07/11/2013 4:07PM

Evangeline: Brethren seeks rebound in Oaks Hall


Saturday night’s Oak Hall Stakes at Evangeline Downs should prove to be an interesting middle ground as the seven-furlong distance has brought together an equal number of proven route performers and shorter sprint specialists. The $50,000 Oak Hall drew a field of nine and goes as the ninth of 10 races.

Brethren continues to try to find his niche this year for trainer Steven Asmussen. The 5-year-old Brethren has had a varied campaign in 2013, including minor placings in the Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds and the Grade 3 Razorback at Oaklawn Park, each time going two turns. In the Razorback, Brethren finished an even fourth to eventual Oaklawn Handicap winner Cyber Secret.

In his most recent start, Brethren moved to the grass and was unplaced in an open allowance going 7 1/2 furlongs at Indiana Downs in late May. He has been training forwardly both at Churchill Downs and the synthetic surface at Keeneland between starts.

Smoke It Right appears to be in the best form of the shorter sprint types in the Oak Hall as he set a blistering pace in a six-furlong optional claimer last month before having to settle for second behind Easy Jazz. That rival came right back to win another race 10 days later and last Saturday night finished a solid second in the Louisiana Legends Sprint.