05/20/2004 12:00AM

Evangeline: Old Lee still one to beat


Old Lee remains the horse to beat in the rescheduled $40,000 B.B. "Sixty" Rayburn Stakes at Evangeline Downs. The one-mile race for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds was postponed last Saturday after a power failure resulted in the cancellation of the final seven races on the program.

Post positions and riding assignments remain the same, as well as the morning line, which lists Old Lee as the 8-5 favorite.

Old Lee's strengths are obvious. He won a stakes over the winter at Delta Downs, turning in a furious rally to win the $125,000 Louisiana Premier Prince Stakes on Feb. 7. In his most recent start, Old Lee once again rallied strongly to finish second in the $100,000 Gentilly Handicap over the Fair Grounds turf.

Owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, Old Lee will again be ridden by E. J. Perrodin and will carry 120 pounds.

Brandon's Marfa, second to Old Lee at Delta by a nose, raced on Lasix for the first time in the Inaugural Handicap against open company. The result was a solid third-place finish behind the talented pair of Smalltown Slew and Britts Jules. Brandon's Marfa is in position to benefit from a soft pace scenario under regular rider Casey Fusilier and should be able to control the fractions.

Others in the eight-horse field include Streak of Smoke, a two-time winner locally, including the Evangeline Sales Stakes last year, and Valid Faith, a recent winner in allowance company.