There were few surprises on Independence Day at Evangeline Downs as favorites won seven of the eight stakes on the Louisiana Legends Night card highlighted by Stormdriver's victory in the featured $125,000 Louisiana Legends Classic (VIDEO). The card consisted of 12 races, all for Louisiana-breds.
Racing over a wet-fast track, Stormdriver sat toward the back of the field through the early stages, as Udoknowjack set solid fractions of :24.23 for the quarter and :48.81 for the half. Once the field made the far turn, jockey Diego Saenz sent Stormdriver through traffic and the 5-year-old horse came through and continued on for a 2 1/2 length victory over Heavy On Themister in a final time of 1:44.24 for 1 1/16 miles.
The 3-10 favorite owned by Fruition Racing LLC and trained by Patrick Devereux Jr., Stormdriver paid $2.60 to win as the son of Discreet Cat won his seventh race in 26 starts and improved his earnings to $287,777. The Legends Classic victory was the third stakes win for Stormdriver, who has placed in six stakes and earlier this year took the John Henry Stakes at Evangeline. He was bred by Tigertail Ranch.
Saenz also scored a front-running victory with Heitai in the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Sprint (VIDEO) as the 5-year-old gelded son of Fusaichi Pegasus defeated Strong And Tough by a half-length while completing the 5 1/2 furlongs in a quick 1:03.12. Heitai was taken to the lead out of the gate and set torrid fractions of 21.97 for the first quarter and 44.64 for the half-mile. Strong And Tough, ridden by Colby Hernandez, mounted a challenge but could get no closer than the final margin as Heitai won the Sprint for the second straight year.
The 3-5 favorite, Hetai paid $3.20 to win as he increased his career bankroll to $981,043 for owner-breeder Rowell Enterprises and trainer Tom Amoss.
String King, another 3-10 favorite, scored by a length in the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Turf (VIDEO), run over the main track after heavy rains Saturday forced racing off the turf. String King had to wear down longshot leader, Drewssasin, who led most of the way at odds of 26-1. The 7-year-old gelded son of Crowned King also had to withstand challenges from Galveston Harbor and Old Pal of Mine in the stretch before prevailing in a final time of 1:38.62 for 1 1/16 miles.
Owned and trained by Charles Craig Smith String King was ridden to victory by Richard Eramia and paid $2.60.
Other stakes winners on the Louisiana Legends program were Heatseeker Sharon, who went to the front right away and led all the way around the racetrack to win the $100,000 Distaff (VIDEO); Over A Barrel, who was up in time to prevail in a photo in the $50,000 Starter (VIDEO); Pacific Pink, who came rolling from off the pace to draw away to a 4 3/4 length victory in the $100,000 Soiree (VIDEO); Snappy Girl, an impressive gate-to-wire winner in the $100,000 Mademoiselle (VIDEO); and Mobile Bay, who took the lead on the far turn and held off the closers to take the $100,000 Cheval (VIDEO) .