02/16/2006 12:00AM

Rich night has 13 in Starlet

Lou Hodges Jr.
Tortuga Flats is 5 for 6, having raced exclusively at Louisiana Downs.

In Louisiana's new era of ontrack slot machines, the statewide foal crop grows every year. What does that mean for racing? Look no further than the $100,000 Louisiana Premier Night Starlet, a six-furlong sprint that attracted a stacked field of 13 Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies.

The six stakes on Saturday's Louisiana Premier Night card at Evangeline Downs are worth a combined $570,000, and a total of 122 horses were entered in night's 11 races. There ought to be plenty of value floating around Saturday night in Cajun country.

But to find it in the Starlet, one must get past Tortuga Flats, the division leader with 5 wins in 6 career starts. Trained by Ralph Irwin for owner John Balensiefen, Tortuga Flats has won three straight Louisiana-bred stakes, and might be unbeaten had she gotten a better trip last July in the Southern Belle at Louisiana Downs, in which she finished second.

But the competition might be catching up. Hotamolly, making just the second start of her career, came within a half-length of in the filly division of the Louisiana Futurity on Dec. 31 at Louisiana Downs. Moreover, Tortuga Flats has no room for error, having drawn the rail in a big field Saturday night, and she has never started away from Louisiana Downs, much less in a race under lights.

Hotamolly, one of three fillies from the barn of trainer Pat Mouton, is back for another try, having breezed four times since she nearly upset Tortuga Flats at Louisiana Downs. Mouton's other two are Leesa Lee and Carl's Frosty Girl, who should improve on a distant third-place finish in an off-the-turf stakes last month at Fair Grounds at Louisiana Downs. Also worth considering is Grand Facile, who has come along nicely the last two months for trainer Sweet Hodges. Grand Facile scored a blowout victory around two turns in her most recent race, but also has had success in sprints.

Prince: Voodoo Gold a hot challenger

has never won a race in four starts outside Evangeline Downs, but at Evangeline he has never been beaten, and his four victories at the track came by a combined margin of almost 28 lengths. Voodoo Gold won the Shine Young Memorial last summer, and given his speed, his prodigious Evangeline record, and the fact his trainer is Cole Norman, Voodoo Gold is the horse to catch in the $100,000 Prince.

But he probably is not the favorite. That roll may fall to Here Tiger, trained by Steve Asmussenm who has won 3 of his 6 starts and went off at 4-5 in a statebred stakes much like this one last month at Evangeline. Thing is, Here Tiger finished second in that race, unable to keep up in deep stretch with Night Doc, who ran the race of his life to win by almost two lengths. Night Doc, another Evangeline specialist, also returns in the Prince, seeking his fourth straight victory for trainer Ann Watermeier.

There are seven others in the six-furlong Prince, and some of them aren't bad, either. Magic Sunset has turned in two good efforts since trainer Tom Amoss claimed him out of his career debut, while Hud's Playmate may improve his performance returning to a sprint race after two subpar efforts in route races.

Matron: Destiny Calls likely favored

is not in the same class as Happy Ticket, but she is an excellent Louisiana-bred mare by any other standard, and has more overall quality than any of her nine opponents Saturday in the $60,000 Matron.

Happy Ticket also was entered in the Matron, but is expected to start later on the card in the $100,000 Distaff. Destiny Calls won't have to deal with her, but there is a mare named Indigo Girl who could give Destiny Calls, the likely favorite, all she can handle Saturday night.

Destiny Calls comfortably won her last start, the Lagniappe Ladies Sprint, over the same 5 1/2-furlong distance as the Matron, but Destiny Calls is no short-sprint specialist, and she probably isn't at her best going this trip. That's why she may be vulnerable to a quick mare like Indigo Girl, who has won 7 times in 8 tries at the distance. Indigo Girl was no factor in the Lagniappe Ladies Sprint, but Evangeline is her home track. Indigo Girl's price, however, will be driven down by the presence of Robby Albarado, in town to ride Happy Ticket in the Distaff, but also on other live horses throughout the card.

Sprint: All Wired Up heads field

, who set a track record for five furlongs on Dec. 1 at Evangeline, should be favored to win the $60,000 Sprint. Never worse than third while winning 5 of his 8 career starts, All Wired Up has hit peak form in his last three races, crushing competition similar to what he will face Saturday night in the Jan. 21 Louisiana Lagniappe Sprint at Louisiana Downs. Trained by Brandon Marks, who is having an excellent Evangeline meet, All Wired Up will break from post 8 but might still be fast enough to establish a clear early lead. His vulnerability, however, could be the Sprint's six-furlong distance, and if All Wired Up falters late, he could be caught by Meteor Impact or Zarb's Luck.