08/25/2005 12:00AM

Zarb's Dahar faces big test


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Zarb's Dahar, winner of his last seven races over the Louisiana Downs main track, puts that winning streak on the line in Saturday's Folklore Handicap. Seven of the region's top sprinters will line up in the 6 1/2-furlong headliner, which carries a $50,000 purse.

Highweight honors at 122 pounds in the Folklore belong to That Tat, one of three horses entered by leading trainer Cole Norman. Winner of the Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn Park in March, That Tat took much of the early part of the summer off before returning to action in the Island Whirl Handicap here on July 30. Bet down to 9-5 favoritism that day, That Tat had to settle for third behind fellow Norman trainee Grand Bank. He will face Grand Bank again on Saturday but should improve with the benefit of a recent start. Tracey Hebert will ride That Tat.

Zarb's Dahar was last seen finishing second in the Junius Delahoussaye Memorial Stakes at Evangeline Downs on July 30, Louisiana Legends Night. A 5-year-old Zarbyev gelding, Zarb's Dahar shared horse of the meeting honors last season after winning all six of his starts here. Trained by James Hodges, he spent the first half of this year on the sidelines before returning with a sharp score in allowance company on June 30. He has been assigned 118 pounds for the Folklore and will have regular rider Gerard Melancon in the saddle.

Also slated to carry 118 pounds on Saturday is Grand Bank, as well as the third Norman representative, Joe Six Pack. Grand Bank is a three-time winner this year, with the Island Whirl his first stakes victory. Leading rider John Jacinto once again has the call.

Joe Six Pack has been unlucky of late, having just missed in each of his last two starts. He bobbled at the start in the Ford Express Stakes at Lone Star in May but managed to finish second by a head to the multiple stakes winner Rodeo's Castle. Joe Six Pack missed by a nose against another quality opponent, The Niner Account, in a July 15 allowance at Lone Star, again after trouble at the start. Both efforts produced a Beyer Speed Figure of 105, and a repeat will make him tough to handle Saturday. Jamie Theriot will ride.

Britt's Jules, third in the Grade 2 Super Derby here last fall, will make his first start since fading badly in the Gulf Coast Breeders' Cup Classic at Delta Downs in April. A son of Jules trained by Eric Guillot, he has been training well. Guy Smith rides at 117 pounds.