Evangeline Downs Racetrack, Casino & Hotel and Boyd Gaming Feb. 19 announced the creation of one of the richest turf sprint stakes in the United States: the $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint, which will be run June 21.
The Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint for 3-year-olds and up will be contested on the grass course at five furlongs. The Turf Sprint will anchor a special Saturday afternoon program of races that will be highlighted by five stakes and a $100,000 guaranteed Pick 4 wager.
In addition to the Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint, the card will include the $100,000 Opelousas Stakes on turf for fillies and mares and the $100,000 Evangeline Mile at one mile on the main track for 3-year-olds and up. Two Louisiana-bred sprints stakes on the main track—the $70,000 Lafayette for 3-year-olds and the $70,000 Acadiana for 3-year-old fillies—complete the $640,000 stakes day.
"We are very excited to inaugurate the Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint for our horsemen and fans here in Louisiana and around the country," said Chris Warren, director of racing operations at Evangeline Downs and sister track Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino. "Turf sprints have become extremely popular in recent years on a national scale, and we are extremely proud to bring one to the southern region of the U.S.
"We look forward to drawing horses from Louisiana and across the U.S. to run in the Turf Sprint and our strong supporting card of stakes."
The Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint is the second major stakes purse venture by Boyd Gaming, which purchased Evangeline Downs from Peninsula Gaming in 2012. Delta Downs, in Vinton, La., is home to the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. III) for 2-year-olds in late November.
"The Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint is another example of Boyd Gaming's continued commitment to high- quality Thoroughbred racing for horsemen and fans," said Steve Kuypers, vice president and general manager of Delta Downs. "We hope to capitalize on the success we've created with the Delta Downs Jackpot and bring it to Evangeline for an outstanding day of racing on June 21 and throughout the 2014 meeting."