07/27/2005 11:00PM

Statebreds battle on Louisiana Legends card


OPELOUSAS, La. - It's all about Louisiana-breds here Saturday night in the inaugural Louisiana Legends Night. A pair of maiden special weight races bookend eight stakes for horses bred in the Bayou State, with first post at 6:45 p.m.

One highlight of the busy night figures to be the sixth race, the Junius Delahoussaye Memorial Sprint Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong dash that appears to be a shootout between Zarb's Dahar and West Coast invader Majestic Commander.

Zarb's Dahar, the co-horse of the meeting at Louisiana Downs last year off the strength of six wins, will be making his local debut in Saturday's race. A gelded 5-year-old, Zarb's Dahar made a successful comeback at Louisiana Downs on June 30 under allowance conditions, in his first start of the year, easily defeating five rivals. Included in his 2004 resume is a victory in the Cajun Stakes, for which he earned a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure.

After earning a 95 Beyer Figure in his next race, the James Hodges-trained Zarb's Dahar appears ready for another peak effort. Gerard Melancon will again ride Zarb's Dahar.

Majestic Commander, from the barn of trainer Cole Norman, also will be making his first local start. Trained by Bob Baffert in California for the first 14 races of his career, Majestic Commander returned to Louisiana and made his first start for Norman on June 26, making short work of optional allowance foes in a 3 1/2-length score at 2-5. He also has earned a 100 Beyer Figure, in November at Hollywood Park, and his anticipated duel Saturday with Zarb's Dahar looks interesting. Guy Smith will ride.

In Where Is My Daddy, Norman also appears to have a major player in the Pierre LeBlanc Memorial Stakes for female sprinters, the seventh race. She comes in off a strong win in the Hallowed Dreams at Louisiana Downs on July 17, and she also won the Mademoiselle and the Louisiana Premier Matron at Delta Downs earlier this year. Carlos Gonzalez gets the return call.

The connections of J. D.'s Blue Bayou nominated him to both the Sprint and the one-mile B.B. "Sixty" Rayburn Stakes, but decided to keep him in his own age group and run in the Rayburn. J. D.'s Blue Bayou has won three stakes this year, all at six furlongs, including the Inaugural Handicap at Evangeline in April.

The richest race of the night is the $100,000 D.S. "Shine" Young Futurity, the ninth race on the program. The top four finishers in three trial races on July 9 moved on to the finals, and even though Carson Bay was disqualified from first and placed second in his trial heat, he could be a slight favorite. Carson Bay won at first asking at Louisiana Downs earlier in the summer. Leading rider C.J. Woodley again will be up for trainer Troy Young.

Other stakes on the card include:

* The Mervin Muniz Memorial, a starter handicap that starts the stakes action in race 2 on the card.

* The Frank A. "Buddy" Abadie Memorial for 3-year-old fillies, featuring a rematch of Raspberry Win and Zarba the Great, one-two finishers in the Lorelei on July 9.

* The James "Archie" Sebastien for fillies and mares, in which Autobesarah is the one to beat.

* The Pola Benoit for older stakes performers, headed by Walk This Way.