06/19/2002 11:00PM

Oak Hall to defend title


LAFAYETTE, La. - A field of seven will line up Saturday night to contest the Evangeline Downs Sprint Championship. The six-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and upward carries a $30,000 purse.

Back to defend the title he won last year is Oak Hall, the starting highweight at 122 pounds. Oak Hall, who is owned by Ena Ortego and trained by Doyle Wardrop, is a 6-year-old son of Olympio who has raced only three times in 2002, the most recent being a sixth-place finish in the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park on April 27. Before that start, he finished fourth in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds in March.

While Oak Hall has been effective around two turns, including a win here in the John Henry Handicap last season, his best lick has been sprinting. His last win came in the seven-furlong Houston Sprint Handicap in his first start this year. Kerwin Clark will ride Oak Hall.

No Its Not, who had a four-race win streak snapped in allowance company here June 8, is ranked next in the weights at 120 pounds. Claimed by trainer Dale Angelle for 901 Racing Stables for $7,500 at Fair Grounds in February, the 4-year-old Is It True colt has made a rapid ascent up the class ladder. Jamie Theriot has the call.

o Evangeline Downs has announced that because of a substantial increase in handle for the 2002 racing season, a 10 percent hike in overnight purses will go into effect on Thursday.