12/28/2005 12:00AM

Evangeline Downs track report


The guest list is short for Saturday's $100,000 Diamond Jo Stakes, but the race is shaping up to be quite a New Year's Eve party.

Premier Dance, a winner of five stakes in a row at four different tracks, heads the field of five 2-year-olds whose connections are hoping the Diamond Jo will launch them toward a successful campaign as 3-year-olds. Premier Dance's most recent victory came at the recently completed Zia Park meeting, where he won both the Eddy City and Governor stakes. Premier Dance is no stranger to Evangeline Downs, having won the Lafayette Stakes here in early September. Trained by Cody Autrey, Premier Dance won the Middleground Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park to begin his win streak and the Minstrel Stakes at Louisiana Downs.

Desert Wheat, a four-length winner of the Gentilly Stakes at the Fair Grounds meeting at Louisiana Downs recently, will be making his first start on dirt in the Diamond Jo since a solid second-place finish in the El Joven Juvenile at Retama Park on Sept. 3.

The venerable Midwest trainer Bob Holthus makes a rare local appearance as he sends out recent allowance winner Lawyer Ron in the Diamond Jo. Poppa Duke, stakes placed at Louisiana Downs late in the summer, and Lake Mac Mac, winner of the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes on Oct. 1 at Retama, complete the field.