02/09/2004 1:00AM

Three heavy favorites score for Sellers on Premier Night


Jockey Shane Sellers dominated the $1 million Louisiana Premier Night at Delta Downs on Saturday by winning the $200,000 Championship with Spritely Walker, the $150,000 Distaff with Destiny Calls, and the $100,000 Sprint with Zarb's Luck.

The stakes were three of the richest on the Louisiana-bred program, which featured 10 races worth a cumulative $1 million. There were nine winning favorites on a card which generated $2.1 million in handle.

Spritely Walker ($3.60) was prominent from the start in the Championship, running the opening quarter of the 1 1/16-mile race in 24.02 seconds. He proceeded to duel through a half-mile in 48.55 seconds, spurted clear on the turn, then shook off a stretch bid from Mr. Archibald.

Spritely Walker, who won by 1 3/4 lengths over Mr. Archibald, covered the distance in 1:46.71. It was another length back in third to Prince Slew. With the win, Spritely Walker gave Sellers his third victory on Louisiana Premier Night.

"I got my start here in 1982," said Sellers, a native of Erath, La., who began working with horses at the age of 11. His first career win came at nearby Evangeline Downs in 1983.

Spritely Walker earned $120,000 for the win, which was his third straight victory following scores in an allowance race and the Louisiana Champions Day Championship, both at Fair Grounds. He is owned by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and trained by Steve Asmussen.

In the Sprint, Sellers moved Zarb's Luck ($4.80) up along the rail on the turn and angled him out in the stretch for a 4 1/4-length win in the five-furlong race. Believe Im Special finished second, a length clear of pacesetter Toby's Success.

Zarb's Luck took over in the stretch, covering the distance in 58.76 seconds. He earned $60,000 for the win, which was his third stakes victory in his last four starts. Overall, he has won 10 of 35 starts and $483,605. Zarb's Luck is co-owned by Scott Boudreaux and his trainer, Edward Johnston.

In the Distaff, Destiny Calls ($2.80) was off a little slow, but took the lead and set a pressured pace throughout for a neck win over Legs O'Neal. Sellers rode the winner for Vickie Krantz and trainer Gary Palmisano.

The final stakes on the card, the $100,000 Matron for fillies and mares, was won by Leslie's Love ($3.40), who led throughout five furlongs in 59.61 under Gerard Melancon. Troy Young trains Leslie's Love for Donald Foret.

David sweeps 3-year-old stakes

Trainer Sam David Jr. won the two stakes for 3-year-olds on the card when Placid Star captured the $125,000 Starlet for fillies, and Old Lee took the $125,000 Prince. Both races were run over seven furlongs, which is a two-turn race at Delta.

Placid Star ($4.60) remained undefeated in three starts when she split horses in the stretch and went on to a 3 1/2-length win over pacesetter Commanding Lady. Gerard Melancon rode the winner for David, who co-owns Placid Star with James McCurry.

Old Lee ($17.40) rallied through the stretch to catch Brandon's Marfa at the wire and win the Prince. Jockey E.J. Perrodin rode the winner for Frank Fletcher Racing Operations.

In the four starter races on the card, Auntie's Bag ($3.20) won the $50,000 Bon Temps; Master Jon ($3.20) won the $50,000 Gentleman; Spirit of Malagra ($5.60) won the $50,000 Ragin Cajun; and Witch Revival ($6) won the $50,000 Ladies.

An all-stakes pick four on races 5 through 8 paid $305.60 on the 1-4-1-1 combination of Placid Star, Old Lee, Destiny Calls, and Spritely Walker.