07/08/2008 11:00PM

Maiden runs faster than stakes colts


Summer is 2-year-old season at Evangeline Downs and last week's two divisions of the D. S. "Shine" Young Futurity helped sort out the pecking order of the local class of juveniles. The Stanley Roberts-trained Shutupanddance captured the filly division and Not Grounded, conditioned by John Gelner, won the colts and geldings final.

Arguably the most talented youngster seen on the Legends Night program, however, was not in a stakes, but in a Louisiana-bred maiden race earlier on the card.

Gratified, an Afternoon Deelites colt trained by Torey Blanchard, graduated with an impressive seven-length win. He covered five furlongs in 58.62 seconds and earned a 67 Beyer Speed Figure, 12 points higher than Not Grounded received for running the same distance in 59.34 in the Shine.

Gratified is expected to run next in the $100,000 John Franks Memorial Sales Stakes on Aug. 2, the second leg of the Evangeline Triple. The final leg, the $100,000 Lafayette Stakes, is slated for closing night, Sept. 1.

Gratified brought $35,000 at the Evangeline Downs 2-year-olds in training sale in March. He could be part of a large field in the John Franks Sales Stakes, which will also have a filly division.

"Right now I've got about 60 that have been paid up, pending late mail," said Evangeline stakes coordinator Anthony Martin. "If the races overfill, the fields will be determined by earnings."