Star Guitar accelerated in deep stretch for a repeat victory in Evangeline Downs’ signature race, the $100,000 Evangeline Mile, on the night of Aug. 14 at the Opelousas, La. racetrack and casino.
The 3-5 favorite following a decisive stakes win against Louisiana-bred horses in the Louisiana Showcase Classic in his last start, the 5-year-old Quiet American horse rallied in the stretch under an aggressive ride from new rider Jesse Campbell, who took over from the recently retired Curt Bourque. Star Guitar recorded his 14th career victory from 19 starts.
Star Guitar, carrying top weight of 123 pounds, was reserved off the early pace set by Ashe's Cat and Chief Jay while racing in the clear outside of horses. He continued to race in the three path when the field started to bunch up on the final turn, then responded to repeated left handed urging from Campbell to record the popular victory.
“I talked to both Mr. Al (trainer Al Stall Jr.) and Curt (his former rider) and they both told me that he is a very talented horse but a bit on the lazy side and don’t be afraid to get into him as he is a real fighter," Campbell said. "In the early stages we were right where I wanted to be (in fourth position).
"He is the type of horse that gives you a lot of confidence and although it took awhile for him to rise to the occasion and I had to thump him pretty good, once he kicked in gear in the final furlong I knew we were going to get the job done and we did”.
Ide Like a Double, the 2008 Evangeline Mile winner and current track record holder, rallied wide on the final turn to finish second, just one length behind the winner and a neck in front of Chief Jay who ran well in his first attempt around two turns. King Dan was next, followed by Deputiformer in fifth, followed by Uno Mas, Grey Papillon, Ashe’s Cat, and Headstart in the field of nine.
Star Guitar, last year’s Louisiana-bred Horse of the Year, earned $60,000 for his owner/breeder Brittlyn Stable. Out of the Malagra mare Minit Towinit, he has now earned more than $970,000.
The final running time was 1:37.25 after early fractions of 23.95, 47.70, and 1:12.02 on a track labeled fast.