07/28/2004 11:00PM

Evangeline: Grande Diablo dangerous


Grande Diablo heads a group of eight 2-year-olds in the inaugural running of the John Franks Memorial Stakes at Evangeline Downs. The five-furlong sprint was formerly known as the Evangeline Sales Stakes and is restricted to horses who passed through the sales ring at the 2004 Evangeline Downs 2-year-old sale, held in March.

Grande Diablo, a son of Bag who brought $42,000 at the sale, comes in off a ninth-place finish in the $100,000 Shine Futurity at Evangeline July 3 but should find the competition in the Franks much more to his liking. Grande Diablo will likely need only the effort he gave in qualifying for the Shine, a second-place finish to Mr. Excellent, the eventual runner-up in the final. Trainer Don Cormier has given Jamie Theriot the call to ride.

Miss Excavate, who qualified for the Shine with a third-place finish in her trial, bypassed the final in favor of a maiden special weight race two weeks later. An Excavate filly who brought $11,000 when she passed through the sales ring, Miss Excavate just missed in the maiden race and comes in with the highest last-race Beyer. Jerry Delhomme, father of NFL quarterback Jake Delhomme, trains Miss Excavate, who will be ridden once again by Marlon St. Julien.