08/12/2004 12:00AM

Pie N Burger puts Evangeline Mile title on line


CARENCRO, La. - Saturday night's $100,000 Evangeline Mile will bring together some of the region's top handicap performers. A field of nine will go off in the meeting's marquee event for older horses, led by defending champ and 124-pound highweight Pie N Burger.

Trained by Cole Norman, Pie N Burger had a two-race win streak snapped in the Johnson Memorial Stakes at Lone Star on July 3. Before that narrow defeat, Pie N Burger won the $75,000 Ark-La-Tex Handicap at Louisiana Downs. He has won 13 times from 39 starts in his career, including a 6 1/2-length victory in last year's edition of this race. A bullet six-furlong work of 1:13.20 at Louisiana Downs last week indicates Pie N Burger is still on edge.

The likely favorite, Pie N Burger will be reunited with Jamie Theriot, who has not ridden him since an unplaced effort in the Grade 3 Texas Mile in April.

Akanti could rank as Pie N Burger's primary rival off the strength of three impressive wins at Louisiana Downs, the most recent coming in the Blue Skies Handicap on July 25. That recent string of wins began for a lowly $12,500 claiming price in May, and trainer Al Stall Jr. has really turned Akanti around. Louisiana Downs's leading jockey Lonnie Meche will come in to ride.

Sunny Brick is also riding a three-race win streak into the Mile, and he accounted for the allowance prep race for this event two weeks ago. Brian Hernandez Jr. will once again ride.

Others in the field include millionaire Kiss a Native, who was second to Sunny Brick in his most recent start, and Dusty Spike, who competed in the $100,000 Omaha Handicap at Horseman's Park last out.