07/03/2006 11:00PM

Louisiana Downs: 'Buck' hangs on

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Commander Buck set a quick pace and stayed on well down the stretch to win the $75,000 Independence Handicap at Louisiana Downs. The race, originally scheduled to be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf, was moved to the main track following an intense rainstorm earlier in the program. Erroneous I D finished second, 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner and 5 1/2 in front of third-place finisher Slade. Northern Scene, Tromp, and Waupaca were scratched.

Commander Buck ($4.60) bounded clear early under Cody Bourque and set early fractions of 23.28 seconds and 46.89. He shook loose turning for home and finished the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.74 over a wet-fast track.

The winner is trained by W. T. Howard for Lewis Matthews Jr., and won for the fifth time in 21 starts and for the first time in stakes company. A 5-year-old Deputy Commander gelding, Commander Buck has now bankrolled more than $157,000.