09/30/2013 4:23PM

Evangeline Downs begins lucrative Quarter Horse meet


Evangeline Downs will put on the richest Quarter Horse meet in Louisiana during the course of its 46-date season that opens Wednesday night. The meet held in Opelousas, La., continues through Dec. 19.

The centerpiece of the Evangeline season is the $1 million Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association Futurity on Nov. 16. Trials for the 400-yard race are Oct. 25. The LQHBA Futurity is a restricted Grade 1, with the field limited to horses bred in Louisiana. The race will be one of three stakes on the program. The richest card of the season also will include the $50,000 Evangeline Downs Derby and a $40,000 consolation for the LQHBA Futurity.

The other major stakes offering this meet is the Evangeline Downs Futurity on Dec. 14. Last year, the 400-yard race was worth $167,425. Trials are scheduled for Nov. 23. In all, there will be eight stakes this meet, starting Saturday with the $35,000 Opelousas for 3-year-olds and up at 400 yards. The first stakes of the season drew graded winners Martini Mountain and Intriguing Jess Blue.

Evangeline, which operates a slots casino, projects overnight purses will average $75,500 per night this meet. The track plans to race on a Wednesday-through-Saturday night schedule most weeks, with a nightly first post of 5:40 p.m. Central.

Among the trainers represented on Wednesday night’s nine-race card are Anthony Arey, Kevin Broussard, Vann Haywood, and Kenneth Roberts.