11/01/2006 12:00AM

Two stakes each lure a star


There will be some star power in the house Friday night at Delta Downs. Grade 1 winner Meadow Breeze is set to make an appearance in the $100,000 My Trusty Cat, and the undefeated Tortuga Straits will vie for favoritism with Go Poppa Fooze in the $150,000 Jean Lafitte.

The races are two of four stakes on the program, which is called Jackpot Preview Night. The Jean Lafitte and My Trusty Cat, each for 2-year-olds, are expected to produce starters for Delta's richest races, the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot and the $300,000 Delta Princess. Both races will be run Dec. 1.

Meadow Breeze, winner of the Grade 1 Matron at Belmont Park in September, arrived at Delta last week to prepare for the My Trusty Cat, a seven-furlong race that will be run around two turns. She is no stranger to Louisiana, as she won her maiden at Evangeline Downs in June. In addition, Carl Deville, who trains Meadow Breeze, has a large division of horses this meet at Delta. He also keeps a string in New York.

Meadow Breeze last raced at Belmont, and finished an uncharacteristic ninth in the Grade 1 Frizette on Oct. 14. During the race her airways shut down, and she has since had corrective throat surgery, according to Deville.

"She displaced in the last race," he said. "We went ahead and did a myectomy on her. It was a simple procedure, and she came out of it good. We worked her over the track [at Delta], and she handled the track, worked good over it. We'll see how she runs now."

Meadow Breeze is one of four stakes winners in the six-horse My Trusty Cat, which is named for the first winner of the Delta Princess. The other stakes winners in the field are Gal Wonder, who invades from Calder Race Course; Stage Stop; and Miss Atlantic City.

Meadow Breeze will break from post 5 under Steve Bourque.

"She has tactical speed," said Deville. "She's a big filly, but she has tactical speed where she can get where she wants to be."

Meadow Breeze, a daughter of Meadowlake, races for Willow Rock Stable.

Perfection on line for Tortuga Straits

Tortuga Straits has been a dominant 2-year-old in Louisiana this year. In three starts, he has won his maiden and the $100,000 John Franks Memorial Sales Futurity against statebreds, then conquered open company in the $100,000 Lafayette at Evangeline in his last start Sept. 4.

"He's shown versatility in what he's accomplished," said Ralph Irwin, who trains Tortuga Straits for Karla Balensiefen. "He's gone to the front, and he's come from off the pace. He got in trouble his first start, had a horrible trip his first start, and overcame that. He's willing to try and give us what he's got."

The newest challenge will be two turns, and Tortuga Straits has indicated in his training and races that he might like the added ground.

"We just kind of feel like this may be his niche," said Irwin.

Tortuga Straits will break from post 4 under Luis Quinonez, who rode four winners Tuesday night at Remington Park. Others in the seven-horse field include Go Poppa Fooze, who won his maiden and the $48,000 Minstrel in his last two starts, both at Louisiana Downs. Jamie Theriot has the mount for trainer Cole Norman.

* High Strike Zone's last win came around two turns, and he moves back to that type of race for the $50,000 Marshland at seven furlongs. He won the $75,000 Ark-La-Tex at 1 1/16 miles at Louisiana Downs on July 22, and most recently was second in the $40,000 Straus at six furlongs at Retama. His chief rivals include stakes winners Stockholder and Watchem Smokey.

* Comalagold moves back to dirt for the $50,000 Golden Triangle, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares, following a second-place finish in the $53,000 Majorette Handicap at Louisiana Downs.