07/24/2007 11:00PM

Rockem Sockem wins Michigan BC


- Bill Hodtwalker


The clubhouse at the old Evangeline Downs, which is now a training center, is being razed to make way for a commercial and residential development.

New owner Carrol Castille, a Lafayette, La., businessman with strong ties to horse racing, including the ownership of several racehorses, bought the track along with 255 acres in June. Castille plans to develop part of the property into an upscale neighborhood, using money from the development to fund a $2 million renovation of the training facility that will remain at the site.

"That's why I bought it, to make sure it stays here," said Castille. "This will be the elite training center in the Southeast."

The old Evangeline has not held a race meet since 2004, when operations moved 15 miles north up I-49 to the new facility in Opelousas, which includes slot machines.

o Following one of the most successful months of racing in the history of the old or new Evangeline Downs - a month that included Louisiana Legends Night and the Cajun Jockey Challenge - director of racing operations David Yount has been promoted to assistant general manager of racetrack and casino operations.

- Jeff Taylor

Rockem Sockem, a past Michigan horse of the year, looked the part Tuesday evening when he came from last to first to take the Michigan Breeders' Cup at Great Lakes Downs. The 6-year-old won by nearly four lengths over Dorthys Champ, who was a head to the good of Demagoguery.

Rockem Sockem, a champion at 2, 3, and 4, was winless this year but had been chasing his stablemate, the reigning horse of the year Weatherstorm. Weatherstorm did not show his usual kick and finished fifth Tuesday, only his second off-the-board finish ever. Both horses are trained by veterinarian Bob Gorham.

* Mary Bennett, the wife of trainer Gerald Bennett, is resting at her Cleveland-area home after injuries suffered while galloping one of her 2-year-olds at Thistledown, where she oversees a division of her husband's stable. Bennett was aboard the unstarted Crimson Bucky when he started bucking and dropped Bennett, who broke two vertebrae. She is currently wearing a body brace.