05/31/2006 12:00AM

Evangeline track report


The passage of Memorial Day usually marks the unofficial start of summer, but at Evangeline Downs it also means the beginning of the 2-year-old season.

The meeting's highlight, the $150,000 D.S. "Shine" Young Futurity, is a month away on Louisiana Legends Night over the July Fourth weekend. The two divisions of the John Franks Memorial Stakes, worth $100,000 each, are slated for a month later, and then there is the traditional closing-day feature, the $100,000 Lafayette Stakes on Sept. 4.

Friday night's fourth race will mark the debut of seven 2-year-olds whose connections are hoping for bigger and better things.

The eighth and final member of the field, Runninwithstyle, hails from the powerful Steve Asmussen stable and has the benefit of a start, albeit a rather inauspicious one, at Lone Star Park in late April. Bet down to the 6-5 favorite's role that evening, the Louisiana-bred Runninwithstyle helped carve out the early pace before faltering down the lane after a bumping incident exiting the turn. Jockey Steve Bourque will hope to avoid a repeat of traffic problems while aboard the likely favorite Friday night.

Of the first-time starters in the field, several come in with nice pedigrees.

Hillbilly Rockstar is by the useful debut sire Lucky North. He is out of the Southern Halo mare Southern Dawn and brought $18,000 at the Evangeline Downs March sale, which - since he is also a Louisiana-bred - makes him eligible for the Shine, Franks, and Lafayette stakes. Those three races make up the Evangeline triple crown for 2-year-olds.