05/04/2010 11:00PM

Open turf claimers top card


Turf racing is the order of the day Friday at Evangeline Downs as a pair of competitive and extremely bettable open $25,000 claiming events anchor the evening's program. Neither of the two co-features carry any conditions, which itself is a rarity in these days of creative race writing by the majority of racing secretaries.

The night's fifth race is for fillies and mares at five furlongs. Eccentric Girl could rule a slight favorite off some solid recent form over the main track here as she comes off a second-place performance in optional claiming company. Trainer Karl Broberg claimed her that evening, which was the fifth time she has changed hands through the claim box during the last 12 months. Overall, the 6-year-old Slew City Slew mare has won 10 of her 38 career starts, including the Premier Ladies Starter Stakes at Delta Downs in February. Roberto Villafan will handle the riding duties.

Attractive Ride rates as the one to beat in the eighth race as he makes his return to the grass. Another who was recently claimed, Attractive Ride now hails from perennial training champ Keith Bourgeois's shed row and will need only to duplicate his last turf try - a near miss over the Saratoga turf course for a $60,000 claiming tag last summer - to return to the winner's circle. Gerard Melancon, who has been particularly effective over the local turf course this spring, will be in the saddle.

Jockey Tracy Hebert, who will ride Lucky Lou in the fifth and Holly Jet in the eighth, returned to riding this week after showing no ill effects from a nasty incident at Louisiana Downs last Sunday. Hebert was thrown violently to the ground when his mount stumbled badly leaving the gate in the afternoon's sixth event.

"He's fine," Hebert's agent, Jerry Bourque, said Wednesday morning. "They took him to the hospital as a precaution but released him soon after."