02/26/2014 11:43AM

Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint tops 22-race, $2.1 million stakes schedule


The $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint, which was announced last week, is the centerpiece of a 22-race, $2.1 million stakes schedule released by the Opelousas, La., track on Wednesday. The five-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds and up will be run June 21 on an afternoon card of five stakes worth a collective $640,000.

Evangeline Downs will open for an 84-date meet on April 9. The season will close a week earlier than usual, on Aug. 30. Evangeline’s meet will be the second under the ownership of Boyd Gaming, the Las Vegas-based parent company of Delta Downs in Vinton, La. The Turf Sprint was created by management to give Evangeline a signature race, just as Boyd inaugurated the Delta Downs Jackpot about 10 years ago.

The Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint will be joined on the June 21 card by the $100,000 Evangeline Mile for 3-year-olds and up; the $100,000 Opelousas for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf; and a pair of seven-furlong races for 3-year-olds bred in Louisiana.

Louisiana-breds will take center stage the night of May 24, with the running of the Louisiana Legends program, moved up from its usual early July spot on the calendar. It features seven divisional stakes for statebreds, each worth $100,000. The main event is the Classic for 3-year-olds and up at a 1 1/16 miles. Evangeline will conduct a pair of one-mile turf races for 3-year-olds on Legends Night, the Cheval and Soiree, which replace a pair of one-mile dirt races for 3-year-olds.

The stakes schedule also includes four $100,000 stakes for 2-year-olds, divisions of the D.S. “Shine” Young Futurity restricted to Louisiana-breds on July 5, and the Star and Starlet on Aug. 30. The Star and Starlet give first preference to graduates of a 2-year-olds in-training sale at Evangeline on March 9.