05/16/2012 2:01PM

Evangeline: Solar Charge among fast group in Need for Speed

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OPELOUSAS, La. – It’s all about speed Friday night at Evangeline Downs as some of the quickest sprinters in the region will go postward in the Need for Speed Stakes. The five-furlong dash on the turf drew a field of seven and carries a $50,000 purse.

Solar Charge, making his first start for trainer Ron Faucheux, could be a slight favorite off some very consistent form dating back over a year. While Solar Charge did disappoint as the even-money favorite in the Premiere Stakes for Texas-breds at Lone Star Park in his last start, the 5-year-old son of Authenticate has done little else wrong in the past 12 months, with nine first- or second-place finishes.

Prior to his fourth place finish in the Premiere last month, Solar Charge finished a fast-closing second in the $75,000 Champion Energy Stakes over the Sam Houston turf course in mid-February. His stalk-and-pounce running style should once again serve him well Saturday night, with an honest pace almost a given. Richard Eramia will journey in from his summer base at Louisiana Downs to handle the riding chores.

Last year’s Need for Speed winner Southern Style is back to defend his title, as he looks for his first win in 2012. The 7-year-old Southern Style also won the Oak Hall here over the main track last summer in his last local start before traveling to Louisiana Downs, where he finished third in the Temperence Hill Stakes. He then journeyed to Keeneland, finishing a troubled sixth in the Grade 3 Phoenix Stakes.

Southern Style has been equally well traveled in 2012, having made starts at Sam Houston, Fair Grounds and, most recently, Oaklawn Park. Ramsey Zimmerman has the call to ride Friday night.

Black Ida’s Jo Jo appears to be the controlling speed in Friday’s headliner, especially since he will be making his first start of the year and is fresh. Black Ida’s Jo Jo will be looking to pick up where he left off last fall when he finished first or second in his final three starts of the year. Two of those starts came over the Remington Park turf, including a runner-up performance against allowance company in mid-November. Trainer Bret Brinkman will give Eddie Martin Jr. a leg up.