04/07/2004 12:00AM

Evangeline Downs track report


CARENCRO, La. - A surprisingly quick racing surface at Evangeline Downs helped produce fast times in the opening week of the meet.

Kreems View equaled the track record of 1:31.40 for 7 1/2 furlongs on Friday night. A 5-year-old mare who is owned and trained by Doris Hebert, Kreems View was racing for a $12,500 claiming price and was ridden by Steve Bourque.

While Smalltown Slew did not set a six-furlong mark in the Inaugural Handicap Saturday night, he did run a very big race. Breaking last and spotting his rivals a length or two, Smalltown Slew moved into contention in a first-quarter split of 21.80 seconds and was challenging the favored highweight, Britt's Jules, after a half in 44.14. Smalltown Slew kicked clear in the late going win in a sparkling time of 1:10.60.

Front-runners had the upper hand as usual during opening week with very few closers making it to the winner's circle.

Brian Hernandez, Jr. a top-five rider here last year, got off to a quick start in the first week. He rode 10 winners the first four days and took a commanding lead in the jockey standings.