08/31/2002 12:00AM

Evangeline Downs track report


LAFAYETTE, La. - This year's season will end in style Monday night as a dozen 2-year-olds line up in the Lafayette Stakes.

The six-furlong Lafayette, the final leg of the Evangeline Triple Crown for Juveniles, is worth a guaranteed $50,000 and will be the 10th event of the 12-race holiday card that starts at 6:45 p.m.

Heading the group of is Comic Truth, winner of the Pioneer Stakes at Louisiana Downs in his last start. A son of Proudest Roman trained by Cole Norman, Comic Truth stormed from off the pace that day and drew off late in a time of 1:11.60 over a fast but dull strip. Jamie Theriot will handle the riding chores on the highweight at 122 pounds.

Mighty Merlin, the heavy 2-5 favorite in the Pioneer off the strength of an impressive 11-length maiden score, also makes the journey south from Louisiana Downs and will try to make up for his Pioneer showing. Caught up in a torrid speed duel in his first stakes try, Mighty Merlin faded in the stretch to finish sixth. His stock for the Lafayette went up on Thursday when the colt he battled on the front end in the Pioneer, Father Martin, made short work of allowance foes at Louisiana Downs. Trainer Keith Bourgeois will give former Evangeline Downs riding champ Gerard Melancon a leg up.