Zarb's Music Dances to Gentilly Victory

(from track report)
Racing for the first time on the grass, 16-1 shot Zarb's Music cashed in with a solid victory over the Stall-Wilson turf course in the $100,000 Gentilly Handicap Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Zarb's Music saved ground under Gerard Melancon but encountered a little traffic trouble in the final turn. Melancon switched out from the rail in time to catch Lighter Knot to prevail by a length.

"It was a great trip until the last turn," Melancon said. "I took my chances coming on the inside and he really turned it on for me, even after he got stopped a couple of times."

The gelded son of Zarbyev returned a hefty $35.20, $11.40, and $11.60. Lighter Knot was second, six lengths ahead of Lac Laronge in the field of eight Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds.

Multiple stakes winner Witt Ante, the 3-5 favorite, finished fourth in his turf debut.

"It was an experiment and it will probably be the last time you see him on the turf," Witt Ante trainer Larry Robideaux said. "I could tell going into the first turn when he was getting out he didn't like it."

Owned by LaFleur Russo Stable and trained by Samuel Soileau, Zarb's Music finished about a mile on a firm turf in 1:40.86. It was his third win in eight starts and pushed his career earnings to more than $110,000. The Gentilly was his first stakes triumph.

"I was very nervous," Soileau said. "I was nervous when he was inside, but I kept telling myself that Gerard knew the turf course. We have pointing for this race for six months. We tried to run him on the grass a few times, but they just haven't had any races (that filled)."

(Chart, Equibase)