08/30/2005 11:00PM

Evangeline track report


Racing went on as scheduled here in Lafayette, La., Monday evening, but more than a few people's thoughts were with the New Orleans area, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Lafayette, La. is about 130 miles west of New Orleans.

Despite the obvious distractions, there were some memorable performances on the evening, including Poppa Duke's 18-length win against fellow Louisiana-bred maidens in the third race. A dark bay son of Golden Gear out of the Spectacular Bid mare Spaseeba, Poppa Duke had the misfortune of catching two-time stakes winner Voodoo Gold in each of his previous two starts: In a qualifying trial for the $100,000 D. S. "Shine" Young Futurity, when he finished second, and again in the finals on July 30, when he finished third. Back in the maiden ranks Monday, Poppa Duke ($2.40) shook clear into the turn and steadily increased his advantage under Steve Bourque.

* In addition to his win in the Shine Young, Voodoo Gold also won the John Franks Memorial Sales Stakes on Aug. 20. Trained by Cole Norman, he is expected to be the heavy favorite in Monday's $75,000 Lafayette Stakes. A victory would give him a sweep of the Evangeline triple crown for 2-year-olds.

* Also on the stakes schedule this holiday weekend is the $50,000 Matron Stakes. Scheduled for Saturday night, the Matron is for fillies and mares and will be run at a mile. Last year's winner, Due to Win, was entered in an allowance at Louisiana Downs on Friday and appears unlikely to defend her crown.