01/22/2009 1:00AM

Four stakes shift to new turf course


Evangeline Downs is going green for its 2009 season.

That's green as in turf racing as the 89-night spring-summer meeting that gets under way on April 8 will see the long-awaited debut of the seven-furlong grass course.

The new course will make an immediate impact on the stakes schedule, as four of the 24 stakes on tap have been moved from dirt to turf. In addition, the $100,000 Attaway Darbonne for Louisiana-breds has been added to the lucrative Louisiana Legends Night program on July 4.

"With the addition of the turf course, we felt it was appropriate to give the horsemen these opportunities by switching surfaces on a few of our established stakes races and by adding the Darbonne," said Evangeline's new racing secretary, Coleman Lloyd.

Legends Night on July 4 will again be the meeting's high point. Now in its fifth year, the evening will offer 10 races exclusively for Louisiana-breds worth a total of $900,000 and will honor those who have made an indelible mark on Evangeline Downs and Louisiana racing.

Other highlights include the $150,000 Evangeline Mile set for Aug. 15 and a pair of $75,000 events for 2-year-olds, the Opelousas and Lafayette, scheduled for the Labor Day weekend.