07/07/2009 11:00PM

Louisiana Cup Day should lure state s best


BOSSIER CITY, La. The first real test for this year s crop of Louisiana 2-year-olds was held last Saturday at Evangeline Downs in the two divisions of the D.S. Shine Young Futurity, and the results are encouraging. The next stop for many of those same youngsters will be at Louisiana Downs for Louisiana Cup Day on Aug. 1.

Trainer Steve Asmussen swept both divisions of the Shine Young after sending out three runners in each. Happyfromthegitgo won the fillies division, while Heavenville accounted for the colts and geldings division. Asmussen should be well represented once again in the two stakes events for juveniles at Louisiana Downs next month.

The Louisiana statebred program has been attractive for some time and it s only getting better, Asmussen said. I m particularly happy with the filly. This is the beginning of her career, and she s 2 for 2 now. This is a great start for her.

While Asmussen was obviously pleased with Happyfromthegitgo, Heavenville also sports some solid credentials. The Heiligbrodt Racing Stable homebred was a winner at first asking during the Keeneland spring meeting.

Francisco Torres, who rode Heavenville on Saturday, was impressed with his professionalism.

He broke sharp, maybe too sharp, Torres said. He scrambled a bit early trying to get his feet under him but he soon settled for me very nicely. He was relaxed behind the leaders in the turn, and I knew it was just a matter of when and where I was going to ask him.

* This year s Louisiana Cup promises to be bigger and better than ever, according to Louisiana Downs racing secretary and director of racing Trent McIntosh.

We are going to do some things to hopefully pump the event up. Get creative with our advertising along with some other things. We want the afternoon to be a big one.

* The turf rail will be out the maximum of 25 feet this week. Field sizes will be limited to eight starters for races run at 7 1/2 furlongs, with nine runners the maximum for the remaining distances. The two grass races scheduled for last Sunday were moved to the main track after the area received some much-needed rainfall.

* Friday will be a busy day for the turf course, with four races scheduled on the surface, including the featured eighth race. The entry-level optional claiming affair will mark the two-turn debut of Evacuation Route, who has not finished worse than second in three starts, all on the grass. Torres rides for trainer Sam David.

No fewer than five others in the nine-horse field are coming off victories, including Quill Out. The Kenneth Decker charge has won his last two while competing against $25,000 conditioned claiming foes. He will once again have Colby Hernandez aboard.