02/02/2005 12:00AM

Witt Ante shoots for $200K


Witt Ante has won some of the biggest stakes offered for Louisiana-breds in the last three months, and on Saturday night he can pick up his division's richest purse in the $200,000 Premier Night Championship at Delta Downs. Wednesday, Witte Ante drew post 2 in the 1 1/16-mile race, one gate inside of defending champ Spritely Walker.

The Championship is the richest of 10 stakes for Louisiana-breds on the Premier Night card, which will offer total purses of $1 million. The program is the second of two seven-figure nights of racing at Delta, which put on the $1 million Delta Jackpot in December.

"Overall, entries went better than last year," said Chris Warren, director of racing for Delta. "We are very pleased with the card."

Special post for Premier Night on Saturday is 5 p.m. Central. There is a $25,000 guaranteed pick four on races 5 through 8, which are the $125,000 Prince, led by Crimson Stag; the $100,000 Sprint, led by defending champ Zarb's Luck and Believe Im Special; the $125,000 Starlet, which drew the promising Equestrian Girls and Sweet Macaroni; and the Championship.

has not raced since Dec. 11, when he wired the field in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds. He broke from the rail that day and won by 2 1/2 lengths over Screen Idol and Spritely Walker. One start before Champions Day, Witt Ante won the $100,000 Gold Cup for statebreds at Delta Downs on Nov. 13.

Tracy Hebert, who was aboard for both of the stakes wins, has the mount for owner David Beard and trainer Larry Robideaux Jr.

could be sitting on a peak race third start back following a layoff, and figures to benefit from the added distance he picks up in the Championship after finishing third over seven furlongs last out in the $50,000 Cypress, the local prep for the Championship.

, who won the Cypress, is also a leading contender. Others of note in the Championship include Walk in the Snow, who will be ridden by Robby Albarado.

The $150,000 Premier Night Distaff for fillies and mares is led by defending champ Destiny Calls.

* There is an ontrack handicapping contest Saturday night that will award $10,000 in cash and prizes to patrons who end up with the highest cumulative totals based on mythical $2 win bets on the 10 races that make up Premier Night.

* Handle on the Premier Night card last year was $2.1 million.