04/09/2003 12:00AM

Evangeline Downs track report


Lafayette, La. - Sheer numbers were the big story last Friday night when the meet began. A total of 110 horses competed on the 10-race program, which produced a good mix of winners: favorites, second- and third-betting choices, and a longshot or two. Bettors from around the country responded to the large fields by wagering over $1.75 million on the card.

Local horsemen seem eager to get back into action with the recent conclusion of the Fair Grounds and Delta Downs meets late last month. Evangeline will be the only track in Louisiana to host Thoroughbred racing until Louisiana Downs starts its meet June 27.

Rain for most of the day Saturday put a bit of a damper on the night's racing, but there were still some highlights. Zina Cause ($22) won for the third time in as many starts over a sloppy track when he pulled off an upset in the $35,000 Inaugural States. Breaking on top under jockey Guy Smith, Zina Cause smoked the opening half-mile in 43.97 seconds before holding off Lonely Concorde for the win.

"His first two races at Delta were on an off track," Smith said. "He seems to run well on it and he certainly had no problems tonight."