06/28/2006 12:00AM

Statebreds get a night in spotlight for $720K


OPELOUSAS, La. - The stage was set for the biggest night of the Evangeline Downs season when entries were drawn Wednesday for Saturday's Louisiana Legends Night.

The card will have 10 stakes, all restricted to Louisiana-breds and worth a collective $720,000. All the events are named for Louisiana horseman who made contributions to the state's horse racing industry.

One of the evening's many highlights will be the $150,000 D. S. "Shine" Young Futurity. The Shine has been a fixture for the state's 2-year-olds since the first Evangeline Downs meeting was run in 1966. A dozen youngsters who qualified in three trial races on June 9 will battle it out over five furlongs in the 10th of 12 races on the program.

A pair of $75,000 races, the J. Archie Sebastien for fillies and mares and the Pola Benoit for males, will showcase the best of the handicap division going two turns. Calista Ridge will put her four-race winning streak on the line in the Sebastien, while in the Benoit, Cat Man will attempt to recapture the magic that saw him win the $50,000 Evangeline Gentlemen's Stake by nine lengths here in March.

Costa Rising appears to be the one to beat in the $75,000 B. B. Rayburn for 3-year-olds going a mile. He is riding a three-race winning streak, which includes a victory against older rivals over the Louisiana Downs turf in early May. In the $75,000 Buddy Abadie for 3-year-old fillies, Hottamolly will go for her second straight stakes score after a convincing victory in the Fantasia Stakes at Louisiana Downs on May 13.

The most competitive of the evening's action could come in the two sprint events, also worth $75,000. The 5 1/2-furlong Pierre LeBlanc drew an evenly matched field of eight fillies and mares, with three-time stakes winner Destiny Calls rating as the slight favorite. The six-furlong Junis Delahoussaye attracted a field of 10 male sprinters, with Inalako, second to the Summit of Speed-bound Gold Storm in the Need for Speed Stakes here last month, as the one to catch.

Three starter allowance stakes, the Mervin Muniz, Attaway Darbonne, and Gene Norman, each worth $40,000, also will be run, along with a pair of Louisiana-bred maiden special weight affairs. First post for the big night is 6:40 p.m. Central.