09/01/2005 12:00AM

Meet's top filly may emerge from Matron


Phone Affair and Keep This Cat, each a stakes winner early in the meeting, will square off Saturday night at Evangeline Downs in the $50,000 Matron Handicap to decide who is the meet's top filly or mare. Four others have been entered in the one-mile headliner.

and Keep This Cat were both assigned 116 pounds for the Matron, and bettors may have a difficult time separating the two.

has been idle since shipping in from Louisiana Downs to capture the six-furlong Tellike Handicap here on July 4. Trained by Wes Hawley, the 4-year-old daughter of Z Z Cat then returned to Louisiana Downs, where she continues to remain sharp, having worked a bullet six-furlong breeze last Thursday in 1:13. She appears to be in position to control the pace in the Matron as she stretches out to two turns. Gerard Melancon, up for the Tellike victory, will once again be in to ride.

Phone Affair's stakes win came in the Frank Abadie Memorial on Louisiana Legends Night on July 30, when she pulled off the upset in front-running fashion. Most recently, Phone Affair tried the turf at Louisiana Downs, finishing fourth in the Elge Rasberry Stakes against fellow Louisiana-breds. She returns to her favorite surface on Saturday and will have the services of Michael Wright in the irons.

Should the expected pace duel between the two highweights develop, confirmed stalker might be in position to pick up the pieces. She has been first or second in four of her five starts at the Matron distance, including an allowance score at Lone Star in May. Marlon St. Julien will be in the saddle.