06/11/2003 12:00AM

Evangeline track report

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LAFAYETTE, La. - Players last week had to deal with what has been a rarity at Evangeline Downs this season, an off track.

Much-needed rain fell for the first time since the meeting began in early April resulting in sloppy tracks on both Thursday and Friday nights. The strip returned to fast for last Saturday evening's card but the added moisture seems to have tempered the advantage early speed had been enjoying lately.

Several horses still managed to go wire to wire, but they were afforded the luxury of not having to work very hard early. Heavy favorite Scarlet's Tara wired five rivals in last Saturday's inaugural running of the Frank "Buddy" Abadie Stakes after getting comfortably clear early, and Confederate Jack was allowed to set a 51.20-second half-mile in winning Monday night's allowance feature.

* Scarlet's Tara's win was one of three for veteran rider C.J. Woodley as he increased his lead in the jockey standings over Guy Smith. Josh Romero rode three winners on Monday's program.

* Trials for the highlight of the local stakes program, the D. A. "Shine" Young Futurity, are scheduled for Friday night. The three qualifying races for the $100,000-estimated final on July 4 will be run as the fifth, seventh, and ninth on the 10-race program. Because most of the 2-year-olds will be making their debuts in the trials, the trials are certain to produce a few surprises.