03/14/2011 12:37PM

Evangeline boosts purses for Evangeline Mile, Lafayette


A total of 25 stakes will make up the 2011 Evangeline Stakes schedule, which will be worth just less than $1.8 million.

The anchor of the stakes program at the Opelousas, La., track will once again be Louisiana Showcase Night, a 10-race program that features Louisiana-breds on July 2.

The season’s marquee event for the handicap division, the Evangeline Mile, will be run Aug. 13 and be worth $125,000, up from $100,000 in 2010. Also seeing a purse increase this year is the Lafayette Stakes. The traditional closing-day feature for 2-year-olds, the Lafayette Stakes has had its purse doubled to $100,000 and will be moved from six furlongs on dirt to a mile on the turf.

The 2011 Evangeline Downs season begins Wednesday, April 6, runs through Labor Day, Sept. 5.

134 listed for Franks sale

A total of 134 juveniles have been cataloged for Sunday’s John Franks Memorial 2-year-olds in training sale at Evangeline Downs. The sale, now in its ninth year, will get under way at 10 a.m. in the Evangeline Downs Event Center, located adjacent to the racing paddock. In addition, there will be a preview gallop show beginning at noon Saturday.

“Despite the current economy, we are cautiously optimistic about this year’s sale,” said Charlotte Stemmans Clavier, president of Stemmans Inc., the sale’s administrator. “While the majority of the youngsters are registered Louisiana-breds, there are several that were bred in Kentucky, Texas, and New York.”

Graduates of the sale will once again be eligible for a pair of stakes to be offered at Evangeline in the summer. The John Franks Memorial Sales Stakes for fillies will be July 29, with the colts and geldings slated for the next night. Each race will carry a $60,000 purse.