09/17/2003 11:00PM

Tiva's Little Sis carries load in DeBartolo

Email

BOSSIER CITY, La. - Tiva's Little Sis has a lot riding on her these days. Not only must she carry her family's torch following this week's retirement of her half-brother Whitmore's Conn, she also must tote top weight of 120 pounds Saturday in the $75,000 Marie P. DeBartolo Oaks Handicap at Louisiana Downs.

The 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies is one of three stakes on the card, which is topped by the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby. Also on the card is the $50,000 Donnie Wilhite Memorial Handicap.

Tiva's Little Sis shares Whitmore's Conn's talent on turf. While he was a Grade 1 winner on grass in New York, Tiva's Little Sis has carved out a niche on grass in this region for her owner, Ro Parra.

In her last six turf starts, Tiva's Little Sis has finished first or second, and last month she rallied from well back to win the $50,000 Chapel Belle at Louisiana Downs. She comes into the DeBartolo on the heels of a second-place finish in the $50,000 Lyrique, a race in which she set the pace through slow fractions.

This time around, there should be faster fractions, and Tiva's Little Sis is likely to come from behind, her usual style. One possible pacesetter is Dyna Da Wyna, who was prominent throughout last time when she won a $100,000 claimer on turf at Saratoga.

Pat Day, who is a perfect 2 for 2 on the filly, has the mount for trainer Elliott Walden. Day is in town to ride Ten Most Wanted in the Super Derby.

Lonnie Meche will ride Tiva's Little Sis, who is trained by Steve Asmussen.

Other shippers in the 10-horse field include the Bob Holthus-trained Dress to Impress, who will add blinkers, and Kosade, who will be scratched, said her trainer, Michael Dickinson.

Familiar rematch in Wilhite

It's round four for arch-rivals Monsieur Boulanger and Gentlemen JJ in the $50,000 Wilhite Memorial, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds that drew a field of seven.

The two colts have faced each other on three occasions, and in their last meeting, Monsieur Boulanger was a 3 1/4-length winner over Gentlemen JJ in the $35,000 Jim Bowie at Retama Park on Aug. 23.

Before that race, Gentlemen

JJ and Monsieur Boulanger finished a respective third and fourth in the $50,000 Bossier City Handicap, with the first two finishers from that race, Crowned King and Zydeco Affair, set to run in the Super Derby.

In their other meeting, Gentlemen JJ won an allowance at Louisiana Downs over Monsieur Boulanger.

Big crowd likely Saturday

The Super Derby is the richest race of the meet at Louisiana Downs, and although the track is not keeping attendance records this year because admission is free, last year the ontrack crowd was 15,089. Handle on the program was $5.4 million.

This year will be the first Super Derby for Harrah's Entertainment, which purchased majority interest in Louisiana Downs in December and has since installed 905 slot machines. A permanent slots casino is being constructed alongside the grandstand, and when it is complete, a total of 1,500 slot machines will be operating. The target date is May 2004.

* The Super Derby will be broadcast on the Television Games Network and Horse Racing Television.