09/24/2008 11:00PM

Turf feature draws a crowd


What a difference a week makes.

Last Saturday's Super Derby program at Louisiana Downs had a total of six stakes events with purses approaching $1.5 million. Fast forward to this Saturday and the spoils are considerably less. Just one of the 11 races on the card, a starter allowance for those who have run for a $7,500 claiming tag or less the last two years, does not have a claiming price or maiden condition attached.

While Saturday's pseudo feature may be lacking a bit in the prestige department, it is certainly not deficient in number of competitors. Fourteen horses are entered in the one-mile turf race, but with the rail out 10 feet, a maximum of 11 can start.

Zenato will be shooting for his sixth win of the year and comes into the race off back-to-back victories. Trained by Wes Hawley, Zenato won an optional claimer on the grass in late August and most recently captured a starter allowance on the main track. Leading rider Don Simington has the mount.

Jasons Jaxon posted a career-best Beyer Speed Figure (73) in his most recent race, a starter event at 1 1/16 miles on the grass locally on Aug. 30. Trained by Ray Shumake, Jasons Jaxon rallied from well back in that race. The pace appears honest enough on Saturday for another late run. Leading apprentice Dustin Dugas will be in the saddle.

Longshot players may want to give Elluna a second look, as the recent claim returns to the grass for the first time since mid-July. Claimed by trainer Pam Simpson for $5,000 on Aug. 21, Elluna will be ridden by last year's leading rider at Louisiana Downs, John Jacinto.