March 4, 2024

Louisiana Champions Day set for Saturday

Last updated: 12/10/04 6:05 PM

SPRITELY WALKER (Skywalker) will seek a second straight victory
in the $150,000 Louisiana Champion’s Day Classic on Saturday. The Steve Asmussen charge will be coming off an eight-month layoff to defend his
title in the 1 1/8-mile race. A winner of seven of 15 lifetime starts and voted
top older Louisiana-bred a year ago, the four-year-old has been installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite.

To earn the trophy, the dark bay colt will have to get past WALK IN THE SNOW
(In a Walk), who won the 2002 edition of the Classic before sitting out last
year’s race; PRINCE SLEW (Far Out Wadleigh), who ran second last year; and an
assembly of stakes winners in the field.

Horses with riders and imposts from the rail out are WITT ANTE (Upping the
Ante), Tracy Herbert, 123; Spritely Walker, Donnie Meche, 123; NITRO CHIP (Finest
Hour), Lonnie Meche, 112; Walk in the Snow, Robby Albarado, 113, WHITE STAR
(Scottsville), John Jacinto, 113, METEOR IMPACT (Beleck), Elvis Perrodin, 113;
Prince Slew, Corey Lanerie, 113; SCREEN IDOL (Zarbyev), Gerard Melancon, 123.

The Classic will cap a day of racing festivities at Fair Grounds’ 14th
annual Louisiana Champions Day, a day of restricted races for state-breds that includes $1 million in purses for a
10-race card, including three Quarter Horse
contests. Other notable races include the $100,000 Louisiana
Champions Day Ladies S., $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile S., $100,000
Louisiana Champions Day Sprint S., $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie S.
and $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf S.

The Ladies should feature a terrific contest between DESTINY CALLS (With
Approval) and HAPPY TICKET (Anet), who are both undefeated in six starts this
year. Destiny Calls is perfect in four starts on the Fair Grounds surface while
Happy Ticket, who has a slight 4-5 advantage on the morning-line, has won her
last two starts around two turns by a combined 15 lengths.

Two sons of Zarbyev will battle for top honors in the Sprint. ZARB’S LUCK,
who has
won the past two editions, will be out to claim his third and a piece of
Champions Day history, hoping to tie Dixie Poker Ace as the only
Thoroughbred to win three times on Champions Day. It is ZARB’S DAHAR who has the
8-5 morning-line advantage, however. The four-year-old gelding has won his last
six races, including a win over Zarb’s Luck in the Cajun S. at Louisiana Downs
last out.

The Dallas Stewart-trained CRIMSON STAG (Glitterman) comes off a pair of nice
allowance races to lead the 11-horse field in the Juvenile. Later in the
day in the Juvenile Lassie, nine
misses will make their way to the track, and the one to beat appears to be THE BETER
MAN CAN (Lord Avie), who has won both of her career starts, including the Laurel
Lane S. at Louisiana Downs in her last attempt. MR. SULU (Rail) is coming off a
victory and has placed in each of the past three years in the Turf,
including a win in 2001, and heads a 12-horse field on the
Stall-Wilson course.