05/30/2012 4:06PM

Evangeline Downs: Devereux has solid pair for Acadiana

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OPELOUSAS, La. – Trainer Pat Devereux doesn’t hold all the cards in Friday night’s $50,000 Acadiana Stakes at Evangeline Downs, but he has a strong hand nonetheless as he sends out Little Miss Protocol and Coteau Kitten in the seven-furlong headliner. Devereux’s pair of stakes winners, who will be coupled as an entry as each is owned by Coteau Grove Farms, will take on eight other 3-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies in this year’s strong renewal of the Acadiana.

“Both fillies are ready for a race,” said Devereux earlier this week. “Our only concern is that seven-eighths may not be enough distance for one and maybe too much for the other.“

The filly that falls into the not enough category is Little Miss Protocol. A daughter of El Corredor, she won both the Louisiana Jewel and Premier Starlet Stakes while going two turns around the Delta Downs bullring this past winter. She rallied strongly from well back off the pace in each. In her most recent start, Little Miss Protocol reported home second in the Crescent City Oaks at a mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds in late March, once again coming from well off the pace.

Coteau Kitten, on the other hand, won her first three starts of her career in front-running fashion last summer. All three of those victories came at five furlongs or less. In her only start this year, Coteau Kitten finished a useful fourth against open company in the six-furlong Hallowed Dreams stakes here on April 21.

“We were pleased with her effort,” said Devereux. “Another filly beat her to the lead that night which made it tough on her but she hung in there.”

Devereux believes Coteau Kitten to be the controling speed in the Acadiana, but like any good poker player, he stopped short of revealing strategy.

“Let’s just say they won’t be getting in each other’s way,” he stated in reference to a possible “rabbit”-closer scenario. Devereux has named Diego Saenz on both halves of the entry.

Other notables in Friday’s feature include She’s Prado’s Idol, who bested Little Miss Protocol in the Crescent City Oaks and most recently accounted for a 7 1/2-furlong optional allowance over the local turf; Bleu Darling, winner of the Hallowed Dreams; and Izzie’s Gold, third in the Hallowed Dreams and winner of the Louisiana Champions Day Lassie Stakes at Fair Grounds last December.