Forest Lake, at 32-1 odds, and 7-1 shot Waha Wild recorded upsets in a pair of juvenile stakes at Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel the evening of Aug. 30, the closing night of the 2014 spring/summer Thoroughbred season in Opelousas, La.
Each event was contested at the distance of six furlongs on the main track that was labeled sloppy after persistent rainfall.
Owned by former NFL quarterback Jake Delhomme, filly Forest Lake ($66) kicked clear from her nine rivals after dueling for the lead in the early stages of the $100,000 Evangeline Downs Starlet (VIDEO), eventually hitting the finish line two lengths clear of runner-up Golden Barbara while covering the distance in a time of 1:12.54.
Ridden by Hector Santiago, and trained by Jake’s father, Jerry Delhomme, Forest Lake earned $45,000 for the win, the second in five career starts for the Louisiana-bred daughter of Forestry out of the Kris S. foal Oval.
Lady Emily Sage was third, followed by Theyplayingoursong and Miracles Yankee. Snarky Belle checked in sixth, with 11-10 favorite Joy of the Saints a disappointing seventh.
Two races later, Waha Wild, ridden by Coby Bourque, swept by the early leaders in the final 100 yards to score the Evangeline Downs Star (VIDEO) by three-quarters of a length over the 6-5 favorite Gotta Get Paid.
The Oklahoma-bred gelding by Offlee Wild covered the distance in 1:12.79 for his maiden victory. Trained by Harlan Boutte, the win was worth $45,000 for Waha Wild ($17.80) and his owner/breeder, country music star Toby Keith's Dream Walkin Farms.
Temple of Glass finished a close third, a length behind the winner, with Four Leaf Chief next.
Colby Hernandez and Karl Broberg topped the jockey and trainer’s standings at the 84-night stand, leading their respective standings in total wins and purse money earned.
In winning his second riding title at Evangeline, Hernandez hit at a rate of 23% while visiting the winner’s circle 120 times from 530 mounts and amassing more than $1.81 million in purse earnings.
Veteran Joe Patin Jr. was second behind Hernandez with 95 victories and purse earnings of $1.61 million. Diego Saenz, the leading rider the past three seasons, was atop the leader board when he suffered a knee injury in July. He ended up in the third spot with totals of 72 wins and $1.53 million in purse earnings from only 300 mounts.
The trainer’s race was no race at all as Broberg and his stable scored at a 29% clip and easily notched his fourth consecutive training title at Evangeline. The 43-year-old Arlington, Tex. resident recorded 66 wins, including the meet’s biggest race, the $300,000 EVD Turf Sprint with Heitai, en route to purse earnings of more than $1.2 million.
Keith Bourqeois, a multiple leading trainer locally, had 51 wins and $723,000 in purses earned to finish second.
Heitai, the Frank and Barbara Rowell homebred son of Fusaichi Pegasus , won all three of his starts in being named horse of the meet.