Evangeline Downs Unveils 2014 Stakes Lineup

The new $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint among 23 stakes at the Louisiana track.

The $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint, a newly-created event for 3-year-olds and up at a distance of five furlongs to be run June 21, is the centerpiece of the 2014 Evangeline Downs stakes schedule released Feb. 26.

This year's stakes slate for has been revamped and beefed up to feature 23 races worth a total of $2.15 million for the Thoroughbred meeting beginning April 9.

The Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint features the largest purse ever offered for a Thoroughbred race at the Opelousas, La., track. It highlights a rare daytime program that is bolstered by three open stakes and a total of five stakes races on the card. Special post time for the June 21 program will be 2:15 p.m. CDT, with normal post remaining at 5:40 p.m. for the season.

Some of the major changes to this year's stakes schedule include moving the Louisiana Legends Night for the best Louisiana-bred horses in training in eight stakes races worth $750,000 dollars, from the first weekend in July to its new position May 24. Also, the D. S. "Shine" Young Memorial, a futurity for Louisiana-bred 2-year-olds held every year at Evangeline Downs, has been moved to July 5. Featuring two divisions, one for fillies, and one for colts and geldings, the "Shine" offers a $100,000 purse for each division. Trials for the "Shine" have been discontinued.

"We are very excited about our upcoming Thoroughbred stakes schedule, headlined by the inaugural Turf Sprint, which should draw top grass sprinters from around North America as a showcase event for Evangeline Downs," said Chris Warren, director of racing operations for Delta Downs and Evangeline Downs. "We are also confident that restructuring of our stakes schedule, including the new date for Louisiana Legends Night, will also be a benefit to our horsemen and fans throughout the entire meeting."

The Turf Sprint is joined by the $100,000 Evangeline Mile for 3-year-olds and up on the main track, and the $100,000 Opelousas Stakes for fillies and mares 3 and up on the turf at 1 1/16 miles.

Thoroughbred racing will return to Evangeline Downs for the 49th consecutive season with an 84-night season April 9 through Aug. 30. As in past seasons, racing will be conducted on a four-evening-a-week schedule, Wednesday-Saturday, with a first post of 5:40 p.m. CDT other than June 21.