09/12/2001 11:00PM

Super Derby Festival begins with River Cities BC


BOSSIER CITY, La. - A diverse cast of seven fillies and mares will contest the $150,000 River Cities Breeders' Cup on Saturday, the beginning of the Super Derby Festival of Racing XXII at Louisiana Downs.

The likely favorites in the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes are Nanie's Dinner, a two-time stakes winner this meeting on turf, and the Frank Brothers-trained Watch, a recent winner on the Arlington turf.

Nanie's Dinner enters off a hard-fought victory in the Sangue Handicap here Aug. 25. Much like she did in winning the Honeymoon Stakes earlier in the meeting, the Larry Robideaux charge went to the front under leading rider Kirk LeBlanc. She prevailed by three-quarters of a length, holding off the late charge of Due to Win, who has elected to bypass the River Cities. LeBlanc will once again be on board the highweight at 119 pounds.

Brothers returns to the track where he holds the single season record for victories, having won 99 races in 1987. Brothers also holds the local record for stakes wins with 128, a total he hopes to add to with Claiborne Farm's Watch. The 4-year-old daughter of Lord Avie has won two of her four starts this year with the latest coming in money allowance company at Arlington. Curt Bourque will ride at 117 pounds.