12/01/2005 12:00AM

Hello Lucky tough to beat


A busy opening weekend continues at Evangeline Downs on Saturday with the first running of the Louisiana HBPA Stakes. A 5 1/2-furlong race, the HBPA drew eight fillies and mares and carries a $75,000 purse.

In a departure from its normal schedule of racing under the lights, Evangeline's post time on Saturdays and Sundays during the 26-day meeting will be 2 p.m. Central.

Hello Lucky, winner of the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita and most recently the Lakeway at Retama, appears to be the class of the field as she makes her local debut for trainer Eric Guillot. A 3-year-old daughter of Lucky Lionel, Hello Lucky has 4 wins from 11 starts and faced some of the best fillies on the West Coast before shipping east. Guy Smith has the call.

Shakopee makes her first start since winning three straight allowance races at Canterbury this summer. Trained by Gilbert Ciavaglia, Shakopee should be involved in the early pace under regular rider Iram Diego.

K Brown also merits consideration. A 5-year-old Louisiana-bred trained by Frank Leggio, K Brown most recently won the James Sebastien Memorial here, and before that he defeated a solid cast of allowance foes on the Louisiana Downs turf course. She has a big late kick when she sprints, and jockey Steve Bourque will attempt to exploit the abundance of early speed in the HBPA.