06/04/2003 11:00PM

Evangeline: Scarlet's Tara has speed

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LAFAYETTE, La. - Scarlet's Tara, a runaway winner of her last two starts over the main track, heads the field for Saturday night's inaugural running of the $35,000 Frank A. "Buddy" Abadie Memorial Stakes. The one-mile race for Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies is named in honor of the former secretary-treasurer of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders' Association from 1969-84. Abadie also served as the state steward at Fair Grounds before retiring.

Scarlet's Tara prepped for the Abadie with an allowance score here May 8, leading every step of the way en route to a seven-length win. The Byron Gilbert trainee also wired first-level allowance rivals at Delta Downs in her first try around two turns March 15. Leading rider C.J. Woodley has the call aboard Scarlet's Tara, the likely favorite.

Queen's Bouquet will likely pose the biggest threat to Scarlet's Tara due in large part to her ability to rate off the early pace. With abundant speed to run at in this race, Queen's Bouquet will attempt to repeat her maiden victory three starts ago when she rallied strongly down the Fair Grounds stretch. Guy Smith will ride.