02/01/2006 1:00AM

Meet's two highlights get $50,000 purse increases


Evangeline Downs announced this week that the purses for the track's two showcase events, the Evangeline Mile and the D.S. "Shine" Young Futurity, have each been increased to $150,000 for the 2006 season. Seventeen stakes events worth a combined $1.5 million have been scheduled for the meeting, which begins March 30 and concludes Sept. 4.

The 2006 meeting follows on the heels of the current meeting, which comprises dates inherited from Delta Downs, where racing operations were suspended because of damage caused by Hurricane Rita. The final day of this special winter meeting will be March 25.

The Shine, which has received a purse increase of $50,000, is the feature race of Louisiana Legends Night on July 1, when a total of $720,000 will be up for grabs in seven stakes races and three starter events, all restricted to statebreds.

The Evangeline Mile, for 3-year-olds and up, will be held Aug. 12 and has also received a purse increase of $50,000 this year.

The traditional closing night feature, the $100,000 Lafayette Stakes, completes the Evangeline Triple series for 2-year-olds. The two other races in the Evangeline Triple are the Shine Futurity and the $100,000 John Franks Sales Stakes, which will have a filly division for the first time this year.