Edited press release
Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino in Opelousas, La., will hold its first “Cajun Jockey Challenge” July 13.
The Cajun Jockey Challenge will feature 10 nationally known active riders as well as Evangeline Downs’ leading rider and the fans’ favorite based on voting, The Challenge will be based on four races--two sprints and two at a mile or longer-- with the winner decided by a graded point system based on the order of finish in each of the four races.
The event will also feature a brunch with proceeds going to the Race Track Chaplaincy of America and appearances by recently retired Hall of Fame jockeys Pat Day and Eddie Delahoussaye, as well as other notable riders including Randy Romero, Ronald Ardoin, Shane Sellers, and Ray Sibille. In addition, fans will have an opportunity to interact with the current and former riders during an autograph session to be held following the brunch.
Long known as the “birthplace of riders,” Evangeline Downs and the surrounding area has been home to and/or the starting point for dozens of jockeys who competed and succeeded at the highest levels of Thoroughbred racing. They include Delahoussaye, Kent Desormeaux, and Eric Guerin, as well as Shane Sellers, Robby Albarado, Calvin Borel, Mark Guidry, Ardoin, and Sibille.
“Interest in the Challenge has been overwhelming,” said Jason Boulet, racing secretary at Evangeline Downs and the driving force behind the event. “We have already received firm commitments from Calvin Borel and Robby Albarado, who captured the first two legs of this year’s Triple Crown, along with Mark Guidry, who recently recorded his 5,000th career victory; Corey Lanerie; and former Eclipse Award-winning apprentice Brian Hernandez Jr., with others to be named shortly.”
The Challenge will be held on the Friday evening program that gets under way at the customary first post of 6:20 p.m. Central time. Evangeline Downs races on a Wednesday-through-Saturday schedule.