09/04/2007 11:00PM

Figures up at Evangeline

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Evangeline Downs concluded its 2007 meeting last Monday, posting solid gains in ontrack handle, total all-sources handle, purse distribution and field size at the 100-day meet.

Total handle on Evangeline races averaged $1,695,000 daily, an increase of 9 percent from last year's average, which in turn had posted double-digit increases from 2005. Ontrack handle showed gains as well at the Opelousas, La., oval, with the average of $69,278 also an increase of more than 9 percent from last year.

Daily purse distribution averaged more than $180,000 per day, which was $10,000 more per day than a year ago. Horsemen responded in kind, with fields averaging more than 10 runners per race.

Curt Bourque captured the riding crown with 93 wins. His mounts totaled just under $1.7 million in earnings. Perennial training champ Keith Bourgeois added another title, with 76 wins from 302 starts.

Highlights of the meeting included the Cajun Jockey Challenge, when Calvin Borel narrowly edged friendly rival Robby Albarado for bragging rights; the June 30 Louisiana Legends Night III, which produced a handle of $2.2 million; and Costa Rising's effort in the Evangeline Mile in mid-August that resulted in a Beyer Speed Figure of 114. Going one step further, Costa Rising eclipsed that race with a runaway 17 1/2-length victory on closing night, earning an even better Beyer Figure of 117.