Stakes Purses Increased at Evangeline Downs

When Evangeline Downs opens its season April 1, purses for several stakes races will see noticeable increases, thanks to the positive impact of expanded gaming at the Carencro, La., oval. Most notable is the return to prominence of the Evangeline Mile, which received a $25,0000 increase to make the Aug. 14 race now worth $100,000.

Also reaping the benefits will be 2-year-old races. The D. S. "Shine" Young Memorial Futurity, one of the top races in the state for Louisiana-breds, is now guaranteed at $100,000 and will be contested July 3. The $75,000 estimated John Franks Memorial Sales Stakes will run July 31 and will feature 2-year-olds that pass through the sales ring at the track's second annual Evangeline Downs Two-Year-Old in Training Sale to be held March 14.

The John Franks Memorial replaces the Evangeline Downs Sales Stakes on the calendar and is named in honor of the recently deceased owner/breeder who made an indelible impact on racing in the state of Louisiana.

Also seeing an increase is the $75,000 Lafayette Stakes. The final stakes race on the calendar is typically run on Labor Day (Sept. 6) and is an open event. It has been increased $25,000 from its $50,000 level of 2003.

Older horses receive their due as well in the 2004 Calendar. The Inaugural Handicap (April 3), John Henry Handicap (May 1), Evangeline Downs Sprint Championship (June 19) and Matron Handicap (Sept. 4) all were increased from $35,000 to $50,000 events.

Two Louisiana-bred events that made their debuts during the 2003 season will return in 2004. The $40,000 B. B."Sixty" Rayburn Stakes (May 15) for 3-year-olds and the $40,000 Frank A. "Buddy" Abadie Memorial Stakes (June 5) for 3-year-old fillies were both raised from the $35,000 level. The Tellike Handicap (May 29) received a $5,000 boost and will be run for $40,000.

Evangeline Downs will open for live racing April 1 and race Thoroughbreds through Labor Day, Sept. 6. Racing will be held on a Thursday through Saturday format and also Mondays (except Mondays in August) with a 6:45 p.m. post.