09/21/2005 11:00PM

Evangeline: Sprinters headline closing night


The inaugural season at Evangeline Downs's new facility concludes with a program featuring nine sprinters going 4 1/2 furlongs in the $40,000 Need for Speed Stakes.

Joyful Tune, who has raced almost exclusively on turf this season at Lone Star Park and Louisiana Downs, returns to the main track for the first time since just missing at Delta Downs in January. The 7-year-old Joyful Tune beat upper-level claimers by 2 1/2 lengths on turf at Louisiana Downs in his most recent start. Eight of his 14 lifetime wins have come on dirt.

Run Zeal Run, the co-highweight with Joyful Tune at 123 pounds, comes off a victory in the J.R. Straus Memorial at Retama Park on Aug. 5. Trained by George Northrop, Run Zeal Run has 14 career wins. Carlos Gonzalez will come down from Louisiana Downs to ride Run Zeal Run.

Grand Diablo represents the best of the local contingent off an easy win against optional claimers on Aug. 22. He also made short work of statebred nonwinners-of-three allowance runners by six lengths in late July. Regular rider Brian Hernandez retains the mount.