08/15/2012 11:59AM

Louisiana Downs: Eight stakes worth $570K on Louisiana Cup card


BOSSIER CITY, La. – The state’s best will gather at Louisiana Downs on Friday when eight stakes worth a combined $570,000 will be held on for Louisiana Cup Day. All divisions will be represented, from 2-year-olds going six furlongs on dirt to older performers on the turf.

Many of Saturday’s races feature rematches from Louisiana Legends Night, which was held in late June at Evangeline Downs. One of the more anticipated will be another chapter in the developing rivalry between Little Miss Protocol and Midge Four in the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Oaks. Little Miss Protocol holds the upper hand, having narrowly defeated Midge Four in both the Acadiana Stakes and the Louisiana Legends Filly Mile this year, but Midge Four may be poised to turn the tables off a sharp local allowance score.

Love You Baby will be looking to run her record to a perfect 3 for 3 in the $50,000 Juvenile Fillies. The Ronnie Ward charge is already a stakes winner, having accounted for the Princess Stakes here on the turf in late June. Love You Baby has also had success on the main track, winning her maiden in impressive fashion in May.

String King comes into the $100,000 Turf Classic riding a three-race winning streak, including a victory in the John Franks Memorial in early June. The Charlie Smith trainee also won the Champions Day Turf at Fair Grounds last December and will take on recent Legends Turf winner Kissimmee Kyle to settle bragging rights as the state’s top grass performer.

One of the shortest-priced favorites of the afternoon should be Top Cat Boogie in the $75,000 Cup Derby. The 3-year-old son of Big Top Cat has won his last two starts, the Legends Mile and Rajun Cajun, by a combined 13 lengths.

The well-traveled Amanecer de Oro appears to be the one to beat in the $60,000 Sprint. The Steven Duke trainee returned to his home state and easily won the Legends Sprint after an unsuccessful trip to Churchill Downs for the Grade 3 Turf Sprint. The 4-year-old son of Afternoon Deelites also journeyed to Gulfstream Park earlier this year for the Grade 2 Gulfstream Sprint.

The $60,000 Filly and Mare Sprint looks to be one of the most wide-open affairs on the card. Harlie’s Dreams could be a tepid favorite off a near miss in the Legends Distaff while U Belong to Me will attempt to duplicate her upset win in the Legends Lady Sprint.

Several promising youngsters will go postward in the $50,000 Juvenile with The Drifter the likely favorite. Trained by Cody Autry, The Drifter was an impressive winner of the colt and gelding division of the $75,000 Texas Stallion Stakes in his last start. The son of Seeking a Home also accounted for his qualifying trial at first asking.

Ladyzarbridge will try and run her winning streak to three in the $100,000 Distaff following a pair of stakes tallies this summer. The versatile Zarbyev mare, who is trained by Eddie Johnston, was a wire-to-wire winner of the Honeymoon Stakes over the local lawn in early June before traveling to Evangeline four weeks later to capture the Legends Distaff over the main track.