06/30/2005 11:00PM

Stakes-caliber turf females eager to run


BOSSIER CITY, La. - With more than two months separating the Old South Handicap in early June and the Sangue Handicap in mid-August, turf fillies and mares have limited opportunities to run at Louisiana Downs during the middle part of the summer. It is no wonder, then, that an optional claiming race on turf for fillies and mares Sunday drew such a strong cast.

Due to Win Again, third in the Old South and winless since capturing the River Cities here last fall, is the class of Sunday's field.

Trainer Howard Scarberry hopes to get back on track with the 7-year-old Due to Win Again, who has 11 wins and more than $370,000 in career earnings. She has kept busy since the Old South, working three times, including a five-furlong drill last week. Guy Smith will ride.

Scarberry will also send out Took Out, perhaps as a hedge against the weather forecast, which calls for a good chance of rain through the weekend. Took Out, stakes-placed on dirt and a winner of 2 of her 4 starts over off tracks, will be making her first start of the year. Although winless on grass, the 6-year-old Took Out has a couple of second-place finishes over the surface so she could possibly pull her fair share of the load as part of the entry should the race remain on the turf. Luis Quinonez will ride.

Autobesarah, second in the Red Camelia Handicap at Fair Grounds in March, is coming in off another runner-up finish over the local turf course last time out. Trained by John Taylor, Autobesarah has won more than $325,000 in her 58-race career. Gerard Melancon will be back in the saddle.

Trainer Pat Mouton will give his brother-in-law, E.J. Perrodin, the mount on Intractabie. She just missed in two previous starts over the turf here.

Zarb's Dahar sharp in return

Zarb's Dahar, last seen here winning the Cajun Stakes last fall to cap a remarkable 6-for-6 record that helped earn him co-horse of the meet honors with the still undefeated Happy Ticket, made his long-awaited return in Thursday's allowance feature.

Picking up right where he left off, Zarb's Dahar broke sharply under Gerard Melancon and dueled up front before kicking clear to win with something left in a time of 1:09.80 for the six furlongs.

The Island Whirl Stakes at six furlongs on July 30 remains a possibility for his next start.