08/08/2007 11:00PM

Louisiana Downs: Tortuga Flats strong


In defeat, Tortuga Flats ran one of the best races on last month's Louisiana Downs Champions Day card. She will make her first start since that July 21 program in Saturday's featured ninth race at Louisiana Downs. A $50,000 allowance for fillies and mares, the race is one of four high-end turf routes on the card. Among those facing Tortuga Flats are Comalagold, Sun Spun, and Boundus.

Tortuga Flats raced last in the $100,000 Matchmaker. She set the pace for a half-mile in that 1 1/16-mile turf race, dropped back to fourth, then came back in the stretch with a furious bid to finish second by a neck to Raspberry Wine. Kirk LeBlanc has the mount for trainer Ralph Irwin.

Comalagold also returns to the overnight ranks after finishing second to D Fine Okie in the $50,000 River Cities here June 23.

* Zarb's Dahar, one start removed from a sprint stakes win, will attempt to stretch his speed around two turns in the third race. He will be traveling 7 1/2 furlongs on turf in the allowance, and the last time he raced under such conditions he won. Louisborg, who captured last year's $100,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs, and Silver Haze, a stakes winner over the local turf, are among his chief rivals Saturday.

* Lonnie Meche, the defending riding champ, is named to ride horses for the first time this meet on Saturday. He has been sidelined since April with a knee and ankle fracture stemming from a spill at Evangeline Downs.