07/04/2012 1:52PM

Evangeline Downs: Shine Futuritity trials on tap


OPELOUSAS, La. - Qualifying trials for the two divisions of this year's D.S. "Shine" Young Futurity are set for Friday and Saturday nights at Evangeline Downs. The finals, estimated at more than $120,000 each, will be run on July 28.

The Shine futurities for Louisiana-bred 2-year-olds have been part of Louisiana Legends Night in recent seasons but were moved to a date four weeks later this year. The move was to accommodate recent trends by Louisiana horsemen in preparing their 2-year-old crop, according to Evangeline's racing secretary, Coleman Lloyd.

"We backed it up a few weeks to give our horsemen some additional time," Lloyd said earlier this season. "It just seems in recent years that everyone is just starting later and later in getting their babies ready."

While the new date did not produce any more in the way of numbers for the Shine - both the filly and the colt and gelding divisions will have three trials each, the same as in recent years - there does seem to be some greater depth. Included in this year's group of potential qualifiers are Desert Ransom, winner of the Minstrel Stakes against open company at Louisiana Downs in his last start, and Fleet Dawn, second in the Princess Stakes against opens in her most recent start. The trials will be the first, third, and fifth races each night, with the fillies qualifying on Friday and the colts and geldings slated for Saturday. The first four finishers out of each heat will move on to the finals.

The first filly qualifier on Friday appears to be a shootout between I Dare U Em, a solid second in her debut in May, and Devil Is Bad, who will be seeking to make amends for a third-place finish as the odds-on choice in her only out. Trainer Brett Brinkman has given the call on I Dare U Em to Gerard Melancon, while Jorge Lara will give Jose Riquelme a leg up on Devil Is Bad.

Brinkman and Melancon will also team up in Friday's second trial with Twin Skies. A Lone Star Sky filly, she was a convincing winner at first asking, breaking sharply and drawing out to win by almost four lengths. She will square off against Fleet Dawn, who also proved victorious in her debut before moving to the turf for her runner-up performance in the Princess.

Friday's third and final trial will bring together Miss Hymn, Impulsive Bet, and Private Rebel. Each won her only start.

It is the boys' turn on Saturday, and in the opener, Proust will attempt to improve his record to a perfect 2 for 2 after narrowly breaking his maiden early last month. An E Dubai gelding, he takes on Klozer and Whispering Charm, each a second-place finisher in his only start.

Brinkman will saddle first-time starter Sparkling Brother in the evening's second trial. A son of Keats, Sparkling Brother has been training well and is a full brother to the stakes-placed Sparkling Keat.

Desert Ransom will face the sternest test on Saturday as he takes on runaway maiden winners Fish Frank and Speedy Caz Steel. Desert Ransom may be the up the task, however, as he earned a gaudy 86 Beyer Speed Figure in his maiden score before his win in the Minstrel.