05/11/2007 11:00PM

Hot duel sets up St. Zarb


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Taking advantage of a heated duel between favored Ceasers March and second choice The Q Club, St. Zarb collared the tiring leaders at the head of the stretch and drew clear in Saturday's $50,000 Free Spirit's Joy Stakes at Louisiana Downs.

Ceasers March held second and longshot Zarb's Bully was along for third in the sprint for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds. The Free Spirit's Joy was one of four stakes for Louisiana-breds on the card.

Owned and trained by Cyril Hicks, who took the blinkers off his Zarbyev colt for Saturday's race, St. Zarb ($9) returned to the winner's circle after having a three-race win streak snapped in the Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn Park last month. The victory was his second in stakes company and fourth overall, all against fellow Louisiana-breds. He was ridden by Carlos Gonzalez and covered the six furlongs in 1:10.14 over a fast main track.

* In the $50,000 Seven Stars for fillies and mares on the turf, odds-on favorite Raspberry Wine ($3.60) won her fourth stakes in a row after drawing clear down the straight under John Jacinto. The 5-year-old Raspberry Wine, trained by Al Stall Jr. for Sport of Kings Racing, stalked pacesetter Kimua Baby before challenging into the far turn. She was clear by 1 1/4 lengths at the end of 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.35 over firm footing.

* Tinta ($5.80) ran her career record to 3 for 3 when she rallied furiously to get up in the final strides to capture the $50,000 Fantasia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Trainer Jerry Hardin had Tinta ready for her first start since capturing the Princess Stakes here last September. She was ridden by Jacinto and covered the six furlongs in 1:11.40.

* In the $50,000 John Franks Memorial for older Louisiana-bred turf performers, Willist prompted the early pace under Kirk LeBlanc before taking control turning for home. Diggy Fresh finished second followed by Chip Hunter.

Willist ($14.00) is trained by Kelly Broussard who claimed the 4-year-old for $25,000 in late March. He covered the mile in 1:38.71 in winning for the fifth time in 20 starts.