09/29/2009 12:00AM

Evangeline begins Quarter Horse meet

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Evangeline Downs begins its 2009 Quarter Horse season Thursday evening with an all-trials program for 2-year-olds attempting to qualify for the $150,000-added Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association Futurity. The final for the restricted Grade 1 LQHBA Futurity is slated for Oct. 17 and is one of 13 stakes to be run during the 40-day stand that runs through Dec. 6 on a Thursday-through-Sunday schedule.

In addition to the lucrative stakes program, the nightly purse distribution will start at approximately $75,000.

Janet Van Bebber, who dethroned multiple leading trainer Kenny Roberts last year by one victory, 26 to 25, is back to defend her title with a full contingent, as is Roberts. Ray Robbins and Danny Eldridge, who finished in a tie for third in last year's trainer standings, also are also back. Newcomers this season include Andreena Flores and Charlton Hunt, who are both from Prairie Meadows.

Alfonso Lujan, last year's leading rider who visited the winner's circle 39 times during the 40-night season en route to purse earnings of more than $533,000, is set to defend his title.