08/10/2004 11:00PM

Evangeline Downs track report


CARENCRO, La. - Apprentice rider Cherell Smith, believed to be the first African-American woman ever to ride at this oval, continues to make inroads heading into the final month of the current stand. The youngster booted home longshot Twosteppincowgirl ($25) in last Thursday's ninth race almost two months to the day after she began her career. Her winning ride belied her short time in the saddle, as she sat chilly saving ground before confidently splitting rivals to prevail.

Smith's agent, former rider Martin Brown, says the young jockey continues to build momentum and is looking forward to further developing her career.

"We are going to finish up here in a few weeks and then head to Delta Downs when they open the first of October," said Brown. "We are planning a visit up to Louisiana Downs in the near future as well."

Smith and the rest of the riding colony here would have all the business they could stand if they rode the likes of the first-time starter that trainer Doris Hebert unleashed in last Saturday's ninth race.

Making his debut against 10 maiden special weight rivals, Favorite Minit destroyed his competition by 10 expanding lengths, winning with something left. A 2-year-old son of Favorite Trick, Favorite Minit was bred by owners Maurice and Evelyn Benoit and is out of the crack Malagra mare Minit Toowinit. He was not a very well-kept secret in his coming-out party, paying just $3.20. A similar price is to be expected on the talented youngster when he makes his next start, most likely the closing night's featured $75,000 Lafayette Stakes on Sept. 6.