07/19/2005 11:00PM

Zarb's Luck headed in right direction


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Friday's allowance feature, for those who have not won a race "other than" since March, is loaded with stakes horses. The six-furlong headliner could produce a starter or two for the Island Whirl Stakes on July 20.

While back-class abounds, consistent recent form is a little difficult to come by in the race. The public is therefore likely to have a difficult time determining a favorite. That honor could fall to , who comes off an improved second-place performance.

Facing a returning Zarb's Dahar, last year's co-horse of the meeting and a winner of all six of his starts here in '04, Zarb's Luck dueled up front early but was not up to the task of matching strides with Zarb's Dahar down the lane. The runner-up performance was a better finish than his sixth-place performance off a layoff in the Kings Court Stakes in late May. Guy Smith rides Zarb's Luck for trainer Edward Johnston.

, directly behind Zarb's Luck in third when they met late last month, looks to turn the tables this time around. Trained by Pat Mouton, Walk This Way has tried a variety of distances and surfaces the last year or so, but his only win came when he sprinted over the main track here last fall. Don Simington will ride Walk This Way.

, one of the longer shots in the field, was beaten less than two lengths in an optional allowance test on July 2. He came closer to winning in that race than any of his Friday opponents did in their last start. That race was Record Assembly's first since a poor effort in the Premier Stakes at Lone Star in mid-April. A three-time winner locally, Record Assembly will have Jose Riquelme in the saddle. He is trained by Charles Hukill.

* Early-bird nominations to the Super Derby closed this past weekend, and the list reads like a who's who of the nation's 3-year-old class. A total of 47 were nominated for the meeting's marquee event, including Afleet Alex.

The purse for Super Derby XXVI has been raised to $750,000, and the distance has been returned to its original 1 1/4 miles, the same as the Breeders' Cup Classic. Six Super Derby starters have gone on to win the Classic.