, headed by Sweet Macaroni. Trained by Troy Young, Sweet Macaroni just missed winning the Southern Belle Stakes in August and will wear blinkers for the first time on Saturday. Gerard Melancon will ride.

Kaitlin's Rocket, second to Happy Ticket in the Seneca Stakes in September, will not have to face that rival in the Walmac Matchmaker Stakes, and will likely be favored to add to her two victories over the local turf course. She will face eight rivals, notably the Pat Mouton-trained entry of Intractabie and Zamanda.

In the six-furlong Cajun for older sprinters, Zarb's Dahar will be shooting for his sixth win in a row. Trained by James Hodges, Zarb's Dahar makes his first stakes appearance but need only repeat his last race, a six-length win in optional claiming company in 1:09.20 for six furlongs, to keep his record here perfect. Regular rider Gerard Melancon once again has the call.

In the Louisiana Breeders' Derby, Diggy Fresh again will attempt to stretch out to two turns. Perfect in three sprint races, Diggy Fresh was unplaced in the 1 1/16-mile Prelude Stakes against well-established open company on Aug. 28. Trained by Keith Desormeaux, Diggy Fresh should find Saturday's group of fellow Louisiana-breds a little less daunting. Perrodin will be in the saddle.

Another runner of note in the Breeders' Derby is Old Lee. A son of Leestown, he is coming off a second-place finish in the Scott's Scoundrel Stakes on the turf on Sept. 6.