03/02/2006 12:00AM

Evangeline: Rungius the class standout


An evenly matched group of nine have been entered at Evangeline Downs in the $50,000 Sportsman's Paradise Stakes, a one-mile test for 3-year-olds.

Rungius, a Cat Thief colt, should be a slight favorite based on class alone if he races at Evangeline rather than at Sam Houston, where he also is entered in Saturday's Texas Heritage.

Formerly in the Bernie Flint barn, Rungius was given a freshening by new trainer Tom Amoss and comes in off a series of strong works at Louisiana Downs. He last raced at Turfway Park in December, when he finished first and third in a pair of allowance races, the most recent of which a 6 1/2-furlong race on Dec. 18. The winner of that race, Final Copy, returned in his next start to win the $50,000 Turfway Park Prevue. Jose Riquelme has the call on Rungius.

Night Doc, a three-time winner trained by Ann Watermeier, will try two turns for the first time following a third-place performance in the $100,000 Louisiana Premier Night Prince here last month. Regular rider Michael Wright will once again place Night Doc in a stalking position and hope for a repeat of his victory in the $75,000 Toast to Junius Stakes in mid-January.

Monsieur Danseur, fourth in the Harrah's Breeders' Cup Juvenile over the Louisiana Downs turf last October, makes the journey down from north Louisiana. Trained by John Barger, he comes off a fourth-place finish in a tough optional claiming affair at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 24. E.J. Perrodin will handle the riding chores.