Evangeline Hopes to Bolster Races for 2-Year-Olds

Evangeline Downs, which will hold the final meet at its current location in Lafayette, La., in 2004, has upped the ante for the D.S. "Shine" Young Memorial Futurity in an effort to bolster its program for 2-year-olds.

The purse for the "Shine" Futurity, to be held July 3 as part of the All-American 4th of July Family Festival, is now guaranteed at $100,000. Nominations close Feb. 13.

"We believe the 'Shine' is one of the premier race events for Louisiana-bred 2-year-olds in the state," David Yount, Evangeline director of racing and operations, said in a release. "Evangeline Downs is known nationwide for 2-year-old racing, and we believe the addition of purse money generated from slot machines at the new facility will help us and our horsemen renew excitement in our 2-year-old program.

"Our goal is to have our 2-year-old races, the 'Shine' Young, The Evangeline Downs Sales Stakes, and the Lafayette Stakes central focus dates for horsemen in terms of racing and developing their young horses."

The five-furlong 'Shine' previously had a purse of $35,000 added, but with sustaining payments by horsemen, the purse typically totaled $75,000 to $95,000. The race highlights the 87-day meet that begins April 1 and ends Labor Day.

Evangeline will offer a separate Quarter Horse meet Sept. 16-Oct. 31, and also a special day of Quarter Horse racing Aug. 22. The new Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino, located 10 miles north in Opelousas, will open for live racing in 2005. The slot-machine casino, which includes a simulcast facility, is already open.