08/15/2006 11:00PM

Statebred showcase draws 130


BOSSIER CITY, La. - The list read like a who's who of Louisiana racing when entries were drawn Wednesday afternoon for Saturday's Louisiana Downs Champions Day. A total of 130 horses were entered for the 13-race program, which is restricted to Louisiana-breds and comprises eight races for Thoroughbreds and five for Quarter Horses. All ages and divisions are represented, and each of the 13 races is worth $100,000.

There is a mix of the old and the new in the meet's showcase of the best horses Louisiana has to offer.

Zarb's Dahar will be back and seeking his third straight Cajun Stakes win. The reigning horse of the meeting, the 6-year-old Zarb's Dahar has been dominant in sprints here in recent seasons and has been beaten only once in his 12 starts here. He is trained by James Hodges.

Our Love will defend her win in the Matchmaker for fillies and mares on the turf. The Jeff Trosclair-trained Our Love looked sharp in winning a prep here in front-running fashion last month.

Last year's Shiskabob Stakes winner, Spruce's Prince, is back to defend his title in the grass race, while several other winners from 2005 are changing divisions.

Tortuga Flats, the winner of last year's Laurel Lane Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, returns to the main track in the Louisiana Breeders' Oaks after winning the Elge Raspberry on the turf in her most recent start. last year's Oaks winner, Miriam L, will run in this year's edition of the Matchmaker on the grass.

Last year's Stardust winner for 2-year-old colts and geldings, Here Tiger, will take on Zarb's Dahar in the Cajun, while 2005 Louisiana Breeders' Derby winner Badtotheboneandrew takes his game to the grass and meets Spruce's Prince in the Shiskabob.

One key new face is Costa Rising, a streaking 3-year-old trained by Joe Boxie. At this time last year he had only a maiden win under his belt, but he is riding a five-race winning streak, three of which have come in stakes. A son of Royal Strand, Costa Rising appears to be an odds-on proposition in the Breeders' Derby.

Another newcomer, Tortuga Straits, won three stakes as a juvenile. He appears to be the one to beat in the Stardust off a powerful four-length win here in early July and an even more impressive score in the colts and geldings division of the John Franks Memorial Stakes at Evangeline Downs two weeks ago.