For the first time in its 42-year history, Evangeline Downs will offer purses totaling more than $1 million dollars on a single racing program Saturday night with Legends Night III, a 13-race card featuring 11 stake races restricted to Louisiana bred horses.
Despite the newness of Legends Night, the event has proved popular on all fronts. Horsemen have supported it with increasing numbers -- this year’s card has drawn 128 program starters -- and last year’s handle of $2.182 million was the highest of the record-breaking 2006 spring/summer season.
The D. S. “Shine” Young Memorial Futurity for 2-year-olds will once again headline the 2007 edition of “Legends” Night with a slight twist. The “Shine” has been run each and every year that Evangeline Downs has been open, but this year marks the first time that there will be a filly division in addition to the colts & geldings event. Run as the 10th race on the program, the colts & geldings will run for a total purse of $131,125, while the fillies will battle it out for a purse of $129,625 as the ninth race of the evening. In addition to the “Shine” divisions, there are four races worth $100,000, two races with a purse of $75,000, and three starter races with a purse of $45,000.
In the “Shine”, trainer Steve Asmussen appears to hold a strong hand. He will send out multiple entrants in each division. In the colts & geldings division, Must Acquit, a son of Successful Appeal who broke his maiden impressively at Churchill Downs and was the fastest qualifier of the four trials with a clocking of :58.39 for the five furlongs is part of a potent three-horse entry that is owned by Heligbrodt Racing Stable.
Cubera and Jumpin For Jason, who also won their respective trials, add considerable strength to the entry that is listed at odds of even-money in the morning-line.
In the filly division, Iknowuthinkimsexy and Hisse make up another Heligbrodt Racing Stable entry that is the morning-line favorite. Iknowuthinkimsexy, a daughter of Count the Time who was the $135,000 sales topper at the John Franks Memorial Two-year-old in Training Sale in March, made her debut a winning one as she recorded a front-running 6 1/2-length victory in her trial in the time of :59.61. Donnie Meche, who rode both Must Acquit and Iknowuthinkimsexy in their trials, will ride.
Countess Noel, another daughter of Count the Time, was the fastest qualifier in the filly trials with a clocking of 59.40, has drawn the outside post in the eleven-horse field and is the second-choice in the morning line at 3-1 for veteran trainer Dale Angelle and owner Lon Baronne. Brian Hernandez has the mount.
The $100,000 Pola Benoit Memorial Stakes for older horses is the final stakes event on the program but is certainly one that people will stay around for. Costa Rising, last year’s 3-year-old champion male in Louisiana makes his first start in almost five months. Last seen winning the Premier Night Championship at Delta Downs in early February, the son of Royal Strand has been training sensationally for new conditioner Glenn Delahoussaye and will be a short price to record his 10th consecutive win versus state breds. Owned by Charles Castille Jr., Costa Rising will be ridden for the first time by Kerwin Clark.
Raspberry Wine, who has won her last four starts, all stakes races, looms as the one to beat in the $100,000 J. Archie Sebastien Memorial Stakes for older fillies and mares at the distance of 1 mile, 70 yards. Trained by Al Stall Jr., Raspberry Wine is a 5-year-old daughter of Change Takes Time who is owned by the Sport of Kings LLC. Kerwin Clark, who rode Raspberry Wine in two of the those four stakes wins this year, will be back in the saddle. Madison’s Music and Queezee Deezee, winners of stakes events in their last start, and the hard-knocking Carl’s Frosty Girl, are all solid performers and must be respected.
Winner of more than $465,000, and 13 of 26 starts lifetime, R. Davis and Associates' Indigo Girl is the one to catch in the $100,000 Pierre LeBlanc Memorial Stakes for sprinting fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs. Coming off a sensational victory in the Tellike Stakes at Evangeline Downs where she missed the six-furlong track record by 1/5th of a second, Indigo Girl squares off against 10 other sprint specialists including stakes winners Leesa Lee and Queezee Deezee (who is cross-entered in the J. Archie Sebastien) and the rock solid Ida Maria. While she is expected to be the favorite, Indigo Girl needs the lead to be effective and there are others who could make things difficult for her and regular rider Kerwin Clark.
One time $10,000 claimer Cort’s P. B., who found a new lease on life in 2006, looms as the one to beat in the $100,000 Junius Delahoussaye Memorial Stakes for sprinters at 5 1/2 furlongs. A winner of 10 of 15 starts since beginning 2006 in the claiming ranks, Cort’s P. B. has steadily moved up the class ladder. He has won four stakes races in his last seven starts, including the Thanksgiving Handicap against open company at the Fairgrounds. Trainer Partick Mouton claimed the 7-year-old gelded son of Huff for $40,000 on behalf of owner Maggi Moss last September. E. J. Perrodin, who rode Cort’s P. B. in three of those stakes wins, has the mount.
Fass Feat, a lightly raced gelded son of Placid Fund who is undefeated in races at six furlongs of less, and Majestic Commander, second to Cort’s P. B. is his first start off a 22-month layoff, make this an interesting heat.
$129,625 D. S. “Shine” Young Memorial Futurity (Filly) Division (Race 9, 9:40 p.m.), 5 Furlongs
1. Iknowuthinkimsexy, Donnie Meche, 8/5
1a. Hisse, Corey Lanerie, 8/5
2. Swifty Victress, Sylvester Carmouche Jr., 6/1
3. Ide Better Run, Ricky Faul, 20/1
4. Louisiana Jazz, Earl Bankston III, 10/1
5. Tibbytyme, Kerwin Clark, 10/1
6. Escrito’s Stage, Billy Patin, 15/1
7. Stackin Chips, Gerard Melancon, 15/1
8. Peachsfromthegitgo, Joe Patin Jr., 12/1
9. Biduadeau, Curt Bourque, 15/1
10. Countess Noel, Brian Hernandez, 3/1
$131,125 D. S. “Shine” Young Memorial Futurity Division (Colts & Geldings) (Race 10, 10:05 p.m.), 5 Furlongs
1. Must Acquit, Donnie Meche, Even
1a. Cubera, Gerard Melancon, Even
1x. Jumpin For Jason, Corey Lanerie, Even
2. Buster Hut, Joe Patin Jr., 12/1
3. Ide Like A Double, Kerwin Clark, 4/1
4. Freefromthebox, Curt Bourque, 15/1
5. Honour Thy Lover, Steve Bourque, 7/2
6. Big Erl, Willie Lozano Jr., 20/1
7. West Coast Time, C. J. Woodley, 10/1
8. Delta Angel, Brian Hernandez, 20/1