Spritely Walker heads a cast of seven in the $200,000 Louisiana Premier Night Championship, the featured event in a series of 10 races worth $1 million for state breds at Delta Downs Saturday night.
Purchased privately by Bill Heiligbrodt a year ago, Spritely Walker has won his last two races, including an open allowance field, and has five wins and three runner-up performances in 12 starts. But he has run poorly in his only two starts at Delta Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen, who thinks the 4-year-old son of Skywalker prefers a longer stretch run.
Spritely Walker won the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds in the slop as the even-money favorite on Dec. 13.
Prince Slew was second in that race, losing by three-quarters of a length, followed by Mr. Archibald, who was another four lengths behind. Both return Saturday.
Mr. Archibald, who was expected to provide the biggest challenge to Spritely Walker, didn't show his usual burst of speed that day. He prepped for Saturday's race on the grass Jan. 10 at Fair Grounds, finishing second.
Prince Slew is proven over the course after winning the $50,000 Cypress at Delta Downs by nearly nine lengths on Jan. 2.
In the $100,000 Louisiana Premier Night Sprint
, fast-improving Toby's Success will make his stakes debut against a field that includes accomplished stakes sprinter Zarb's Luck.
Toby's Success produced a 5 1/2-furlong track record of 1:03 1/5 at Fair Grounds two weeks ago in just his third career start. Zarb's Luck, who will be ridden by Shane Sellers, won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint for the second straight year at Fair Grounds in December. He returns to sprinting after he ran second in the Cypress in his last start.
Destiny Calls heads the field in the $150,000 Louisiana Premier Night Distaff
, taking on Prized Amberpro. Seven were entered for the one-mile test for fillies and mares 3 and up. Destiny Calls defeated Prized Amberpro by 3 3/4 lengths in a recent state bred allowance at Fair Grounds. But Prized Amberpro, a 7-year-old who has won more than $500,000 in her career, has been in the money in nine of 10 starts at Delta Downs.
In a pair of 3-year-old races Saturday, Placid Star, undefeated in two starts, tackles Rose of Sophia in the $125,000 Louisiana Premier Night Starlet
, and Walk This Way and Arcus head the field in the $125,000 Louisiana Premier Night Prince
Jake Delhomme, the Carolina Panthers Super Bowl quarterback, has his recent claim Ruthy Red entered in the first of three $50,000 starter allowance stakes on the card.